Massachusetts went 6 of 6 at the free throw line in the final minute to send Virginia Commonwealth to its third loss in four games with an 80-75 win on Friday night in Amherst, Mass.
VCU (20-7, 8-4 Atlantic 10) fell four games behind first-place St. Louis and suffered a blow in its quest for a top-four seed and a first-round bye in the Atlantic 10 tournament.
Guard Treveon Graham led VCU with 19 points.
Massachusetts (21-5, 8-4) got two free throws from guard Trey Davis and four from guard Chaz Williams to hold off the Rams late. The Minutemen finished 20 of 27 at the line.
VCU led 39-34 at the half despite making just 4 of 10 free throws. The charity stripe bedeviled the Rams all night. They finished 10 of 22 at the line.
The scoreboard reflected the high-powered attacks that both teams brought into the matchup. The two teams entered as the top two offenses in the Atlantic 10, with Massachusetts averaging 77 points per game and VCU 75.9.
VCU guard Briante Weber finished with three steals to boost his season total to 100, breaking his school record of 98 set a year ago and becoming the eighth player in Atlantic 10 history to reach triple-digits in steals in a season.
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