UMass avenged an overtime loss at Temple by starting off the Atlantic 10 Tournament in impressive fashion. They will play the winner of Saint Louis/La Salle.
Just another ho-hum day in college basketball conference tournaments, right?
That wasn't the case today in Atlantic City as the eighth-seeded Massachusetts Minutemen downed top-seeded Temple 77-71.
After a lack of upsets in other conference tournaments around the nation, UMass used a 15-0 run to start the second half and held on despite some tense moments to stun the Owls at Boardwalk Hall.
Speedy point guard Chaz Williams led the Minutemen with 20 points and 10 assists. The All Atlantic-10 first team selection was dynamite and used his quickness to keep Temple defenders on their heels.
Although the first half was rather slow-paced by these two teams standards, the second half was truly a game of runs. After the blistering start by UMass, Temple responded with a significant streak of their own to take a 61-57 lead. Williams was the catalyst for the Minutemen once again, as they regained the lead and the pressure mounted heavily on the Owls. An easy point-blank layup could've cut the deficit to two for Temple, but Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson couldn't connect, sealing the victory for the underdogs from Amherst.
Temple, who is still a lock for the NCAA Tournament, now is likely to see its seed drop from a 4 or 5, perhaps as far as a No. 7.
UMass will face the winner of Saint Louis-La Salle in the semifinals tomorrow.