Terrell Vinson's tip-in as time expired gave UMass a 77-75 win over Providence in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tipoff on Thursday.
Trailing 75-72, UMass guard Jesse Morgan hit a 3-pointer with 1:22 left to tie the game.
"The kids told me they were ready to make a run in the last three minutes," UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. "I just don't want this to become a habit — where you let a lead get away and have to win at the end."
Morgan led the Minutemen (2-0) with 18 points. Chaz Williams added 17 points and seven rebounds and Vinson added 14 points and six rebounds.
"I took the shot, it lipped out and was under the basket, praying the tip would go in," Williams said. "We are really happy with the victory, but not happy with our performance."
Bryce Cotton had a game-high 23 points for Friars (2-1). Kadeem Batts had 19 points and nine rebounds and LaDontae Henton added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Providence fell behind 51-43 in the second half, but went on a 13-4 run and took a 56-55 lead on Cotton's layup with 9:43 left.
"Our kids fought back and showed a lot of perseverance today," Providence coach Ed Cooley said. "We are going through an incredible adjustment. Everyone is playing out of position. What we have accomplished in a short time in this early part of the season is something."