UMass Upsets Huskies, 61-59

The Connecticut Huskies were upset, 61-59, at Masschusetts Thursday night on Rashaun Freeman's layup with 4.3 seconds to play. UMass fans stormed the Mullins Center court after the final buzzer sounded.

UConn, which is ranked in the top ten by both polls, is now 4-1. The loss ended UConn's 13 game winning streak dating back to the Huskies' first game in last season's Big East tournament.

Freshman Rudy Gay led UConn with 13 points. Sophomore Josh Boone added 12 points to go along with game-bests of nine rebounds and three blocks. Junior Denham Brown had 11 points.

Connecticut shot just 31.6 percent from the field and had 15 turnovers against 11 assists (0.73 a/to ratio). UConn hit 4-of-15 three point shots (26.7%). Boone was the only Connecticut player to hit 50 percent of his shots (4/8); he also made all four of his free throw attempts.

The Huskies had a decided edge at the free throw line, hitting all but three of their 22 attempts. UMass committed just one more foul (13 vs 12) but gave the visitors 13 more attempts from the charity stripe. The Minutemen were 4-for-9 (44.4%).

UMass was led by Freeman's 18 points and eight rebounds. Reserve junior swingman Jeff Viggiano scored 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting. Freeman, the A-10 Rookie of the Year last season and a preseason first team pick, was 8-of-16 from the floor. First year sophomore Lawrence Carrier hit five of his six shots.

UMass shot 42.9 percent from the floor but hit only 15.8% (3-19) from behind the arc. Their assist / turnover ratio was 0.88 percent (14/16).

Massachusetts sophomore Artie Bowers tied UConn's Marcus Williams, also a soph, with game-best five assists.

The Huskies ran into a hostile environment on their first road trip of the season. Freeman and company outhustled Connecticut from the opening tip and got the best of UConn's frontcourt, which had been outrebounding opponents by 25 boards a game. The teams finished even with 39 rebounds each, but UMass had a slight edge on the glass in the first half and outscored Connecticut 42-24 in the paint for the game.

Connecticut came back from a 12-point, first-half deficit and held a tenuous five-point lead late in the game. But Freeman hit consecutive baskets with under four minutes left, pulling the Minutemen within 55-54.

UConn missed all four shots from the field in those final four minutes, scoring on four FTs while UMass put in seven points.

Viggiano hit a 3-pointer with 55.2 seconds left to give UMass a 57-55 lead. Gay tied the game with a pair of free throws (59-59) with nine seconds to go. The Minutemen raced upcourt on the inbounds play and Bowers hit Freeman in full stride for the game-winning score. Brown's three-pointer at the buzzer was off target.

Massachusetts is now 3-2 overall and is 3-1 in games against the reigning national champions. The 9,037 fans at this game gave UMass its largest crowd in Amherst in four years.

UConn returns to action on Sunday, December 19 when it hosts Rice (4-1) at 2:00 p.m. at the Hartford Civic Center. The game will be televised locally by WTXX-TV, Channel 20.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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