Nov 13, 2012, 1:37 PM EDT
AMHERST, Mass.–UMass point guard Chaz Williams drove to the lane, with the Harvard defense collapsing. Williams leap and rocketed a pass to Sampson Carter in the corner, without hesitation, Carter connected on his only bucket of the game, helping UMass avoid an upset from Harvard with a 67-64 win.
“I was already looking at the second defenders,” said Williams, recounting how the play unfolded. “I saw Sampson’s man creeping real in.”
Williams helped set up the late game rally along with teammate Jesse Morgan. Harvard led 64-61, but Morgan, who had a game-high 19 points, drained a long with 39 seconds left to tie the game. On the next possession, Williams forced a turnover off a trap at halfcourt. UMass coach Derek Kellogg didn’t call a timeout, trusted his floor general to make a play.
Williams ended with 12 points and 10 assists.
UMass led by as much as 10 in the first half, but the Crimson cut the lead to one heading into halftime.
When Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry left the school earlier in the semester due to an academic cheating scandal, many believed that Harvard was vulnerable in the Ivy League.
Harvard controlled much of the second half and even with a heartbreaking loss to start the season, there are big positives to take away from this game if you’re Tommy Amaker.
“They looked like they were in midseason form,” said Kellogg.
From this performance, it’s clear that Harvard is still a tough team. Tough to matchup with and tough to get rid of. With a lack of size, Harvard had to throw out four ball handlers on the floor, which caused problems for Minutemen’s full court pressure.
Problems still remain for Harvard. The Crimson coughed the ball up 19 times. They give up size on the frontcourt, allowing UMass to grab 12 offensive rebounds. Without Casey on the floor, the defense no longer keys in on one specific player.
Tuesday morning introduced college basketball to freshman point guard Siyani Chambers. The Harvard point guard is thrown into the mix after Curry left the school and in his first Division I game, Chambers played all 40 minutes against an experienced point guard and held his own, scoring 14 points and dishing out seven assists with only one turnover.
“That was a magnificent performance by Siyani,” said Tommy Amaker. “To play the way he played with the spirit and the toughness, I think he’s going to be an outstanding player.”
Hard to believe the 10 a.m. game would be the most exciting of the day, but Harvard has shown that they can still make noise without two seniors and UMass takes a hard-fought victory to Puerto Rico with them.
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