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Trey Davis takes advantage of opportunity to play in Minuteman win

The junior point guard grabbed freshman Trey Davis shoulders playfully and smiled at him.

In addition to scoring, defending and leading the Atlantic 10 in assists, Williams has made it his job to mentor the rookie guard.

So seeing his protégé score 12 points, hand out four assists without a turnover and make three big free throws in the last minute was gratifying for Williams.

“I’m happy for him,” Williams said. “The kid has been working hard all year battling in practice. He’s finally getting his opportunity. It’s good to see him prevail.

“… He told me in practice that he was waiting for his opportunity,” Williams added. “It came today and he showed up. I’m really proud of him.”

With Jesse Morgan out indefinitely with a sprained knee, Davis knew he was going to play more and he was ready to contribute during his 21 minutes.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Davis said. “I told Chaz ‘I got your back. I’m coming in to play and do what I do.’ ”

Minuteman coach Derek Kellogg said he was impressed with Davis.

“He’s one of those guys that shows more composure and plays better in real games,” Kellogg said. “He’s a competitor. He did a nice job. I liked the way he made those free throws down the stretch there. That gave me even more confidence in him.”

While Williams has been a point guard his whole life, Kellogg elected to make Davis the point guard and Williams the off guard when the two were in the game together. The combination worked.

“Coach put us in great positions and drew up great sets for us,” Williams said. “It worked pretty good. … It felt good to be off the ball for a little bit and not have everybody looking at me.”

WILLIAMS TECHNICAL — Williams was whistled for a technical in the second half after doing some trash-talking with his friend and fellow Brooklynite Branden Frazier of the Rams.

Even though Frazier missed both subsequent free throws, Williams still took responsibility.

“I told the coaches I’ll have run some stairs on Monday,” Williams said.

PECORA ON WILLIAMS — It was the second time Tom Pecora of Fordham coached against Chaz Williams, who played for him when both were at Hofstra. Williams had 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

“That’s Chazzy right there,” Pecora said. “That’s why he’s a great one. He’s the ultimate point guard. Whenever I’m not playing against him, I root for him. We’ll be friends for the rest of our lives.”

VINSON CLIMBING — Senior forward Terrell Vinson continued climbing the UMass career scoring list. His 19 points gave him 1,049 in his career to move into 36th place.

He passed Bronx natives Charlton Clarke (1,041), Dana Dingle (1,043) who played at nearby St. Raymond’s. Next up is Alex Eldridge (1,053).

NEXT UP — The Minutemen will return home for their next three games starting at 7 p.m. Thursday against Duquesne. The Dukes (7-9, 0-2 Atlantic 10) have lost four straight, including their first two Atlantic 10 games to Fordham (82-75) and Saint Joseph’s (74-66).

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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Monday, January 14, 2013

BRONX, N.Y. — A familiar script produced the same ending for the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team Sunday. The Minutemen built a big lead at Fordham and — like they did against Northeastern, Siena and Northern Illinois — had to survive a late surge to prevail 77-73 at Rose Hill Gymnasium. This game featured a new set of heroes … 0

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