Sampson Carter comes through with clutch shots against hometown team

Laste modified: Monday, November 25, 2013
AMHERST — Growing up in Baton Rouge (La.), Sampson Carter rooted for Louisiana State. On Tuesday morning with friends and family watching on national TV in Tiger country, making four free throws in the final 14 seconds to beat LSU 92-90 had added significance.

“I just came out with a lot of ambition and fire. I was a little too fired up at the beginning. I had to settle myself down. I can’t even explain the feeling of playing against them,” Carter said. “I never even thought I’d get the chance to play against them in my career here. To play against them, at home, an get the win on ESPN, was a good feeling.”

While he moved to Memphis (Tenn.) when he was 16, Carter still feels connected to the Louisiana capitol where many friends and family still live.

He has a tattoo of a fleur de lis (the symbol on the side of the New Orleans Saints helmet) on his right bicep. Inside the design is the Baton Rogue area code “225,” while along the side it says “The Struggle.”

“My family is down there. They had a lot of trials and tribulations there. It’s stamped on me,” Carter said. “Any time I don’t want to go to the gym or don’t want to work, I just look at this and it’s my motivation.”

In two games this season, Carter has a combined 29 points and looks more explosive than at any time in his five seasons in Amherst.

“I dedicated my summer to my body, eating right, not missing a rep in the weight room,” Carter said. “Sacrificing a lot. I feel tremendously strong out there. My bounce is back.”

MARTIN INJURED — LSU’s highly touted freshman Jarell Martin turned his ankle in the game’s opening minute and did not return.

NEXT UP — UMass is back in action, Sunday at 1 p.m. when they host Youngstown State. The Penguins are 3-0 heading into Thursday’s game with Warren Wilson, an NAIA school.

MISCELLANEOUS — UMass debuted new grey home uniforms with a maroon lettering. ... There were 5,182 fans in attendance. ... Chaz Williams reached 20 points for the second time this season and the 27th time in his career. ... Former Minuteman Javorn Farrell had 16 points for Texas-Pan American in Monday’s loss to Houston.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage