Raphiael Putney leads UMass men's basketball to win at Miami (Ohio)

Last modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

OXFORD, Ohio — Raphiael Putney’s 20 points and the University of Massachusetts’ superior size and length proved to be the difference in its 70-69 win over a much smaller but scrappy Miami University Wednesday night at Millett Hall.

The Minutemen, who won their sixth straight and improved to 9-3 overall, altered a last-second shot by Will Sullivan, who had a good look on a transition drive with two seconds left. It was the ninth game decided by single digits for UMass.

“The one-point games are becoming an old hat for the Minutemen,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “We had a couple things that didn’t go exactly our way and we were in a dogfight. ... It was a good, hard-fought win for us.”

Chaz Williams hit the game winner, a runner in the lane, with 1:12 to go.

Miami’s Quinten Rollins had an opportunity to tie the game with 44.3 seconds remaining, but missed the first shot of a 1-and-1. The RedHawks (5-7) still had a chance to win it at the end when they corralled a rebound with 10 seconds left.

“I had an opportunity to call a timeout when we got the rebound down the stretch right there, but decided not to,” MU coach John Cooper said. “Reggie (Johnson) got the rebound and they were in transition defense, so I thought there was an opportunity for us to get a pretty good look and we got right to the backboard.”

Cooper continued, “Will just missed it, but he made a lot of plays in the game that kept us in it, so I’ll take that play every time.”

UMass survived mostly because of its dominance on the glass and its scoring from key players.

The Minutemen outrebounded Miami 48-32 and outscored the hosts 32-22 in the paint. UMass shot 39.1 percent from the field and 33.3 from 3-point range. It was 5 of 8 from the free-throw line.

“The thing I was disappointed in was we didn’t get to the free-throw line enough for having 17 offensive rebounds,” Kellogg said. “We could have been a little tougher on our drives. They did a good job of playing physical in the paint.”

Putney scored 14 of his 20 points in a back-and-forth second half. Neither team led by more than three points in the final 18 minutes.

“He’s been in a little bit of a slump and when I say slump, I mean he just hasn’t shot the ball as well as he had,” Kellogg said. “But his practices have been phenomenal the past week or two. ... I actually called it that at some point — kind of like I said Jesse (Morgan) would — Putney was going to have a breakout game for us. He kind of won the game for us with his offensive plays.”

Putney added nine rebounds and two assists with three steals.

Morgan had 12 points with four boards, while Williams tallied 10 points and nine assists.

Miami shot 42.6 percent from the field (26 of 61). The hosts were 7 of 25 from 3-point range and converted 10-of-14 free throws.

Allen Roberts, who scored a team-high 21 points, kept Miami in it down the stretch, as he was hot from beyond the arc.

Trailing 20-15 (the Minutemen’s largest deficit of the game) at the 9:50 mark of the first half, UMass tied it after Freddie Riley connected from 3 and Vinson converted under the basket after a Miami turnover.

The Minutemen finished the first half on a 15-6 run and led 37-29 at the break. Morgan scored UMass’ final seven points of the first.

“I thought we played a better first half, obviously, and played better defense,” Kellogg said. “They came out in the second half and made some 3s.”

UMass hosts Eastern Michigan Saturday at 2 p.m.


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