UMass (19-10, 8-7 Atlantic 10) will look to turn things around on Senior Day at the Mullins Center when they honor center Sean Carter before the team's game against Rhode Island (7-23, 4-11) Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT. (TV: CBS Sports Regional/Radio: UMass Radio Network)
After hovering atop or near the head of the Atlantic 10 standings, the Minutemen have dropped four of their past five games during the team's hardest stretch of the year to fall to eight place in the standings. With one game remaining, UMass is tied with Dayton and LaSalle and sits just a game behind fifth-place St. Joseph's.
Before Saturday's game, UMass will honor their lone member of thte Class of 2012. Carter is the lone Minuteman to start all 29 games for the squad and leads the team in rebounding with 6.2 boards per game to go along with his 7.4 points. The Oregon State transfer is in his fourth year at UMass and is having his most successful campaign in a Minutemen uniform.
The Minutemen will face a familiar foe Saturday as they'll face the Rams for the 138th time in program history. While UMass holds a 79-58 all-time advantage and has won seven of the past 10 matchups, Rhode Island surprised the Minutemen with an 81-78 overtime victory in Kingston.
Rhode Island forward Orion Outerbridge was just too much for UMass in that one, as he finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore forward Raphiael Putney led the Minutemen with 18 points and eight rebounds and point guard Chaz Williams chipped in with 12 points and eight assists but also committed nine turnovers. UMass had chances at the buzzer in regulation (to win) and overtime (to tie) but 3-point attempts by Jesse Morgan and Freddie Riley both fell off the mark.
Prediction: Rhode Island may have won the first contest but UMass is 13-1 at home this season and they're coming off their best performance of the season in a 90-88 overtime loss at Temple. Carter has been an essential part of this year's run and will push the team to be ready for the Rams this time around.
UMass 77, Rhode Island 64