NEW YORK – My look at some of the best and worst performances and happenings from Massachusetts’ 79-74 victory over Temple in Friday’s Atlantic Ten tournament quarterfinal at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn:
Best performance: How could anyone not give this award to Chaz Williams? The Minutemen’s point guard toyed with the defenders Temple kept running at him. The 5-foot-9 speedster ended with a game-high 28 points to go with five assists and two steals. The Brooklyn native went 10-for-10 from the foul line.
Worst performance: At one point, I thought strongly about giving this award to Anthony Lee. But that was before I learned the Temple center played with concussion-like symptoms. His teammate, Khalif Wyatt, doesn’t have the same excuse. That’s why Wyatt, the A-10 player of the year, gets the award. While scoring a team-high 19 points, Wyatt made just 4 of 19 shots. He missed 12 consecutive shots during one stretch. He also had a team-worst four turnovers.
Best defensive performance: This award goes to Maxie Esho. The UMass forward finished with a game-high two blocked shots. The 6-foot-8 reserve forward helped out in guarding Wyatt on the wing. Just his defensive presence was a huge benefit the Minutemen.
Best performance by an Owl: Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson had to get this one. The Temple power forward scored 17 points in 7 of 10 shooting. The Chester native also had game highs in rebounds (nine), assists (seven) and steals (three). Hollis-Jefferson also made all three of his foul shots.
Worst statistic: This goes to Wyatt’s three-point shooting. He made just 2 of 11 three-point shots.
Best statistic: Temple’s free-throw shooting gets this one. The Owls made 14 of 15 foul shots.
Best prediction: This goes out to Steve Ettinger. Ettinger and Paul Breen were the only two people that predicted on Twitter that UMass would win. While he didn’t get the exact score, Ettinger predicted the Minutemen would win, 75-74.
Worst of the Worst: This goes out Lee’s unfortunate night. The Maryland native was rushed to a Brooklyn-area hospital for concussion-like symptom after the game. He experienced dizziness and nausea after suffering a blow to the head in the first half of the contest.