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Box score

UMass silences Columbia offense
By Rich Thompson, The Boston Herald, 1/10/2003

AMHERST - UMass needed a confidence boost heading into tomorrow's Atlantic 10 matchup with Saint Joseph's.

Columbia provided the proper patsy.

Jackie Rogers produced 18 points and eight rebounds while freshman point guard Michael Lasme added 13 points and 10 assists as the Minutemen routed Columbia, 66-47, before 3,017 last night at the Mullins Center. UMass improved to 6-7, 4-1 at home, and Columbia fell to 2-11.

UMass entered the contest on the heels of a humiliating 80-67 loss last Sunday at Fordham. Rogers conceded that the sting of the loss kept the Minutemen from looking beyond Columbia. The senior forward also said last night's game provided the team with an excellent opportunity to regain its composure.

``When we played against Fordham, our guys thought that was going to be an easy game,'' Rogers said. ``Right now our confidence is back up, but now we have to be ready to play on the road.

``When we go to play St. Joe's, it's going to be an even bigger test because there will be more people there getting rowdy,'' he added. ``What we got out of this game after losing to Fordham was our confidence back and now we'll be ready to play against St. Joe's.''

UMass coach Steve Lappas predicated his practices on staying focused on Columbia. The players evidently got the message because they attacked from the start and built a 33-15 lead at the break. UMass outrebounded Columbia 42-35, recorded a season-high 12 blocks and forced 12 turnovers that resulted in 16 points.

``I thought our defense was great tonight and that was the name of the game,'' Lappas said. ``That was my biggest concern in light of how we didn't guard well on Sunday.

``I think what stopped us from looking beyond (to Saint Joseph's) was our approach after Fordham. We made a point of stating in practice that our biggest game is Thursday and that's what we focused in on.''

Columbia's ambition of registering a Fordham-like upset in Amherst was compromised in the opening minute. Lions leading scorer and rebounder, senior forward Marco McCottry, committed his second personal foul with 19:09 to play in the first half.

The Minutemen opened with a 9-0 run powered by Rogers, Lasme and center Micah Brand. Even though Columbia coach Armond Hill was irate at the officials, the Lions scored their first point of the game when Lappas was hit with a technical foul. Jeremiah Boswell sank one free throw to make it 9-1.

``(McCottry) committed the fouls, but at the same time it's tough,'' Hill said. ``He's our best scorer, our best rebounder so for him to start off with two fouls . . .

``I had to let the referee know that and even then we didn't get to shoot a one-and-one in the second half.''

Columbia entered the contest with the nation's lowest scoring offense (48.5 points per game) and did nothing to change that status. McCottry scored Columbia's first field goal with 14:36 remaining in the first half, but the Lions shot a paltry 4-of-25 from field. The Lions improved to 41.9 percent in the second half, but most of it came during garbage time.

``It's our shooting - shooters shoot and they make shots,'' Hill said. ``In order to win you have to score and we didn't score.

``We were 4-for-25 in the first half,'' he added. ``I don't care who you play . . . it's tough to win when you shoot 4-for-25.''

Player of the Game
1/9 Columbia
Anderson (1) 2%
Brand (0) 0%
Lamb (1) 2%
Lasme (23) 55%
Lee (1) 2%
Martin (0) 0%
Rogers (14) 33%
Viggiano (2) 5%

Total Votes: 42

Lappas: Technical difficulty
By Rich Thompson, The Boston Herald, 1/10/2003

AMHERST - UMass coach Steve Lappas was the picture of incredulity less than five minutes into his team's 66-47 victory over Columbia last night at the Mullins Center.

The big lead allowed Steve Lappas to get the subs more playing time, including Paco Kotaridis.
The Minutemen opened the game with a 9-0 run. Columbia's best player, Marco McCottry, was already saddled with two fouls. Everything seemed to be going the Minutemen's way.

With 15:09 to play in the first half, however, Lappas was socked with a technical foul by referee Rich San Fillipo. Lappas admits he can get as animated as the best of them, but was at a loss to explain how he picked up a ``T'' so early against the Lions.

``Honestly, that's the most amazing technical I've ever had in 15 years and I'm serious,'' said Lappas. ``Believe me, I know me and that is the most amazing technical I've gotten in 15 years. I kid you not. It was four minutes into the game and that's incredible for me. First of all, I did not curse, which I don't do anyway on the sidelines. It's bizarre and too bad we aren't allowed to ask (the referees for an explanation).

``I would like to know what I did to be honest with you. That was the quickest `T' I ever got in my career.''

Seeing triple

Al Skinner almost gained some company in the UMass record book.

Freshman point guard Michael Lasme finished the game with 13 points to go along with season highs in assists (10) and rebounds (nine). Had Lasme pulled down one more rebound, he would have become just the second player - joining Skinner, now the coach at Boston College - in the program's history to register a triple-double.

Lappas said he was too preoccupied with the game to take personal records into consideration, but had he known Lasme was one board shy of a statistical milestone, the coach would have left him in the game.

``The thing I didn't realize was that there was only one in the history of the school,'' said Lappas. ``Honestly, if I knew that, I would have left him in there, but I didn't know.''

Jolly Rogers

Senior forward Jackie Rogers (18 points, eight rebounds) has been the Minutemen's most consistent player to date.

``We do have a constant and that's Jackie Rogers, and that's what we need,'' said Lappas. ``He's been that way all year, that kid.''

Minutemen subdue Lions
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe Staff, 1/10/2002

AMHERST - The University of Massachusetts faced two pivotal questions entering last night's contest against Columbia. The first: Would the Minutemen play as if they were looking past the nonconference game and toward tomorrow's Atlantic 10 showdown against 10-1 St. Joseph's? The second: Would UMass continue a seasonlong trend of playing poorly against subpar competition?

The answer to both questions was no. And that took much, considering Columbia - which entered the game as the lowest-scoring Division 1 team - offered little competition. The Minutemen shook off occasional offensive lapses and posted one of its most convincing wins of the season, a 66-47 triumph before 3,017 at the Mullins Center.

Senior forward Jackie Rogers scored a game-high 18 points and freshman guard Michael Lasme had 13 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds for UMass, which improved to 6-7 overall, 5-1 at the Mullins Center, posting its fifth straight home win. Columbia dropped to 2-11. UMass played without junior guard Marcus Cox, who was suspended for one game for a violation of team rules.

Gabe Lee only hit one field-goal, but blocked four Columbia shots.
UMass entered off two games that have typified its season, an upset over North Carolina State that entered with just one defeat and a loss to a Fordham team that had just one victory. Last night, UMass showed no signs of a repeat of the latter.

''We've had a lot of games where we shouldn't have lost - Fordham, Lafayette, Central Connecticut,'' said Lasme, who came a rebound shy of the Minutemen's first triple-double since Al Skinner (27 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists in 1973) vs. St. Peter's Dec. 28, 1973. ''Now, we know we have to play hard every time out. Even if we're playing a high school, we'll play hard.''

In the early going, the Minutemen offset often-suspect shooting with pressure defense to hold Columbia to just 16 percent shooting in the first half. The Lions scored their first point after UMass coach Steve Lappas was whistled for a technical foul with 15:09 left in the first half, as sophomore guard Jeremiah Boswell hit a free throw.

By then, UMass had scored 9 points. Columbia cut the lead to 9-3 when Marco McCottry scored the Lions' first basket. UMass then scored the next 7 points, including a 3-point play by Rogers.

UMass squandered opportunities to blow the game open. After consecutive turnovers, Columbia cut the lead to 19-9 on free throws by Chris Wiedmann with 6:39 left in the half.

Then Rogers took over, scoring 7 straight points - to Columbia's 2 - to give the Minutemen a 26-11 lead. At that stage of the game, Rogers had 14 points, singlehandedly outscoring Columbia.

''He has been unbelievable all year,'' said Lappas. ''He's been our one constant, and he plays hard every night.''

A 3-pointer by Lasme put the Minutemen ahead, 29-13, with 4:37 left in the half. Both teams struggled offensively for the remainder of the half, and UMass led, 33-15, at the break.

''We were 4 for 25 from the floor in the first half,'' said Columbia coach Armond Hill. ''I don't care who you play, you're not going to win with 4 for 25.''

UMass thwarted any idea of a Columbia comeback by outscoring the Lions, 10-2, at the start of the half to lead, 43-17, with 15:26 to go. The Lions then played their best basketball of the game and cut the lead to 59-38 with 4:49 remaining, but Lappas had already substituted for most of his starters.

UMass added a few baskets - including three by Lamb - to go ahead, 65-40, with 2:07 left, all but assuring their aim to go into the St. Joseph's game on a high note.

''The thing we got out of this game was that after losing against Fordham, we got our confidence back up,'' said Rogers. ''So when we go to play St. Joe's, we'll be ready to play.''

UMass earns lopsided victory
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 1/10/2003

AMHERST - With 17 minutes, 28 seconds left in the second half, University of Massachusetts senior Jackie Rogers had more points by himself than Columbia did.

Mike Lasme came within one rebound of the Minutemen's first triple-double in almost 30 years.
When he left the game, Mike Lasme was a rebound away from a triple-double.

Statistical oddities held more suspense than the outcome as UMass buried Columbia, 66-47, in a game that wasn't as close as the score.

Lasme finished with 13 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, while Rogers added 18 points and eight rebounds.

UMass (6-7) will return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. at Saint Joseph's (10-1).

The Minutemen have only one triple-double in their history. Former UMass star and current Boston College coach Al Skinner did it on Dec. 28, 1973 against St. Peter's when he had 27 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists.

UMass coach Steve Lappas didn't know Lasme was as close as he was to history and took him out with just under four minutes left.

"I didn't know it and I didn't know there had been only one in the history of the school," Lappas said. "If I knew that, I would have kept him in there. That would have been unbelievable for the kid. I'm sorry he didn't get it."

Lasme said he had no idea he was that close and wasn't disappointed at the missed opportunity."

"Nah, I was just playing," Lasme said. "He took me out at the right time."

Lasme was also the first Minuteman to get 10 assists in a game since Charlton Clarke did it against Fordham Jan. 7, 1999.

Lappas intentionally rested Anthony Anderson, who'd been playing almost-complete games recently. Anderson played just 24 minutes and snapped a 23-game streak of getting at least one assist.

"I would like to have cut out four more minutes," Lappas said. "Every time I was going to take him out, Columbia seemed to score. When you take him out, it's drastic. It's not like taking a normal guy out."

With Marcus Cox serving a one-game suspension for violating team rules, Lasme became the backup point guard. He had just two turnovers with his 10 assists.

"I thought he was tremendous," Lappas said. "He threw some great, great passes tonight. He seemed very comfortable. In the last two games we're really starting to see Mike Lasme emerge a little bit."

Lasme enjoyed returning to point guard, a position he played in high school.

"You have the ball, you can make decisions. You can drive, you can make other people better," Lasme said.

UMass opened the game on a 9-0 run, but its shutout disappeared when Lappas was hit with a technical foul by referee Rich San Fillipo 4:51 into the game

Jackie Rogers led all scorers with 18.
"That was the most amazing technical I've gotten in 15 years," Lappas said. "That's incredible. I didn't curse, which I don't do anyway. In all my years I've never cursed at a referee. But this? It's bizarre. I would like to know what I did."

The technical didn't seem to slow the Minutemen, though, as UMass quickly put its advantage into double figures to stay, eliminating any suspense.

Rogers scored his 18th point before the Rams (2-11) did as he put the Minutemen ahead 40-17. But Lappas, who went deep into his bench throughout, rested Rogers.

"He's been unbelievable," Lappas said. "He plays good every night. He gives us one constant."

UMass built its lead to 28 at 49-21. Columbia hit several meaningless 3s late to make the final score closer.

Dodson Worthington led the Lions with eight points.

Matt Vautour can be reached at

Briggs back with Minutemen
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 1/10/2003

AMHERST - The University of Massachusetts announced Friday that Stephen Briggs, a freshman forward who was dismissed from the team in October for an undisclosed violation of team rules, will be reinstated Jan. 17.

"This has been a very difficult situation for everyone involved," Lappas said in a university released statement. "Kids sometimes make mistakes and Stephen paid a pretty big price for his. In continuing to review and evaluate the situation since our initial decision, and talking to Stephen and his family, I just believed it was best to give Stephen another opportunity.

"He'll practice with the team for the rest of the year, hit the books and have four years of eligibility beginning next year, provided he takes care of all the things he needs to."

Briggs, a 6-foot-9 forward from Houston, will begin practicing with the Minutemen, Jan. 17, but will sit out this season.

Briggs got interest from other schools after his dismissal, but had he headed elsewhere he would have lost eligibility because he left within a year of signing his official letter of intent.

He could have played next year at mid-season with 21/2 years of eligibility, or he could have waited until the 2004-05 and had three full years left.

Briggs averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds for Westlake High School in Houston. He chose UMass over several Atlantic Coast Conference schools and Texas. He was just inside or just outside the top 100 players on most recruiting lists.

Briggs will join a corps of inside players next year that includes returnees Gabriel Lee and Alassane Kouyate and freshman Rashaun Freeman, who is sitting out as an academic non-qualifier. Freeman is 6-foot-8 and could play power forward or small forward.

Briggs will essentially fill the scholarship vacated by Kyle Wilson, who decided to transfer earlier this week.

With New Jersey guard Art Bowers also signed, UMass has two scholarships remaining. The Minutemen have been heavily recruiting Roman Narmbaye, a 6-foot-10 forward who is originally from Chad, but is playing at Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J., the same school that produced UMass guard Mike Lasme.

Lappas said earlier in the week he wasn't sure if UMass planned on recruiting a guard to replace Wilson.

UNUSUAL COMBINATIONS - With junior Marcus Cox serving a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules, Lappas only had two scholarship players available who are natural guards - Anthony Anderson and Mike Lasme.

Anytime he took one of them out of the game, it created some unusual looking combinations as small forwards Jeff Viggiano and Brennan Martin both spent time at guard.

Cox will return to the lineup Saturday (2 p.m. at Hawk Hill) against Saint Joseph's.

MISCELLANEOUS - For the fourth-straight game, a guard led the Minutemen in rebounding as Lasme had nine.

UMass' 12 blocked shots were a season high, while Jackie Rogers' three swats were a career high. Brennan Martin's five rebounds were also a personal best.

Matt Vautour can be reached at

Jeremiah Boswell doesn't let Mike Lasme get the easy basket.

Micah Brand had a quiet night with 5 points and 4 rebounds.

Brennan Martin keeps an eye on Arnel Scott.

Columbia Lions 47
Massachusetts Minutemen 66
at the Mullins Center

Official Basketball Box Score
Columbia vs Massachusetts
01/09/03  7:00 p.m. at Amherst, MA (Mullins Center)
VISITORS: Columbia ( 2-11)
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
21 SCOTT,Arnel......... f  2-6    0-1    0-0    1  3  4   0   4  3  1  1  1  17
33 MCCOTTRY,Marco...... f  2-8    0-2    0-0    2  4  6   2   4  0  4  0  0  30
52 WIEDEMANN,Chris..... c  2-12   0-2    2-2    3  4  7   2   6  0  1  0  1  21
12 CUFF,Dalen.......... g  1-3    1-3    2-2    0  3  3   4   5  2  4  0  1  28
14 BOSWELL,Jeremiah.... g  0-2    0-1    1-2    0  0  0   1   1  1  1  1  1  23
10 MACQUARRIE,Allan....    1-3    1-2    0-0    0  0  0   1   3  0  0  0  1   6
23 OWENS,Chris.........    0-1    0-1    0-1    0  1  1   0   0  0  0  0  0   6
24 HILL,Tito...........    2-7    0-1    2-2    0  2  2   1   6  0  0  0  0  21
25 DAVIS,Colin.........    1-2    0-0    0-0    0  2  2   1   2  1  0  0  0   9
31 PRESTON,Matt........    1-2    0-1    0-1    0  0  0   1   2  1  0  0  0  10
32 WORTHINGTON,Dodson..    3-4    1-1    1-1    0  2  2   2   8  0  0  0  0   8
42 KRAVIC,Dragutin.....    2-5    1-4    1-1    0  2  2   1   6  1  1  0  0  10
44 LAND,Matt...........    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  1  0  1  0  11
   TEAM................                         3  3  6
   Totals..............   17-56   4-19   9-12   9 26 35  17  47 10 12  3  5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  4-25 16.0%   2nd Half: 13-31 41.9%   Game: 30.4%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  0-5   0.0%   2nd Half:  4-14 28.6%   Game: 21.1%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  7-9  77.8%   2nd Half:  2-3  66.7%   Game: 75.0%   2,1

HOME TEAM: Massachusetts ( 6- 7)
                          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  8-12   0-0    2-3    3  5  8   2  18  0  1  3  0  27
22 VIGGIANO,Jeff....... f  2-5    1-2    2-3    1  1  2   1   7  2  0  1  2  26
40 BRAND,Micah......... c  2-5    0-0    1-2    2  2  4   3   5  1  1  3  2  17
01 LASME,Michael....... g  5-13   2-5    1-1    0  9  9   3  13 10  2  0  2  32
12 ANDERSON,Anthony.... g  2-4    2-4    0-0    0  3  3   2   6  0  1  0  0  24
00 MARTIN,Brennan......    1-3    0-2    0-0    2  3  5   1   2  2  2  0  0  19
04 LEE,Gabe............    1-2    0-0    4-6    1  1  2   1   6  1  2  4  1  25
14 KOTARIDIS,Paco......    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  1  0  0   4
20 ONUORA,Arthur.......    0-1    0-1    1-2    0  1  1   1   1  0  0  0  0   2
21 KOUYATE,Alassane....    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   1   0  0  0  0  0   6
34 LAMB,Raheim.........    4-10   0-1    0-0    2  2  4   0   8  1  0  1  1  18
   TEAM................                            2  2
   Totals..............   25-57   5-15  11-17  11 31 42  15  66 17 10 12  8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-32 40.6%   2nd Half: 12-25 48.0%   Game: 43.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-5  20.0%   2nd Half:  4-10 40.0%   Game: 33.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-9  66.7%   2nd Half:  5-8  62.5%   Game: 64.7%    0

Officials: Eric Britto, Rich San Fillipo, Carl LaBranche
Technical fouls: Columbia-None. Massachusetts-TEAM.
Attendance: 3017
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Columbia......................   15   32  -   47
Massachusetts.................   33   33  -   66

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