UMass Nips Siena in Final Seconds
Nov. 28, 2012
Chaz Williams hit a tough runner off glass with 3.9 seconds left propelling UMass to a come-from-behind 64-63 victory over a determined Siena team Wednesday night at Times Union Center. Trenity Burdine's desperation full-court pass to O.D. Anosike on the final play was batted away, preserving the victory for the Minutemen.
After UMass rallied from a 17-point first half deficit to take a 58-55 lead on Maxie Esho's dunk with 6:01 remaining, Siena reeled off seven straight points to go up 62-58 on Anosike's layup with 3:46 to play.
Anosike posted his nation-leading seventh double in as many games this season with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Siena held a 63-60 lead into the final minute after an Anosike free throw, but he missed his next three tries from the line, and Evan Hymes missed a jumper keeping UMass within striking distance. Jesse Morgan's layup with 51 seconds left cut the lead to a single point.
Hymes was forced to leave the game with cramps, and with Rakeem Brookins sidelined with a back injury, Rob Poole took over point guard duties for Siena. The Saints worked the clock, and Poole missed a tough running fadeaway on the left baseline with 24 seconds left setting up Williams' winning shot.
UMass elected to play their final possession straight up, putting the ball in the sure hands of Williams who drove hard right and elevated over Poole for the tough game-winner.
Siena lost its home opener to America East Champion Vermont in similar fashion. In that game it was Vermont guard Sandro Carissimo who sunk the running game-winner with 9 seconds left in a 54-53 win for the Catamounts.
It was also déjà vu for the Minutemen who have won all three of their games in the final seconds this season.
Siena made 7-11 3-pointers in the first half, and held their largest lead of the season, 33-16, when Trenity Burdine sunk a 3-pointer with 3:11 left. UMass scored eight of the final nine points before intermission to cut the Saints' halftime lead to a manageable 34-24.
Williams and Jesse Morgan sparked an 18-4 UMass run just two minutes into the second half, scoring 12 points over that crucial stretch. But Siena held tough, and had several chances to grab control of the game in the final minutes.
Williams led all players with 23 points for UMass, and Terrell Vinson added 17.
The Saints got 15 points from Hymes, 11 from Poole, and their best bench play of the season. Freshmen Brett Bisping, Ryan Oliver and Rich Audu and junior Davis Martens each contributed meaningful minutes.
Siena will look to stop its three game slide against crosstown rival UAlbany Saturday in the backend of a doubleheader with the Siena and UAlbany women that tips at 5 p.m.