Monday, February 17, 2014
RICHMOND, VA — When Chaz Williams pulled up from the top of the key for a game-tying 3-pointer with six seconds left, it looked like the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team might pull out another miracle comeback.
But Williams’ shot hit the back of the rim and UMass didn’t get another try. As the clock ran out, Richmond fans rushed the court celebrating the Spiders’ 58-55 win over the No. 13-ranked Minutemen, Wednesday at the Robins Center.
“I just thought it was good,” Williams said of the shot. “I didn’t make a 3 all game, but I was real confident in that one. Unfortunately it came up short. Back to school we go to get better.”
The loss snapped UMass’ six-game winning streak.
“It came down to the last play once again,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “We’ve become accustomed to the last couple minutes being a tight battle. We gave ourselves a shot with the last play. ... When teams are rushing the floor after you play them and it sounds like they won the Super Bowl in their locker room after they beat you, you’re going to be in for some tough games against good teams in our conference. That’s a tough road loss for us, but we’re going to regroup to get ready for Sunday.”
For the fourth time in as many Atlantic 10 games, the Minutemen (16-2, 3-1) fell behind in the second half, and they nearly escaped with their fourth straight conference win.
“We weren’t nervous. We know we’ve been there before,” Williams said. “Unfortunately we came up short.”
A deep 3-pointer from the corner by Kendall Anthony put Richmond ahead 55-48 with 3:45 left. Neither team scored for over a minute before Sampson Carter buried a 3-pointer from the right wing to pull UMass within 55-51 with 2:26 left.
UMass then survived three straight missed 3-pointers by Richmond before UMass’ Trey Davis fed Cady Lalanne for a dunk that made it 55-53 with 39 seconds left.
Richmond then threw the ball over the Minutemen’s press, but Williams got back in time to foul Cedrick Lindsay, who made one of two free throws with 27 seconds left to make it 56-53.
Williams’ layup try was blocked by Alonzo Nelson-Adoda, but Lalanne grabbed the offensive rebound to keep possession and Davis hit a jumper with 11 seconds left to make it 56-55.
Lindsay made two free throws with 10 seconds left setting up the final play. Richmond coach Chris Mooney told his team to foul Williams but he came around a screen by Carter and got the shot off.
“We wanted to foul, but Chaz is so fast we couldn’t catch him,” Mooney said.
Anthony got the better of Williams in the battle of sub-6-foot guards. The 5-foot-8 Anthony had 21 points, including 13 in the first half.
“He was super aggressive tonight,” Kellogg said. “When he’s making those shots, they’re tough to beat.”
The Spiders (13-6, 3-1) were effective containing Williams, who had eight points on 2-for-11 shooting. He finished with seven assists and four turnovers.
Carter led UMass with 15 points, while Lalanne added 10 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.
“Our offense sputtered at times. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, especially from 3,” said Kellogg, whose team was 21 of 53 and 2 of 14 from deep. “I thought that hurt us. ... We had enough defensive rebounds tonight to get out and run and make some plays. That’s where the game was won and lost.”
UMass will host Fordham, Sunday at noon.
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed.