Providence falls short in OT against NO. 23 UMass
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - Providence coach Ed Cooley thinks they should fast forward to the final second next time his team plays Massachusetts.
For the second straight season, the Minutemen and the Friars played tight only to see the outcome decided on a last-second shot. And for the second straight meeting, Providence fell short.
Derrick Gordon's put-back of Trey Davis' miss with 1.1 seconds remaining in overtime lifted 23rd-ranked UMass to a 69-67 victory over Providence on Saturday night.
''When we play next year, just put one second on the clock and see what happens,'' Cooley said. ''Our players have no reason to hang their heads. It's disappointing that we lost, but we've got to get ready for the Big East.''
Gordon admitted that it appeared Davis' shot was on-target and he was just in the right place for the rebound.
''It just happened to bounce my way,'' he said. ''I looked at it as another floater, I always do. I just made sure I didn't leave it short and got it up in the air.''
At last year's Puerto Rico Tip-Off, UMass won on a tip-in just as time was set to expire in the second half.
Providence (10-3) was able to force the OT in this one thanks to Bryce Cotton. The senior guard had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists while playing all 45 minutes.
The Friars trailed by 10 points with 12:50 remaining in the second half and still found themselves down by the same amount with under 4 minutes to go. With Cotton leading the charge, Providence closed out regulation on a 13-3 run.
Cotton had two of Providence's most important baskets. His driving layup with 10 seconds remaining in the second half tied the game at 59. In the extra session, he nailed a 3-pointer on the left wing to even the score at 67-all with 37 seconds flashing on the scoreboard.
''We tried to press them in order to speed the game up. That may have caught them off guard,'' Cooley said.
Scoring in overtime proved to be a challenge for the Friars, though. LaDontae Henton began the OT by missing a layup with things only getting worse for Cooley's club. Providence ended up missing five of six shots in overtime to go along with a 3-for-6 performance at the free-throw line.
''Very frustrating, but I was very happy with the way my team was able to battle back on the road. I thought we were able to get timely baskets, so I credit our execution coming out of timeouts,'' Cooley said. ''UMass is a team that should definitely play in the NCAA Tournament. They showed their team grittiness today when their point guard went out and they were still able to make plays.''
Gordon was forced to handle the ball more for UMass after starting point guard Chaz Williams fouled out with 1:36 left in regulation. The Minutemen (11-1) showed their depth by hanging on after losing Williams, who had 10 points and 10 assists.
''It was hard because I wasn't out there on the floor to contribute, but I felt good because I have the same amount of confidence in my teammates as I do in myself,'' Williams said. ''I looked at everyone on the floor and they all gave me a head nod like they were ready to finish the game.''
Sampson Carter had 12 rebounds and 12 rebounds and Cady Lalanne added 14 points and 10 rebounds for UMass.
Henton finished with 16 points and seven rebounds while sophomore Tyler Harris contributed 16 points and nine rebounds for the Friars.
A 15-8 start for the Friars was marked by solid execution with their half-court offense humming along to 43-percent shooting in the first half. UMass regrouped and grabbed an 18-17 lead with a 10-2 run and the home team was still up 26-23 with 3 minutes left.
Providence, however, went into halftime protecting a 29-28 lead. Williams ended the opening 20 minutes without a field goal.
The Minutemen began the second half on a 9-2 run that included back-to-back baskets by Lalanne. The Friars missed their first 11 3-pointers before Henton swished one home to cut Massachusetts' lead to 59-53.
Gordon's offensive rebound that led to the winning basket was one of 15 offensive boards secured by the Minutemen. UMass' reserves outscored Providence's backups 23-0.
This was the 29th all-time meeting between the two New England schools. The Friars own a 22-7 advantage, though the Minutemen have now won the last two matchups.
The Friars now turn their attention to Big East play, which gets underway Tuesday at home against Seton Hall.
''We're done with non-conference play now, so we've got to put it behind us and focus on what we have to get done,'' Henton said.
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