At 10 a.m., a time when most students were starting their first classes of the day at UMass, the men's basketball team was tipping off against Harvard as part of ESPN's 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon. They made good use of their early morning, beating the Crimson, 67-64, thanks to a hectic final five minutes.
After watching an early lead dwindle as the game progressed, the minutemen found themselves down to the Crimson for the first time all game at 60-59 with after a Christian Webster 3-pointer with 4:21 remaining.
Massachusetts just couldn't get their shooting going over the next several minutes (0-for-4), and when Harvard's Wesley Saunders sank two free throws with a little more than a minute left, the Minutemen also looked sunk.
But on the next possession, junior Jesse Morgan hit a turnaround floater to make it a one-possession game. The UMass press forced a turnover, and the ball went to Morgan again, who hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 64 with 39 seconds left.
The Crimson ran into the press again and Christian Webster committed a turnover at the worst possible time. UMass took advantage as Chaz Williams drove the lane and kicked it out to Sampson Carter in the corner for a 3-pointer, his only basket of the game, to seal the win just 1.2 ticks left.
The result ultimately overshadowed the phenomenal first-half performance of Harvard's Siyani Chambers, the only reason that the Crimson kept the game close through the first 20 minutes. While the rest of his teammates went a combined 9-for-27 from the field, Chambers hit all three of his FGs (including a 3) and five of his six free throw attempts.
But Chambers couldn't connect on a single field goal in the second half, scoring only two points, and the effects showed as Harvard lost a non-conference game that could have repercussions come selection time in March.
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