Derek Kellogg may as well call his team the Last-Minutemen.
Two days after Sampson Carter drained a corner 3 to break a tie with Harvard in the waning seconds, Massachusetts was it again during the game’s final breaths.
This time the hero was Terell Vinson, his tip-in as time expired the difference between overtime and a second straight last-second win. Vinson’s put-back settled a 75-75 tie, giving UMass a 77-75 win over Providence in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
More importantly, it made history for an A-10 program hungry to rectify its fallen image.
For the first time in school history, the Minutemen hit game-winning shots in the closing seconds of consecutive games that had each been tied with fewer than five seconds to play. It’s only the ninth time in the tournament era that any team has accomplished that feat.
Chaz Williams was virtuous again. He overcame six turnovers by pouring in 17 points—four in the game’s final five minutes—on just 13 shots while corralling seven rebounds in the effort. On the other side, Providence’s Bryce Cotton was a tough assignment all night, as was Kadeem Batts inside.
But in the end, Vinson, Williams and the Minutemen were just too much for the short-handed Friars in the final 60 seconds.
Nothing new here. That’s been the story of the young season.