RESNO, Calif. - Both Terrance Roberson and Chris Herren were heavily recruited by the University of Massachusetts. Roberson is a 6-foot-7-inch forward, one of only three players (Patrick Ewing and Kenny Anderson are the others) to be named a three-time Parade All-American. Chris Herren, meanwhile, is a sharp-shooting guard from Fall River, Mass. who was a McDonald's All-American in 1994.
Instead of signing with UMass, however, Roberson chose Fresno State, while Herren decided to stay close to home and attend Boston College. Herren eventually transferred to Fresno.
That duo teamed up to do the Minutemen in. Saturday night Both players scored 19 points as the 13th ranked Bulldogs defeated UMass, 82-64, in front of a sold-out Selland Arena in an independent basketball game. The game was the Minutemen's season opener, while Fresno improved to 2-0.
"We recruited (Chris) harder than anyone else," said UMass coach Bruiser Flint. "Luckily, he ended up out here. He's good and played well. Terrance Roberson killed me tonight. Killed me. He hit some big threes during the game when they made their run."
Roberson couldn't miss from 3-point land in the second half, knocking down all four 3-pointers he took as the Bulldogs erased a 35-34 halftime deficit. As a team, Fresno made 6-of-8 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
"Terrance hit some big threes for us and got us going," said Fresno coach Jerry Tarkanian. "I thought Chris played great. I was so happy he got to play great again against UMass."
Last year, in the worst loss ever at the Mullins Center, Herren scored a game-high 25 points as the Bulldogs cruised to a 102-81 win.
While Roberson and Herren played a major role in the win, Fresno's up-tempo style also hurt the Minutemen. After playing UMass' slow-down game in the first half, the high-octane Bulldogs got it going in the second half by pushing the ball up the court at every opportunity, while applying heavy pressure defensively.
The key run started with 17 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the second half and Fresno trailing 39-38. Herren got the Bulldogs going by scoring off one of his two steals and then, when Roberson followed that up with a monster slam, the tide had changed. The Bulldogs, who shot 58 percent from the field in the second half, including 75 percent from 3-point land, pressured UMass' young backcourt into seven of the Minutemen's 22 turnovers, 12 of them in the crucial second half.
"Obviously I was really pleased with the second half," Tarkanian said. "I thought our defense really got things going and our offense became really good in the second half because our defense got them running. The first half we played a halfcourt game and we played very tentatively offensively.
" I told the guys at halftime that we can't play any worse than we played in the first half and we were only down one. Our guys play so much better when we're running and playing freely."
The Minutemen played well in the first half by dominating the boards and setting up their shots.
"We talked about it at halftime," Flint said. "They just man-to-man pressed us in the first half and I think he (Tarkanian) knew. He even said to me at halftime, 'We can't keep playing this way. We can't play at your pace or you guys will win this game because you're executing so well.
Lari Ketner battles for the rebound against two Bulldog players.
Despite the loss, UMass did have reason to be happy. Senior Tyrone Weeks battled all night long down low and scored a game-high 20 points, and pulled down 15 rebounds. Junior Lari Ketner added 16 points and 10 boards.
"I give them a lot of credit," Tarkanian said. "They executed their halfcourt offense in the first half really well and we weren't able to take them out of their offense."
Next up for the Minutemen is Southwest Louisiana Wednesday at midnight (Eastern time) in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout.
RESNO, Calif. - Not all the news was bad following the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team's season-opening 82-64 loss to Fresno State Saturday night. Some strong individual performances bodes well for a UMass squad that will play in a very competitive Great Alaska Shootout later this week.
By far the best player on the court for the Minutemen was senior forward Tyrone Weeks. The 6-foot-7 bruiser, who missed the team's first exhibition game for violation of team rules and only scored six points in the second exhibition game, recorded game-high's in points (20) and rebounds (15).
While Weeks is expected to play well as the team's lone upperclassmen, first-year sophomore Monty Mack, freshman Jonathan DePina and sophomore Mike Babul, who earned his first start since Jan. 8 of last year, also drew kudos from their coach.
Mack provided several sparks throughout the contest to keep UMass in the game early. He made 6-of-20 shots from the field, including 3-for-9 from 3-point land, for 15 points.
"This is my first (game) and I think I have to get adjusted to the way the tempo of the game is," Mack said. "When I'm open, just shoot it, and when I'm not, just pass the ball and work it to the post. I wasn't happy with my performance."
Mack gave UMass its only 3-point threat, handled the ball more than expected and played well overall after sitting out last year due to academic requirements.
"I thought Monty played well," said UMass coach Bruiser Flint. "I think he made some good plays, he got some great looks at the basket, but they (Fresno) started to wear us down, so a couple of those shots starting falling short."
DePina played 13 minutes and despite being beat defensively on a couple of occasions, played 13 minutes and grabbed three rounds, dished off two assists and did not turn the ball over as the point guard. He had one steal.
"He did a decent job against the press," Flint said.
Babul, a 6-6 forward, grabbed 7 rebounds, including four offensive, and had six points. His most important contribution, however, would not show up in a box score.
"I just wanted him to be very aggressive," Flint said. "Go to the basket, and I thought he did that ."
One bizarre moment of the night happened early in the first half, when an irate fan started walking onto the court. The spectator was upset that Flint wouldn't sit down and started to move toward him. One of the officials spotted the fan screaming at Flint and motioned him off the court. That's when security took over and sent him back to his seat. Flint never saw the man - he was watching the game.
ou really couldn't have asked for a tougher opening night assignment.
The Massachusetts men's basketball team had to travel over 3,000 miles to open the 1997-98 season at No. 13 Fresno State Saturday night. The site, sold out Selland Arena, was a hostile gym filled with a sea of Bulldog red, and the Minutemen had to open against a Fresno squad with a stable of talent that rivals coach Jerry Tarkanian's UNLV teams of the late '80s. And though they put up a fight, UMass ran into a team determined to show a national TV audience to believe the hype.
The Minutemen stormed out of the gates, and even took a 35-34 lead into halftime, but a tenacious pressure defense unravelled the young UMass backcourt in the second half, and Fresno State ran away with an 82-64 win. Fresno (2-0) shot 59 percent in the second half, including six of eight from three-point land, and outscored UMass 48-29 in the second half. Despite an outstanding game from senior captain Tyrone Weeks, who scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, the Minutemen fall to 0-1.
The story of the game was Fresno's press, which broke down UMass' guards and led to 22 turnovers. The Bulldogs came out in the second half and got UMass out of its game, led by Massachusetts native Chris Herren. Herren, a junior guard from Fall River who transferred from Boston College, followed up on his 25-point performance in last year's 101- 82 Fresno win over UMass at the Mullins Center with 19 points and six assists.
According to Flint, junior guard Charlton Clarke ran out of gas in the second half after a solid first half, and Fresno's intense pressure took UMass' young guards out of their game.
"They got all over us [in the second half] and we got 22 turnovers, which killed us," said Flint on the WHMP post- game show. "They made us play at a much quicker pace in the second half, and we just started throwing the ball everywhere."
Fresno won the game with an impressive run early in the second half that turned a one-point deficit into an eight point Bulldog lead. Clarke and Herren, who had been exchanging unpleasantries all night, got into a series of brief altercations during the stretch. There were no fouls called, but Fresno's intensity went up a notch afterwards.
The Minutemen led by as much as eight points in the first half, thanks to a decided advantage in the paint. Weeks was joined by junior center Lari Ketner, each of whom scored 10 points in the first half. UMass jumped out to an early 11-3 lead, thanks to an early 8-0 rebounding advantage. The Minutemen kept the lead for most of the first half, but with time running out Clarke was called for a five-second infraction, and celebrated juco transfer Rafer Alston buried a deep three-pointer to bring Fresno within one at halftime.
Mike Babul, in his first start since early last season, scored six points and added seven rebounds. Monty Mack struggled from the floor, going 6-for-20. but still knocked in 15 points. Clarke added five points and eight assists.
|Fresno State Bulldogs (#13)||82|
|at Fresno State|
MASSACHUSETTS (64) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Babul 28 3-7 0-0 4-7 2 1 6 Weeks 32 8-16 4-4 7-15 3 2 20 Ketner 29 8-16 0-0 5-10 1 2 16 Clarke 34 1-7 2-2 2-3 8 3 5 Mack 37 6-20 0-0 1-2 3 3 15 Depina 13 0-1 0-0 2-3 2 4 0 Smith 8 0-1 0-0 1-1 1 0 0 Basit 19 1-7 0-0 2-5 0 1 2 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 27-75 6-6 24-46 20 16 64 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.360, FT-1.000. 3-Point Goals: 4-13, .308 (Clarke 1-4, Mack 3-9). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 3 (Ketner 2, Weeks). Turnovers: 22 (Weeks 5, Mack 4, Clarke 3, Babul 2, Basit 2, Ketner 2, Smith 2). Steals: 6 (Weeks 2, Babul, Basit, Depina, Ketner). FRESNO ST (82) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Fowlkes 32 5-9 0-0 3-6 1 3 10 Roberson 34 7-11 0-0 1-9 3 2 19 Jones 31 8-14 0-0 3-7 1 2 16 Alston 32 3-6 2-2 0-0 3 3 10 Herren 30 8-16 1-4 0-1 6 2 19 Forney 13 2-6 2-2 2-3 1 1 6 Porter 5 0-0 0-1 0-1 2 0 0 Abney 9 0-1 0-2 1-1 2 0 0 Laurie 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Farley 13 1-2 0-0 0-2 1 1 2 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 34-65 5-11 10-30 20 14 82 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.523, FT-.455. 3-Point Goals: 9-19, .474 (Fowlkes 0-1, Roberson 5-8, Alston 2-5, Herren 2-5). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 7 (Forney 3, Jones 2, Roberson, Abney). Turnovers: 14 (Fowlkes 3, Jones 3, Alston 2, Herren 2, Roberson 2, Farley, Forney). Steals: 11 (Alston 4, Herren 2, Roberson 2, Abney, Farley, Fowlkes). __________________________________ Massachusetts 35 29 - 64 Fresno St 34 48 - 82 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 10,220. Officials: Scott Thornley, David Hall, Paul Kaster.