CHARLOTTE (UMASS.com) – Terrell Vinson scored a career-high 23 points as UMass fell to Charlotte, 66-65, at Halton Arena on Saturday. The Minutemen had a chance to win on the final possession but Chaz Williams lost the ball when he made contact with a pair of Charlotte defenders with three seconds left.
The loss drops UMass to 14-6 overall and 4-3 in the Atlantic 10. The Minutemen shot 49 percent from the floor with nine 3-pointers, but converted just 6-of-16 at the line.
Along with Vinson, who made three triples, Williams finished with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists.
UMass committed 19 turnovers and was outrebounded 37-32 on the glass.
Charlotte moved to 17-4 and 5-2 with its 11th home win. E. Victor Nickerson led the 49ers with 12 points and Ivan Benkovic came off the bench to make three of the team’s four 3-pointers and finish with 10 points.
UMass trailed by eight points with 15:21 to play but fought back to tie the game at 44 with 12:00 left. From there the 49ers pushed their lead back to eight points in a matter of minutes. UMass cut the margin to one point twice before tying it at 63 on a Vinson triple with 2:22 remaining.
Three Charlotte free throws over the next two possessions gave the home squad a lead before a Williams layup made it 66-65 with 18 seconds left. Nickerson then missed two free throws giving UMass the ball on the final possession.
Charlotte closed the first period on an 8-3 run to claim a 34-31 lead at the half. UMass shot 50 percent but committed 10 turnovers that resulted in 10 Charlotte points. UMass will return home for a pair of games next week, beginning Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against rival Rhode Island.