Tigers Lose Heartbreaker to UMass, 73 to 72
Dec. 19, 2009
BOSTON, Mass. -
In a wild finish at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass., the Memphis Tigers fell 73 to 72 to the UMass Minutemen on Saturday night. The Tigers fall to 7-2 with the loss. The Minutemen improve to 6-5 on the season with the win.
With 0.7 seconds on the clock, Massachusetts freshman forward Terrell Vinson came out of a scrum with the ball after an almost steal by Memphis freshman D.J. Stephens. Vinson's jumper was converted giving the Minutemen the win.
The Tigers were led offensively by a career-high 23 points by Doneal Mack. Mack also converted a career-high nine made field goals on the night. This is the first game this season where a Memphis player not named Elliot Williams has led the Tigers in scoring. Williams scored 15 points, ending a seven-game streak of games with 20 or more points.
Wesley Witherspoon also tallied a career high with 14 points on the night. 12 of Witherspoon's points were scored in the second half of Saturday night's contest.
UMass was led in scoring by Vinson, who finished with 21 points including the game winner. Vinson also tallied nine rebounds. Anthony Gurley chipped in with 14 points and Ricky Harris, the team's leading scorer coming into the contest, finished with 13 points. Massachusetts outrebounded Memphis, 44 to 24, including 19 offensive boards.
The Memphis Tigers went into the locker room with a 35-34 lead over their foes from Amherst, Mass., on Saturday night. Doneal Mack led the Tigers in the first half with 10 points including six points from beyond the arc. The Tigers shot a perfect nine-for-nine from the charity stripe in the opening period.
Massachusetts was led by Vinson in the first half. The Baltimore, Md., native led the Minutemen with eight points in the first half. UMASS outrebounded the Tigers by a tune of 24 to 11 at halftime. Vinson had five rebounds at the break.
Coming out of the locker room in the second half, the Minutemen took early control, at one point leading the game by seven points, 58 to 51. The Tigers countered with a 7-0 run of their own, starting with a fast-break dunk by Witherspoon at the 9:51 mark and ending with two made free-throws by UMASS' Harris at the 8:31 mark.
The game stayed close the rest of the way with Memphis' biggest lead being only three points. The Minutemen didn't take the lead again until the final bucket by Vinson with 0.7 seconds remaining.
Saturday night's meeting was the first as head coaches between two former Memphis assistants, Josh Pastner and Derek Kellogg. The two have previously met on three occasions (two where both were assistant coaches and last year when Kellogg was the head coach at Massachusetts and Pastner was an assistant coach at Memphis).
The Tigers forced 20 or more turnovers for the fifth time this season against UMass. The Memphis defense also forced 20 or more turnovers in their first three games against Jackson State, Kansas and Tennessee Tech, as well as against Oakland.
Memphis also shot a season-best 88-percent from the charity stripe.
The Tigers will return to action on Tues., Dec. 22 when they face-off with the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks at 12 p.m., at the FedExForum.