UMass knocks off top-seeded Temple in A-10 quarters
Atlantic City, NJ (Sports Network) - Chaz Williams scored 20 points and had 10 assists to lead Massachusetts past top-seeded Temple, 77-71, in quarterfinal action of the Atlantic 10 Tournament at Boardwalk Hall.
Jesse Morgan added 21 points for the eighth-seeded Minutemen (22-10), who have now won three straight and will play St. Bonaventure on Saturday.
UMass, which defeated Duquesne in a first-round matchup on Tuesday, is trying to get back to the final round of the event for the first time since losing to the Owls back in 2001.
Khalif Wyatt had 15 points for the 21st-ranked Owls (24-7), who won the league's regular season title for a record 10th time, but became the second straight top-seed to bow out in their first game.
Xavier was also a quarterfinal loser last year as the No. 1 seed.
"I would like to congratulate UMass, I thought they played well, I would like to congratulate Atlantic City and the Atlantic 10 for what would have been a good weekend for us in terms of sticking around for a few days but we didn't do a good enough job today," said Temple head coach Fran Dunphy.
Trailing by five at the break, UMass snatched control of the contest and went up by 10 with a 15-0 run to start the second half. Temple, though, after being held scoreless through the first five minutes out of the break, came all the way back and managed to re-take the lead and went by four, 61-57, on a Juan Fernandez three-pointer.
Unrattled, though, Williams scored the next five points for the Minutemen, who eventually pushed their lead back to five on a pair of Terrell Vinson free throws with 1:59 left.
Temple managed to cut the deficit back to two, 73-71, on a Wyatt jumper with 27 seconds remaining, but Williams hit two free throws at the other end.
After a Temple miss on its ensuing possession, Morgan put the game away with two more from the charity stripe, sealing the six-point upset win for UMass.
"I thought it was a toughness thing," UMass head coach Derek Kellogg said. "I thought if we could rebound the basketball and not turn the ball over and match their toughness, I thought we would have a chance in the second half. I'm happy that our guys would play with a little more toughness."
UMass, which had lost to Temple in overtime just last week, is shooting for its sixth tournament championship. The Minutemen's five titles are second only to Temple's nine.
Temple wrestled early control of the contest midway through the first half by going inside. The Owls also took advantage of six straight UMass misses to go up 22-13 on a Ramone Moore jumper with 8:32 left in the half.
The Minutemen started to chip away, though, and managed to cut the deficit to four a few times, but went into the break trailing, 36-31.
Wyatt led the Owls with eight points through the first 20 minutes, while T.J. Dileo held Williams in check, limiting him to just seven points on 2-of-6 shooting.
The Owls fell to 10-3 in this tournament since the event was moved to Atlantic City in 2007...Moore finished with 14 points, but turned the ball over six times...UMass now holds a 5-4 edge in its nine tournament matchups with Temple.
03/09 17:33:17 ET