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UMass can earn Atlantic 10 sixth seed with win over URI

  • University of Massachusetts fans in the student section cheer for the Minutemen during their game against Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    University of Massachusetts fans in the student section cheer for the Minutemen during their game against Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Freddie Riley of the University of Massachusetts, right, moves the ball against Alex Barlow of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Freddie Riley of the University of Massachusetts, right, moves the ball against Alex Barlow of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Cady Lalanne of the University of Massachusetts, left, reaches for a rebound against Roosevelt Jones of Butler of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Cady Lalanne of the University of Massachusetts, left, reaches for a rebound against Roosevelt Jones of Butler of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts fans in the student section cheer for the Minutemen Thursday at the Mullins Center.JERREY ROBERTS

    University of Massachusetts fans in the student section cheer for the Minutemen Thursday at the Mullins Center.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Terrell Vinson of the University of Massachusetts, third from left, tries to win a loose ball against Butler defenders Roosevelt Jones, from left, Kellen Dunham and Andrew Smith Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Terrell Vinson of the University of Massachusetts, third from left, tries to win a loose ball against Butler defenders Roosevelt Jones, from left, Kellen Dunham and Andrew Smith Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts Head Coach Derek Kellogg, left, shouts instructions to Raphiael Putney Thursday at the Mullins Center. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    University of Massachusetts Head Coach Derek Kellogg, left, shouts instructions to Raphiael Putney Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Terrell Vinson of the University of Massachusetts, right, shoots against Roosevelt Jones of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Terrell Vinson of the University of Massachusetts, right, shoots against Roosevelt Jones of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sampson Carter of the University of Massachusetts, right, drives to the basket against Kameron Woods of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Sampson Carter of the University of Massachusetts, right, drives to the basket against Kameron Woods of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Chaz Williams of the University of Massachusetts, right, drives to the basket beside Andrew Smith of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Chaz Williams of the University of Massachusetts, right, drives to the basket beside Andrew Smith of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Trey Davis of the University of Massachusetts, left, moves the ball against Rotnei Clark of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Trey Davis of the University of Massachusetts, left, moves the ball against Rotnei Clark of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts players Terrell Vinson, left, and Raphiael Putney rest on the bench during the final minutes of their team's loss to Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    University of Massachusetts players Terrell Vinson, left, and Raphiael Putney rest on the bench during the final minutes of their team's loss to Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts fans in the student section cheer for the Minutemen during their game against Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Freddie Riley of the University of Massachusetts, right, moves the ball against Alex Barlow of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Cady Lalanne of the University of Massachusetts, left, reaches for a rebound against Roosevelt Jones of Butler of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • University of Massachusetts fans in the student section cheer for the Minutemen Thursday at the Mullins Center.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Terrell Vinson of the University of Massachusetts, third from left, tries to win a loose ball against Butler defenders Roosevelt Jones, from left, Kellen Dunham and Andrew Smith Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • University of Massachusetts Head Coach Derek Kellogg, left, shouts instructions to Raphiael Putney Thursday at the Mullins Center. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Terrell Vinson of the University of Massachusetts, right, shoots against Roosevelt Jones of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Sampson Carter of the University of Massachusetts, right, drives to the basket against Kameron Woods of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Chaz Williams of the University of Massachusetts, right, drives to the basket beside Andrew Smith of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Trey Davis of the University of Massachusetts, left, moves the ball against Rotnei Clark of Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • University of Massachusetts players Terrell Vinson, left, and Raphiael Putney rest on the bench during the final minutes of their team's loss to Butler Thursday at the Mullins Center.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts will head into Saturday’s season finale at Rhode Island hoping to earn the No. 6 seed in next week’s Atlantic 10 tournament.

Thursday’s 73-62 loss to Butler made it impossible for the Minutemen to finish any higher.

If UMass (18-10, 8-7) wins, it can finish no worse than seventh. For UMass to get the sixth seed, it will need to beat the Rams and have Butler beat Xavier. It’s possible as many as six teams could finish 8-8. In that scenario, an 8-8 team would claim seeds seven to 12.

Senior Terrell Vinson was still optimistic about UMass’ future.

“Our season is far from over,” he said. “We’ve got a lot more games left.”

Butler (23-7, 10-5), which is tied with Temple for fourth, can still earn a first-round bye in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

“I’d like to play as well as we can Saturday (against Xavier), but I don’t really care bye or no bye,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “I want to finish as high as we can. I don’t want to diminish that, but whether we play Thursday or Friday doesn’t matter.”

BULLET DODGED — The Minutemen, who only play eight players regular minutes, got a scare when Vinson hit the floor hard after a collision with 5:18 left in the game. He hobbled off the floor and did not return to action.

After the game, Vinson said it wasn’t serious.

“I fell on my hip,” he said. “It was, I guess, just a bruise.”

Vinson expected to play Saturday. “Yeah, I’m good,” he added.

BEARD VISITS —Arkansas high school point guard Anton Beard visited UMass for the game. He tweeted early in the afternoon that he had trimmed his list to UMass, Arkansas, LSU and Tennessee.

CROWD — The Minutemen fell 152 fans short of an official sellout. Of the 9,341 in attendance, 3,526 were students.

It was the largest crowd in Mullins Center history that wasn’t a sellout, making it the 60th largest home crowd in program history. It was the first Atlantic 10 road games this season involving Butler that wasn’t a sellout.

NEXT UP — The Minutemen will try to extend Rhode Island’s losing streak to five games. The Rams (8-20, 3-12 A-10) lost to Saint Joseph’s 81-44 Wednesday. They’re 2-5 since falling to UMass 81-53 on Feb. 6.

UMass coach Derek Kellogg said the Minutemen wouldn’t get much time on the court between the end of the game Thursday and Saturday’s tipoff.

“We get on the bus (Friday), we get breakfast, we go down to practice and then have dinner,” he said. “I mean, it’s just as much mental at this point.”

MISCELLANEOUS — In addition to seniors Vinson and Freddie Riley, team managers Tyler Wonderlie and Laura Grenier were honored before the game. ... Sampson Carter scored UMass’ first seven points. It wasn’t until 8:30 had passed in the game when another Minuteman scored, as Chaz Williams scored on a layup.

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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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts got the atmosphere it was hoping for, but not the performance. Butler controlled tempo and the boards, and the Minutemen never got in sync as the 9,341 fans went home disappointed after a 73-62 loss, Thursday at the Mullins Center. “We’ve been asking all year to get a sellout crowd or a great fanbase …

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