UMass upsets Temple in A-10 tournament quarterfinals
Cady Lalanne of the University of Massachusetts dunks against Temple in the Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinal round Friday in New York. UMass won 79-74.
Chaz Williams, left, of the University of Massachusetts, drives around a Cady Lalanne screen against Temple in the Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinal round in New York Friday. UMass won 79-74.
NEW YORK — Playing in his hometown of Brooklyn, Chaz Williams added another memorable performance to a resume full of them and left his stamp on the last chapter of the University of Massachusetts’ rivalry with Temple.
The No. 6-seeded Minutemen kept their NCAA tournament at-large bid hopes alive and grabbed final bragging rights in its rivalry with Temple, defeating the No. 3-seeded Owls 79-74 in the Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinal round Friday at the Barclays Center.
UMass (21-10) advanced to face No. 2 seed Virginia Commonwealth (25-7), Saturday at 4 p.m. Temple concluded its regular season at 23-9.
With the Minutemen leading 68-66, Sampson Carter fumbled the ball and almost turned it over, but he pushed it to Freddie Riley, who buried a 3-pointer to make it 71-66 with 1 minute, 31 seconds left matching UMass’ biggest lead in the game. Riley screamed with delight as he retreated on defense.
Temple hurried the ball up the court and Rahir Hollis-Jefferson hit a leaner to make it 71-68.
After each team called timeout, Will Cummings fouled Williams, who made both from the line to push UMass’ edge to 73-68. But Khalif Wyatt, who’d struggled shooting all game, made a very deep 3-pointer to make it 73-71 with 56 seconds left.
After an anxious moment where the Minutemen struggled to inbound the ball, they ran the shot clock almost all the way down and Terrell Vinson hit a 3 from the right wing that made it 76-71 with 25.2 seconds left to seal the win.
“It’s what we’ve come to expect out of the UMass-Temple games,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “It was another epic battle. We were fortunate to make some big plays down the stretch.”
Williams led UMass with 28 points, including eight straight at one point in the second half to keep his team in the game, five assists and four rebounds.
“I just want to win,” Williams said. “I just did whatever we had to do to win tonight.”
Vinson and Riley each added 15. Riley held Wyatt to 4-for-19 shooting. Wyatt finished with 19 points.
“Fred is a great defender,” Williams said. “For Wyatt to shoot 4 for 19, he did a great job tonight.”
In terms of intensity, Friday’s game picked up where Thursday’s left off. The largest lead of the first half was five when a Hollis-Jefferson floater in the lane followed a T.J. DiLeo 3-pointer to put the Owls up 38-33 with 2:01 left.
But Williams (12 first-half points) hit two free throws and Trey Davis scored on a fast break with 25.4 seconds left in the half to cut Temple’s lead to 38-37 at intermission.
Williams thought the Minutemen belonged in the NCAA tournament.
“I believe so. We’re trying to prove to the world we belong,” Williams said. “We’re going to fight until we make it.”
Kellogg said he wasn’t thinking about the NCAA tournament yet.
“I believe we’re a very good basketball team. I’ll leave that up to the powers that be,” he said. “I’m just thinking about VCU.”