Coverage from:
The Boston Globe
The Boston Herald
The Daily Texan
The Austin American-Statesman
The Daily Hampshire Gazette
The Daily Hampshire Gazette - Clarke focus
The Springfield Union-News
The Springfield Union-News - Clarke focus
The Springfield Union-News - notebook


Yet another defeat leaves Flint, UMass at a loss
By Mark Blaudschun, The Boston Globe Staff, 2/1/1999

AUSTIN, Texas - They are headed south again, and Bruiser Flint doesn't know what more he can do.

Photo
''And,'' said the University of Massachusetts coach, shaking his head in dismay, ''it's not going to get any easier.''

Whether it gets any better for UMass depends on the Minutemen, who once again played shorthanded yesterday at the Ervin Center against the University of Texas.

Oh, not literally. All the Minutemen showed up. But figuratively?

That's a different matter, and it was a contributing factor in a 76-65 loss to the Longhorns, their third in their last four games, which dropped them back to two games under .500 (9-11).

''Without the right attitude, you can't win,'' said Flint. ''I told them that before the game.''

Most of the Minutemen seemed to have the right attitude. Guard Monty Mack did what he could to carry the team on his shoulders by pumping in a team-high 26 points. Center Lari Ketner had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and guard Jonathan DePina contributed 7 points and three assists in 19 minutes, a number that could increase considerably in the Minutemen's next game, Thursday night at the Mullins Center against Rhode Island.

Charlton Clarke? The senior captain and ostensible leader? He scored 4 points in 21 minutes but spent the last 16 minutes sitting on the bench. That was a huge development since the Minutemen made run after run at the Longhorns (12-9), who are one of the hotter teams in the Big 12, having won nine of their last 10, a streak that has put them on top of the conference.

''I don't even want to talk about that,'' said Flint when asked about Clarke's role. ''I'm still too upset.''

When asked if there were any more messages he could send to Clarke, who is just the latest Minuteman to lose his focus, Flint shook his head. ''It's been 20 games,'' he said.

Anyone looking for encouragement could look at Mack, who has become the floor leader of this not-so-merry band of Minutemen. During the first half, in which the Longhorns - particularly 7-foot sophomore center Chris Mihm (20 points, 17 rebounds) - pushed the Minutemen around, it was a Mack scoring surge of 9 points (all on 3-point shots) in less than a minute that pulled the Minutemen from 14 down to within 7.

''They made their runs, we had our runs too,'' said Mack, who, like the rest of the Minutemen, couldn't sustain the effort. ''They're very athletic and they get the ball off quick.''

UMass couldn't make a sustained run in the second half. Trailing by 9 at halftime, the closest it got in the second half was 7, with the Longhorns up, 70-63, with 1:25 left. But without Clarke, and with Mihm winning his battle underneath against Ketner, the Minutemen had no extra firepower available.

Texas is a far cry from the disjointed group that Rick Barnes inherited this season after replacing Tom Penders.

Slowly and steadily, Barnes, whose previous stops at Providence and Clemson produced NCAA Tournament teams, has gotten the Longhorns to play his style, his way, most of the time.

On Saturday, Barnes and Flint talked with each other. ''He told me his team had a terrible attitude when the season started and they lost eight of their first 11 games,'' said Flint, walking down a corridor in the Ervin Center after the game. ''But they turned it around.''

Flint was asked if he could expect the same from his team. ''We're still 5-3 in the Atlantic 10 and we've got a stretch of [three] home games,'' said Flint, who without a serious stretch run, looks like the coach of an NIT team at best. ''We've still got time.''

A few more losses, a few more no-shows, and that timeline will shrink even more.


UMass a longshot as Longhorns roll
By Mark Murphy, The Boston Herald, 2/1/1999

AUSTIN, Texas - Bruiser Flint keeps waiting for a change in attitude.

Sustained momentum. Something. Anything.

But all the UMass basketball coach gets is a season that has become more frustrating as the Minutemen's chances for an NCAA tournament berth diminish.

Ranked No. 24 in preseason, the Minutemen have won three straight games just once. Now they have lost three of their lost four, the latest a 76-65 setback to Texas yesterday.

Texas (12-9), meanwhile, has won 9-of-10 for first-year coach Rick Barnes.

UMass (9-11) fell behind by 14 points in the first half, cut the deficit to five early in the second half, but never could string together enough plays for a serious run.

Texas shot 50 percent to 40.6 percent for UMass and outrebounded the Minutemen, 42-33.

Flint was displeased with the effort, at least for a large part of the game.

``I told them we have to play physical. If we don't, we're in trouble,'' he said. ``I don't think we did in the first half. They (Texas) must have had six or seven points off foul shots when they pushed us under the basket.''

Texas hit 22-of-35 free throws, while UMass made 8-of-13.

Guard Monty Mack had another strong game for UMass, scoring 26 points while playing the entire 40 minutes.

Mack hit 4-of-9 3-pointers, including three within 56 seconds in the first half, cutting a 14-point lead to seven.

But Mack received no consistent help. Center Lari Ketner scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but eight of those points came in the first six minutes of the game.

Eleven NBA scouts attended the game to watch the 6-foot-10, 285-pound senior play against Chris Mihm, the Longhorns' improving 7-foot, 260-pound sophomore.

Mihm won the individual competition, finishing with 20 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, his sixth straight double-double. Mihm scored several times on jump shots over Ketner.

Ketner shot over Mihm for his first eight points, but Texas later sent players to double-team the UMass center, a strategy he did not expect.

``I thought they'd let us go at it,'' Ketner said. ``But he took advantage of the extra help.''

UMass guard Charlton Clarke scored only four points in 21 minutes. The senior captain played only four minutes in the second half. His removal is a subject Flint was not eager to discuss, although the coach did say he is disappointed in the attitude of some players.

``I don't want to get into it,'' Flint said. ``We're 20 games in . . .''

Clarke's replacement, Jonathan DePina, had seven points in 19 minutes, breaking down the Texas defense in the second half by driving to the basket. That just made Flint wonder.

``I want to know where that was 18 games ago,'' Flint said.

Barnes was bewildered like that when his team was 2-7, but now the Longhorns are in first place in the Big 12 at 7-1 and hoping to gain an invitation to the NCAAs. Maybe the one that once was supposed to go to UMass.

``I told them before the game that this was going to be like an NCAA game,'' Barnes said. ``And that nothing was going to be given to them.''


Standing tall
Big men Mihm, Muoneke lead Texas to nonconference win over UMass
By Mike Finger, The Daily Texan Staff, 2/1/1999
The Daily Texan is the University of Texas' student newspaper.

All afternoon on Sunday, Lari Ketner had Chris Mihm right where he wanted him.

Ketner, Massachusetts' imposing center, had said going into his team's game against Texas that his goal was to keep Mihm as far away from the basket as possible. And sure enough, Ketner's presence kept the Longhorns' big man stranded on the baseline and heaving up jumpers from the outside.

Trouble was, Mihm kept making all the shots.

Led by a dominating 20-point, 17-rebound performance from their ever-improving sophomore center, the Horns overpowered Massachusetts to earn a 76-65 victory in a nationally televised matchup at the Erwin Center.

"[Mihm] does a lot of things that coaches don't want big men to do," Ketner said. "He's got a lot of moves. I've played against [NBA lottery picks] Tim Duncan and Raef LaFrentz, and he's right up there."

Mihm, who posted his sixth-straight double-double after struggling early in the season, delivered one of the best performances of his young career against the Minutemen. Utilizing a combination of baseline jumpers and quick post moves, Mihm combined with forward Gabe Muoneke to wear down an imposing UMass frontcourt.

"Their inside defense is really good, but we kept working inside, making our shots and getting to the free-throw line," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "It was a very physical game inside."

After drawing within five points in the first minute of the second half, UMass was never able to string together a run long enough to take control. While the Horns didn't exactly coast their way to the win, they were consistent enough to stave off every surge by the Minutemen, including stretches of torrid shooting display by star guard Monty Mack, who finished with a game-high 26 points.

Texas took the momentum for good during a sequence that began with 16:24 remaining in the game. After Mihm missed a short jumper, Muoneke soared in over two defenders to grab the rebound and slam the ball home in one motion. Seconds later, Muoneke delighted the crowd of 9,125 again with a tomahawk jam on a fast-break pass from Mihm.

A driving layup by Chico Vazquez then gave Texas an 11-point lead on its next possession, and the Minutemen never again pulled closer than seven.

"We really came in believing that this was an NCAA-type game," said Muoneke, who racked up 18 points before fouling out. "We knew we couldn't afford to be lax about it, because UMass is a good team and they're going to make a run."

Texas (12-9) entered the contest with a one-game lead in Big 12 play, and although the win didn't count in league standings, it was the sort of game that players realize will have a significant impact when NCAA tournament selections are made in March.

The Minutemen, who are still vying for an Atlantic 10 championship, fell to 9-11.

"The goal all season has been to make the tournament," Mihm said. "We're trying to go out every night and get ours when we can."

The Horns certainly came out looking like a team with something to prove in the first half, as they pounded the ball into the front line of Mihm, Muoneke and Kris Clack, who combined for 29 points on 12-of-24 shooting before the break. A stifling defensive effort enabled Texas to take a 14-point lead early on, but star Mack drained three consecutive three-pointers to pull the Minutemen within 38-29 at halftime.

"We had our opportunities, but you've got to play physical against this team and we didn't do that," UMass coach Bruiser Flint said. "We got pushed around a little bit today."


Texas shoves around UMass
Win is Texas' ninth in its last 10 games
By Randy Riggs, The Austin American-Statesman, 1/31/1999

It definitely was a super Sunday for Chris Mihm.

Photo
Texas' Chris Mihm won the battle of the centers with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
The University of Texas' young center put together what he called his best game of the season as the Longhorns held off Massachusetts 76-65 before 9,125 fans in the Erwin Center. The 7-foot sophomore certainly didn't get any argument from UMass Coach Bruiser Flint.

"He's going to make a lot of money one day, I'll put it that way," Flint said.

Indeed, Mihm was money in the bank Sunday. He equalled his career high of 17 rebounds and pumped in 20 points with a variety of shots away from the basket for his sixth straight double-double and 11th of the year.

Power forward Gabe Muoneke also confounded the Minutemen around the basket with 18 points, and William Clay snapped his long funk with 12 points as the Longhorns continued on their red-hot roll.

The victory was Texas' ninth in the last 10 games to improve its mark to 12-9. The Big 12-leading Longhorns resume conference play Wednesday when they play host to archrival Texas A&M. Flint's Minutemen, despite 26 points from guard Monty Mack, dropped to 9-11.

In his much-anticipated matchup against UMass widebody Lari Ketner, who packs 285 pounds on a 6-foot-10-inch frame, Mihm withstood Ketner's early offensive barrage and wound up winning the battle. Ketner scored six points over Mihm in the first four minutes before cooling off when Texas began double-teaming him with a guard dropping down.

Ketner finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

UMass's plan was to force Mihm off the block. In that, the Minutemen succeeded. But Mihm checkmated that move by hitting numerous fadeaway jumpers from the baseline and wing.

"They forced me to take more long-distance shots, but this was one of those games where I was really feeling it," Mihm said. "This definitely was my best game of the season."

"He does what a lot of coaches don't like their big men doing -- take fadeaways from the baseline," Ketner said. "And he was making them."

Added Flint: "He was making those baseline jumpers from 10 to 12 feet out, with a guy in his face. What do you do about that?"

Mihm had to make them because the Minutemen never went away despite getting down by double digits on many occasions. Kris Clack was held scoreless in the second half after getting his left eye scratched inadvertently by Mack late in the first half, but the Longhorns also got a much-needed boost by Clay down the stretch.

The junior guard, who had been held to single-digit scoring in the last five games, came off the bench to score eight of his 12 points over a four-minute stretch of the second half. He also did a nice defensive job on Mack, who made just four of 11 shots after the break.

"I'm just trying to play my role," Clay said. "I've been struggling lately, so I'm glad they still have confidence in me."

"Will Clay really hurt us," Flint said. "He made two big baskets for them with the shot clock running down. Those were huge."

Effectively pounding the ball inside, primarily to Muoneke, the Longhorns led by as many as 14 points in the first half. But three three-pointers in a 56-second span by Mack helped UMass come back and trail 38-29 at the break.

Muoneke had 10 first-half points, most coming by taking advantage of his quickness for spinning layups from the baseline and lane. Mihm also had a big half, coming within one rebound of a double-double by the break with 12 points. He also made all four of his free throws, a weakness lately, and finished the game eight of 12 from the line.

"I think he's going to become a great free-throw shooter. He's got to because he's going to continue to get fouled a lot," Coach Rick Barnes said after UT continued its prolific free-throw shooting, making 22 of 35 compared to eight of 13 for UMass.

The Minutemen, who trailed 32-18 with five minutes left in the half before Mack heated up, pulled within six points, 35-29, on a three-on-one layup by Mack with 2:18 left. But they didn't score again in the half.

NOTE -- In advance of Wednesday's home game against Texas A&M, a pep rally for the Longhorn men's and women's teams will be held at 8:45 p.m. today on the campus' Main Mall.


Texas' middle man too tough
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 2/1/1999

AUSTIN, Tex. - With 2:20 left in the game and the University of Massachusetts trailing 68-61, Lari Ketner backed in on Texas center Chris Mihm in his quest to cut the Longhorn lead to five points. As he wheeled and tossed up a shot, Mihm had him timed perfectly and swatted the shot out. With it went UMass' hopes for a comeback.

When Texas pushed the ball up the floor, Jonathan DePina fouled Ivan Wagner. The Longhorn point guard made both free throws to extend the lead back to nine points with 2:06 left. The Minutemen wound up losing, 76-65, Sunday at the Frank Erwin Center.

Photo
Chris Kirkland goes up strong over Texas' Gabe Muoneke.
"It was a great college basketball game," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "It was really a hard-fought win for us because I have a lot of respect for the way they play."

Mihm's block capped an afternoon of Texas (12-9) having answers every time UMass (9-11) tried to make the game close.

"When times were tough, they came through," said Minutemen guard Monty Mack. "They hit some big shots. When we made our runs, they made runs, too."

Mihm and power forward Gabe Muoneke provided many of those answers. Mihm delivered a 20-point, 17-rebound, two-block effort, while Muoneke added 18 points.

"This is definitely the best game I've played this year, especially going up against one of the top centers in Lari Ketner," Mihm said.

"Mihm ... made some big shots," said UMass coach Bruiser Flint. "He shot the shots we wanted him to shoot, which were away from the basket. But he made them. He's probably the best offensive big man we've played all year. He has nice skills. He's going to make a lot of money someday."

Ketner came up on the short end of the head-to-head battle, but delivered solid numbers, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

The Longhorns tried to single-cover Ketner early in the game and he burned them for eight of UMass' first 10 points, forcing Texas to move a guard over to double-team him.

The strategy worked and sparked a 16-4 run for the Horns, which gave them a 28-14 advantage with just over eight minutes to play in the first half.

Mack tried to turn things around for the Minutemen, scoring the first 13 points of a 15-7 run (including a trio of 3-pointers) to cut the deficit to 34-27. Mack finished with a game-high 26 points. His onslaught helped keep the margin within single digits for the rest of the half. Neither team scored in the final minute of the half as a tip-in by Mihm with 1:07 put Texas up 38-29 at halftime.

"I didn't think we battled the way we should have battled in the first half and got ourselves in a hole," Flint said. "We had our opportunities, but when you're playing against a good team on the road and you don't capitalize, they beat you."

The teams played almost evenly in the second half, but UMass couldn't make up the difference. Flint inserted DePina for most of the second half in place of Charlton Clarke in hopes of sparking the team.

The Horns built their lead back to double figures led by DeJuan Vasquez, Muoneke and Mihm, who made the score 55-41. The lead fluctuated from as high as 14 to as low as seven until the Minutemen were forced to foul with time running out.

"When we decided to battle, it was a better game," Flint said.

The game was UMass' final nonconference contest of the season. The Minutemen, who at 5-3 are in second place in the Atlantic 10 East, return to their A-10 slate Thursday, when they play host to Rhode Island.

"We have eight games in the league now," Flint said. "We're still 5-3 in the league. We have to take advantage of those things."

"If we just keep doing well in the conference, we'll have a good shot," said DePina.


Clarke's poor attitude benched
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 2/1/1999

AUSTIN, Tex. - Four minutes into the second half, University of Massachusetts coach Bruiser Flint had seen enough. Disappointed with the attitude and play of senior point guard Charlton Clarke, Flint pulled him off the floor and replaced him with Jonathan DePina.

Photo
Charlton Clarke saw limited action as Bruiser sat him down early in the second half.
"I'll put it this way. Temple says winning is an attitude. If you don't have the right attitude, you can't win," Flint said.

While the move may have been meant to get Clarke's attention, DePina used it as an opportunity. In his best outing since the season-opener against Niagara, the sophomore point guard played the final 16 minutes of the game and impressed his coach.

"He's played great the last two games," Flint said. "I just want to know where that was at 18 games ago. He pushed the ball up. He played well defensively. He played the way I think Jonathan DePina can play."

DePina finished with seven points on two drives to the basket and a 3-pointer from the left corner. He turned the ball over just once and picked up three assists.

"I feel a lot better out there," DePina said. "Coach has given me a lot of confidence. He told me just to play my game and if I play hard it should be all right."

"He took it in (to the lane more)," said senior center Lari Ketner. "He sucked the defense in and was able to kick it out. That's how Monty was able to get some shots in the lane."

DePina can relate to Clarke's predicament. Struggles against St. Bonaventure and Fordham made him wonder at times if he was going to be a permanent resident in Flint's doghouse.

"(I wondered) a little bit," DePina said. "I just kept playing, practicing hard and when I got out there I tried to do my best whenever I got a chance. I knew I'd be all right. I never really got down on myself. I just went out there and pushed the ball."

As the game went on, DePina felt his teammates' confidence growing.

"Sometimes when they drive, they really don't look to kick to me, but today they kicked to me and told me to just keep going and gave me a lot of confidence," DePina said.

Clarke's play has been erratic lately. It's been just 12 days since Clarke had 19 points, nine assists and no turnovers, and six days since he dropped 18 points on Fordham. But six turnovers against Dayton Thursday and a tough first half today caused Flint to make a change.

"I don't even want to get into it," Flint said. "It's 20 games in, I shouldn't be giving messages like that."


Texas loss big for Minutemen
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News Staff Writer, 1/31/1999

AUSTIN, Texas - This was a loss that had severe tournament ramifications. The National Invitation Tournament, that is.

The NIT is what the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team is playing for, and even those scaled-down prospects are not bright. Yesterday's 76-65 non-conference loss to Texas at Erwin Center dropped UMass to 9-11 with eight games remaining, and matched last year's number of losses with a full month of this season still to play.

"When we decided to battle, it was a better game," UMass coach Bruiser Flint said after the loss before 9,125 fans. "But we got pushed around a little bit in the first half."

That's when Texas (12-9), which has won three straight and nine of its last 10, vaulted to a 28-14 lead. The closest UMass could get after that was 38-33 with 19 minutes left.

But Texas presented too many matchup problems. Seven-foot sophomore center Chris Mihm scored 20 points with 17 rebounds, and forward Gabe Muoneke scored 18, wearing out Chris Kirkland and a few along Minutemen defenders along the way.

Junior guard William Clay came off the bench for 12 points. The best UMass response, as usual, came from Monty Mack in the form of 26 points, while Lari Ketner battled Mihm and managed 16 points with 11 boards.

"Mihm had a nice fadeaway shot and a nice pullup," said Ketner, reluctant to proclaim the sophomore the most skilled opposing center he's faced, but complimentary nonetheless. "He uses his size well. He's good."

"He's probably the best offensive big guy we've seen this year," said Flint, taking the praise a step further. He shot the shots we wanted him to take - away from the basket - but he made them. He's going to make a lot of money (in the NBA) someday."

To reach the NCAA tournament, UMass probably has to win the Atlantic 10 tournament and earn the automatic berth. If that doesn't happen, an NIT bid is possible, but teams that finish under .500 cannot qualify.

The next game is Thursday at home against Rhode Island. The eight remaining regular-season games, all within the Atlantic 10, include two with Rhody and one each against Temple, Xavier and George Washington.

One bright spot yesterday was backup point guard Jonathan DePina, who played 19 minutes with seven points and three assists after Flint benched starter Charlton Clarke in the second half.

"Jonathan took it in and sucked in the defense," Ketner said. "He changed the complexion of the game. That's how Monty got a couple of open shots."

Mack kept UMass in the game for the first half, scoring 15 points as the Minutemen trailed 38-29 at the break. He conceded that playing from behind added to the difficulty.

"When you're losing, you've got to keep looking for good shots and keep your composure," he said. "I think we did that in spurts. Sometimes we did, but sometimes we didn't."

Ketner scored eight points in the first six minutes, but shot 4 for 11 after halftime.

"The first couple of times down the floor, they played me one-on-one," he said. "Then (Texas) coach (Rick) Barnes started doubling down, and he (Mihm) took advantage of the help."

Texas shot 50 percent, a figure lowered by the 3-for-11 shooting of forward Kris Clack, who began the day matched up against UMass' Mike Babul. But the Longhorns earned a 42-33 edge on the boards, which helped keep UMass at bay despite periodic Minutemen runs.

"I told our team before the game that this was going to be like an NCAA tournament game," Barnes said. "Clay stepped up, Muoneke was good, and Mihm was tremendous."


Flint makes point to guard
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News Staff Writer, 2/1/1999

AUSTIN, Texas - The final 16 minutes of yesterday's game at Erwin Center was played without the team captain and starting point guard on the floor. He wasn't in foul trouble, he wasn't injured and he wasn't tired.

Instead, Charlton Clarke was sitting and Jonathan DePina was playing because University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Bruiser Flint had it with Clarke, whose inability to run the team the way Flint wants it run came to a head during the 76-65 loss to Texas.

"Jonathan has played well the last two games," said Flint, much more willing to talk about DePina than Clarke yesterday. "He won't score a lot, but he took it to guys and put pressure on them. I just want to know where that was for the first 18 games."

DePina's season has been a nightmare, not only for the 5-foot-9 sophomore but for Flint, who envisioned flexibility with DePina at the point and Clarke and Monty Mack on the wings in 3-guard situations. Only in the last game and a half has DePina shown some of the promise he exhibited as a freshman.

"I feel a lot better," said DePina, who scored seven points with three assists and only one turnover in 19 minutes. "The coach has told me just to play my game. I wasn't pushing the ball like I can."

He played the final 16 minutes while Clarke, who scored four points with three assists and two turnovers in 21 minutes, watched from the bench. Clarke shot 2 for 7, going 0 for 5 on 3-pointers.

It came on the heels of his 0-for-5 showing against Dayton Thursday, when he logged five assists and six turnovers.

Clarke, who had scored 18 points against Fordham last Tuesday, was not available for comment after the game. Flint was available, but didn't want to comment about Clarke, which was a statement in itself.

"I don't even want to get into it," said the coach, who understands that point guard has never been Clarke's natural position, but seems tired of accepting that as an excuse. He dissatisfaction became clear when asked if playing DePina down the stretch was a message to Clarke.

"It's 20 games into the season," Flint said. "I shouldn't have to be sending messages."

DePina seems to have gotten Flint's message from halftime of Thursday's game at Dayton. In the first half, he'd committed two turnovers in one minute of play. But he was better in the second half and overtime of the 59-57 win, though his play on the final possession of regulation - when he controlled the ball for fear of a game-losing turnover, rather than aggressively seeking a shot - indicated a lingering fear of failure.

"If I go too fast, I can get out of control, but I've also got to play fast," DePina said. "But (against Texas yesterday), I just went out and played and forgot about everybody."


Ketner OK with expected ruling
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News Staff Writer, 2/1/1999

AUSTIN, Texas - Lari Ketner said the idea of returning to the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team next season was only an option, never a plan.

Now it looks like the option won't be there, but since he didn't really expect to be back, anyway, the senior center said he's not worried that the NCAA is expected to reject a petition to restore his fourth year of eligibility.

"I've thought about it a little bit, but not that much," said Ketner, who scored 16 points with 11 rebounds in yesterday's 76-65 loss to Texas at Erwin Center. And people back home (in Philadelphia) asked me if I wanted to go through the same thing again with being double and triple-teamed. Now I just want to finish out the year, play well, play recklessly and shoot well."

And then, Ketner expects to be drafted by the NBA, where he hopes single defensive coverage will make his life easier. The waiver request is expected to be denied because Ketner's case is similar to that of Temple guard Rasheed Brokenborough, whose appeal was rejected last week by the NCAA.

Ketner said he always viewed the NBA as his probable destination next season, but figured it didn't hurt to explore the fourth-year college option as a backup. A decision on his appeal is expected soon, but he said the NCAA's intransigence hurts someone like Brokenborough more than it does him.

"I have a chance to play somewhere next year," said Ketner, who sat out for academic rules as a freshman. "But he might not, so it seems more unfair to him."

UMass based its waiver request on a belief that restrictions limiting academic non-qualifiers to three seasons are being phased out, anyway. Current rules allowed former UMass forward Tyrone Weeks to regain his fourth season, but do not allow Ketner the same chance because Weeks was a partial academic qualifier, and Ketner was not.

Partial qualifiers reach required freshman academic levels in either high school curriculum or entrance board examinations, but not both. But since Ketner is expected to graduate on time, O'Malley said that proves Ketner's dedication to academics and should earn him a waiver.

LOCAL TIES:

A banner at Erwin Center salutes the 1998 induction of Texas women's basketball coach Jody Conradt to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield . . . The father of UMass football receiving star Jimmy Moore, James, was on hand as a Texas campus policeman . . . Dan Ahearn of Northampton is a Texas assistant athletic director.

BOXED IN:

Texas fans chanted "off the floor" to UMass coach Bruiser Flint at the end of yesterday's game, but for the second straight game since picking up a costly technical for leaving the coach's box against Fordham, Flint avoided problems with the officials. Flint said after Thursday's Dayton game that his assistants help keep him in the vicinity of the coach's box.

NUMBERS GAME:

Flint was denied his 50th career victory yesterday. . . UMass is now 2-2 against Big 12 teams under Flint and 12-4 on ABC telecasts in the 1990s.


Massachusetts Minutemen 65
Texas Longhorns 76
at Texas

MASSACHUSETTS (65)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Kirkland        34   2-5   3-4   1-6  2  5    7
Babul           27   1-3   0-1   1-3  0  1    2
Ketner          32  8-16   0-0  5-11  1  4   16
Clarke          21   2-7   0-0   0-0  3  2    4
M Mack          40  9-23   4-4   1-6  2  3   26
Depina          19   3-8   0-2   0-0  3  2    7
Cruz             3   0-1   0-0   1-1  1  2    0
Rhymer          15   1-1   1-2   0-3  0  4    3
Basit            9   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  3    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 26-64  8-13  9-30 12 26   65
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.406, FT-.615. 3-Point Goals:
5-19, .263 (Kirkland 0-1, Clarke 0-5, M Mack 4-9,
Depina 1-3, Cruz 0-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked
shots: 4 (Kirkland 3, Ketner). Turnovers: 10 (M
Mack 3, Clarke 2, Ketner 2, Depina, Kirkland,
Rhymer). Steals: 5 (Kirkland 2, Ketner, M Mack,
Rhymer).

TEXAS (76)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Muoneke         31  9-16   0-3   2-4  0  5   18
K Clack         33  3-11   2-2   3-8  1  0    9
Mihm            36  6-10  8-12  4-17  2  3   20
Wagner          36   1-2   3-5   0-1  3  2    5
Vazquez         24   3-5   0-0   0-1  0  3    7
Mccolpin         4   0-0   3-4   0-0  0  0    3
Carter          11   1-1   0-1   1-2  1  1    2
W Clay          25   3-7   6-8   2-4  1  1   12
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 26-52 22-35 12-37  8 15   76
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.629. 3-Point Goals:
2-10, .200 (Muoneke 0-1, K Clack 1-3, Wagner 0-1,
Vazquez 1-2, W Clay 0-3). Team rebounds: 5.
Blocked shots: 4 (Mihm 2, Muoneke, Carter).
Turnovers: 12 (K Clack 4, Muoneke 2, Wagner 2,
Carter, Mihm, Vazquez, W Clay). Steals: 8 (Wagner
3, K Clack 2, Carter, Mihm, W Clay).
__________________________________
Massachusetts      29   36  -   65
Texas              38   38  -   76
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 9,125. Officials: Tom
Harrington, Scott Thornley, Steve Welmer.

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