Chaz Williams did what he had done all game — use his plus-quickness to get into the lane. As the Harvard defense collapsed in the waning seconds of a 64-64 game, the 5-foot-9 UMass point guard hung in the air and found Sampson Carter in the corner.
Carter had his feet set, knowing he’d have an opportunity to thrive off his floor general’s driving ability, and subsequently beat the buzzer and Harvard with this three-pointer.
UMass will be an exciting team all year long. In their quest to reach their first NCAA tournament since 1998, the Minutemen have a good mix of quickness and length.
Williams plays at a fast pace, which obviously occasionally leads to turnovers and bad shots. But he’s a playmaker. In his first game since averaging 16.9 points and 6.2 assists a season ago, Williams went for 12 points and 10 assists, the last of which gave UMass the win.
The Minutemen have impressive length and athleticism up front, with Terrell Vinson, Raphiael Putney and Cady Lalanne. All three are capable of imposing a hectic full-court press, which helped force several of Harvard’s 19 turnovers today.
Harvard is generally regarded as a smart, prudent team. But the Crimson simply couldn’t handle UMass’ pressure.
That had less to do with Harvard’s inexperience — freshman point guard Siyani Chambers turned it over just once while experienced returners Christian Webster, Wesley Saunders and Laurent Rivard combined for 8 turnovers — and more to do with UMass’ relentlessness on the defensive end.
At times, Harvard was able to control the pace, slowing the game down. But expect UMass to play a fast, exciting style throughout the year.