UMass Seniors Eye Conference Title and NCAA Tournament Bid
AMHERST, MA (WGGB)—– A lay-up by Jordair Jett of Saint Louis with 3.4 seconds remaining would seal Umass’ fate in their last regular season game. Chaz Williams’ desperation three clanged off the front of the rim as the Billikens held on for a 64-62 win.
However, for the three seniors on this Umass squad the focus quickly shifts from the disappointing loss to the beginning of the A-10 tournament.
“Everyone in the locker room is sad because obviously they wanted the seniors to go out on a great note,” said senior point guard Chaz Williams. ” We had a great crowd tonight and we just couldn’t. Everyone is looking forward to the A-10 tournament because we all understand that it’s one and done. So if we don’t bring our all in the first game it could all be over.”
A truly back and forth affair, the Minutemen controlled the pace of the game from the opening tip. Holding off the #16 ranked Billikens until the final seconds. This was just one of several close games for the team this year.
“Fortunately or unfortunately; I’d say fortunately for us we’ve been in a lot of tight games,” said Umass Head Coach Derek Kellogg. “We’ve had a senior laden group with a lot of resiliency and not today but often we come out of these games on top.”
Though the regular-season didn’t end as planned, senior point guard Chaz Williams has set his sights on a conference title and getting Umass back to the “Big Dance”
“We’re just trying to win,” said Williams. “It’s been a while since UMass had a conference title and that’s something we want to go out with. Just making the tournament or just being in the Barclay’s Center isn’t good enough for us. We are really trying to make something out of it and that’s what we’re going for.”
The Minutemen weren’t able to earn that first round in the a-10 tournament so they will be back in action Thursday night at 9pm against Rhode Island.