In the most exciting game of the day, Massachusetts fought their way back from an 11 point, second half deficit to beat Rhode Island 65-61.. They only led once in the first half and didn’t get another lead until a Trey Davis layup with three minutes left put them up 56-55. A Chaz Williams stepback three ball with 1:51 gave UMass it’s biggest lead of 61-56 and they held on in the dog fight.
Chaz Williams had a rough first half and continued to struggle into the second half before finally putting together some buckets on the way to 11 points. That three pointer was the biggest shot of the game for UMass who shot just 31.5 percent for the game, Rhode Island shot 46 percent. Those numbers should sound reversed, but the difference in the game was free throw shooting. Massachusetts was 28-36 from the line, while Rhode Island was just 11-23, 5-14 in the second half. UMass also totaled 13 steals and forced 17 Rams turnovers.
Maxie Esho led UMass with 15 points on 4-6 shooting and 7-8 from the line. He also had seven rebounds, three of them offensive. Guard Derrick Gordon also contributed ten points for UMass, six of them from the free throw stripe.
Rhode Island senior Xavier Munford was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points on 9-16 shooting. Coach Dan Hurley said that his team just couldn’t handle the pace of the last four minutes of the game, which involved several whistles per minute.
UMass will get a shot at the number three seeded George Washington tomorrow night at 9pm in the last A10 Quarterfinal.