Coverage from:
The Springfield Union-News
The Springfield Union-News - notebook
The Springfield Union-News - column
The Boston Herald
The Buffalo News
The Daily Hampshire Gazette
The Daily Hampshire Gazette - column

Massiah's 3-pointer deals UMass heartbreaking loss
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News Staff Writer, 1/14/2001

OLEAN, N.Y. - St. Bonaventure men's basketball coach Jim Baron said he just had a gut feeling about the final play.

He was right, and it sent the University of Massachusetts to a gut-wrenching loss.

St. Bonaventure forward Vidal Massiah, never before known as a a 3-point shooting threat, hit a 3-pointer with 3.2 left seconds to give the Bonnies a 66-65 Atlantic 10 Conference victory at the sold-out Reilly Center. The heartbreaking setback ended a two-game winning streak by UMass, which had taken a 65-63 lead with an 8-1 run.

UMass (4-10, 2-1 Atlantic 10) trailed 62-57 with 2:33 left. But the Minutemen rallied, only to see Massiah - a 6-foot-6 junior who entered this season with one 3-point basket in 21 tries - beat them at the end.

UMass, which hasn't won in Olean since 1997, lost a seven-point lead to a 16-4 Bonnies' run that made it 62-57 with 2:33 left. But the Minutemen battled back, and led 64-63 on two free throws by center Kitwana Rhymer (17 points, seven rebounds) with 49.8 seconds left.

Point guard J. R. Bremer missed two foul shots with 23.5 seconds left, and Shannon Crooks - a deadly clutch foul shooter lately - hit the first of two free throws. UMass coach Bruiser Flint said he was prepared to substitute Winston Smith for defense if Crooks had hit the second shot.

But Crooks missed, and after the Bonnies worked the ball around the perimeter, Massiah calmly connected from behind the foul circle. He's now 7 for 20 from behind the arc this season, including 2 for 3 yesterday.

"We knew UMass was really going to key on Kevin (Houston) and J.R.,'' said Baron, who called the play for Massiah. "It was really just a gut feeling I had.''

"It meant a lot - coach said they might double-team J.R. and Kevin and they did,'' said Massiah, who scored 10 points. "He said if I got it to shoot it, and when he says that, I know he has confidence in me.''

Asked if he looked for Houston, Massiah said "no, I was shooting. Before, I'd think too much, but this time I decided to shoot without thinking.''

The Minutemen had one more chance, and it produced some mild controversy. After a timeout, Smith's pass to Monty Mack at halfcourt was swatted away, but not before Mack had been sent sprawling in a collision.

"I know you don't usually get that call, but they ran him over,'' Flint said. "That's supposed to be a foul.''

Instead, the ball popped loose. Smith grabbed it, but his desperate half-court shot was well short. St. Bonaventure (9-5, 1-2) snapped a four-game losing streak.

Mack also injured his left knee on the final play, and writhed in pain for several minutes.

"It hurt pretty bad at first, but it feels pretty good now,'' Mack said after the game. He does not expect to miss any action.

With his back to the defenders, Mack also wouldn't say a foul should have been called.

"I don't know,'' he said. "They didn't call it, so I guess it wasn't a foul.''

Mack scored 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting that matched his best of the season. He was 4 for 7 on 3-pointers.

Houston scored 20, Bremer 15 and center Peter Van Paassen 15 for St. Bonaventure, which also grabbed 11 of its 16 offensive rebounds in the second half. While Massiah had the touch, his teammates combined for 1-for-13 shooting on 3-pointers.

Brand's second-half play encourages Flint
UMass notebook
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News Staff Writer, 1/14/2001

OLEAN, N.Y. - A better second-half effort by Micah Brand was encouraging, but not quite enough to produce a University of Massachusetts men's basketball victory.

"I realized (St. Bonaventure center) Peter Van Paassen was in foul trouble, and they were doubling up on (UMass center) Kit Rhymer,'' said Brand, who had 11 points and four rebounds in a 66-65 loss at the Reilly Center. "I also had guys 6-6 or 6-7 on me.''

Brand, a 6-11 sophomore, was much more aggressive in the second half, and it nearly helped deliver a victory. But oddly, UMass is 0-6 in games that see Brand score in double figures.

"We should have been up by more at the end, but we had a couple of turnovers that cost us,'' Brand said. "St. Bonaventure also went out and got second and third opportunities off the boards.''

With Van Paassen struggling with fouls, UMass coach Bruiser Flint saw a chance to exploit Brand's skills against a smaller Bonnies' frontline.

"We thought we had a clear advantage at that position, so we starting running plays for Micah,'' Flint said.

With Brand coming alive in the second half, St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron briefly tried defending him with Orion Garo, a 6-9, 235-pound center from Albania who played the past two years as an amateur in Italy. It was Garo's first appearance after becoming eligible, which followed visa problems and an NCAA ruling that he must be treated as a transfer.

Brand made some big plays that were quickly forgotten with the defeat. With 3:09 left and UMass trailing 58-57, Rhymer missed two free throws but Brand battled two Bonnies for a loose ball, which went out of of bounds for a UMass possession.

Brand also wrestled away a defensive rebound with 1:04 left and UMass losing 63-62.

GOOD-BYE: UMass senior guard Monty Mack said he won't be sorry to say so long to the Reilly Center.

"I never won here, so I wish the guys the best of luck here,'' said Mack, who was 0-4 in Olean. "We don't really like coming here. I'm glad we got it out of the way early.''

Mack felt yesterday's loss could be attributed to UMass' 17 turnovers.

"Maybe (graduated Bonnies' ball-hawker) Tim Winn came back to haunt us,'' Mack said. "But a lot of our mistakes were unforced, too.''

UMass point guards Shannon Crooks and Jonathan DePina combined for three points, six assists and 10 turnovers. Crooks turned the ball over seven times.

BOARD BATTLE: St. Bonaventure owned a 34-33 rebounding edge, and held Rhymer without a carom in the second half. With the 6-11 Van Paassen on the bench with foul trouble, Rhymer had seven rebounds in the first half.

The Bonnies had lost four straight (three on the road) until yesterday. They had been outrebounded in each of those games, by an average of 5.5 per game.

SPRINGFIELD SOON: UMass is home against Dayton Thursday, then plays Duquense at the Civic Center Saturday night. That will be the Minutemen's first game in Springfield in six years.

They also play St. Bonaventure again, a Mar. 3 game at the Mullins Center that concludes the regular season.

ET CETERA: Vidal Massiah's winning 3-pointer decided the outcome with 3.2 seconds left, but his other 3-point shot was also crucial. It gave St. Bonaventure a 55-53 lead with 5:20 left, capping a 9-0 run. It came from behind the foul circle, as his winning shot later did ... Bonnies' second-year assistant coach Tyrone Weeks, a former UMass star forward, visited the Minutemen dressing room after the game.

Everything needs to go right
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News, 1/14/2001

OLEAN, N.Y. Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner who has dedicated himself to the cause of better basketball officiating, would have been right at home at the Reilly Center yesterday.

Cuban keeps getting fined for thinking out loud that a foul is a foul, whether there are three minutes gone or three seconds left. So in yesterday's 66-65 St. Bonaventure win over the University of Massachusetts, his opinion on whether or not Monty Mack was illegally mangled might have been welcome.

Without Cuban, we'll have to go by Bruiser Flint, who is not nearly as rich but is much better dressed.

"I understand there were three seconds left, but three guys ran into him," the UMass coach said. "They ran him right into the stanchion! Three seconds or no three seconds, that's a foul."

Mack was trampled, and only later did it appear his left knee was only temporarily injured. Let's hope so, considering how reliant the UMass offense is on Monty here, Monty there and Monty everywhere.

But UMass did not lose because of one non-call, the type you can't count on getting to bail you out, especially on the road. This game pointed out what has been apparent all along: this team struggles because it has no margin for error.

Unless just about everything falls into place, the Minutemen are not good or clever enough to survive. They are often good enough to make it tantalizing close, though, and that is what makes it so maddening.

"We had everybody else covered," Flint said after St. Bonaventure's Vidal Massiah, an unlikely 3-point choice, had drained the decisive shot. That erased a 65-63 UMass lead, one that came about after a commendable 8-1 comeback in the final 2:33.

But once the Bonnies regained the lead, they knew where UMass' bread was buttered. On the final play and just after Massiah's shot, the defensive charge toward Mack somewhat resembled the running of the bulls at Pamplona.

"I knew they'd be looking at me, and I didn't expect he (Winston Smith) would throw it in to me," Mack said. But Smith did, a loose ball followed, and the game was lost.

That snapped a two-game winning streak, just as UMass was looking to use an Atlantic 10 run to reverse a terrible start.

Part of the problem, though not all of it, is the tough early schedule that always has UMass scrambling to save its season. When that happens, and when you have only one shooter, and he's been cold until lately, and when your big men are inconsistent, and when your point guards aren't really point guards well, let's just say everything has to fall into place for victory to follow.

At Xavier, everything did. But the pressure on the Minutemen is multiplied by its understanding that they can barely afford to lose another game, which means they can barely afford to make a single mistake.

This is the trap UMass, a scrappy but imperfect team, constantly faces. Yesterday, it was turnovers and rebounding. At other times, it has been cold shooting, foul trouble or the bad timing of playing up or down to the level of the opponent.

"Things like that happen," point guard Shannon Crooks said after Massiah's shot. And they happen because UMass is not quite good enough to build a comfort zone that will safeguard it from somebody else's last-second heroics.

"The kid hit a big shot," Flint said. "What can you say?"

Not much. UMass goes into every game knowing it can win, but also knowing that unless almost everything goes right, it probably won't.

The last thing it needed was a last-second shot to remind the Minutemen that a pretty good effort wouldn't be good enough.

Minutemen fall short of Bonnies
By Mark Murphy, The Boston Herald, 1/14/2001

OLEAN, N.Y. - Monty Mack has always associated pain with St. Bonaventure's Reilly Center, and yesterday did nothing to change the UMass senior's impression of this cramped, loud chamber of frustration.

``I haven't won here since I've been here,'' Mack said after the Minutemen lost, 66-65, to the Bonnies yesterday. ``I wish the guys next year the best of luck - in this place.''

The killer was a play that St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron charted for one of his least-used offensive options - light-shooting power forward Vidal Massiah.

With 3.2 seconds left and UMass leading, 65-63, Massiah popped out above the circle, took a pass from point guard Marques Green and swished a deep, unguarded 3-pointer for the final.

The dagger may have been buried, but in the mind of UMass coach Bruiser Flint, the final insult was still on its way.

He called an inbounds play with all four players, save for inbounder Winston Smith, on the far side of midcourt. Three players, including Mack, were supposed to break back toward Smith for a long pass, but when the senior forward launched a pass toward Mack on the right side, the play fell apart.

Mack, attempting to reach the ball, collided with the on-rushing J.R. Bremer and Massiah, who ended up with the ball after Mack crashed into the press table.

Flint screamed for a foul as referees Larry Lembo, Rich Sanfilippo and Ron Tyburski left the floor. Flint's temper hit peak levels at the sight of Mack, still on the floor writhing in pain in his left knee as the St. Bonaventure team celebrated.

``I didn't expect (Smith) to throw it, but he did, so I went for the ball, and I really don't remember anything after that,'' said Mack, who after lying on the floor for close to 10 minutes, got up, declined assistance and angrily hopped across the floor into the locker room.

Flint remembers the moment all too well.

``They ran the kid into the table,'' said the coach. ``They ran him over. I understand that you don't make those calls at that point in the game, but come on. They ran that kid into the stanchion.''

Though the sure-handed Mack would have been a solid bet to hit the tying and game-winning free throws, that's obviously not where the Minutemen (4-10) lost the game.

UMass' nine second-half turnovers - including two during a mortal juncture with three minutes left - and St. Bonaventure's 11 offensive boards in the second half had far more to do with the result.

Bonnies center Peter Van Paassen and forward Kevin Houston, who combined for 31 points and 16 rebounds, both repeatedly muscled inside for boards and put-backs in the second half.

And the Minutemen, who led by as much as seven points (53-46) eventually wore down.

Bremer supplied the juice, first picking off a bad Mack pass that Marques Green turned into a pair of free throws for a 60-57 edge, and then stealing an even worse Winston Smith pass and cruising in off the break for a 62-57 lead.

The Minutemen had gone a chilling 7:12 without a field goal, with center Kitwana Rhymer keeping them in it with 8-of-10 free throw shooting in the last five minutes.

Mack broke the drought with a corner trey for his 20th point, cutting the St. Bonaventure (9-5) edge to 63-62 with 1:48 left. Houston missed a jumper, Rhymer hit two free throws for a 64-63 edge with 49 seconds left, and Shannon Crooks hit another for a 65-63 edge with 20 seconds left.

UMass notes

The Minutemen have lost in the Reilly Center the last four seasons. The last victory - a 63-59 win on Jan. 14, 1997 - came during Flint's first season as head coach. . . . UMass suffered at point guard yesterday. Crooks and Jonathan DePina combined for nine turnovers, with Crooks claiming the lion's share with seven. . . . Micah Brand scored 11 points, bolstering the strangest of UMass stats - the Minutemen are 0-6 when the sophomore forward scores in double figures.

Perfect planning
Massiah hits game-winner for Bonnies
By Mike Harrington, The Buffalo News Sports Reporter, 1/14/2001

OLEAN - Maybe St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron went into some hypnotic trance to find a way to snap his team's four-game funk. Maybe he's a riverboat gambler. Maybe he's just crazy.

Kevin Houston jumps into the arms of Vidal Massiah after hitting the game-winner.
Why else would Baron design a last-second play for junior power forward Vidal Massiah to take a three-point shot?

If the shot clanks off the rim - as most of Massiah's outside jumpers have during his career - Bona's wolf mascot and a sellout crowd in the Reilly Center are howling for Baron's head. But Baron and Massiah became heroes Saturday because the coach had a hunch and the player made it come true.

"It was just a gut feeling that I had," Baron said after Massiah's stunning trey with 3.2 seconds left gave the Bonnies a 66-65 win over Massachusetts. " "Vi' has capabilities and it was a play that we just called and we were going to run it. We knew he was going to take the shot."

But was it supposed to be from beyond the arc?

"It was designed for him to take the three," Baron said pointedly.

The logic was sound. For starters, Baron correctly figured UMass would be sloughing off Massiah to pay extra attention to guard J.R. Bremer and forward Kevin Houston, Bona's true three-point threats.

Massiah, a Toronto native who finished with 10 points, had just drilled a trey with 5:24 left to cap a 9-0 run and give Bona a 55-53 lead. That gave him some confidence, no small token for a player who was just 7 for 40 from long range for his career prior to his magic moment.

Furthermore, even though teams often go for the tie at home to force overtime, the Bonnies were treading a thin line with fouls. Center Peter Van Paassen had fouled out with 49.8 seconds left and both Massiah and backup center Quadir Habeeb had four fouls. Neither likely would have lasted through a five-minute OT.

So Baron went for the win-now-or-bust proposition.

UMass guard Shannon Crooks hit a free throw with 20.9 seconds left to put the Minutemen up, 65-63, and Bona called a timeout to ice him prior to his second shot. Crooks missed, Houston rebounded and freshman Marques Green dribbled up court and moved around the top of the key. He finally dished to Massiah, just to his right.

Massiah fired.


Bedlam from the crowd of 6,000.

"It meant a lot," said Massiah, who had never made two three-pointers in a game in his career. "Coach said they might double-team J.R. and Kevin and they did. So he said, "Vi, if you get it, shoot it.' "

Massiah never looked at Houston, who was in the right corner.

"I was shooting," Massiah said. "It felt good when it left my hand. In the past, I would think too much when I shoot. Today's game, I just made it a point of shooting without thinking."

The Bonnies (9-5, 1-2 in the Atlantic 10) beat UMass for the fourth straight time in the RC. The Minutemen fell to 4-10, 2-1.

"The kid made a big play," UMass coach Bruiser Flint said of Massiah. "We covered everybody else. . . . You can say he wouldn't usually be shooting that but the kid made a big shot."

Massiah's shot removed the goat horns from the head of Bremer, who had 15 points but missed two free throws with 23.5 seconds left and Bona trailing, 64-63.

"I can't miss free throws like that in the clutch in games down the road," said Bremer, who was shooting 78.2 percent from the line. "Him making that shot took a lot off me mentally because my mind would have been all messed up if we had lost."

The same could be said for Bona's collective psyche. A loss would have put the Bonnies 0-3 in the A-10 for the first time in six years and given them their first five-game skid overall since the middle of the 1995-96 season.

It didn't happen, in part because Bona outrebounded the taller Minutemen, 34-33, and took 11 of the 15 offensive rebounds posted in the second half. Houston led Bona with 20 points and eight rebounds, seven in the final 20 minutes.

UMass had a 53-46 lead with 9:07 left but made one field goal the rest of the way as Bona rallied. The 9-0 run sparked a 16-4 burst that Bremer capped on a steal and layup with 2:35 left to make the score 62-57.

UMass' lone basket was a huge one as guard Monty Mack (20 points) drilled a three-pointer with 1:47 left to pull the Minutemen within 63-62. UMass took a 64-63 lead on Kitwana Rhymer's two free throws with 49.8 seconds to go.

Even after Massiah's shot, UMass had a final chance but Mack was knocked down trying to catch an inbounds pass and Winston Smith's halfcourt heave was short. Flint pleaded with officials for a foul, but was ignored. Mack hobbled off with an apparent knee injury.

The Bonnies travel to meet Cleveland State on Tuesday in the CSU Convocation Center, the site of Bona's double-overtime loss to Kentucky in last year's NCAA Tournament.

Bonnies halt UMass win streak
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 1/15/2001

OLEAN, N.Y. - When the game was over, University of Massachusetts guard Monty Mack lay on the Reilly Center court writhing in pain. His coach, Bruiser Flint was an equal mix concerned for Mack and angry at the officials, while celebrating St. Bonaventure fans danced around them.

Mack turned out to be all right, but the Minutemen still left St. Bonaventure with a bitter taste in their mouths following a controversial 66-65 loss Saturday.

After Vidal Massiah hit a 3-pointer to put St. Bonaventure ahead, 66-65 with 3.2 seconds left. UMass called time out to draw up a play. The Minutemen set up four players just beyond half court with Winston Smith under the basket to inbound.

Mack hurried back for the pass, but before he could catch it, he was knocked to the floor by Massiah and J.R. Bremer, who had come back to guard him. As Mack lay on the floor clutching his leg, the ball rolled to Smith, who tried the desperation shot from beyond midcourt. The shot wasn't close and Bonnies won.

As the Bonnies celebrated, Flint, Shannon Crooks and Mack's former teammate Tyrone Weeks (now a Bona assistant) stood around Mack as Minuteman trainer Ron Laham tended to Mack's injured left knee.

Flint was furious after the game.

"I don't care if there is three seconds to go," Flint said. "The way they ran him over in that last play of the game is supposed to be a foul. Three seconds or not. I understand how that goes, but ... that wasn't incidental contact. They ran the kid into the (expletive) stands. That was obvious."

Mack was more diplomatic than his coach in the assessment of the final play.

"The referees didn't call it so I guess it wasn't a foul," he said.

The loss ends a two-game winning streak for the Minutemen (4-10, 2-1 Atlantic 10). They return to action Thursday at 7:30 p.m. when they play host to Dayton at the Mullins Center.

On Saturday, Mack led the Minutemen with 20 points, his fifth straight game with 20 or more, while Kitwana Rhymer added 17 points and seven rebounds.

Kevin Houston's 20 points and eight rebounds led Bona (9-5, 1-2 A-10), while J.R. Bremer added 15. The win ended a four-game losing streak for St. Bonaventure, which began the season 8-1.

The Minutemen led by as many as eight with just 13:04 left to play, but the Bonnies chipped away.

Using strong offensive rebounding, St. Bonaventure made a 9-0 run. In that stretch, Peter Van Paassen put back two of his own misses, igniting the crowd. Massiah capped the run with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to put the home team ahead, 55-53.

After the Bonnies nudged that lead to 60-57 with 2:50 left, Smith thought about trying the open 3-pointer. Instead he threw a lazy pass toward Mack, but St. Bonaventure's J.R. Bremer stepped in and turned the steal into an easy layup and a 62-57 lead.

UMass didn't quit. The Minutemen traded two Rhymer free throws for one by Houston and Mack buried a 3-pointer from the corner to bring UMass within one at 63-62.

Tough Minuteman defense forced the Bonnies deep into the shot clock and Houston missed a tough-angle leaner off the front of the rim and Micah Brand grabbed the rebound.

UMass walked the ball up the court and got the ball to Rhymer inside. Van Paassen fouled out hacking Rhymer's spin move to the basket. The Minuteman senior center, who made 8-of-10 free throws in the final five minutes, made both from the line to put UMass ahead, 64-63, with 49.8 seconds left.

Crooks fouled Bremer driving to the basket, but the Bona guard missed both free throws.

Forced to foul, Houston sent Crooks to the line. He made the first free throw, but after an SBU timeout, he missed the second.

Prior to Saturday, Massiah had made just seven 3-pointers all year, but coach Jim Baron drew up a play for him and he made the open trey to set up UMass' unsuccessful final play.

"The kid made a big shot," Flint said. "Give him credit for it."

St. Bonaventure can point to two key stats for its success: UMass turnovers and its own second-half rebounding.

The Minutemen turned the ball over 17 times in the game, nine times in the second half. Crooks was the biggest offender with five after intermission and seven in the game, but Mack and Jonathan DePina were plenty guilty.

The Minutemen turned the ball over on four straight possessions in the first half, all of which the Bonnies turned into points during a 12-0 run that gave the home team an eight-point lead.

"We made some big turnovers in the second half," Flint said. "We threw balls away for layups."

UMass' rebounding allowed it to stay close in the first half, beating Bona 17-12 on the boards. But led by Houston, who had seven of his eight rebounds and all five of his offensive rebounds after intermission, Bona outrebounded UMass, 22-16, in the second half. More significant, 11 of SBU's 22 boards came on the offensive end. The Bonnies used second-chance points to keep UMass from pulling away.

"We didn't do a good job rebounding in the second half," Flint said. "Anytime we got a big stop, they got the rebound. They got a lot of second shots and therefore they got the lead."

The two teams play again March 3 at the Mullins Center in both teams' final regular-season game.

Olean adds to reputation
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 1/15/2001

OLEAN, N.Y. - In some ways, the legend that is Olean, N.Y., home of St. Bonaventure, is worse than the actual place. To those who have never been to the self-proclaimed "Enterprising city with the hometown touch," the tales they've heard from people who have, make it seem pretty desolate.

It's not that bad. There is running water and pizza delivery and a handful of traffic lights and a big strip mall. In a lot of ways it resembles Greenfield with a small Division 1 school dropped on the outskirts. But make no mistake: St. Bonaventure is a hard place to get to and a harder place to win in.

From Buffalo, the nearest major airport, Olean, is nearly two hours by a two-lane road. The windy drive offers few sights along the way. There's a sign signifying that 13th U.S. President Millard Fillmore was born in Summerhill, N.Y., and a "Welcome to Franklinville" sign boasting that 1999's Miss USA Kimberly Pressler is from that rural outpost along Route 16.

The Reilly Center holds 6,000 fans who are proud of their reputation for nastiness, regularly barbing opposing players and coaches below the belt. Former University of Massachusetts forward Tyrone Weeks, who now is an assistant with the Bonnies, once was serenaded with "Hooked on Phonics" in reference to his status as a former Prop. 48 nonqualifier.

Flying foreign objects aren't uncommon either, ranging from metal currency to baked goods. Temple coach John Chaney complained for weeks following his trip to Olean when he was hit in the head with a chocolate chip cookie.

This is a fandom that can't seem to comprehend the actual length of five seconds. They regularly scream for five-second violations on Bona opponents when the ref has barely reached count three.

But the Minutemen's struggles in the Reilly Center seem like more than just losses in a building where it's hard to win. For years, the Boston Bruins couldn't win in the Montreal Forum, and the Celtics came up dry in Madison Square Garden. UMass can sympathize after Saturday's 66-65 loss, as the Minutemen appear to be suffering from "The Curse of the Reilly Center."

The following capsules are evidence of the curse's existence:

1996:"Camby's Collapse"

In 1996, Marcus Camby's inexplicable collapse to the floor prior to UMass' 65-52 win over St. Bonaventure made national news. The game proved to be Bruiser Flint's first game as a head coach as then-head coach John Calipari accompanied Camby to the hospital. Camby missed four games before returning to win several national player of the year awards.

1997: "Three Guards"

This was UMass' only bright spot under Flint in Olean. The Minutemen were reeling at 6-9 in Flint's first season as head coach. But in Olean he made the decision to switch his team to a three guard set, moving Charlton Clarke into the starting lineup with Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso. The move triggered a turnaround as the Minutemen overcame their tough start and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

1998: "The Phantom Timeout"

With under a minute left, referee Tom Scott announced that neither the Minutemen nor the Bonnies had any timeouts left.

With the Bonnies winning 72-70, Charlton Clarke's would-be game winning 3-pointer missed, but the rebound bounced out of bounds with .2 seconds left in the game. The Bonnie crowd rushed the floor, thinking the game was over. Trying to restore order, Bona coach Jim Baron made a "T" with his hands. The Bonnie student managers brought chairs onto the floor for the players to sit in, and the official timekeeper noted that a time-out had been called.

Calling for a timeout without one left is an automatic technical foul, but no time-out was granted, and after the game Baron claimed never to have called one.

Flint left angry and the Minutemen left on the short end of four straight losses in the Reilly Center.

1999: "DePina's Disaster"

With point guard Charlton Clarke sidelined with a knee injury, Flint had to turn to then-sophomore point guard Jonathan DePina late in the game. In his UMass career, DePina has been a lightning rod for fan criticism and no game epitomized why more than this one.

As the Minutemen blew a 10-point lead, DePina struggled, turning the ball over and missing key free throws as UMass lost, 53-50.

2001: "The No-Call"

Like so many other times, the Minutemen left Olean Saturday shaking their heads, another could've, should've, turned into a loss.

An improbable 3-pointer from an unlikely long-range shooter put St. Bonaventure ahead, 66-65, but Monty Mack, UMass' best free-throw shooter, appeared to be fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass, when he was knocked to the ground hard by two Bonnie players.

The whistle never blew and the Minutemen fell victim to the curse one more time.

Mack, a senior, is glad his future travels won't include Olean.

"I haven't won a game (there) since I've been here," Mack said. "I wish our guys the best of luck next year. I don't think too many of our players like coming out here. It seems like it's real boring out here. We just have to look forward to them coming to our place."

Massachusetts Minutemen 65
St. Bonaventure Bonnies 66
at St. Bonaventure

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Smith           22   2-4   0-0   0-1  0  4    4
Rhymer          30  3-10 11-14   2-7  1  4   17
Brand           27   4-7   3-4   1-4  0  2   11
Mack            40  7-15   2-2   0-4  2  2   20
Crooks          27   1-3   1-2   1-5  4  4    3
Depina          13   0-2   0-0   1-3  4  3    0
Rogers          10   0-0   3-4   1-2  0  1    3
Blizzard        21   1-1   0-0   0-2  1  1    3
Williams        10   2-3   0-0   2-2  0  2    4
TOTALS         200 20-45 20-26  8-30 12 23   65

Percentages: FG-.444, FT-.769. 3-Point Goals:
5-12, .417 (Smith 0-2, Mack 4-7, Crooks 0-1,
Depina 0-1, Blizzard 1-1). Team rebounds: 3.
Blocked shots: 4 (Rhymer, Crooks, Rogers,
Williams). Turnovers: 17 (Crooks 7, Mack 3,
Depina 2, Williams 2, Brand, Rhymer, Rogers).
Steals: 6 (Crooks 2, Smith 2, Mack, Williams).

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Massiah         23   4-6   0-0   2-3  1  4   10
Houston         38  6-16   7-9   5-8  1  2   20
Van Paassen     24  5-11   1-2   4-8  0  5   11
Bremer          40  6-13   3-6   2-4  3  1   15
Prato           12   0-3   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Habeeb          13   1-2   0-0   1-2  0  4    2
Green           28   0-3   6-6   0-3  5  2    6
Cheeks          19   1-3   0-2   2-5  0  1    2
Siegrist         1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Garo             2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
TOTALS         200 23-57 17-25 16-33 10 21   66

Percentages: FG-.404, FT-.680. 3-Point Goals:
3-16, .188 (Massiah 2-3, Houston 1-5, Bremer 0-5,
Prato 0-1, Green 0-2). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked
shots: 1 (Van Paassen). Turnovers: 14 (Van
Paassen 3, Bremer 2, Green 2, Habeeb 2, Massiah
2, Cheeks, Garo, Houston). Steals: 12 (Bremer 3,
Green 3, Houston 2, Habeeb, Massiah, Prato, Van
Massachusetts      35   30  -   65
St Bonaventure     35   31  -   66
Technical fouls: None.  A: 6,000. Officials: Rich
Sanfillipo, Ron Tyburski, Larry Lembo.

Back to the home page

Click Here to Visit Our Sponsor