AMHERST, Mass. -- Derrick Gordon believes scoring will come in time. The UMass redshirt sophomore might be on to something after getting the game-winning basket in the Minutemen's latest win.
Gordon's put-back of Trey Davis' miss with 1.1 seconds remaining in overtime lifted No. 23 Massachusetts to a 69-67 win over Providence on Saturday night.
"We're fortunate that Derrick Gordon has a good nose for the ball and was able to put it in," UMass coach Derek Kellogg said.
Gordon, who finished with eight points, admitted that it appeared Davis' shot on-target.
"It just happened to bounce my way," said Gordon, who was forced to handle the ball more after starting point guard Chaz Williams fouled out with 1:36 left in regulation. "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."
The Minutemen (11-1) showed their depth by hanging on after losing Williams.
"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."
For the second straight season, the Minutemen proved one second better than the Friars (10-3). 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 was able to force the OT thanks to Bryce Cotton. The senior guard had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists while playing all 45 minutes.
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.
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.
However, scoring in overtime proved to be a challenge for the Friars. 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," said Cooley. "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."
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.
UMass sold out its first game at the Mullins Center since 2006 against Boston College. Saturday's crowd was 9,493.
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