PRINGFIELD -- The Hall of Fame Classic remains the exclusive property of the University of Massachusetts.
Last night at the Civic Center, UMass -- the only champion the tournament has ever crowned -- won for the fourth time with a not-so-pretty but nevertheless convincing 94-80 victory over Maryland.
The win was the sixth straight for the ninth-ranked Minutemen (9-1), while Maryland, which had lost only to Oklahoma, fell to 7-2.
UMass was led offensively by the big three of Lou Roe (30 points), tournament MVP Mike Williams (25) and Dana Dingle (17). Maryland got 22 from freshman Joe Smith, 18 from Duane Simpkins and a dozen from Johnny Rhodes.
Maryland coach Gary Williams was impressed with UMass' 42-30 edge in rebounds.
"They simply were much better off the boards," he said. "It's a big plus when you can score 9 points off missed free throws. They outmuscled us underneath."
The game was a bruiser, with 51 fouls -- 29 against Maryland. And it was the Minutemen's proficiency from the line that spelled the difference.
UMass dropped in 31 of 42 attempts while Maryland was 13 for 22.
The game was a bit on the sloppy side, too, with UMass turning the ball over 21 times and Maryland 22. UMass coach John Calipari, though pleased with the outcome, bemoaned the turnovers.
"We're at about 17 a game and that's just too many," he said. "Sooner or later, they catch up to you. We got away with it tonight.
"All in all, this was a very good win against a very good Maryland team, one that is just a player or two away from being a legitimate Final Four contender."
As sloppy as play was at times, Maryland was in contention, trailing by just 7 at 73-66, with 6:51 left. But then its offense went dry and it managed just 4 points over the next 5:30, 3 of them coming on a 3-pointer by Rhodes.
Meanwhile, Roe (7) and Dingle (6) rang up 13 straight points between them to boost UMass to an 86-70 lead with 1:21 to play. The Minutemen stretched the lead to 18 before back-to-back buckets by Mario Lucas made the final a bit more respectable.
UMass trailed, 21-20, midway through the first half before a 14-0 run turned that into a 34-21 lead.
Maryland responded with a mini-run to cut it back to a manageable 5, 34-29. UMass maintained the edge and went into the locker room ahead, 45-40.
In the tournament's consolation game, Hartford (2-5) rode the efforts of John Stuckey (17 points) and Mike Bond (15) to coast past Hofstra (1-8), 72-55.