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Terrell Vinson sparks UMass men’s hoop to win over Hawks

  • Cady Lalanne of UMass, right, dunks the ball while being defended by Halil Kanacevic of St. Joseph's during Saturday's game at UMass on February 9, 2013.<br/><br/>DAN LITTLE

    Cady Lalanne of UMass, right, dunks the ball while being defended by Halil Kanacevic of St. Joseph's during Saturday's game at UMass on February 9, 2013.

    DAN LITTLE Purchase photo reprints »

  • Chaz Williams of the University of Massachusetts, left, drives past Carl Jones of Saint Joseph's on Saturday at the Mullins Center. UMass won 80-62.<br/>DAN LITTLE

    Chaz Williams of the University of Massachusetts, left, drives past Carl Jones of Saint Joseph's on Saturday at the Mullins Center. UMass won 80-62.
    DAN LITTLE Purchase photo reprints »

  • Raphiael Putney of the University of Massachusetts goes up for a dunk on a breakaway Saturday at the Mullins Center. UMass won 80-62.<br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Raphiael Putney of the University of Massachusetts goes up for a dunk on a breakaway Saturday at the Mullins Center. UMass won 80-62.
    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Maxie Esho of UMass, center, fights Langston Galloway of St. Joseph's, left, for the rebound during Saturday's game at UMass on February 9, 2013. Halil Kanacevic of St. Joseph's, right, looks on.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Maxie Esho of UMass, center, fights Langston Galloway of St. Joseph's, left, for the rebound during Saturday's game at UMass on February 9, 2013. Halil Kanacevic of St. Joseph's, right, looks on.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Cady Lalanne of UMass, right, dunks the ball while being defended by Halil Kanacevic of St. Joseph's during Saturday's game at UMass on February 9, 2013.<br/><br/>DAN LITTLE
  • Chaz Williams of the University of Massachusetts, left, drives past Carl Jones of Saint Joseph's on Saturday at the Mullins Center. UMass won 80-62.<br/>DAN LITTLE
  • Raphiael Putney of the University of Massachusetts goes up for a dunk on a breakaway Saturday at the Mullins Center. UMass won 80-62.<br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Maxie Esho of UMass, center, fights Langston Galloway of St. Joseph's, left, for the rebound during Saturday's game at UMass on February 9, 2013. Halil Kanacevic of St. Joseph's, right, looks on.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

AMHERST — In a game that will be remembered for its highlight film dunks, the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team used some old-school, below-the-rim fundamentals to seal Saturday’s victory.

After Saint Joseph’s whittled a 14-point halftime deficit down to five with just under seven minutes left, the Minutemen scored 11 straight points to deliver the knockout blow in their 80-62 win at the Mullins Center.

With UMass leading 59-54, senior Terrell Vinson was fouled while backing down Ronald Roberts. After hitting both free throws, Vinson snared the rebound of Carl Jones’ missed 3-pointer. At the other end, Vinson spun on Roberts again and banked in another layup to extend the lead to 63-54 with 5:24 left.

After a layup by Chaz Williams, Sampson Carter had a three-point play and a baseline jump shot to stretch the Minutemen’s run to 11-0 and their lead to 70-54 with 3:39 left.

“I feel like it hurt them a little bit,” Carter said. “I feel like they were on the ropes. They were still trying to get over the hump as it was, so I feel like our little 11-0 really put an end to it.”

UMass (16-6, 6-3 Atlantic 10) dominated the ball-handling throughout. The Minutemen had a season high 22 assists and a season-low five turnovers. Williams had nine assists and just one turnover to go with his 11 points.

The game was originally scheduled to tip at 2 p.m., but was pushed back to 7 p.m. by a ban on road travel ordered by Gov. Deval Patrick because of the blizzard that dumped almost 2 feet of snow on Amherst. The statewide travel ban ended at 4 p.m. There were 4,479 fans at the game.

“Obviously, I’m happy with the outcome of today’s game, one that was delayed for quite a few hours today,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “So I was wondering how both teams were going to come out, but I thought both teams played with energy and did some good things out there.

“I thought we played a good full 40 minutes of competitive basketball,” he added. “You’re not going to play perfect for 40 minutes, obviously, but I thought we did some good things. It was spread out. I was actually most proud of 22 assists and five turnovers. I thought that was the difference in the game. I thought our guys took care of the basketball. I thought Chaz did a very good job of leading the team. To see him play a good game with 11 points and nine assists was great.”

The Hawks struggled against the Minutemen’s ball pressure and committed 14 turnovers that UMass converted into 14 points, many of which came on highlight-film dunks.

“We had unusual turnovers for guys of our age group,” Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said while shaking his head. “They got (fast-break points) off our turnovers. That’s an Achilles’ heel for our team. We’re not very fast. We got hurt by their speed. We played on our heels a little bit.

“The number one thing for our team coming into the game was ball possession,” he added. “If we possessed the ball we could get the game at the right pace.”

The Minutemen finished the first half on a 16-2 run that gave them a 40-26 advantage at the break. But Langston Galloway (14 points, seven assists) authored his own 8-0 run that made it 40-34 2:33 into the second half.

The UMass lead hovered between six and 12 until Halil Kanacevic (12 points, seven rebounds) hit back-to-back layups and Jones (13 points) knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6:57 left in the game to cut the Hawks’ deficit to 59-54.

Kellogg called time-out and out of the break, Vinson (18 points) and Carter (16) led the game-clinching run.

“We’re not winning any 80-point games,” said Martelli, whose team fell to 13-9 (4-5 A-10). “That’s not who we are. We didn’t grind enough.”

Freddie Riley added 10 points for the Minutemen, while Maxie Esho, who had a reverse alley-oop in the first half and a one-handed alley-oop in the second, scored eight. Cady Lalanne had nine points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots.

UMass is off until Thursday when it travels to face Virginia Commonwealth at 9 p.m. in Richmond, Va.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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Ten dunks by Minutemen energize weather-reduced crowd at Mullins Center

Monday, February 11, 2013

AMHERST — Chaz Williams spotted Maxie Esho moving freely along the baseline to the left of the basket and the two University of Massachusetts teammates knew what was coming next Saturday night. Esho has quite the collection of highlight film dunks on his college resume, many of which came on the finishing end of Williams’ alley-oop lobs. But even Esho … 0

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