Courtesy of UMassAthletics.com
CINCINNATI – Freddie Riley tied a career-high with six 3-pointers as he and Terrell Vinson combined for 10 of Massachusetts’ season-high 13 en route to a 77-72 win over Xavier at the Cintas Center Saturday.
UMass (18-9, 8-6 Atlantic 10) shot 49 percent from the floor and 52 percent from outside as it snapped a five game losing skid at Xavier.
Vinson led all scorers with 20 points, while Riley had 18 and freshman Trey Daviscame off the bench to tie his career-high of 12. Davis spelled junior Chaz Williams for much of the game who had three first-half fouls and played a season-low 22 minutes.
Xavier (16-12, 8-6) had four players in double figures, led by freshman Semaj Christon with 187 on 5-of-12 shooting.
The Minutemen used an 11-3 run midway through the second half to pull ahead 61-54. Five of the team’s seven buckets during the run were from outside. The Musketeers scored four straight to trim the margin to three but UMass answered two Xavier baskets with threes from Riley and Vinson – the team’s two active seniors – on alternating possessions to get the lead back to seven.
Xavier never got closer than three the rest of the way as Williams played the final 5:10 with four fouls and dribbled through the Xavier defense on numerous occasions.
UMass improved to 7-4 on the road and ended a three-game slide.
UMass spent the first eight minutes of the opening period battling foul trouble, as three of its starters were forced to the bench with at least two, including three on Williams.
Despite that trouble, Davis and Vinson did their part to keep the Minutemen in the game. Davis, who had scored 20 points in the first half all season, came up big with 10 points on 2-of-3 3-pointers and handed out four assists.
UMass trailed by nine following a Brad Redford triple with 11:55 to play. The Minutemen used a 16-6 run to claim a 25-24 lead. Xavier led 35-34 at the break.
UMass will return home for its final contest at the Mullins Center when it plays host to Butler on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.