Massachusetts stuns No. 21 Temple

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 09, 2012
Jesse Morgan scored 21 points and Chaz Williams had 20 to lead Massachusetts to a 77-71 win over No. 21 Temple on Friday, advancing to the Atlantic 10 tournament semifinals. The eighth-seeded Minutemen (22-10) stunned No. 1-seed Temple with a 15-0 run to open the second half and spoil the Owls' bid for a fourth tournament title in five seasons. UMass took control in the second half on a string of 3-pointers and Williams clinched it down the stretch from the free-throw line. Williams popped his No. 3 jersey toward a small but vocal group of UMass fans behind the basket in celebration. Khalif Wyatt scored 15 points and Ramone Moore had 14 for the Owls (24-7). The Owls won their first outright A-10 title since 1990 will still be in the NCAA tournament field of 68. The game was another back-and-forth showdown in the second half, reminiscent of their last meeting, Temple's thrilling 90-88 overtime win on Feb. 29. Knowing a tournament bid depended on winning the A-10, the Minutemen stormed out to a 15-0 run to open the second half. Morgan, Raphiael Putney and Terrell Vinson all buried 3-pointers, and Williams' lob to Sean Carter for an emphatic alley-oop made it 46-36. Williams, who also had 10 assists, saluted the UMass fans behind the basket. UMass played the final 4 1/2 minutes without a timeout. The Minutemen didn't need one. Once Moore and Juan Fernandez shook off some cold shooting, the Owls got going and pulled ahead of UMass. Temple simply didn't have enough in the waning minutes. Moore connected on three straight 3-pointers and Fernandez hit a 3 to pull within 55-50. The Owls tried to win this one from the outside. They did little to stop Williams and the Minutemen's speedy guards. Morgan and Javorn Ferrell hit back-to-back 3s for a 68-64 lead - making the eight-seeded Minutemen a sizzling 9 of 16 from beyond the arc. Williams made 8 of 10 free throws and Morgan hit three 3-pointers. This was the biggest win for UMass coach Derek Kellogg and it kept his team alive for an NCAA bid. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson scored 13 points for Temple and Fernandez had 12. Micheal Eric grabbed 11 rebounds to help Temple hold a 39-30 edge on the boards. Temple made a whopping 22 turnovers. The Owls are still locks for the NCAA tournament. But it could affect their seeding. It could also hurt a bubble team like Drexel, Temple's Philly neighbor. The Dragons certainly didn't need a tournament favorite to go down early. This is the final tournament in New Jersey before it moves to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Owls are leaving for the Big East after next season. Williams, who averaged 17.5 points, only scored three midway through the first half before scorching the Owls in the second. Temple led 36-31 at the break. By the time UMass led 46-31 in the second, though, the Owls didn't know what hit them. After all, Williams is talented, fast and too hard to guard. Wyatt started on the bench for what the Owls called a recent ''timing issue,'' and was replaced by T.J. DiLeo.
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