Coverage from:
The Boston Globe
The Boston Herald
College Hoops Insider
The Berkshire Eagle
The Springfield Union-News
The Springfield Union-News -- Flint focus
The Daily Hampshire Gazette
The Daily Hampshire Gazette - column
The Daily Hampshire Gazette - notebook

Technically UMass upset
Fordham takes advantage
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe Staff, 1/27/1999

AMHERST - Bruiser Flint's worries began yesterday morning. The University of Massachusetts coach said hours before last night's game against Fordham that his players appeared lethargic and unmotivated during their shootaround. He warned his team that if it wasn't ready to play, it would be in for a long night against a much-improved Rams squad.

At the time, the third-year coach had no idea what an understatement that was. The Minutemen's 66-60 Atlantic 10 setback to the Rams was more than a defeat. It was a disaster.

It began with Fordham jumping out to a 15-3 lead, which prompted boos from the Mullins Center crowd of 6,144. It ended with a controversial technical foul call by referee William Bush against Flint, who was signaled for being out of the coaches' box with 40 seconds left following a tip-in by center John Pugh that gave the Rams a 59-57 advantage.

UMass, which battled back from its early sluggishness to make it competitive, never regained its composure. Guard Bevon Robin (game-high 26 points) hit the technical free throws to put the Rams ahead, 61-57, and Fordham got another free throw by forward Scott Harmatuk after the Minutemen fouled on the visitors' ensuing possession.

Two more Harmatuk freebies, with 14 seconds left, gave Fordham a 64-57 lead. Fordham held on to improve to 8-9, 2-6 in the conference. It posted its first Atlantic 10 road victory since joining the conference four years ago, a period of 28 games. It was the Rams' first win over UMass since Jan. 18, 1982, and their first road win over the Minutemen since Jan. 27, 1971.

UMass fell to 8-10 and 4-3 with 10 games remaining. The Minutemen most likely will need to win the A-10 tournament to make the NCAA tournament. Flint's worst fears were realized, yet the official's call alone left him stunned and angry.

Sports information director Mike Hardisky said Flint called Mickey Crowley, the A-10 head of officials, immediately after the game and said the school would send the tape to the league office today.

Asked what reason Bush gave him for making the call, Flint said he was told he was out of the box.

Asked why Bush made the call then when Flint was out of the box much of the game, the coach said, ''Go ask him. See, that's what's wrong with officiating; there's no repercussions. Gave me a technical, a tie game [actually, Fordham was up by 2], 40 seconds left. Game's over then.

''I'm out of the box every game. Be realistic. I've been coaching for three years now. I'm out of the box. And that time, I'm into the play because it's late in the game. I didn't even say anything to him. I'm just looking at my team bringing it up the floor.''

Flint was an assistant at UMass in 1992 when coach John Calipari was hit a technical foul late in an NCAA East Regional semifinal against Kentucky. Calipari was flagged after the Minutemen had rallied to cut a double-digit lead to 2, but they didn't play the same after the call and lost, 87-77.

''It comes from guys who want to come in the game and their whole thing is not refereeing,'' said Flint. ''These guys get caught up in what the coach is going to do.''

Even before the call, the Minutemen appeared in jeopardy. They led, 50-46, with 6:05 left, but Fordham rallied to retake the lead, 57-54, with 1:34 left. UMass guard Monty Mack (13 points) tied it at 57 on a 3-pointer with 1:19 left, setting up the final sequence.

''We came out flat tonight, myself included,'' said guard Charlton Clarke, who had a team-high 18 points.

UMass not wander-ful in loss to Fordham
By Mark Murphy, The Boston Herald, 1/27/1999

AMHERST - UMass coach Bruiser Flint has developed a reputation for occasionally wandering out of the coaching box.

Last night he paid for it with the unthinkable - a 66-60 loss to Fordham at the Mullins Center.

The critical moment came when Flint was whistled for a technical foul with 40 seconds left after Fordham center John Pugh's tip-in gave the Rams a 59-57 lead.

Fordham guard Bevon Robin hit the two free throws, giving the Rams a 61-57 lead they would extend.

The game fell apart when Flint became livid over a non-call for what he clearly thought was brusque rebounding by Pugh on Fordham's go-ahead basket.

After Robin hit both free throws for the four-point lead, Fordham (8-9, 2-6 Atlantic 10) also retained possession of the ball.

Three free throws by Fordham's Scott Harmatuck over the last 34 seconds sealed it.

UMass (8-10, 4-3) fell behind early, 11-1, but eventually took the lead - yet had trouble holding it.

Instead of Robin, the usual killer where Fordham's offense is concerned, the Minutemen had to contend with 10 second-half points from Jason Harris. The Rams point guard hurt UMass everywhere - from 3-point territory to the lane.

And when Robin drained a deep trey for a tie at 53 with 3:36 left, the Minutemen collapsed. They shot 1-for-4 from the line over the next 33 seconds - with Chris Kirkland hitting 1-of-2 and Lari Ketner missing both.

The Rams answered with the unthinkable - an 8-3 run that was capped by the technical foul call on Flint.

The Minutemen had opportunities to get in an early burst. They took their first lead of the game at 32-31 on a Monty Mack 3-pointer, and they converted on their next three possessions.

The same was true of Fordham, though.

Indeed, the Rams scored on their next five possessions - and eventually took a 44-42 lead on an unguarded Harris trey.

The Minutemen just don't seem to learn.

Chris Kirkland played through his injury.
They came out last night about as sharp as their record would indicate, immediately sank into an 11-1 hole against one of the worst teams in the conference, and needed the entire first half to make up ground.

UMass eventually tied it at 27 with 1:31 left on two Ajmal Basit free throws.

Kirkland, even with one hand, was still the most effective Minutemen player on the court.

His first hoop of the game - a 10-footer after rebounding his own miss - sliced the Fordham lead to 17-12.

Kirkland then drove for a three-point play.

Bruiser Loses His Cool
By Dave Bartley, College Hoops Insider Columnist, 1/27/1999

AMHERST, Mass. - For UMass, this wasn't just any loss.

Another low point was reached tonight as the Fordham Rams snapped a 27-game Atlantic 10 road losing streak by winning 66-60.

According to coach Nick Marcarhuk it was the Rams first-ever road win against an Atlantic 10 opponent.

Adding gasoline to the fire, UMass Coach James "Bruiser" Flint lost his cool in the last minute of the game on a call that infuriated him to the point where he chased the referees out of the arena and had to be restrained by the police.

The play leading to this came with 40 seconds left in a contest in which neither team lead by more than three points in the second half. In a routine that's starting to become commonplace, Flint ranted away along the sidelines only to find himself several feet beyond the coaches line. Fordham took the lead by two on a tip-in that looked to be offensive goaltending. Referee William Bush looked towards the UMass coach as the play turned back up court. Bush noticed Flint outside the coaches box and called a technical foul.

Rams guard Bevon Robin canned both free throws, Fordham retained possession and UMass simply ran out of time.

Tonight's call reminded UMass fans of the Lenny Wurtz incident. Wurtz is infamous in Amherst as he called a technical foul on coach John Calipari in the closing minutes of the (1992) NCAA East Regional semi-final against Kentucky for a similar violation. The T stopped UMass' momentum. The Wildcats won that game.

Although Bush's technical came in a lower echelon game it was no less dramatic. And no less foolish, according to Flint.

"These guys get caught up in what the coach is going to do," said Flint of the officials. "I'm out of the box every game."

Flint said he was not arguing the tip-in. He said he was trying to coach his team but he said that he was complaining to the referees all night.

"I thought (the Fordham players) tackled Lari," said Flint of his center Lari Ketner. "I asked the referees all night to call a foul for us."

The official statistics showed that Flint's team had three fewer fouls called on them but went to the line 22 times to Fordham's 27. The Rams, however, made 24 of their free throws to the Minutemen's 13.

"I thought the officials were awful but so were we," Flint said.

Audio clip: Listen to some of Bruiser's post-game comments.
75k WAV
Courtesey: WHMP
While speaking to the media after the game Flint looked utterly dejected. It is normal routine to have the players speak to the press in the Media Room but tonight, as Chris Kirkland and Charlton Clarke were about to sit down, Flint waved them off.

"This is real tough for me," Flint said. "I'll be the first to admit that."

Flint has been trying to give his players a wake up call all season and with only a few exceptions his pleas have gone unheeded. Maybe tonight's game will be the one that works not only for the players but for the coach.

For his part, Macarchuk was overjoyed. "We've been in the muck so long. It's amazing what young people can do."

Fordham surprises at UMass
Late 'T' on Flint leads to 66-60 loss
By Howard Herman, The Berkshire Eagle Staff, 1/27/1999

AMHERST -- Tuesdays aren't much fun for the University of Massachusetts. It's a night the Minutemen would probably rather be as far away from a basketball court as they can get.

A controversial technical foul call against UMass coach Bruiser Flint with 40 seconds left in the game led to a 5-0 spurt in 30 seconds as Fordham stunned the Minutemen 66-60 before 6,144 last night at the Mullins Center.

The loss dropped UMass to 0-5 on Tuesdays this season.

Flint was T-ed up by official William Bush for being out of the coaching box. Bevin Robin swished two of his game-high 26 points, and the Rams' Scott Harmatuk hit three of four from the line in the next 20 seconds to ice the game. Charlton Clarke led UMass with 18 points.

After the game, the third-year UMass mentor was not a happy camper.

"I thought, to be honest with you, the officiating was awful. But, so were we, though," Flint told reporters. "Guys didn't come to play."

A historic victory

The win was Fordham's first against UMass since it joined the Atlantic 10 in 1996, and the first A-10 road win for the Rams ever. UMass is now 8-10 and 4-3 in the Atlantic 10's East Division. Fordham improves to 8-9, and is 2-6 in the A-10 East, and this might be the Rams' biggest win in the league.

"You guys have no idea," Fordham coach Nick Macharchuk said. "I've got guys in the locker room crying. I remember playing UMass in Madison Square Garden my first year, they were No. 1 in the country and we had a 17-game losing streak. We got our second conference win, our first road win, and we beat UMass."

The third-year UMass coach said he sensed problems during the morning shootaround.

"It started at 11:45 a.m., with the shootaround. I told them, Fordham got a win Sunday , and they've been playing everybody tough," Flint recalled. "If you don't come to play, you're going to get beat tonight."

Off to a rough start

UMass was outscored 7-0 in the first two minutes, trailed 11-1 with six minutes gone, never led in the first half and was behind 29-27 at halftime. UMass took its first lead with 18:14 left in the game on a three-pointer by Monty Mack (13 points). The Minutemen held the lead for much of the second half, going up by four points with 5:59 left in the game on a drive to the basket by Clarke.

That drive capped off a six-point UMass spurt that gave the Minutemen a 50-46 lead. Historically, the Minutemen would then come up with a defensive stop, score a basket and pull away. Not this year.

The UMass defense was about to force a 35-second shot clock violation, when Mack fouled Jason Harris (10 points). Harris sank both free throws, making it 50-48. The Rams retook the lead for keeps when Teremun Griffin stepped between Clarke and Mack in the UMass frontcourt, and went coast-to-coast for the jam.

The dunk gave Fordham a shot in the arm, and the technical gave the Rams the win. UMass got a trey from Clarke, tying the score at 57-57. Fordham's John Pugh tipped in a Greg Griffith miss, for a two-point Fordham lead. That was when Bush spied Flint, and whistled the technical.

"He said I was out of the box," Flint said of Bush's technical. "Go ask him. That's what's wrong with officials these days, no repercussions. He gives me a technical in a tie game with 40 seconds to go in the game. The game's over then."

No first-half magic

The Mullins Center message board is plugging a March 29 appearance by magician David Copperfield. He might have been in the crowd last night, because for nearly 10 minutes of the first half, the Minuteman offense vanished.

UMass fell behind quickly, as the Rams scored the game's first seven points and led 11-1 with 14:30 left in the half. Kitwana Rhymer scored the first UMass hoop, on a short turnaround jumper from the right block with 13:36 left.

The Rams increased their lead to 15-3 when Steve Canal tipped in a missed shot by Jason Harris with 12:26 left. The Minutemen answered with seven unanswered points, five coming off turnovers.

Rhymer tipped in a missed shot by Clarke, Monty Mack went coast-to-coast after a steal by teammate Mike Babul, and after an official's time out, Clarke played inside-out with Lari Ketner, before draining a three-pointer from the left wing. All of a sudden, it was 15-10, with 10:34 left. Fordham maintained a 2-4 point lead for most of the half, until Ajmal Basit swished a pair of foul shots in the last minute, 31 seconds, tying the score at 27-27. Fordham's Bevin Robin made two foul shots with three seconds left, accounting for the 29-27 halftime score.

TIP INS: UMass center Lari Ketner, who had nine points and five rebounds in 34 minutes, scored his 1,000th point last night. Ketner's basket with 7:21 to go in the first half, made the senior center the 32nd UMass player to reach 1,000 points, and the 13th in the 1990s. Ketner now has 1,006 points.

It was unofficial Pittsfield Mets Night here last night. Connell McShane, who was one of the Mets radio broadcasters last summer, is the play-by-play broadcaster on Fordham radio station WFUV-FM. McShane left tickets for Pittsfield media relations director Ethan Wilson, and account executive Jason Mancivilano.

The Minutemen leave today for the start of their long-distance road swing. UMass will play at Dayton tomorrow and then head to Austin for a game against the University of Texas on Saturday.

Fordham stuns reeling UMass
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News Staff Writer, 1/27/1999

AMHERST - The game started terribly for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team last night. It didn't seem possible that the finish could be even worse, but it was.

And the game at Mullins Center was ultimately decided when Fordham, a team not used to winning games like this, got the benefit of a stunning call by referee William Bush, who hit UMass coach Bruiser Flint with a technical foul with 40 seconds left. The call gave Fordham points, the ball and a huge push to a 66-60 victory.

Given the time and score, it was a highly questionable call. But also remember this: Fordham led 59-57 at the time after John Pugh's tip-in just before the technical. To say this game was decided by the technical is tempting, but also would be unfair to Fordham, which won its first Atlantic 10 road game since joining the A-10 in 1995 - on its 28th try.

UMass (8-10, 4-3 A-10) trailed 11-1 at the start, led 53-50 with 4 minutes left but still lost to Fordham (8-9, 2-6) for the first time since the Rams joined the league. The Minutemen will now head to Dayton for a game tomorrow night.

Flint was T'd up for leaving the coach's box after Pugh's tip-in gave Fordham the lead. Bevon Robin hit two free throws, and Scott Harmatuk swished another after the technical gave Fordham the ball.

Was Flint out of the box? No question about it, but it also wasn't new.

"Let's be realistic, I'm out of the box every game," said Flint, adding he wasn't even protesting a call at the time. "To be honest, I thought the officiating was awful. But so were we."

Fordham coach Nick Macarchuk, who said he didn't see what happened with the technical, was understandably elated with the outcome.

"Our guys - call it grit, toughness, but there's something about this group," he said. "We've been in the muck so long. Guys are in the locker room crying right now."

Mike Babul and Monty Mack battle Bevon Robin for the loose ball.
Sophomore guard Robin lit up UMass with 26 points and 6-foot-6 Greg Griffin had 10 rebounds as Fordham, the league's second-worst rebounding team, won the board battle 37-31.

The Rams also hit 24 of 27 free throws and in two games against UMass, made 46 of 52.

"It started for us at shootaround, at 11:45 a.m.," Flint said after watching a loss that very likely ended UMass' hopes of landing an NCAA tournament at-large berth. "I told guys we had to come to play."

Charlton Clarke's 18 points led UMass. Monty Mack had 13 and Chris Kirkland, playing 34 minutes with a right hand that was stitched up after an injury against Temple, added 11 with a team-high eight rebounds.

Fordham led 29-27 at halftime despite shooting 29.6 percent. The Rams led 11-1 before Kitwana Rhymer scored the first UMass basket at the 6:20 mark.

Lari Ketner reached the career 1,000-point mark by converting his own offensive rebound with 5:42 left in the first half. Ajmal Basit's two free throws finally lifted the Minutemen into a 27-27 tie with 1:33 left in the half, and Mack's 3-point shot gave UMass its first lead at 32-31 with 18:30 left.

Fordham hung in, tying the game at 53 on Robin's 3-point shot with 3:35 left. Teremum Johnson's steal and breakaway dunk gave the Rams a 55-54 lead with 2:31 to go.

That was bad, but the worst was yet to come. "This is a tough one, a real tough one," Flint said after looking up at the heavens and perhaps wondering if the man upstairs had deserted him. "I'll be the first one to admit that."

Flint technical turns game
By Jeff Thomas, The Springfield Union-News Staff Writer, 1/27/1999

AMHERST - It wasn't John Calipari and it wasn't Lenny Wirtz, and last night certainly wasn't the NCAA tournament, but the University of Massachusetts once again fell victim to the coaches' box.

A late-game technical foul brought back memories of another infamous call against UMass.
UMass head coach James "Bruiser" Flint was hit with a technical foul with 40 seconds left in the game for leaving the coaches' box, and it could not have come at a worse time for the Minutemen.

Fordham had just scored on an offensive tip-in by John Pugh that gave the Rams a 59-57 lead. As UMass inbounded the ball, referee William Bush hit Flint with the technical.

The call gave Fordham two free throws, which Bevon Robin hit, and the ball, which turned into another point as Scott Harmatuk made one of two free throws for a 62-57 lead with 34 seconds left.

Needless to say, Flint was not happy with the call. When the buzzer sounded to end the 66-60 contest in favor of the Rams, Flint rushed onto the floor to confront Bush, then tried unsuccessfully to get to the officials' locker room to say his piece.

"You saw it, what do you want me to say," Flint said after the game. "He said I was out of the box. I'm out of the box every game and I've been coaching for three years."

Flint, who could be in line for a fine from the league for his postgame comments about the officiating, didn't wait to hear from the league.

Right after the game he called Mickey Crowley, the head of officials for the Atlantic 10 conference, and told his side of the story.

Flint said he has had run ins with Bush before, including two years ago at Dayton where the Minutemen lost by two. Bush was also on the team that did UMass' 77-75 loss to the College of Charleston.

"It comes from guys who want to come into the game and their whole thing is not refereeing," said Flint. "These guys get caught up in what the coaches are doing."

Flint said he thought the whole game was poorly officiated but he didn't take all the blame away from his team, which allowed Fordham's first road win ever in the 3-plus years the Rams have been in the A-10.

"To be honest with you I thought the officiating was awful and so were we," Flint said.

"The ref was hounding him the whole way about being in the box but coach always comes out of the box," UMass senior Charlton Clarke. "(The call) was down the stretch and you can win over lose that way. It just happened that we got the short end of the stick."

The call was reminiscent of the one made against former UMass head coach Calipari in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in 1992.

In that game, UMass was facing Kentucky and got within two points when Wirtz hit Calipari for being out of the coaches' box. UMass went on to lose 87-77.

In the big picture maybe that one hurt UMass more, but this call came against a perennially weak opponent on UMass' home court.

Fordham adds to list of woes
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 1/27/1999

AMHERST - In nearly four full seasons in the Atlantic 10, Fordham had never won a league game outside of Rose Hill Gymnasium. Tuesday night at the Mullins Center, the Rams added to the University of Massachusetts basketball team's season-long list of woes, by making the Minutemen their first road victims, 66-60.

With UMass clinging to a 54-53 lead with just under 2:45 to play, Minutemen guard Charlton Clarke walked the ball up the court. After crossing half court, he looked to pass the ball to Monty Mack, but Fordham forward Teremun Johnson anticipated the move. He stole the pass and raced down the court for an uncontested dunk that put the Rams ahead, 55-54 and sent the Fordham bench into an excited frenzy.

"That was a huge play," said Fordham coach Nick Macarchuk. "If there was a place where our team just believed it could win, that was it."

Two free throws by Bevon Robin pulled Fordham ahead 57-54, but Mack answered with a 3-pointer to tie it, 57-57, with 1:19 remaining.

Jason Harris missed a chance to put Fordham ahead with a long 2-point attempt, but the Rams got the rebound. they missed two putbacks before a John Pugh tip-in gave Fordham a 59-57 lead.

After the ball dropped in, referee William Bush turned and slapped UMass coach Bruiser Flint with a technical foul for leaving the coaches' box. The Minutemen had struggled through most of the game and the call finished them off as the visitors got two free throws and the ball. Robin made both free throws, forcing UMass to foul. The Rams were solid from the line to close out the victory.

"I'm very proud of them," Macarchuk said. "For us to come up to Amherst and beat UMass, we're absolutely elated."

Chris "Condor" Kirkland takes flight over the Fordham defenders.
Robin led the Rams (8-9, 2-6 A-10) with 26 points and made all 12 free throws he took. Greg Griffin contributed 10 boards. Clarke's 18 led UMass (8-10, 4-3), while Mack scored 13 and Chris Kirkland had 11 points and eight boards. Lari Ketner, who picked up his 1,000th point, scored nine.

"It started at shootaround. I told the guys, 'If you don't come to play, Fordham is going to get us tonight,' " Flint said. "Guys still are not focused on coming out and playing every day. That's the kind of year it's been."

The Minutemen opened the game flat-footed and the Rams made them pay for it. With Robin leading the charge, Fordham opened with an 11-1 run. After the the teams traded baskets, UMass launched a 12-2 run to trail just 17-15. After that, both teams kept the margin small, and UMass pulled even at 27-27 with 1:46 left in the half. Robin made two free throws to give the Rams a halftime lead.

A running-one hander by Clarke and a Mack 3-pointer put UMass ahead, 32-31, after intermission. The Minutemen stayed ahead most of the half until the Rams mounted their late charge.

Flint challenged his team after the game.

"I told them, you have 10 games left," Flint said. "I asked my two seniors (Ketner and Clarke), 'How do you want to end your career?' We can win all 10 if we play hard. Guys gotta come with different attitudes."

UMass must win A-10 tourney
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 1/27/1999

AMHERST - The University of Massachusetts men's basketball season has come down to one week.

If the Minutemen are going to make the NCAA Tournament, they need to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament outright. That's it. There are no roundabout routes or back doors to an at-large bid. It's not going to happen.

Fordham is better, much better than it has ever been, but it still is a team that lost to a notably untalented Boston College squad earlier this year. So when Bruiser Flint picked up a technical foul with 40 seconds left in the game, and UMass' deficit went from two to six, the game was over - the season might not be far behind. Last night's game marked the most recent in what has become a long line of back-breaking losses.

Bruiser is livid after he gets slapped with the technical foul.
In Flint's defense, the technical was unnecessary. By the letter of the law, Flint was out of the coaches' box, but he'd been out of the coaches' box all game, and all season, for that matter. If a referee believes that the infraction is worthy of a whistle, then he should call it in the first half to establish the precedent. Truly great officiating comes when onlookers don't remember anything about it. Calling a technical with under a minute to go is showboating.

But the fact of the matter is, the the technical should have been inconsequential. UMass is better than the Rams and the game never should have been that close at the end, a fact Flint acknowledged after the game.

The preseason buzz centered around the Minutemen's size. In fact, the cover of the UMass media guide bills UMass as, "Where the Big Boys Play." But that hasn't come to pass. Instead, UMass is where some big guys - Ajmal Basit and Kitwana Rhymer - play fewer than 10 minutes many nights and others, Anthony Oates and Ronell Blizzard, don't play at all. With those bodies on the bench, the most consistent rebounder is Chris Kirkland, an undersized power forward. The Minutemen were outrebounded (37-31) and outscored inside (37-28) by a team that has been crushed on the boards by nearly every other opponent.

In a weird way, last night's game was a model for UMass' season. It started off badly, as the Minutemen trailed 11-1 just 5:29 into the game. Then they seemed to get their act together, drawing close before halftime and even leading for most of the second half before ending in disappointment.

Upsetting Kansas changed things for a while. Wanting to believe things would turn out okay, people believed that beating the Jayhawks was part of a bigger turnaround. Because UMass has made remarkable recoveries from poor starts before, it seemed plausible again. But last night made the Kansas win look like fool's gold.

At two games under .500, even making it to the National Invitation Tournament isn't a given. A team must have at least as many wins as losses to get in. Right now, that is hardly a given.

With the exception of Temple, UMass has faced the Atlantic 10's collection of also-rans so far, and are only 4-3. The slate gets harder the rest of the way. Thursday's game at Dayton takes place in what many consider the Atlantic 10's toughest building to play in. After that, UMass' league schedule includes Rhode Island twice, Temple, Xavier, St. Bonaventure and St. Joseph's, as well as George Washington and La Salle on the road. That's a tough road for anybody, and it isn't a schedule for a team in need of curing its ills.

It's time for a dose of reality. Several big-time programs that have spent time in the top 10 in the 1990s have also played in the NIT at least once, including Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, Connecticut, Syracuse and Georgia Tech. For now, joining those teams on that list may be the best UMass can hope for.

Flint pays for straying
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 1/27/1999

AMHERST - University of Massachusetts coach Bruiser Flint's jaw hung open as he looked at referee Will Bush.

Above the noise of the crowd, Flint's lips read, "Did you just call that on me?"

With UMass trailing 59-57 with 50 seconds left, Bush gave Flint a technical for being out of the coaches' box. As Bevon Robin stepped to the free-throw line to take the shots, an enraged Flint's lips read a collection of unprintables. Robin made both free throws and Fordham retained possession to nudge the game out of reach, as the Rams won their first ever Atlantic 10 road game, 66-60, against UMass Tuesday at the Mullins Center.

Officials had told Fint repeatedly during the game to get back in the coaches' box; still, the infraction is rarely called. Opposing fans like to point out to referees that Flint has ventured out of the box; before last night, however, he had never been called for it.

Flint was livid in the postgame press conference.

"That's what's wrong with officials," Flint said. "There's no repercussions. I'm out of the box every game. At the time, it's late in the game, I'm out there and I'm looking. I didn't even say anything to him. I was just worried about my team getting the ball inbounds and up the floor. I wasn't even paying attention to the referee. There are guys that come into the game that aren't worried about refereeing. Don't worry about the coach, go ref the game. These guys get caught up in what the coach is doing. That's refereeing, though, for you.

"I thought the officiating was awful," Flint continued. "They were tackling Lari (Ketner) the entire night and they never called it."

UMass was plagued by a technical for leaving the coaches' box one other memorable time. On March 26, 1992, in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, the Minutemen were gaining momentum on heavily favored Kentucky, when Lenny Wirtz teed-up UMass coach John Calipari for leaving the box. The call deflated the Minutemen, who lost, 87-67.

* * *

Lari Ketner became UMass' 32nd 1,000-point scorer and the 23rd player to accomplish that feat in less than three years. He entered the game needing just three points to achieve the milestone. After sinking one free throw early, with 5:43 remaining in the first half, Ketner grabbed an offensive rebound off his own missed shot and put it back in to reach the grand plateau.

The Atlantic 10 discourages its teams from stopping games to make 1,000-point presentations, so Ketner's feat wasn't announced until nearly two minutes later, when play stopped for a foul. He needs just seven points to move past Tyrone Weeks on UMass' career leaders chart.

* * *

With 18 points last night, Charlton Clarke is getting closer to the 1,000-point club himself. He has 972 points in his career. Monty Mack likely will join them early next year, as he currently has 757 in his two seasons.

Fordham Rams 66
Massachusetts Minutemen 60
at the Mullins Center

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Johnson         30   2-5   0-1   3-7  2  3    4
Griffin         30   2-8   2-2  2-10  1  4    6
Olivares        20   3-7   1-2   1-1  0  5    7
Harris          37  3-12   2-2   1-4  1  3   10
Robin           39  6-14 12-12   1-4  3  2   26
Lovett           3   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Carroll          7   0-2   0-0   1-1  0  1    0
Harmatuk         5   0-0   3-4   1-1  0  0    3
Canal           18   1-1   2-2   1-3  1  3    4
Mckamey          1   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Pugh            10   2-2   2-2   1-2  0  1    6
TOTALS         200 19-52 24-27 12-33  8 22   66

Percentages: FG-.365, FT-.889. 3-Point Goals:
4-17, .235 (Harris 2-7, Robin 2-9, Carroll 0-1).
Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 1 (Johnson).
Turnovers: 11 (Robin 5, Carroll 2, Olivares 2,
Johnson, Lovett). Steals: 9 (Griffin 4, Johnson
3, Canal, Harris).

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Babul           37   1-3   0-0   3-4  1  4    2
Kirkland        34   3-9   5-9   4-8  1  3   11
Ketner          34   2-5   5-8   1-5  2  3    9
Clarke          38  8-14   0-0   0-2  2  2   18
M Mack          31  5-13   0-0   0-2  1  3   13
Depina           6   0-1   0-0   0-1  0  0    0
Cruz             8   0-2   0-0   0-1  0  0    0
Rhymer           7   2-2   1-2   1-1  1  3    5
Basit            5   0-0   2-3   1-2  0  1    2
TOTALS         200 21-49 13-22 10-26  8 19   60

Percentages: FG-.429, FT-.591. 3-Point Goals:
5-12, .417 (Babul 0-1, Clarke 2-4, M Mack 3-6,
Cruz 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 4
(Ketner 2, Kirkland, Basit). Turnovers: 11
(Kirkland 6, Clarke 2, Ketner 2, Babul). Steals:
4 (Babul, Clarke, Cruz, M Mack).
Fordham            29   37  -   66
Massachusetts      27   33  -   60
Technical fouls: Massachusetts 1 (Bench).  A:
6,144. Officials: William Bush, Terrance Murphy,
Jack Sweeney.

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