NEW YORK (AP)—Chaz Williams scored 16 points in his homecoming to Brooklyn and made a steal in the final seconds to clinch UMass’ 77-72 win over George Washington on Thursday night in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
The 5-foot-9 junior fearlessly drove to the basket for three scores in the last 2 1/2 minutes of a back-and-forth game. His fast-break layup with 78 seconds left gave the Minutemen the lead for good. Then he found himself wide open in the lane with 32.5 seconds to go to put the Minutemen ahead 75-72.
“Nobody wants to come here and lose on the first night,” said Williams, who had his grandmother and 2-year-old daughter in the stands. “Just trying to do anything in our power and will to come out with this victory and move on to tomorrow. I was just doing whatever my team needed me to do. I wasn’t making shots early on so I wanted to pick up my slack in other places.”
Isaiah Armwood missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining for the Colonials, who were 0 for 8 from behind the arc.
Patricio Garino got the offensive rebound, but Williams stole the ball from him. Freshman Trey Davis hit both ends of a one-and-one with 5.5 seconds left to secure the win.
Davis scored a career-high 14 points and hit a huge 3-pointer with UMass trailing by four with less than three minutes left.
That play was one of Williams’ eight assists.
“I thought we were doing a great job on Williams, a first-team all-conference guy,” George Washington coach Mike Lonergan said. “He sort of took over with his speed.”
Armwood had 16 points and 13 rebounds, as the Colonials outrebounded UMass 50-32. Freshman Kevin Larsen scored a career-high 17 points for 11th-seeded George Washington (13-17, 7-9).
There were 14 ties and 19 lead changes. Neither team led by more than five.
Sixth-seeded UMass (20-10, 9-7) faces third-seeded Temple in Friday’s quarterfinals.