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UMass men’s basketball gets badly needed win at Xavier

  • University of Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putney dunks against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putney dunks against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) passes around Xavier guard Dee Davis (11) in an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

    Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) passes around Xavier guard Dee Davis (11) in an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putney, left, dunks against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putney, left, dunks against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams scored six points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams scored six points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Universtiy of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williamsscored six points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    Universtiy of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williamsscored six points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson  scored 20 points  against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson scored 20 points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Xavier forward Jeff Robinson, left, gets tangled up with University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    Xavier forward Jeff Robinson, left, gets tangled up with University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Xavier forward Jeff Robinson, left, passes around University of Massachusetts center Tyler Bergantino on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    Xavier forward Jeff Robinson, left, passes around University of Massachusetts center Tyler Bergantino on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Xavier guard Semaj Christon, left, moves the ball against the University of  Massachusetts on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    Xavier guard Semaj Christon, left, moves the ball against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Xavier forward Erik Stenger, right, in action against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    Xavier forward Erik Stenger, right, in action against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Xavier forward Isaiah Philmore, right, shoots against University of Massachusetts forward Cady Lalanne on  Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    Xavier forward Isaiah Philmore, right, shoots against University of Massachusetts forward Cady Lalanne on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg reacts against Xavier on  Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg reacts against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts players Chaz Williams, right, and Raphiael Putney celebrate after they defeated Xavier 77-72 on Saturday in Cincinnati. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts players Chaz Williams, right, and Raphiael Putney celebrate after they defeated Xavier 77-72 on Saturday in Cincinnati. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson injures his arm against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. Vinson led UMass with 20 points in a 77-72 win. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson injures his arm against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. Vinson led UMass with 20 points in a 77-72 win. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts guard Trey Davis walks to the sidelines to have his contact lens adjusted against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. Davis scored 12 points in a 77-72 win by UMass. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts guard Trey Davis walks to the sidelines to have his contact lens adjusted against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. Davis scored 12 points in a 77-72 win by UMass. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley sciored 18 points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

    University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley sciored 18 points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Xavier guard Brad Redford, right, is pressured by University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72 (AP Photo)

    Xavier guard Brad Redford, right, is pressured by University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72 (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts forward Cady Lalanne, right, is pressured by Xavier guard Semaj Christon, left, and forward Isaiah Philmore on Saturday  in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts forward Cady Lalanne, right, is pressured by Xavier guard Semaj Christon, left, and forward Isaiah Philmore on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg reacts to a call during the game against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg reacts to a call during the game against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley, second from right, drives against Xavier defenders Brad Redford, on floor, Semaj Christon, left, and Jeff Robinson on Saturday in Cincinnati. Riley scored 18 points as UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley, second from right, drives against Xavier defenders Brad Redford, on floor, Semaj Christon, left, and Jeff Robinson on Saturday in Cincinnati. Riley scored 18 points as UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson, left, looks to pass around Xavier guard Semaj Christon on Saturday in Cincinnati. Vinson led UMass to a 77-72 win with 20 points. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson, left, looks to pass around Xavier guard Semaj Christon on Saturday in Cincinnati. Vinson led UMass to a 77-72 win with 20 points. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams, left, drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams, left, drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putne, right, blocks a shot by Xavier guard Brad Redford on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    University of Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putne, right, blocks a shot by Xavier guard Brad Redford on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Xavier guard Semaj Christon, right, shoots against University of Massachusetts center Tyler Bergantino on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    Xavier guard Semaj Christon, right, shoots against University of Massachusetts center Tyler Bergantino on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Xavier forward Travis Taylor scores against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    Xavier forward Travis Taylor scores against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Xavier forward Justin Martin, back, shoots against University of Massachusetts guard Trey Davis on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)

    Xavier forward Justin Martin, back, shoots against University of Massachusetts guard Trey Davis on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putney dunks against Xavier in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

    Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putney dunks against Xavier in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

    Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

    Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

    Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

    Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putney dunks against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) passes around Xavier guard Dee Davis (11) in an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
  • University of Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putney, left, dunks against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams scored six points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Universtiy of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williamsscored six points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson  scored 20 points  against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Xavier forward Jeff Robinson, left, gets tangled up with University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Xavier forward Jeff Robinson, left, passes around University of Massachusetts center Tyler Bergantino on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Xavier guard Semaj Christon, left, moves the ball against the University of  Massachusetts on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Xavier forward Erik Stenger, right, in action against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Xavier forward Isaiah Philmore, right, shoots against University of Massachusetts forward Cady Lalanne on  Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg reacts against Xavier on  Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts players Chaz Williams, right, and Raphiael Putney celebrate after they defeated Xavier 77-72 on Saturday in Cincinnati. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson injures his arm against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. Vinson led UMass with 20 points in a 77-72 win. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts guard Trey Davis walks to the sidelines to have his contact lens adjusted against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. Davis scored 12 points in a 77-72 win by UMass. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley sciored 18 points against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
  • Xavier guard Brad Redford, right, is pressured by University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72 (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts forward Cady Lalanne, right, is pressured by Xavier guard Semaj Christon, left, and forward Isaiah Philmore on Saturday  in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg reacts to a call during the game against Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts guard Freddie Riley, second from right, drives against Xavier defenders Brad Redford, on floor, Semaj Christon, left, and Jeff Robinson on Saturday in Cincinnati. Riley scored 18 points as UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts forward Terrell Vinson, left, looks to pass around Xavier guard Semaj Christon on Saturday in Cincinnati. Vinson led UMass to a 77-72 win with 20 points. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams, left, drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • University of Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putne, right, blocks a shot by Xavier guard Brad Redford on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Xavier guard Semaj Christon, right, shoots against University of Massachusetts center Tyler Bergantino on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Xavier forward Travis Taylor scores against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Xavier forward Justin Martin, back, shoots against University of Massachusetts guard Trey Davis on Saturday in Cincinnati. UMass won 77-72. (AP Photo)
  • Massachusetts forward Raphiael Putney dunks against Xavier in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
  • Massachusetts guard Chaz Williams (3) drives past Xavier forward Justin Martin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Cincinnati. Massachusetts won 77-72. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

CINCINNATI — Badly needing a win to keep its hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament alive, the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team got one Saturday at one of the most difficult venues in the Atlantic 10 for a road victory.

Xavier had been 52-2 against league teams at the Cintas Center since 2007, but the Minutemen shook off a first-half, nine-point deficit to beat the Musketeers 77-72.

“We needed it bad to keep our tournament hopes alive,” UMass senior Freddie Riley said. “It’s good that we got the win and we came out here and played and fought through adversity early.

“It was a good team win,” he added. “We’re maturing. We have a pretty old team. We’re trying to make sure we come out and handle business and take advantage of every opportunity that’s handed to us.”

When 3-pointers are falling for the Minutemen, some other problems do not seem to hurt quite as much.

Foul trouble, rebounding woes, poor free-throw shooting and one of the toughest games in Chaz Williams’ career did not matter as UMass made a season-high 13 3-pointers, including nine in the second half.

With Williams limited to 22 minutes by foul trouble, two seniors and a freshman picked up the Minutemen (18-9, 8-6 Atlantic 10). Riley and Terrell Vinson led the 3-point barrage. Riley scored all of his 18 points on six 3-pointers. He shot 6-for-10 overall and 5-for-6 in the second half.

Vinson was 4-for-5 on 3-point tries and made all three he attempted after intermission as part of his game-high 20 points.

“They were good shots. On the road you want those shots to go in and they went in,” Vinson said. “It really answered what they were doing. They scored at the other end. They were trading baskets with us. We were getting 3s and they were getting 2s. It increased the lead in our favor.”

Riley said he was surprised his shooting was as sharp as it was.

“I don’t know how I did it. I was real tired trying to chase (Xavier guard Brad) Redford around the whole game,” Riley said. “I got some open looks and I put them in.”

UMass was actually better from 3-point range — shooting 13-for-25 (52 percent) — than it was from 1-point range as the Minutemen shot 10-for-20 from the free throw line.

“We shoot a lot of 3s. It was fortunate that we went on a run” of making them, UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “The reality is, they were good shots. There weren’t many that were forced.”

Minuteman freshman Trey Davis played 18 minutes in Williams’ absence and responded with career-highs in points (12) and assists (six). Ten of his points came in the first half when he helped UMass cut the Musketeers’ lead from 22-14 with 8 minutes, 13 seconds left to 35-34 at halftime despite Williams (three first-half fouls), Sampson Carter (two) and Cady Lalanne (two) all on the bench.

“I thought the difference was their 3-point shooting and our lack of energy on the defensive end to keep the ball out of the lane,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “I thought the kid Trey Davis did a really good job coming in for Chaz Williams. He really stepped up and he gave us every bit as much trouble as we’ve had with Chaz in the past. UMass has a very talented team and they took it to us today.”

Lalanne’s return helped negate the Musketeers’ 26-15 first-half rebounding edge.

Lalanne (nine points, eight rebounds) converted a three-point play to open the second half, giving the Minutemen their first lead of the game. The teams then went back and forth early in the second. With the game tied 53-53, Riley hit 3-pointers to start and end an 8-1 run that gave UMass a 61-54 lead with 11:11 remaining.

Xavier (16-12, 8-6 A-10) got within one possession on four occasions after that, but each time the Minutemen immediately answered including twice on 3-pointers by Riley.

“We really didn’t come out and do what we needed to do,” said Xavier junior Isaiah Philmore (14 points). “They hit a lot of 3s, some of them we weren’t there to contest.”

Freshman guard Semaj Christon led the Musketeers with 17 points.

Vinson said UMass now has to focus on Thursday’s game against No. 20 Butler at 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen end the regular season at Rhode Island on Saturday.

“We don’t want to relax and get comfortable,” he said. “We have two games left in the (regular) season and they’re just as important as this game.”

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

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Trey Davis gives Minutemen lift during first-half comeback

Thursday, February 28, 2013

CINCINNATI — After watching the Xavier defense in the first few minutes of Saturday’s game, University of Massachusetts freshman guard Trey Davis turned to fellow rookie Tyler Bergantino and predicted that he might have a chance at success during the contest. “I could just tell,” Davis said. “In the first minute, I told Tyler ‘I’m going to get in there …

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