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George Washington the spoiler with win at UMass

  • UMass reshirt junior guard Chaz Williams passes around John Kopriva of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass reshirt junior guard Chaz Williams passes around John Kopriva of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass coach Derek Kellogg speaks to an official early in the second half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss to George Washington on Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass coach Derek Kellogg speaks to an official early in the second half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss to George Washington on Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass redshirt junior forward Raphiael Putney takes a step around Nemanja Mikic of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass redshirt junior forward Raphiael Putney takes a step around Nemanja Mikic of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass redshirt junior Sampson Carter drives past Kevin Larsen of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass redshirt junior Sampson Carter drives past Kevin Larsen of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass redshirt junior Sampson Carter drives past Kevin Larsen of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass redshirt junior Sampson Carter drives past Kevin Larsen of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass senior guard Freddie Riley, left, was called for a foul as he battled Joe McDonald, right, of George Washington for a loose ball in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass senior guard Freddie Riley, left, was called for a foul as he battled Joe McDonald, right, of George Washington for a loose ball in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass freshman guard Trey Davis, right, protects against pressure by Lasan Kromah of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass freshman guard Trey Davis, right, protects against pressure by Lasan Kromah of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass sophomore center Cady Lalanne dunks on a steal by Trey Davis to put the Minutemen up 13-10 early in the first half of a 79-76 loss to George Washington on Saturday at the Mullins Center. At right is teammate Sampson Carter.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass sophomore center Cady Lalanne dunks on a steal by Trey Davis to put the Minutemen up 13-10 early in the first half of a 79-76 loss to George Washington on Saturday at the Mullins Center. At right is teammate Sampson Carter.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass redshirt sophomore forward Maxie Esho defends Joe McDonald of George Washington in the second half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass redshirt sophomore forward Maxie Esho defends Joe McDonald of George Washington in the second half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass reshirt junior guard Chaz Williams passes around John Kopriva of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    UMass reshirt junior guard Chaz Williams passes around John Kopriva of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • UMass reshirt junior guard Chaz Williams passes around John Kopriva of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass coach Derek Kellogg speaks to an official early in the second half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss to George Washington on Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass redshirt junior forward Raphiael Putney takes a step around Nemanja Mikic of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass redshirt junior Sampson Carter drives past Kevin Larsen of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass redshirt junior Sampson Carter drives past Kevin Larsen of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass senior guard Freddie Riley, left, was called for a foul as he battled Joe McDonald, right, of George Washington for a loose ball in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass freshman guard Trey Davis, right, protects against pressure by Lasan Kromah of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass sophomore center Cady Lalanne dunks on a steal by Trey Davis to put the Minutemen up 13-10 early in the first half of a 79-76 loss to George Washington on Saturday at the Mullins Center. At right is teammate Sampson Carter.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass redshirt sophomore forward Maxie Esho defends Joe McDonald of George Washington in the second half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • UMass reshirt junior guard Chaz Williams passes around John Kopriva of George Washington in the first half of the Minutemen's 79-76 loss Saturday at the Mullins Center.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

The Minutemen lost just six conference games during the All-American’s three seasons in Amherst and four were to the Colonials.

With Camby in attendance to have his No. 21 retired at halftime, George Washington held off a late comeback by UMass and won 79-76 Saturday at the Mullins Center.

For most of the season the Minutemen have gotten away with slow starts in the second half because of their big early leads. But giving up an 8-0 run by the Colonials to open the second half when UMass already was trailing by seven was too much for the Minutemen to overcome.

UMass coach Derek Kellogg said he is still searching for ways to reverse his team’s slow starts in the second half.

“We’ve tried a few different things. The thing I haven’t done yet is switch the lineup up just to see if something like that will work,” Kellogg said. “I’m still trying to figure out what to do so we come out with a little more energy and intensity after the half, because last year that was something that we were very good at.”

Junior point guard Chaz Williams said he is frustrated not knowing the cause of the problem.

“It’s one of those things that you just don’t know,” Williams said. “You keep watching films trying to figure it out, but it’s like a ghost. You just can’t see it.”

Despite their slow start after halftime, the Minutemen had a chance to tie the game with 3 seconds left. Trailing 77-74, Freddie Riley was fouled as he attempted a game-tying 3-pointer. The senior guard, who had only attempted four free throws all season, missed the first and made the second. Riley (12 points) tried to miss the third to go for the rebound, but it went in to cut the deficit to 77-76.

“I was trying to land it at the front of the rim, so it would come up so we would have a chance for the rebound,” Riley said. “But you don’t really practice misses.”

Terrell Vinson quickly fouled Isaiah Armwood, his high school teammate, with two seconds left and the George Washington big man made both free throws. UMass struggled to inbound the ball and never got a desperation heave off.

Williams led UMass (12-5, 2-2 Atlantic 10) with 18 points and six assists (three turnovers), but shot 5-for-17 and put some of the blame for the loss on his own shoulders.

“Looking at the numbers here, I can’t go five for 17. My teammates look to me to be aggressive and a leader and that can’t be the type of game I have if we want to win every night. I’m just mad at myself that I wasn’t making things I usually make, layups I usually make. I felt like I missed a couple of guys that were wide open on a couple of my drives,” he said. “It’s just learning and recouping and that’s big. It’s just going back and watch film tomorrow and see what I missed.”

Cady Lalanne added 15 points and seven rebounds, while Raphiael Putney had 14 points, eight rebounds, and three blocked shots before fouling out.

The Colonials (8-9, 2-2 A-10) finished the first half on a 7-2 surge and led 40-33 at intermission. Things got worse right away for the Minutemen in the second half. UMass missed its first seven shots and turned the ball over twice in the first four minutes as George Washington scored eight straight points that swelled into a 12-3 run and increased its lead to 52-36.

The Minutemen gradually chipped away at the lead and trailed 70-62 with 2:39 left. UMass scored 10 of the next 14 points to get within 74-72 with 33 seconds left.

After Kevin Larsen made one of two free throws, the Minutemen looked for an open 3, but did not find one. Instead, Putney drove to the basket and was fouled. He made both free throws to cut the deficit to 75-74 with 14 seconds left. But Joe McDonald (16 points, 10 assists) made two at the other end, setting up Riley’s critical free throws.

UMass is off until Jan. 27 when it hosts Richmond at 2 p.m.

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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