Coverage from:
The Charleston (WV) Gazette
The Associated Press
The Daily Hampshire Gazette
The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail
The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail -- notebook

Cap to a great weekend
Marshall basketball team thumps UMass 88-66.
By Mike Whiteford, The Charleston Gazette Staff Writer, 12/6/1998

Marshall's Derrick Wright grabs a rebound in front of Ajmal Basit and Monty Mack.
HUNTINGTON - Marshall introduced two new starters, Globetrotter-like pregame warmups and a brand of intensity that seemed to satisfy coach Greg White's high standards.

Against a Massachusetts team that has flirted with Top 25 status in recent weeks, the Herd led from start to finish, eventually transforming a tight game into an 88-66 rout Saturday night at Henderson Center.

The convincing win thereby roused the Herd (4-2) from the mediocrity of a loss at Radford earlier in the week.

"I was just real pleased with everything from A to Z,'' said Herd coach Greg White. "Our execution was there. The key to this game was that we played harder than they did.''

The game also drew a crowd of 7,429, the largest of the season and far larger than the 5,573 who attended the Wake Forest game, which was last year's biggest. "I looked up, and there was a sea of people,'' said White.

The crowd was not only the biggest but the loudest, a carryover of Friday night's noisy festivities on the other side of 20th Street.

"The crowd was just wild,'' said Herd center Terrell McKelvy. "I loved that crowd. They helped us out a lot. They gave us that extra push.''

"When you come back home and have this intimidating crowd for the opposing team ...,'' said freshman J.R. VanHoose. "With the crowd like this, there's that much more emotion, and I think UMass was a little scared of it. We picked up the intensity a lot after the Radford game.''

VanHoose, who along with Deon Dobbs made his first start, scored Marshall's first six points, and the Herd built the lead to a first-half high of 34-21 at intermission.

And though the Herd raised the second-half lead to 42-26 with 17 minutes left, the Minutemen rallied, cutting the deficit to 49-44 with 9:34 remaining. The Herd then scored the next 11 points for a more comfortable 60-44 advantage with 7:57 remaining.

"The Herd played well. Greg's doing a great,'' said Massachusetts coach Bruiser Flint, who was called for a technical foul. "I knew this would be a tough place to play. We just didn't shoot the ball well.''

VanHoose and Dobbs, who had played only reserve duty so far this season, replaced Derrick Wright and Carlton King, respectively, in the starting lineup.

"I was just not pleased with the efforts and execution of the guys we had starting,'' said White. "Deon had been getting limited minutes, but he starts and does a terrific job. Not only did Deon do a good job, by J.R. VanHoose did a terrific job. But the kicker is and the most positive thing is that the guys who came off the bench produced.''

The Herd shot 51 percent from the floor, compared to UMass' 39.3, and five Herd players scored in double figures. Travis Young led the way with 20, Wright added 14, VanHoose 12 and Joda Burgess and King 11 each. VanHoose led Marshall in rebounds with eight.

The Herd also introduced a free-throw marathon, courtesy of the Minutemen's bruising style, as well as their late reliance on fouls as a means of stopping the clock. The Herd shot 46 free throws, hitting 33 of them, and the Minutemen converted 14-of-23 in the two-hour, 15-minute game.

The Globetrotter warmups will be a regular part of the Marshall pregame, said White.

"It was a tribute to Stu Aberdeen,'' he said, referring to the late Marshall coach, whose players, including White, performed a similar pregame ritual. "I loved him dearly. He was just a great man.''

BRIEFLY: The Herd will face Miami, the preseason Mid-American Conference favorite, at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Oxford, Ohio, and then will be idle until playing host to Rio Grande Dec. 17. ...On second thought, White canceled a 6 a.m. practice he had scheduled for Thursday in the aftermath of the 73-65 loss at Radford Wednesday night. Moments after the Radford loss, an angry White told reporters the team would practice at 6 a.m., or about four hours after the team bus arrived in Huntington. The practice was rescheduled for Thursday afternoon. .. At halftime, Herd football coach Bob Pruett was presented the Mid-American Conference championship trophy, symbolic of Friday's 23-17 victory over Toledo. ...UMass' Winston Smith was ejected for a flagrant foul against Young.

Herd tramples UMass, 88-66
From The Associated Press, 12/6/1998

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. AP - When Massachusetts started to fight back against Marshall, it was the smaller Herd team that threw the knockout punch.

Sophomore Travis Young led five Marshall players in double figures with 20 points and he held Massachusetts' leading scorer Monty Mack to a season-low 13 as Marshall beat the Minutemen 88-66 Saturday night.

Mack, averaging 24.3 points per game, was held to 4-of-16 shooting, including 2-of-10 3-pointers. "I just tried to contain him. A good player is going to get his shots," said Young, who made 6-of-11 shots and 7-of-8 free throws.

Trailing 49-38, UMass' bigger front line got three straight inside baskets to cut the deficit to five points with 9:25 left.

Marshall (4-2) then called a time-out.

"We talked about execution," Marshall coach Greg White said. "That's what basketball is all about. They're coming after you. Get off the ropes and meet them in the middle of the ring."

The Herd responded with an 11-0 run over the next 1:29.

Lari Ketner, UMass' 285-pound center who is considered one of the top players in the Atlantic 10, fouled out for UMass during the run and finished with 10 points. He received a technical foul arguing the call, and Marshall hit five free throws in an 11-second span for a 60-44 lead with 7:56 left.

UMass got no closer than 13 points afterward.

White said he talked with Rhode Island coach Jim Harrick for a half-hour Friday night about UMass, which plays in the same conference, the Atlantic 10. White was an assistant under Harrick at UCLA in 1996, the year after the Bruins won the NCAA championship.

White was able to come away with some good advice about UMass.

"We knew they (UMass) like to pound it inside. We took that away with double teams," White said.

Marshall played UMass (1-3) to a draw in rebounds and forced the Minutemen into 39 percent shooting from the floor, compared with 51 percent for Marshall.

Derrick Wright finished with 14 points for Marshall. Freshman J.R. VanHoose, the Kentucky high school player of the year last season, added 12. Joda Burgess and Carlton King each had 11.

Charlton Clarke added 13 and Ajmal Basit had 11 for UMass.

UMass was held to its lowest point total of the season in its third straight road game. The Minutemen now head home for a game against No. 1 Connecticut on Wednesday.

"Playing UConn wasn't a distraction coming into tonight," said UMass coach Bruiser Flint, who spent 20 minutes with his team in the locker room after the game.

Herd trample Minutemen, 88-66
By Thomas Whiteford, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, 12/7/1998

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The University of Massachusetts big men were being effectively double-teamed down low, and the UMass guards, particularly Monty Mack, were shooting poorly from outside.

Adding to the frustrations for Minutemen coach Bruiser Flint was a technical foul - a call Flint thought was an overreaction and one that, more or less, broke things open and helped Marshall University breeze to an 88-66 victory Saturday night.

With Marshall leading 55-44 at the 8:23 mark of the second half, UMass' Lari Ketner was called for a foul on Derrick Wright. The ensuing events included five Marshall free throws, increasing the lead to 60-44.

When the official called the foul on Ketner and asked Ketner to give him the ball, the UMass forward simply dropped it and allowed it to roll under the basket. The official, said Flint, told Ketner to pick it up. Ketner declined.

"The referee said the reason he gave him the technical is that he told him to go get it, and Lari walked away from it," said Flint. "I'm like, 'What are you talking about? That was a five-point play.' I said he doesn't have an obligation to go get the ball. I said you have to be bigger than that as an official."

Wright made both free throws, Joda Burgess sank both free throws on the technical and, after the Herd inbounded the ball, Burgess was fouled and hit one of two.

UMass' Ajmal Basit scored the game's next two baskets, cutting the deficit to 60-48 with 6:46 left, but the Minutemen never seriously threatened.

Mack was stifled all night by the Marshall D.
"They did a good job," Flint said of Marshall (4-2). "They packed it in inside. They gave us the perimeter shot, and we didn't knock it down. And we lost the ball, too. We went to the basket and they snapped a couple balls out of our hands."

Mack, who entered the game with a 24.3 scoring average and a 48.1 shooting percentage, sank only 4-of-16 shots for 13 points after scoring a career-high 34 in Tuesday's 77-75 loss at the College of Charleston. Overall, the Minutemen (1-3) shot just 39.3 from the field, compared with Marshall's 51.0.

Marshall coach Greg White, a former UCLA assistant under Jim Harrick, said Harrick helped him prepare for UMass. Harrick is a West Virginia native and former Marshall player.

"We double-teamed all night," said White. "They could not get the ball in. I thought Ketner got frustrated."

Using balanced scoring, the Herd built a 42-26 lead early in the second half and, after withstanding a UMass rally that cut the deficit to 49-44 with 9:34 left, pulled away again. "It was a hard-fought game," said Flint. "We just didn't have some things go our way."

Marshall breaks the Mack-Clarke trap.
In addition to the cold UMass shooting, the Minutemen were called for 32 fouls. Ketner and Mack fouled out, while Basit, Charlton Clarke and Ronell Blizzard each finished with four fouls. Winston Smith was ejected for a flagrant foul against Marshall guard Travis Young, but, apologized to Young before he left the court.

Clark and Mack led the Minutemen scoring with 13 points each, Basit added 11 and Ketner 10.

It was the third straight UMass loss - all on the road. A home game against No. 1 Connecticut awaits the Minutemen at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"We didn't worry about UConn," Flint insisted. "We've got three days before we play UConn."

Foul trouble looms large for UMass
By Andy Spradling, The Charleston Daily Mail Sportswriter, 12/7/1998

HUNTINGTON -- With 1:39 remaining, Massachusetts Coach Bruiser Flint leaned against the scorer's table here, quietly, solemnly watching as action was about to restart in his team's game against Marshall University on Saturday.

It looked as though Flint, just 33 years old, was wondering how another game got away from UMass.

One theory?

Adding three technicals, including one to Flint, UMass was almost the foul-a-Minute-men. With its aggressive, bumping, hacking defense, UMass totaled 32 personal fouls in its 88-66 loss to the Thundering Herd.

"That's the way we play," said Flint. "I guess that's why teams shoot a lot of foul shots against us. We get up in your face and bump and play aggressive.

"It's a matter of how the officials call it."

But UMass forgot to tone it down when the whistles heated up.

"They shot 46 foul shots (hitting 33)," said Flint. "We had foul trouble all night. That took our big guys out of the game."

MU's players expected nothing short of a war.

"It was very physical," said Deon Dobbs. "Each team was scrapping for position. It was very competitive. You're going to get that with the guys they have and the guys we have."

Travis Young agreed.

"Oh, yeah, it was physical," said MU's point guard. "I knew it was going to be physical. When we went up there last year it was physical. But we adjusted to that. But we're going up to Miami (Ohio), that's going to be a physical game.

"We're going to go to Miami and try to get a win there. We want to win the MAC."

MU travels to Oxford, Ohio, to take on the Miami RedHawks Tuesday at 7 p.m. WSAZ, channel 3, will televise the game live.

Another theory on the fall of the Minutemen? Road fatigue took its toll.

"The Herd played well," said Flint. "We didn't play well enough to win. We didn't overlook them. I knew it was going to be a tough place to play. We came here to play MU. We weren't looking ahead to Connecticut."

Flint had enough class to make light of the loss and the two-for-one deal. MU lost at UMass last year.

"I was stupid enough to come down here and play," said Flint. "A lot of people won't do that. My athletic director (Bob Marcum, a Marshall graduate) set the game up.

"He didn't make it tonight, did he? See that? He went with the football team. But they've got a good team. They're better than they were last year. They play with a lot more confidence.

"But they're coming up to the Mullins Center next year."

MU Coach Greg White watched MU fall to a weaker Radford team Wednesday in Virginia.

"The road is tough," said White. "I don't care who you're playing. Anytime, you better strap it on, hard hats, boots, the whole deal and come to play. Or you're going to lose.

"If the other team has greater intensity, you're going to lose."

The Herd did all it could to counter the aggressive UMass style.

"I had to play physical," said J.R. VanHoose, MU's freshman center. "With (Lari) Ketner, (Ajmal) Basit and (Anthony) Oates (all 6-foot-10), if you didn't play physical, they were going to throw you around all over the court.

"I tried to stand my ground and pick up the team whenever it needed picked up. It was a tough battle in there. Me a freshman at 220. You have to get up for the game. If you start getting afraid a couple of days before the game, you're going to get really passive.

"I really wanted to show the people what I could do. Hopefully we'll see this game on SportsCenter and just look back and go, `I can't believe we beat UMass.'"

Herd gets assist from Harrick
By Andy Spradling, The Charleston Daily Mail Sportswriter, 12/7/1998

HUNTINGTON -- It was a weekend full of nostalgia for Marshall University Coach Greg White.

Former MU basketball star Mike D'Antoni, coach of the Denver Nuggets and, like White, a Mullens High graduate, was in the Henderson Center stands for the Thundering Herd's 88-66 victory over Massachusetts on Saturday.

White even had his team dust off the old razzle-dazzle warmups in honor of the late MU coach Stu Aberdeen.

A White-era best crowd of 7,429 was on hand, raising the temperature and at times making deafening noise. But the phone call on Friday night may be what White remembers most about a grand weekend for the Thundering Herd and its fans.

White got the skinny on Massachusetts from his former UCLA boss, Charleston native Jim Harrick, whose Rhode Island Rams see a good deal of UMass in the Atlantic 10.

"I talked to Coach Harrick for about an hour last night," said White, who decided to pack his defense inside after conferring with Harrick.

The strategy paid off as the Minutemen's 6-foot-10, 285-pound Lari Ketner -- a top NBA prospect -- never got into an offensive rhythm.

Neither did Minuteman Monty Mack, who entered the game averaging 24.3 points per game.

"Mack had good looks, he just didn't shoot the ball well," UMass Coach Bruiser Flint said of his junior guard's 4-of-16 performance for 13 points.

"They packed it in inside and forced us to take the perimeter shot and we didn't knock it down. We'd drive to the basket and they'd slap balls out of our hands. They did a good job."

Freshman J.R. VanHoose and junior Deon Dobbs got their first starts of the year for the Thundering Herd. VanHoose's 6-9 presence coupled with 6-7 Terrell McKelvy's outstanding early-game hustle gave the Herd plenty of offensive opportunities.

And MU took advantage of them in improving to 4-2 on the season. UMass fell to 1-3.

"I had to do something," said McKelvy. "They're a lot bigger and stronger, but we're a lot faster. I wanted to redeem myself for last year, too. Last year I wasn't really ready.

"Last year I got beat up. This year I was prepared. I'm stronger. I knew what to look for. And it's a good thing that J.R. is on my side. He helped me out a lot. Ketner is a big kid. I just want to know what he eats."

Both McKelvy and VanHoose sensed Ketner was getting tired.

"He had to be tired,'' VanHoose said. "He was playing almost the whole game and beating and banging in there.

"It was pretty physical but if you come out and play your best, try to outsmart your opponent a little bit, you're going to come out on top. I tried to do that.''

Travis Young again led the Herd in scoring with 20 points. The sophomore also made four steals. Derrick Wright added 14. VanHoose 12 and Carlton King and Joda Burgess 11 each.

"Games like this one, you've got to get up for them," said Young. "You know there's NBA scouts out here, you know there's going to be a packed house, you've got the crowd behind you.

"It's the kind of game that a college player dreams of. I don't know why. Radford's different, Morehead's different. It may be maturity. But I just get up for these games.

"We needed that win, too. We needed it to bounce back."

With Marshall in charge most of the game, the Minutemen cut MU's lead to five with 9:21 remaining in the second half. Two Wright inside buckets and two VanHoose free throws stretched it to 11.

Ketner missed a shot and fouled Wright on the rebound, his fifth and final. The big center then dropped the basketball. As it slowly rolled away, an official gestured for Ketner to get the ball. He walked away and was hit with a technical.

"He said he just dropped the ball," said Flint. "The referee said that he told Lari to go get the ball and he walked away from him. And he gave him a technical. I was like, `What are you talking about?'"

"He isn't obligated to go get the ball. You've got to be bigger than that as an official. The kid fouled out so he was frustrated. So are you going to be like the kid? Or are you going to like the guy who is supposed to be in charge of the basketball game?

"He decided to be like the kid and give him the technical."

Five free throws later the lead was back to 16 and the Minutemen were through.

"Greg (White) is doing a great job," said Flint. "We didn't shoot the ball very well. And we made some tough mistakes at key points of the game. We got it down to five, missed a layup and threw the ball away.

"Then they get six points. They get the foul and the technical. That's when it killed us right there a little bit."

Massachusetts Minutemen 66
Marshall Thundering Herd 88
at Marshall

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Babul           23   2-6   0-2   0-0  1  1    4
Basit           30   4-9   3-6   5-9  0  4   11
Oates            4   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  1    0
Clarke          38   4-8   3-4   3-5  3  4   13
M Mack          35  4-16   3-3   0-3  1  5   13
Ketner          20   4-7   2-3   2-7  1  5   10
Depina           5   0-2   0-0   0-0  0  3    0
Denson           1   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Cruz            11   1-4   2-2   0-0  1  1    4
Smith           10   2-2   0-0   1-2  0  2    4
Kirkland         4   0-0   0-0   0-0  1  0    0
Blizzard        17   3-6   0-1   3-6  0  4    6
Rhymer           2   0-0   1-2   0-0  0  0    1
TOTALS         200 24-61 14-23 14-33  8 30   66

Percentages: FG-.393, FT-.609. 3-Point Goals:
4-19, .211 (Babul 0-1, Clarke 2-3, M Mack 2-10,
Denson 0-1, Cruz 0-2, Blizzard 0-2). Team
rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 2 (M Mack, Ketner).
Turnovers: 16 (M Mack 5, Basit 4, Babul 2, Depina
2, Blizzard, Clarke, Kirkland). Steals: 5 (Basit
3, Depina, M Mack).

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Dobbs           18   2-2   1-2   1-3  1  2    5
Vanhoose        29   3-8  6-12   4-8  0  3   12
Mckelvy         23   0-4   0-0   2-5  1  5    0
Young           36  6-11   7-8   1-4  2  3   20
Jackson         28   4-6   0-0   0-1  2  1    9
Burgess         18   2-5   5-6   0-2  2  1   11
Wright          14   5-9   4-4   3-6  2  1   14
Slay             6   0-0   0-0   0-0  1  2    0
Carafelli        2   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  1    0
Morton           8   2-3   2-3   0-0  0  1    6
King            18   1-1  8-11   1-3  1  0   11
TOTALS         200 25-49 33-46 12-33 12 20   88

Percentages: FG-.510, FT-.717. 3-Point Goals:
5-11, .455 (Young 1-4, Jackson 1-2, Burgess 2-4,
King 1-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 4
(Vanhoose, Mckelvy, Young, Burgess). Turnovers:
16 (Young 6, Mckelvy 3, Vanhoose 3, Jackson,
Morton, Slay, Wright). Steals: 11 (Young 4, King
3, Dobbs, Slay, Vanhoose, Wright).
Massachusetts      21   45  -   66
Marshall           34   54  -   88
Technical fouls: Massachusetts 2 (Ketner, Bench).
A: 7,429. Officials: Jim Ferrari, Mike Roberts,
Reed Johnson.

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