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UMass comes back for 78-74 win

PITTSBURGH — On the night Chaz Williams moved into a tie for first all-time on University of Massachusetts’ career assist list, it was his likely successor that played the hero.

Sophomore Trey Davis scored the Minutemen’s last 10 points, making big 3-pointers and clutch free throws down the stretch, as UMass came from behind to beat Duquesne, 78-74, Wednesday at the Palumbo Center.

The Minutemen were trailing 70-68 with the shot clock winding down when Davis pulled up from well behind the line and buried the 3-pointer with 3:13 left to put UMass up 71-70.

“That was a play that never happened for us before,” Williams said. “That always happened against us.”

Ovie Soko (18 points, 13 rebounds) answer with a jumper at the other end to give the Dukes a 72-71 edge.

After a Sampson Carter turnover, Cady Lalanne blocked Soko’s shot, but Duquesne got the rebound and Micah Mason, the nation’s 3-point-percentage leader got free for an open look from the left side that would have put the Dukes ahead, but it was off the mark and Maxie Esho (10 points, 10 rebounds) grabbed the rebound.

UMass hustled the ball up the floor. Recognizing Davis’ hot hand, Williams fed him the ball and Davis swished another from a foot behind the line putting UMass up 74-72. The assist was the 678th of Williams’ career tying Chris Lowe for the school’s career lead.

“I told Chaz to keep finding me. When I was shooting at the (3-point) line, I felt like they were hitting my hand,” Davis said. “I backed up off the line to make it harder to contest.”

Esho stripped Soko to start a fast break. Williams tried for a knockout blow pulling up for a 3 that bounced off the back rim.

Mason got in the lane and put up a would-be game-tying floater, but Lalanne, who watched most of the game in foul trouble, swatted it back toward midcourt. Williams and Desmond Ridenour both chased it toward the sideline.

Unsure of possession, the officials checked the sideline monitor, which wasn’t working, then a control-room monitor, but still couldn’t determine who’d touched it last. They were forced to go to the possession arrow, which gave the Minutemen the ball with 21 seconds left.

Soko fouled Lalanne before the ball was inbounded and the UMass center missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Jerry Jones tried to drive the baseline but missed, and Davis snared the rebound and was fouled with 7 seconds left. He made both to stretch UMass’ edge to 76-72.

Mason (20 points, five assists) hit a layup with 1.1 seconds remaining, and Davis answered with two free throws to seal the victory.

“Trey did some big stuff at the end,” Kellogg said. “He had our last 10 points, which was huge for us.”

Davis finished with a game-high 20 points to go with 8 assists (1 turnover). Williams added 17 points and 6 assists, while Raphiael Putney had 12 points, including his career 1,000th, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.

The Minutemen (23-6, 10-5 Atlantic 10) finish their regular season Sunday at 2 p.m. against No. 17 Saint Louis.

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