Minutemen advance to face Temple in A-10 tournament quarterfinals

Last modified: Friday, April 26, 2013

NEW YORK — The University of Massachusetts men’s basketball will get one last chance to end its rivalry with Temple with a win.

Thursday’s 77-72 win over George Washington earned the sixth-seeded Minutemen one more shot at the rival Owls in the Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinals at 9 tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

This will be the 10th A-10 tournament postseason meeting between the two, with six in championship games. UMass leads the postseason series 5-4.

Both teams will enter the game trying to avenge a loss. The Minutemen will be trying to make up for their 83-82 loss to Temple on Feb. 16 at the Mullins Center, while the No. 3 Owls will be trying to redeem themselves for last year’s 77-71 tournament loss to the Minutemen in Atlantic City.

The winner of tonight’s game will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of tonight’s other quarterfinal between No. 2 Virginia Commonwealth and No. 10 Saint Joseph’s.

SENIORS’ A-10 TOURNAMENT RECORD – UMass had gone eight straight years without winning an Atlantic 10 tournament game before Terrell Vinson and Freddie Riley arrived. Thursday’s win makes the two seniors 4-3 in their four years in Amherst.

MILESTONES – The 16 points scored by Chaz Williams gave him 1,089 for his career and moved him to No. 34 all-time at UMass. Williams’ eight assists gave him 458 as a Minuteman, passing coach Derek Kellogg (453) to move into fifth place on the school’s career list.

CRAZY START – It did not take long for excitement and controversy to find the Atlantic 10 Tournament. In the first game of the event, No. 8 Richmond led No. 9 Charlotte 63-60 with five seconds left.

On coach Chris Mooney’s instruction, Richmond fouled Pierria Henry as soon as he crossed into the frontcourt to prevent a game-tying 3-pointer attempt. As Henry made the front end of the one-and-one, Derrick Williams of Richmond was called for a technical foul for pushing 49er freshman Willie Clayton to the floor as they got tangled up battling for rebounding position.

The play gave Henry three more free throws (one more after making the front end, two for the technical) and he made them all to put Charlotte ahead 64-63.

On ensuing possession, Cedrick Lindsay of Richmond appeared to foul Henry, but no whistle came until Greg Robbins fouled him with two seconds left. Sensing the foul, Henry shot the ball from just inside the half-court line, earning him three shots instead of two.

Mooney, still frustrated from the initial technical, blew up and ditched his sport coat as he stormed onto the court. He picked up two quick technicals, sending Henry to the line a total of seven more times.

In all, Henry attempted 11 free throws in 1.9 seconds of game time and made eight as Charlotte won 68-63 to advance to a noon quarterfinal against top seed Saint Louis.

“I was upset and probably too upset,” Mooney said in the postgame press conference. “I apologize. I wish it wouldn’t have happened like that. I can’t take it back right now, but I certainly wish I could. I wish the whole last 4 ½ seconds would have been a bit different.”

CROWD — The Barclays Center drew 5,751 for the night session and 4,637 for the afternoon. The building holds 18,103 for Brooklyn Nets games, but the upper level was covered by a black curtain.

QUOTABLE — After his team edged Xavier 58-57, Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli was asked how he planned to prepare for Virginia Commonwealth’s pressure defense.

“We’re going to bring them to Times Square and have them run around and try not to get hit by a car,” he said.

MISCELLANEOUS – UMass alumnus Julius Erving’s number 32 hangs in the Barclays Center rafters. It was retired for his time with the New York Nets of the ABA.

Rhode Island athletic director Thor Bjorn, a UMass alumnus and former associate athletic director, has emerged as the leading candidate to fill the athletic director’s job at Xavier.

Chuck Martin, who was an assistant coach for Bruiser Flint at UMass and Drexel and for John Calipari at Memphis, was fired after five years as the head coach at Marist. He was 41-118 in five seasons leading the Red Foxes.

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