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UMass upsets N.C. State
By Jim Pignatiello, The Boston Herald, 1/3/2003

AMHERST - UMass coach Steve Lappas needed to change things after a Dec. 21 loss to Lafayette dropped his team's record to 2-6.

His excecutive decision was to insert 6-foot-6 freshman forward Jeff Viggiano into the starting lineup, and the Minutemen haven't lost since.

Viggiano, who earned his first Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week award last week after wins against Rider and Marshall, scored 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting last night to lead UMass to a 68-56 upset of North Carolina State at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen (5-6) have won three straight and handed the Wolfpack just their second loss of the season.

``I think its all due to Viggiano,'' said UMass point guard Anthony Anderson, who led all scorers with a career-high 25 points.

The Minutemen set a school record for fewest field goals attempted but still managed to beat the Wolfpack, who entered the game ranked 24th in the ESPN/USA Today poll.

UMass took just 35 shots from the floor but hit 16 (45.7 percent) and added a 31-for-41 performance from the free throw line.

Two 3-pointers from Anderson and some solid free throw shooting extended the UMass lead from five points to 12 with 3:41 left, and the Wolfpack never recovered.

``I felt like most of what I put up was going to go in tonight,'' said Anderson, a Lynn native who was 11-for-13 from the free throw line.

The Wolfpack (7-2) did not score a field goal in the second half until Julius Hodge's three-point play with 11:07 to play. That cut the UMass lead to 44-33.

Hodge turned the trick again, then hit a 3-pointer on the next possession to make it 44-39 with 8:14 left. The sophomore forward led the Minutemen in scoring with 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting.

``We tried to limit (Hodge's) touches, to really make him work to get the ball,'' Lappas said.

UMass closed out the first half with an 8-2 run and led 32-27 at the break. The Minutemen wasted no time in the second half and went on a 10-0 streak.

Senior Jackie Rogers (17 points) made four free throws and a dunk on the first-half run, while Viggiano scored six points in the second-half spurt.

The upset had the UMass crowd of 3,909 on its feet numerous times during the game.

``I felt (the crowd) tonight,'' Lappas said.

Player of the Game
1/2 NC State
Anderson (73) 45%
Brand (0) 0%
Cox (1) 1%
Lamb (10) 6%
Lasme (0) 0%
Lee (0) 0%
Rogers (2) 1%
Viggiano (76) 47%

Total Votes: 162

Minutemen hold revival meeting
By Frank Dell'Apa, The Boston Globe Staff, 1/3/2002

AMHERST - Losses to Lafayette and Central Connecticut State indicated this could be a lost season for the University of Massachusetts. But the Minutemen's 68-56 win over North Carolina State last night could serve to revive UMass.

Michael Lasme works it upcourt against pressure from Scooter Sherrill.
''That's as much fun as I've had since I've been here,'' UMass coach Steve Lappas said. ''There have been some good moments, but to watch the team improve is a tremendous source of satisfaction.

''We played lousy the first 8-9 minutes, but after the second TV timeout, as bad as we were, we were only down [14-8].''

The Minutemen (5-6) soon took control against the Wolfpack (7-2). Jeff Viggiano stifled N.C. State star Julius Hodge for most of the contest, and Anthony Anderson sparked the UMass offense, scoring all but 2 of his 25 points on 3-pointers and free throws. Anderson converted only 45.3 percent of his foul shots last season but is shooting 81.3 percent from the line after an 11-for-13 night.

''I felt almost whatever I put up was going in,'' Anderson said. ''I was wide open on those shots and they went in.

''I couldn't hit a foul shot last year, so I worked on it all the offseason. I sat out a year after high school, so I didn't shoot a foul shot for a whole year playing pickup games.''

N.C. State appeared to be coasting at the start, taking a 14-5 advantage with a methodical, patient half-court offense and effective three-quarter-court pressing defense. UMass converted only once from the field in the first 8 minutes 32 seconds, but Anderson rallied UMass with a 3-pointer just before a television timeout with 11:28 remaining in the first half. Jackie Rogers's free throw concluded a 27-11 UMass run for a 32-25 advantage with 1:04 left in the half.

Anderson began defusing the press by simply dribbling through Wolfpack defenders. UMass gained momentum at the start of the second half with 10 successive points in a 2:27 span. Viggiano scored 6 points on two layups and two foul shots, Michael Lasme converted two free throws, and Anderson dribbled from three-quarter court for a layup against three defenders.

The Wolfpack presented few offensive threats. Hodge converted two 3-point plays and a 3-pointer in a 22-second stretch to cut the deficit to 44-39 with 8:31 to play. But Hodge was the only N.C. State player to score from the field during a 17:53 stretch spanning both halves. And by the time Levi Watkins drove the lane with six minutes remaining, UMass was in control (49-41). Anderson hit a 3-pointer for a 52-41 lead with 5:13 to go, the final UMass field goal.

''Our defense has been outstanding all year,'' Lappas said. ''We wanted to limit Hodge's touches, make him work to get the ball, we face-guarded him and laid off a couple other guys. If you do the same thing another time it might not work.''

N.C. State forward Marcus Melvin spent most of the night at the high post, seldom attempting to draw out Micah Brand. Melvin's 3-pointer with 31 seconds remaining was far too late to make a difference, but indicated his potential threat.

The Wolfpack did not present much more of a threat than Rider and Marshall, the last two UMass victims.

''We didn't execute the offense the way we needed to,'' N.C. State coach Herb Sendek said. ''It's very frustating when you play like we did. We invest a lot and our guys make great sacrifices.''

Pack goes cold
By A.J. Carr, The Raleigh News & Observer Staff Writer, 1/3/2003

AMHERST, Mass. -- They passed, cut, screened and shot, but something was missing.

In a sea of State players, Micah Brand comes up with the rebound.
The "swish."

N.C. State went "clank" at the start of the second half -- missing its first 13 shots over an 11-minute span -- and wound up losing 68-56 to unranked Massachusetts on Thursday night at the Mullins Center.

That cold streak brought back memories of the Pack's 69-60 loss to Gonzaga in December, when it misfired 20 consecutive times from the floor.

"At home, everything intensifies,'' Julius Hodge said, as if longing to get back to the RBC Center. "But when we play on the road it's just tragic."

Hodge, who scored 18 points but had trouble shaking free against UMass' face-guarding tactic, seemed baffled by State's second defeat of the year.

"I have no answers,'' he lamented. "We just didn't play our game tonight. It's frustrating to lose to a team that we should have beaten."

While State shot just 38.6 percent from the field, the Pack had little chance to make it up on the foul line. Coach Herb Sendek's team didn't shoot a free throw in the entire first half and got just 12 opportunities all night, converting nine.

Meanwhile, UMass did much charity work, making 31 of its 41 attempts.

Despite the foul differential, these Minutemen (5-6) played like Iron Men on Thursday before a small, yet vocal home crowd of 3,909.

Point guard Anthony Anderson, quick as a blink, went all 40 minutes, scored 25 points, committed only four turnovers and helped negate State's pressing tactics with clever ball handling.

He also delivered the 3-point dagger when the Wolfpack (7-2) rallied behind nine quick Hodge points to pull to within 44-39 with 8:14 left.

"That was probably the shot of the game,'' UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "He got us going again. It's hard to play a better game than he played."

UMass also benefited from a 17-point effort by forward Jackie Rogers and an all-around virtuoso performance by precocious freshman Jeff Viggiano, who ignited himself, the fans, and his team.

Besides scoring 14 points and making four steals, Viggiano also helped with the ball handling and spent much of the night hounding Hodge. In UMass' man-to-man, he face-guarded the Wolfpack star, working hard to deny him the ball in scoring position.

As a result, Hodge struggled to get in the flow in the first half, and nine of his 18 points came in a 23-second flurry in the second half.

"I face-guarded him and was not helping out at all,'' said Viggiano, who revved the crowd once by going up and blocking a Hodge shot. "If he did get by, I had people helping me out. We came into this game with a lot of confidence. "

Viggiano, being the good freshman, deflected praise to Anderson, the brazen junior who shot 50 percent from the field and wriggled away from State's double-teaming, pressure tactics.

Micah Brand stuffs Josh Powell's dunk attempt.
State, which got a 12-point effort from Marcus Melvin, started the night well enough, jumping into a 14-5 lead. At that time the Pack's defensive pressure was effective and the shots were going down.

But then came a shutdown. The Minutemen, energized by Viggiano's 3-point basket, steal and dunk, went on a 14-4 run and surged to a 32-27 halftime lead.

Before taking the floor in the second half, the Pack huddled in the corridor and exhorted each other to pick it up, to show mental toughness.

The attitude was there, but the winning touch wasn't.

Only the snowy weather outside was colder than State's shooting hand. The Pack finally hit its first field goal of the second period with 8:53 remaining in the game, and the Viggiano-led Minutemen surged to a 42-27 advantage.

"They played tough defense the whole [time],'' State's Melvin said. "But that's a long time to go without making a shot. We've got to score points the whole game."

Sendek paced, crouched, and searched for the winning formula in vain.

"UMass played extremely well on defense,'' Sendek said. "But we didn't execute the way we needed to. It was frustrating playing like we did tonight."

Lappas, who is trying to rebuild UMass after a stint at Villanova, was singing a different tune.

"This is as much fun as I've had since I've been here,'' he said.

Minutemen stun Wolfpack, 68-56
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 1/3/2003

AMHERST - It looked ugly for a few minutes. The University of Massachusetts, which had blown big leads earlier this season, appeared on its way to doing it again.

Jeff Viggiano was intense in another great effort.
The Minutemen had watched North Carolina State cut their 15-point lead to five when Jeff Viggiano drove into the lane and kicked the ball out to Anthony Anderson. The junior point guard buried a 3-pointer from just right of the key top. After the two teams traded baskets, Anderson hit another 3 from a similar spot. As he backpedaled down the floor, Anderson pumped his fist.

The shot essentially sealed the win for the Minutemen, who hit enough free throws down the stretch to upset the No. 24-ranked (coaches poll) Wolfpack, 68-56, Thursday night at the Mullins Center.

Both coaches pointed to Anderson's shot as critical.

"We put ourselves back in position to have a chance," said NC State coach Herb Sendek, whose team fell to 7-2. "But Anderson hit a couple big shots again and we were never able to get back over the hump."

"We were stalled there," UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "He made a big shot."

"I just felt good," Anderson said. "It felt like most of what I was putting up there was going in."

Most of it did.

Anderson had a career-high 25 points, including 4-of-5 3-pointers, and grabbed a career-best nine rebounds. Jackie Rogers added 17 and Jeff Viggiano scored 14.

The Minutemen (5-6) will try to get to .500 for the first time this season when they begin Atlantic 10 play on the road Sunday at noon against Fordham.

NC State controlled the game early, opening a 16-8 lead just under nine minutes in. But UMass went on an 11-2 run to take a 19-18 lead.

The lead ping-ponged until Anderson hit a 3 with 4 minutes, 45 seconds left in the first half. Clifford Crawford answered with a backdoor basket, but UMass scored the next eight points, earning an ovation from the 3,909 at the Mullins Center.

Julius Hodge drove to the basket to cut UMass' lead to 32-27 at halftime, but the Minutemen scored the first 10 points after intermission, highlighted by a reverse lay-up from Viggiano.

UMass' offense cooled off, but its defense kept the Wolfpack from taking advantage. NC State didn't score its first field goal of the second half until the 11:07 mark. Hodge tried to start a comeback with a solo 9-0 run on two three-point plays and a 3-pointer, but Anderson's 3s clinched the Minuteman victory.

The Minutemen did a good job of frustrating Hodge early, using a combination of Viggiano, Raheim Lamb and Marcus Cox to deny him the ball. He scored a team-high 18 points, but made only 6-of-16 shots.

"I thought UMass was terrific in all aspects tonight, especially on defense," Sendek said. "They deserve a great deal of credit."

Is it finally starting to click for Steve Lappas and the Minutemen this season?
"We decided we were going to test some guys and we tried to limit Julius Hodge's touches and really made him work just to get the ball," said Lappas, who at times employed a triangle-and-two defense against Hodge and Scotter Sherrill.

Lappas was as pleased with his team's development as he was the victory.

"It's as much fun as I've had since I've been here. We've had some other good moments, but just watching this team improve really is a tremendous source of satisfaction for our coaching staff," Lappas said. "My assistants did a tremendous job with the game plan and the guys followed it. It's great to see the guys come together the way they have."

Matt Vautour can be reached at

Anderson leads the way
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 1/3/2003

AMHERST - As he walked off the floor high-fiving appreciative fans, Anthony Anderson's early-season struggles seemed like a long time ago.

Anthony Anderson carried the Minutemen with his gutsy, 40-minute performance.
The junior point guard took the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team on his shoulders and led the surging Minutemen to their biggest win of the year, 68-56, Thursday night over North Carolina State at the Mullins Center.

"I've been around the game a long time and I've got guys in the NBA making a lot of money," UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "But as pure point-guard performances go, it will be hard to see a better-played game than you saw tonight by this kid."

While he scored a career-high 25 points, Anderson also had a season-high four turnovers - the same number of combined giveaways he'd had since Dec. 10 - but the number was deceiving.

"That's the best four-turnover game I've seen a guy play," Lappas said.

NC State applied a fullcourt press throughout and forced some early turnovers from Anderson.

"All the adjustments were made by him," Lappas said. "I got on him about one of the early turnovers. I said 'I want to see you dribble the ball up the court more than pass the ball,' which is Anthony's strength because he's a smaller guy and he had some bigger guys on him."

Anderson split traps, spun off defenders and at times just sprinted by guys.

"He played 40 minutes against pressure," Lappas said. "That's not easy to do."

Anderson knew his role was going to be important heading into the game.

"I want to control every game. But tonight I knew they were going to be on me a lot with the pressure. In a timeout, coach told me to keep the ball in my hands and we started breaking the press a lot easier after that."

Late in the game when NC State was forced to foul, Anderson still kept the ball in his hands, something he might not have done a year ago.

Last season, Anderson made just 24-of-53 free throws. The 45.3 percent rate would have been bad for any player, but it was particularly ugly for a point guard.

Last night, Anderson made 11-of-13, including 10-of-11 in the last four minutes of the game.

"In high school I never missed a foul shot," said Anderson, who improved to 81.3 percent for the season from the line this year. "I sat out a year and never shot a foul shot playing pickup ball. I worked on it over the summer."

"We want to get the ball in his hands," Lappas said. "Now that he's knocking those down, too, at the end of the game, that's going to really help us."

MILESTONES - The win marked UMass' first win over a team ranked in either poll since it upset No. 21 Saint Joseph's in the 2001 A-10 Tournament and first in the Mullins Center since the Minutemen beat No. 24 Temple in the last regular season game in 1999.

GOOD COMPANY - Jeff Viggiano became the first UMass freshman since Marcus Camby to score in double-figures in three straight games. He earned a standing ovation at one point in the game and the fans in the far endzone chanted his name in the second half.

He resisted the notion that he's a crowd favorite.

"It's a lot of my family and friends chanting that," said Viggiano, a native of nearby Suffield, Conn. "I have a lot of friends."

Lappas said he's only scratching the surface.

"He's doing a great job. I'm very happy for what he's done for our team," Lappas said. "But he's an 18-year-old kid that has a lot of improving to do."

REUNION? - Three former Manhattan head coaches were in the Mullins Center for last night's game. UMass coach Steve Lappas (1988-92) and assistant John Leonard (1996-99) both led the Jaspers, as did ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla (1992-96).

UMass administrative assistant Carey Edwards played for Fraschilla and Lappas.

Fraschilla actually replaced both Lappas and NC State coach Herb Sendek at different points in his career. He replaced Lappas at Manahattan and was hired as an assistant coach at Providence when Sendek left to work for Rick Pitino at Kentucky.

Matt Vautour can be reached at

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at the Mullins Center

Official Basketball Box Score
North Carolina State vs Massachusetts
01/02/03  7:30 p.m. at Amherst, MA (Mullins Center)
VISITORS: North Carolina State ( 7- 2)
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
24 HODGE,Julius........ f  6-16   1-2    5-6    1  3  4   3  18  3  2  0  1  35
54 MELVIN,Marcus....... f  5-10   1-2    1-2    2  9 11   2  12  0  5  1  0  37
33 POWELL,Josh......... c  3-8    0-0    0-0    1  2  3   2   6  2  2  0  0  20
23 SHERRILL,Scooter.... g  2-3    1-1    2-2    2  2  4   5   7  1  2  0  1  29
30 CRAWFORD,Clifford... g  1-5    0-1    0-0    0  1  1   4   2  1  2  0  1  23
12 MEJIA,Dominick......    1-4    0-2    0-0    0  0  0   2   2  0  0  0  0   3
13 BENNERMAN,Cameron...    1-1    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   1   2  0  1  0  1  13
21 WATKINS,Levi........    1-6    0-3    0-0    0  2  2   4   2  2  2  1  2  26
22 ROACH,Will..........    0-1    0-0    1-2    1  1  2   5   1  0  0  0  0   8
32 COLLINS,Jordan......    2-3    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   4  1  0  0  0   6
   TEAM................                         2  1  3
   Totals..............   22-57   3-12   9-12  10 21 31  28  56 10 16  2  6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-27 48.1% 2nd Half: 9-30 30.0% Game: 38.6% DEADB 3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-5 20.0% 2nd Half: 2-7 28.6% Game: 25.0% REBS F Throw % 1st Half: 0-0 0.0% 2nd Half: 9-12 75.0% Game: 75.0% 3

HOME TEAM: Massachusetts ( 5- 6)
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
02 ROGERS,Jackie....... f  4-8    0-0    9-10   1  1  2   4  17  2  2  2  2  36
22 VIGGIANO,Jeff....... f  4-5    1-2    5-9    1  3  4   1  14  3  3  2  4  35
40 BRAND,Micah......... c  1-4    0-1    2-2    1  2  3   3   4  1  2  1  1  23
01 LASME,Michael....... g  1-4    0-1    3-4    0  2  2   1   5  1  2  0  0  29
12 ANDERSON,Anthony.... g  5-10   4-5   11-13   1  8  9   2  25  1  4  0  1  40
04 LEE,Gabe............    1-1    0-0    0-1    1  5  6   2   2  1  0  1  0  20
34 LAMB,Raheim.........    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  1  0  0   4
50 COX,Marcus..........    0-2    0-0    1-2    0  1  1   1   1  1  1  0  0  13
   TEAM................                            3  3             1
   Totals..............   16-35   5-9   31-41   5 25 30  15  68 10 16  6  8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-19 52.6% 2nd Half: 6-16 37.5% Game: 45.7% DEADB 3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-4 75.0% 2nd Half: 2-5 40.0% Game: 55.6% REBS F Throw % 1st Half: 9-14 64.3% 2nd Half: 22-27 81.5% Game: 75.6% 3

Officials: John Cahill, Bryan Kersey, Tom Lopes
Technical fouls: North Carolina State-None. Massachusetts-None.
Attendance: 3909
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
North Carolina State..........   27   29  -   56
Massachusetts.................   32   36  -   68

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