RONX, N.Y. -- All season it had been a struggle. Nothing came easily. Even the first Div. I win -- the power-outage-interrupted victory over Wyoming -- took two days to complete.
But Monday in the Bronx, UMass kicked back and cruised, walloping Fordham, 75-54. The game was never close after the jump ball.
"We haven't had any like that," said a relaxed-looking head coach Bruiser Flint.
The Bru Crew played a solid game on both ends, and benefited from taking on the Rams, the New Jersey Nets of the Atlantic 10. In fact, Nets' coach John Calipari was on hand to watch his former charges for the first time all year. He saw the 12-10 (6-3) Minutemen match the victory total of his NBA club (12-32).
UMass dominated every phase of the game. The Minutemen shot a season-best 55.6 percent from the field, and had more rebounds, more assists, more blocks, more steals and fewer turnovers than the Rams. The Minutemen led by 10 points before the game was four minutes old, went to the locker room up 14, and then built the lead to 29. By the closing minutes, starters were chuckling happily on the bench when teammate Ajmal Basit awkwardly missed a dunk.
"It was men against boys out there in every respect," said Fordham coach Nick Macarchuk.
Carmelo Travieso led all scorers with 18 points, connecting on 6-11 field goals and 4-6 3-pointers. Tyrone Weeks turned in a very efficient 17-point, 9-rebound performance in just 20 minutes. Bronx native Charlton Clarke enjoyed a successful homecoming -- hardly a UMass tradition -- with 10 points on 5-6 shooting. And Edgar Padilla ran the offense with aplomb, dishing out 11 assists without committing a turnover.
Fordham (6-12, 1-7) got 12 points from Ray Carroll.
UMass, collecting wins now like precious gems with an eye on NCAA tournament qualification, will look for the next one at home Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against Duquesne.
oach Cal has had a tough rookie year in New Jersey, and Bruiser Flint has taken his lumps in his first year at UMass. But when the two get together, they still do nothing but win.
With former head UMass head coach and current New Jersey Net coach John Calipari in attendance, the Massachusetts men's basketball team returned to form, spanking Atlantic-10 doormat Fordham 75-54 last night in the Bronx, N.Y. UMass improves to 12-10 (6-3 in the conference) with the win.
The Minutemen were led by Tyrone Weeks, who scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Senior guard Carmelo Travieso bagged 18 points, including four three-pointers, and backcourt mate Edgar Padilla added 11 assists and three steals. UMass has now won six of their last seven games.
UMass never really struggled in this one. The Minutemen jumped out to a 40-26 halftime lead and cruised from there. UMass shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half, and 55 percent for the game, including a five for eight performance from behind the three-point line.
Fordham was led by Ray Carroll with 12 points, and got eight points and five rebounds from Connie Mack.
Charlton Clarke chipped in with 10 points and three assists for the Minutemen, Lari Ketner added four points and Mike Babul pulled down three rebounds in nine minutes of play.
UMass looks to make it two in a row when they host Duquesne Thursday night in the William D. Mullins Center. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.
EW YORK - Perhaps someday, this series will be competitive.
Fordham began awarding basketball scholarships last season for the first time in five years, and there is hope it ultimately will tap into the wealth of talent in the New York Metropolitan area. Until then, there will be games like last night's 75-54 rout by the University of Massachusetts, which undoubtedly experienced more tension and suspense in the pregame shootaround.
Pity Fordham. Having defected from the Patriot League to the Atlantic 10 last season, it must face the Minutemen twice a year. Fordham, clearly at a different talent level than UMass, made that apparent by halftime, when it trailed, 40-26, despite shooting 53 percent from the floor.
The Rams caught UMass giving sub-par efforts during some stages of the first half and cut an early 12-point deficit to 5 before UMass regrouped just before intermission. In the second half, however, there were no letdowns from the Minutemen.
UMass held Fordham to 7 points over the first 12 minutes and jumped out to a 28-point lead with 5:01 to play. The Minutemen would make it 74-47 with 1:46 left before the Rams managed four 3-point baskets the rest of the way against the Minutemen bench.
"It was a great feeling for me to sit down with seven minutes in a game, knowing I don't have to worry about going back in," said forward Tyrone Weeks. Weeks scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Minutemen (12-10, 6-3), who entered the game still smarting over Saturday's overtime loss to league foe Xavier. "Coach [Bruiser Flint] told us to just bury them early and make it easy for ourselves," he said.
The Minutemen, who shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half and 56 percent for the game, forced 20 Fordham turnovers in equaling its most lopsided victory of the season.
"We lost a tough one aganst Xavier and we said we couldn't come in here and take this team lightly," said UMass guard and New York resident Charlton Clarke (10 points on 5-of-6 shooting).
The rout meant Flint was able to clear his bench early. Guard Carmelo Travieso scored a game-high 18 points and point guard Edgar Padilla had 7 points, a season-high 11 assists and no turnovers for UMass.
Flint was asked what it was like to have a game when his team was in control from start to finish. "I haven't had any like that, put it to you that way," he said. "I thought the guys did a good job getting out to a good start, because I knew if we didn't, Fordham was going to be on us all night."
UMass' output and Fordham's inept showing prompted some in the crowd of 2,435 to leave at halftime. Among those who stayed throughout was former UMass coach John Calipari, who addressed his ex-team in the locker room afterward.
Along with its two lopsided wins last year, UMass has beaten Fordham by an average of 26 points in its last three meetings. Fordham coach Nick Macarchuk, whose club was coming off an emotional 60-59 win over Duquesne Saturday, expected a better showing. Instead, he was reminded of the gap between the programs. "It was men against boys out there," said Macarchuk, whose team fell to 6-12, 1-7.
"At the end of the half, we're shooting 53 percent and they're shooting 60. We have 12 turnovers, they have seven. There wasn't much difference in the game, except on their turnovers they get just flat out layups. They get baskets they don't have to work for, and we have to grind it out down the court. We got no easy baskets. We just had no life, no energy."
MASSACHUSETTS fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Clarke 35 5-6 0-0 0-2 3 1 10 Weeks 20 7-11 3-3 3-9 1 3 17 Ketner 16 2-3 0-0 0-1 0 3 4 Padilla 32 3-7 0-0 0-1 11 3 7 Travieso 29 6-11 2-2 1-5 3 0 18 Burns 2 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Maclay 1 0-2 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 Smith 11 0-2 2-4 1-1 1 0 2 Kirkland 4 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 Babul 9 0-0 0-0 0-3 0 0 0 Basit 20 3-5 1-2 2-3 0 3 7 Norville 21 3-5 2-2 1-1 1 0 8 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 30-54 10-13 9-28 21 14 75 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.556, FT-.769. 3-Point Goals: 5-8, .625 (Padilla 1-1, Travieso 4-6, Maclay 0-1). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 4 (Ketner 2, Weeks, Basit). Turnovers: 11 (Basit 3, Weeks 3, Travieso 2, Clarke, Ketner, Kirkland). Steals: 14 (Clarke 3, Padilla 3, Travieso 3, Norville 2, Weeks 2, Basit). FORDHAM fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Berrien 37 4-9 0-0 1-3 2 1 9 Ziskunov 21 0-0 1-2 0-1 1 4 1 Mack 27 3-8 2-2 1-5 1 2 8 Carroll 31 4-9 2-3 1-1 2 2 12 Harmatuk 20 3-5 1-1 0-1 1 0 9 Lovett 20 1-3 0-0 1-1 3 0 2 Kissane 4 1-2 0-2 2-4 1 0 2 Dimasco 22 2-8 0-0 0-1 1 0 6 Pugh 17 1-4 1-3 3-5 0 5 3 White 1 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 20-49 7-13 9-22 12 14 54 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.408, FT-.538. 3-Point Goals: 7-16, .438 (Berrien 1-3, Carroll 2-3, Harmatuk 2-2, Lovett 0-1, Kissane 0-1, Dimasco 2-6). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 2 (Mack 2). Turnovers: 20 (Harmatuk 5, Berrien 3, Pugh 3, Ziskunov 3, Carroll 2, Lovett 2, Dimasco, Mack). Steals: 4 (Berrien 3, Harmatuk). __________________________________ Massachusetts 40 35 - 75 Fordham 26 28 - 54 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 2,435. Officials: Robert Pugh, Rich Sortino, Rich San Fillipo.