AMHERST, Mass. -- It's obvious that Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg is happy his Minutemen are 14-1 and 19th in the country.
Now, he says, if they would only make things a bit easier on the coach.
"I'd like for it to happen sooner (in games) than later. I'm sweating through shirts in the first half and my dry cleaning bills are through the roof," Kellogg said after UMass rallied from 13 points down over the final 8:47 and squeezed past St. Bonaventure 73-68 in an Atlantic 10 game on Saturday.
Last Wednesday night against Saint Joseph's, the Minutemen trailed by nine with six minutes left and charged back to win the game by four points. Saturday, they were down 60-47 heading into the final nine minutes and outscored the upset-minded Bonnies 26-8, including scoring the last nine points of the game.
"They're a good team. They're the 19th best team in the country for a reason," said St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt.
Mired in poor shooting, turnovers and fouls midway through the second half, the Minutemen (2-0 Atlantic 10) charged back and scored the nine straight points in the final 1:53 to secure their third straight victory.
Trey Davis, who had been suffering through a 1-for-9 shooting game, scored on a drive to bring his team to within two and then, after forward Sampson Carter grabbed an offensive rebound and got it out to Davis, the guard drained a 3-pointer with 1:12 on the clock.
A second straight St. Bonaventure turnover gave the ball right back to UMass and guard Chaz Williams, who had a miserable scoring day but didn't let that affect the other parts of his game, was fouled on a drive with 10.1 seconds left. He hit the free throws and then stole the inbounds pass, knocking it to forward Raphiael Putney, a forward, who was fouled with eight seconds left. His two foul shots sealed the verdict.
The win was the 99th at UMass for Kellogg, while Schmidt, looking for his 100th at St. Bonaventure, fell to 99-100 as his team saw its four-game winning streak stopped and fell to 11-5 and 1-1.
The loss was also the 23rd in a row against a ranked team for St. Bonaventure, which hasn't beaten a Top 25 team in 14 years.
"We went head to head with them, we just didn't make enough plays at the end," said Schmidt, who made it clear his team, picked to finish 12th in the conference, wasn't looking for any moral victories.
Putney led UMass with 17 points and eight rebounds, while center Cady Lalanne had 16 points. Williams, just 1 of 7 from the floor, had eight points, nine assists and three steals.
Guard Charlon Kloof, who helped with the defensive job on Williams, led the Bonnies with 15 points and center Youssous Ndoye added 11 points and five rebounds.
The win completed a perfect 4-0 homestand for the Minutemen, who play their next three and five of their next six on the road. Kellogg and Putney both said a road trip at this point isn't such a bad thing.
"I think we might just need to relax a little bit," Kellogg said. "Maybe settle down from the media and things like that -- maybe back up a little bit and get back to the basics.
"(The road is) really going to test us now. We'll see where we are. These guys are going to see packed houses, people that are coming for you ... we'll know what we're made of, what we're totally made of, when we get back from that trip."
Said Putney, who was nodding as his coach spoke: "I think it will be a big test for our program. We haven't been on the road since early in the season ... we just have to come together as a team and stay focused."
UMass opens a three-game trip (two conference games and Elon) at St. Louis on Wednesday night. The next home game for the Minutemen is Jan. 26 against Fordham and then they have two more road games.
NOTES: St. Bonaventure visits George Mason Wednesday. ... UMass staged its first-ever alumni game after Saturday's contest. Julius Erving and Marcus Camby were not in attendance. "It's going to take me about 45 minutes to get loose," coach Derek Kellogg told the media before going scoreless in the game. ... UMass F Maxie Esho averaged 11.9 points and shot 70 percent from the floor off the bench in the last 11 games. He scored nine and was 3 of 3 Saturday. ... The teams combined to go 5 of 22 from 3-point range. ... UMass won despite going 24 of 32 from the foul line.