UMass defeats VCU at sold out game

Massachusetts' Chaz Williams, left, drives to the basket as Fordham's Bryan Smith, right, defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Amherst, Mass. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

AMHERST, Mass. (AP/WWLP) – It was a back and forth game in Amherst, but the Minutemen pulled out an exciting win over the VCU Rams by a final score of 80 – 75.

With the win, UMass improves to a record of 21-5, and they have greatly improved their chances of making the NCAA Tournament next month. Chaz Williams scored 20 points in the game, while Sampson Carter rebounded the ball 10 times.

Williams hit two free throws to put UMass up 78-75 with 16.8 seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, Williams came up with a steal and was fouled again, hitting two more at the line with 8.7 seconds left to help the Minutemen pull away.

Derrick Gordon added 16 points and Trey Davis had 13 for UMass. Cady Lalanne had 10 points and nine rebounds, while Carter scored nine to go along with 10 boards.

Treveon Graham led the Rams (20-7, 8-4) with 19 points. Juvonte Reddic had 13 points and nine rebounds. Melvin Johnson added 12 points and Rob Brandenberg scored 10.

It was a sold out crowd at the Mullins Center Friday night, and people told 22News it was exciting to see a full arena with such an intense atmosphere.

VCU dropped consecutive games for the first time this season, as UMass erased a 39-34 halftime deficit.

UMass will remain at the Mullins Center for their next game. They’ll host Atlantic-10 opponent the Rhode Island Rams on Wednesday February 26th.  Tip off will be at 7 o’clock.