The Atlantic 10 is having an extremely strong campaign with every team capable of winning on any given night; that trend continued Wednesday night as UMass, a team tied for the top spot in the A10, fell 81-78 in overtime to a Rhode Island team that came into the day all alone in the conference cellar.
Sophomore forward Raphiael Putney led four Minutemen in double-digits with 18 points and added eight rebounds a six steals. Sean Carter chipped in with 16 points and point guard Chaz Williams added 12 points. Williams continued to be all over the place on the road, hitting 4-of-11 shots and turning the ball over nine times, while also contributing eight assists and five steals.
Rhode Island senior forward Orion Outerbridge keyed the Rams victory with 29 points and 11 rebounds and three blocks in a game-high 41 minutes. Fellow big man Nikola Malesevic added 19 points and five rebounds, as the Rams thoroughly controlled the paint against the Minutemen. Rhode Island grabbed 48 rebounds compared to just 35 for UMass and earned 18 second-chance points on 19 offensive rebounds.
UMass had chances to win the game in regulation and to tie in overtime but fell just shy. Jesse Morgan's 3-pointer at the buzzer in regulation was blocked and Freddie Riley's desperation three to tie it also fell short. The Rams finished the end of each stanza on a mini run, as they outscored UMass 6-2 to end the first half, recovered from a 58-54 deficit with 6:23 to play and hit their free throws in the final minute of overtime.