UMass recovers to beat Bonnies
UMass' forward Raphiael Putney soars to the hoop to flush a late-second-half tomahawk dunk Saturday afternoon during the host Minutemen's 73-68 A-10 men's hoops win at the Mullins Center in Amherst.
Special to The Recorder/j. Anthony Roberts
UMass point guard Chaz Williams (3) drives to the hoop past St. Bonnaventure's Charlon Kloof (3) during the second-half action of the host Minutemen's comeback 73-68 men's hoops win Saturday at the Mullins Center in Amherst.
Special to The Recorder/J. Anthony Roberts
UMass No.25 Cady Lalanne, launches up a 3 point shot over St. Bonnaventure's No.35 Youssou Ndoye in the 1st half.
photo by J. Anthony Roberts
UMass No.3 Chaz Williams, takes it up strong in the lane to the hoop past St. Bonnaventure's No.35 Youssou Ndoye in the 1st half.
AMHERST — One Mullins Center wag remarked that UMass basketball apparently liked its late-game comeback Wednesday against Saint Joseph’s so much, the Minutemen decided to take it one step further Saturday against St. Bonaventure.
This time, UMass faced a 13-point deficit with less than nine minutes to play, then unleashed a 26-8 blast to close out the game — including the final nine points of the afternoon — and Trey Davis’ 3-point basket with 1:07 left put the 19th-ranked Minutemen up for good in a 73-68 Atlantic 10 Conference win over the Bonnies before a raucous 6,634.
UMass trailed 68-66 when Chaz Williams stole a pass and fed Raphiael Putney for a right-wing 3-pointer that was too long, but Sampson Carter rebounded the miss in the left corner and found Davis for the go-ahead trey, making it 69-68 — the Minutemen’s first lead since 17-15.
St. Bonaventure called a timeout, but promptly threw the ball away again to Carter. Williams drove to the rim and was fouled by Bonnies’ 7-footer Youssou Ndoye, his fifth, with 10.1 seconds to go, allowing Williams to step to the line to sink a pair for a 71-68 lead. Williams then stole the Bonnies’ inbounds pass, and Putney was fouled and made two more with 8.8 seconds on the clock, capping the wild rally.
Putney led the Minutemen (14-1, 2-0 A-10) with 17 points and eight rebounds, with Cady Lalanne adding 16 points and Carter 11. Maxie Esho scored nine points while Davis and Williams each had eight, with Williams dishing nine assists. One big advantage came at the foul line, where UMass exactly doubled up St. Bonaventure with a 24-of-32 showing compared to the Bonnies’ 12-of-16.
“That was not a good situation to be in,” said UMass coach Derek Kellogg of overcoming the double-digit deficit that led to his 99th career victory. “But you could feel it, the crowd starts easing into it, the guys start playing with a little more pep and we get a little tougher defensively.
“Everybody doesn’t believe it, but you do play on emotion a little bit. If you see the ball go through the basket, that pumps you up some.”
Williams agreed. “We know it’s not going to be easy. Today we got down on ourselves early and we had to come back. That’s not how we want to play, but fortunately, an ugly win is a great win.”
St. Bonaventure (11-5, 1-1 A-10) got 15 points from Charlon Kloof, 11 points and five blocked shots from Ndoye and 10 by Jordan Gathers. Matthew Wright and Andell Cumberbatch each finished with eight.
UMass shot only 30 percent from the floor in the first half and committed 13 turnovers, as the Bonnies used a late 11-1 run to take a 26-18 lead. Ndoye turned the paint area into his personal block party, with four credited blocks, at least two more he didn’t get credit for and a number of altered shots. His basket with 35 seconds left put St. Bonaventure up by 10, 32-22, before Carter dropped a 3-pointer from the left wing at the buzzer to pull UMass to within 32-25. Prior to that make, Carter had hit only nine of his previous 44 shots from the field.
“We needed a bucket bad before the first half ended, and I was happy to see it go through the net,” said Carter. “Last game, it was a close one and I couldn’t really contribute to help my team. I couldn’t let that happen this game.”
Wright then scored five points and Ndoye added four early in the second half as the Bonnies built a 43-30 lead, their first 13-point advantage, 312 minutes in. St. Bonaventure kept the lead in doubles for the better part of the next nine minutes, topping out at 60-47 when Chris Dees scored with 9:50 remaining. The visitors would manage only two more field goals from that point forward.
UMass started to crawl back into it from there, with six straight points to force a Bonnies’ timeout at the 7:29 mark. The lead was still six at 67-61 before Carter converted an old-fashioned 3-point play with 2:42 left, making it 67-64, and after a free throw by Ndoye, Davis made it a two-point game with a layup with 1:52 to go.
“We’ve been on the other end of it. There have been a few times in the last few years when we’ve made some runs late,” said Kellogg. “Thirteen (points) was high, but we needed some good fortune. We needed to see the ball go through the basket a little bit.”
Torrid shooting spiced the second half, with the Bonnies hitting 58 percent from the floor and the Minutemen just a tick behind at 57 percent. While UMass limited its giveaways to four in the second half, St. Bonaventure threw the ball away 12 times and 20 in all.
The Minutemen begin a three-game Mid-Atlantic road trip Wednesday with a 7 p.m. game against Atlantic 10 newcomer George Mason (7-9, 0-2 A-10) in Fairfax, Va.