PHILADELPHIA – Chaz Williams hit a running layup with 8.0 seconds left and Raphiael Putney finished with 17 points as Massachusetts defeated La Salle, 61-60, to snap a four-game losing skid at Tom Gola Arena.
La Salle’s Jerrell Wright’s shot at the buzzer was partially blocked by Putney to preserve the win.
UMass (14-5, 4-2 Atlantic 10) improved to 6-1 on the road and 9-1 in games decided by five points or less. The Minutemen shot 43 percent and converted 14 offensive rebounds into a 15-6 edge in second chance points.
Putney shot 7-of-11 from the floor and 3-for-5 from outside. Maxie Esho added 11 off the bench with two blocks and two steals in 22 minutes. Cady Lalanne finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, including six offensive. He entered the game leading the A-10 in conference games with 4.6 offensive boards per contest.
La Salle (14-6, 4-3) was led by Ramon Galloway and Wright who had 16 each.
The opening 14 minutes was a back-and-forth affair with two ties and four lead changes before UMass scored 11 unanswered to claim a 33-21 lead with 2:31 left. The Explorers then scored the final six points to send the teams into the locker rooms with the Minutemen ahead 33-27.
UMass shot 47 percent in the half and held a 18-14 edge on the glass. Putney had 11 points to lead UMass. UMass will remain on the road with a contest at Charlotte on Saturday at 2 p.m.