BAYAMON, Puerto Rico — For the second time in as many games, the University of Massachusetts shook off second-half struggles to win at the buzzer.
The game appeared headed for overtime when Chaz Williams’s driving layup attempt rolled off the rim, but senior forward Terrell Vinson crashed from the left baseline and tipped the ball in as time ran out giving UMass a 77-75 win over Providence at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
In Tuesday’s season-opener in Amherst, Vinson had fouled out before Sampson Carter’s 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left gave UMass a 67-64 win over Harvard.
He was eager to make an impact this time.
“Just in case it didn’t go in or he passed it, I just had to stay active in the lane,” said Vinson, who had 14 points and six rebounds. “You can see something about our team every time you watch us. We have a no-quit mentality.”
Carter had his hand in the heroics again. With the score tied at 75 with 22 seconds left, Providence’s LaDontae Henton drove to the basket, but Carter took the charge, setting up the final sequence.
Despite having a roster reduced by injuries to just six scholarship players, the Friars (2-1) matched the Minutemen’s energy throughout.
“Our kids played their tails off. We won a lot of things tonight. We just didn’t win the game,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said. “I told our kids I was really proud of them.”
UMass came into the game wanting to force turnovers, to use its defensive pressure to harass the Friars, who were playing without a true point guard. Instead it was the Minutemen who gave the ball away — 17 times, including seven in the second half.
Bryce Cotton, a converted shooting guard handled the pressure and finished with 23 points, 5 assists, and 2 turnovers out playing Williams (17 points, 5 assists, 6 turnovers).