For the fifth consecutive game, No. 19 UMass found themselves locked in a battle that went down to the final possessions.
And while the Minutemen found themselves in the loser’s column when they went down to Florida last month to take on Florida State, Derek Kellogg’s club has now managed to win four straight dog fights, the most recent a 73-68 come-from-behind victory over St. Bonaventure in Amherst on Saturday afternoon.
It wasn’t easy, however. With 9:49 on the clock, St. Bonaventure’s Chris Dees hit a jumper to put the Bonnies up 60-47 and, seemingly, in complete control of the game, but that’s when it all went off the rails. Over the final 9:49, St. Bonaventure managed just three field goals while turning the ball over eight times against the relentless pressure from the Minutemen.
UMass finally took the lead with 1:07 left when Trey Davis hit a three after UMass corralled an offensive rebound.
Chaz Williams was just 1-for-7 from the floor and finished with only eight points, but he added nine assists and collected three steals and a block during the UMass comeback.
UMass has the ability to go on extended runs like this. They play uptempo, they can hit threes and the length and athleticism in their press makes them difficult to bring the ball up against. When they start forcing turnovers, they’re tough to handle. But UMass is going to want to break this habit of second half runs and comebacks. The best teams in the Atlantic 10 — VCU, Saint Louis, George Washington, Dayton — they aren’t going to be as susceptible to that press as some of the teams at the bottom of the conference.
A win is a win, and it’s tough to argue against it.
But just because UMass won doesn’t mean there aren’t things that they can improve upon.