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UMass nails it down
By Jim Pignatiello, The Boston Herald, 12/15/2002

AMHERST - The UMass men's basketball team gave up second-half leads in two of its last three games. Though Florida International University was able to keep last night's contest within 10 points throughout, it was unable to take advantage of the Minutemen's recent tendency for collapse.

Gabe Lee snatches the rebound away from Carlos Morban.
The Golden Panthers (4-4) made a run at the end, scoring 10 points in the game's final two minutes, but the Minutemen (2-5) answered with nine, including six points from freshman guard Mike Lasme, en route to a 67-62 win at the Mullins Center.

``That's what we didn't do against Connecticut,'' Lasme said. ``Any time they tried to come back, we tried to score and keep the lead.''

UMass point guard Anthony Anderson, who struggled from the field to the tune of 28 percent in the first six games (25 percent from behind the 3-point line), was back to his expected role as the most dominant player donning maroon and white.

Anderson, who averaged 8.2 points in UMass' first six games, five of them losses, got hot from outside in the first half, scoring 16 of the Minutemen's 33 points. Anderson shot 4-for-5 from behind the arc in those first 20 minutes and finished the game with a career-high 22 points.

``When Anthony plays well, we can win a game ugly,'' UMass coach Steve Lappas said after watching his team make 20 turnovers. ``When he doesn't, we can't win at all.''

FIU jumped out to an early lead as Junior Matias scored seven of his team's first 11 points. But Anderson's sharpshooting and some putbacks on the offensive glass brought the Minutemen to the lead at the break. Matias paced his team with 21 points.

UMass' Brennan Martin, who made his first collegiate start, was sharp from downtown, making 3-of-5 attempts. The sophomore from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., finished the night with nine points, which matched his career high.

Martin's 6-for-13 shooting from downtown in the first six games paved the way for a spot in the starting five.

``I'm not a 3-point shooting fanatic, but your 2- and 3-(guard) spots have got to be able to shoot the 3,'' Lappas said.

Marcus Cox and Raheim Lamb were just 2-for-21 as the starting tandem at the respective positions before last night's game.

Martin credited making the first attempt as being important to his shooters' mentality.

``You feel that if you hit the first one, the next one is going in,'' said Martin, who also credited Anderson's performance for carrying over to the rest of the team.

``It helped out tremendously,'' Martin said. ``When Anderson gets going, it gets everybody else into the game.''

Player of the Game
12/14 Florida Int'l
Anderson (23) 68%
Brand (0) 0%
Cox (1) 3%
Lamb (0) 0%
Lasme (2) 6%
Lee (3) 9%
Martin (2) 6%
Rogers (0) 0%
Viggiano (3) 9%

Total Votes: 34

UMASS 67, FLA. INT. 62
UMass completes job
Anderson (22) lifts Minutemen
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe Staff, 12/15/2002

AMHERST - Their last victory was last month, but for Anthony Anderson it may as well have been last year.

Anthony Anderson looks for an opening to shoot from down low.
''Chaminade [the other team Massachusetts beat] doesn't count,'' said the Lynn native, after scoring a career-high 22 points on 7-for-8 shooting in the Minutemen's 67-62 victory over scrappy Florida International last night.

Before last night's win, its first over a Division 1 foe, the Minutemen (2-5) had lost to Central Connecticut, Boston College, and Connecticut since beating Chaminade at the Maui Invitational Nov. 27. Last Tuesday's loss to UConn was particularly painful, as UMass squandered a 25-point second-half lead.

Anderson made certain UMass refused to lose last night. He played his best game of the season, hitting 5 of 6 3-point attempts, despite being hampered by a leg cramp in the second half. The Minutemen posted season highs in field goal percentage (51.1) and 3-point percentage (53.3), overcame a season-high 20 turnovers, and made big plays when needed to prevail.

''I felt like I shot the ball well against Connecticut, too,'' said Anderson, who scored 13 against the Huskies. ''But [last night], once the first one went in, it felt good.''

Reserve forward Gabe Lee had 12 points and eight rebounds (both career highs) for the Minutemen, who shot 61 percent in the second half and scored 17 fast-break points.

UMass played with the intensity it will need to display if it hopes to turn its season around.

''They knew it. I've said it enough, but they knew even if I hadn't said it,'' said UMass coach Steve Lappas. ''They know what they have to do to get our heads above water.''

Lappas was concerned about the team's 20 turnovers, particularly since Anderson had just one, and he voiced concern over the play of the front-line tandem of Micah Brand and Jackie Rogers - who combined for 10 points and six rebounds (Rogers fouled out).

Lappas credited Anderson, Lee, and Anderson's backup, Michael Lasme (8 points), for their contributions.

''If Anderson plays well, we can win ugly,'' said Lappas. ''If he doesn't play well, we can't win.''

Florida International (4-4) features seven foreign-born players, including a Dominican trio of Junior Matias, Eulis Baez, and Carlos Morban that entered last night's contest averaging a combined 34.7 points per game, more than half of FIU's 62.3 average.

Early on, Matias was the team's catalyst, scoring 9 of the team's first 11 points on high-arcing jump shots.

Leading by 7 at halftime, the Minutemen turned over the ball on five of their first six second-half possessions. FIU cut the lead to 43-41 with 10:57 remaining, but the Minutemen scored three consecutive baskets to take a 49-41 lead.

FIU cut the lead to 49-46 on a basket by Baez with 8:07 to go but Anderson sank a trey with 7:11 left to put the Minutemen ahead by 6. With 6:50 left, Anderson left the game limping and was replaced by Lasme, who scored on a pull-up jumper with 6:23 left to give UMass a 54-48 lead. Anderson returned with 3:30 to play.

Matias suffered a groin injury, left the game with 6:16 to go, and did not return. He finished with a team-high 21 points. FIU was hampered by his absence, as it didn't have another hot hand.

The Golden Panthers kept battling, but the Minutemen all but put the game away with 2:59 left on a jumper by Brand for a 56-50 lead.

''That may have been the shot of the game,'' said Lappas.

UMass's lead grew to 64-54 with 30 seconds left.

''You have to give a lot of credit to UMass,'' said Florida International coach Donnie Marsh. ''They came up with big plays when they needed them.''

Minutemen hold on for second win
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/16/2002

AMHERST - Having gone 17 days without a victory, any win was cause for celebration for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team. Even an ugly 67-62 win Saturday over Florida International in front of the smallest men's basketball crowd (3,273) in the history of the Mullins Center.

"I'm very happy we won. I'm not particularly happy with the way we played," UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "Our team needs to get better. There's no question."

"We've played some tough teams," junior guard Anthony Anderson said. "It was good to finally have a win because Chaminade doesn't even count."

It was a game that never felt in doubt, but never felt clinched for the Minutemen (2-5) either, who didn't put the Golden Panthers away until late.

Anderson played his best game of the season statistically. He had a career-high 22 points on a 7-of-8 shooting and had six assists. Gabe Lee had career-highs in points (12) and rebounds (8).

"Gabe is instant energy," Anderson said. "He might come in and make a block, grab a rebound, scream in somebody's face or get a dunk. We need that."

Junior Matias led Florida International (4-4) with 21 points.

The Minutemen get a week off for finals and return to action Saturday when they play host to Lafayette at 1 p.m. at the Springfield Civic Center.

Florida International led for most of the first half as Matias was hot from the floor early. But trailing 21-17 with 6 minutes and 39 seconds left, Anderson hit a 3 to slice the deficit to one. Brennan Martin gave the Minutemen the lead for good with a 3 from the shoulder that put UMass ahead 23-21.

The Minutemen built their lead en route to intermission, capped when Anderson sank a fall-away 3-pointer at the buzzer to send UMass to the locker room with a 33-26 advantage.

The Minutemen had trouble finishing off FIU in the second half, but shot-clock beating shots from Micah Brand and freshman Mike Lasme in the last three minutes clinched the win.

With Lappas looking for more perimeter scoring options, he gave Martin his first career start. Martin matched his career scoring high with nine points, all on 3-pointers. But he struggled in spots with five turnovers.

"For the first time in my career, since my first year at Manhattan, the starting two (Marcus Cox) and three (Raheim Lamb) had two 3s between them," Lappas said. "I'm not a 3-point shooting fanatic, but your two and three spot need to be able to shoot the ball some. Brennan gave us three 3s tonight."

Martin wasn't the only Minuteman with ball-control problems. Cox had six-giveaways as the team had a season-worst 20 to counteract a season-high 19 assists.

NOTES: Lappas said Raheim Lamb, who Martin replaced in the starting lineup will be used almost exclusively at power forward now. ... Lasme had eight points and a career-high five rebounds on his 20th birthday. ... Freshman forward Jeff Viggiano left the game with a shoulder injury. After originally fearing it was separated, Lappas said it was just a deep bruise.

Matt Vautour can be reached at

Minutemen hold on for second win
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/16/2002

AMHERST - The basket that ended Anthony Anderson's slump didn't even count.

Three minutes and 34 seconds into the University of Massachusetts' loss to Connecticut on Tuesday, Raheim Lamb was called for a blocking foul, setting a screen for Anderson. The junior point guard fired the shot anyway. The net barely moved as the ball dropped though it.

"I felt way better after I hit that shot. That was big even though it didn't count," he said. "I felt much more comfortable after that."

The non-shot started a 4-for-9 shooting, 13-point night for Anderson.

He played solidly against the Huskies and much better than he had in the team's previous Division I games. But he still didn't look like the player who shined for UMass last year en route to the Atlantic 10's Rookie of the Year honors.

Saturday against Florida International, that Anthony Anderson re-emerged. The Minutemen needed him, too. In a game marked by sloppiness, Anderson was like a Rembrandt in a gym full of finger painters.

UMass coach Steve Lappas was glad to have Anderson's slump in the rearview mirror.

"If I'm going to worry about him, I've really got problems," Lappas said. "I don't worry about him. I'm not going to worry about him. He's our guy no matter what he does. If he misses it or makes it, he's still staying in there so you might as well not worry about it."

Anderson didn't miss many on Saturday. He made the first 3-pointer he took, 3 minutes and 14 seconds into the game and was on his way.

For the first time all season, he looked at ease throughout. He made good decisions when to shoot, when to pass and who to pass it to. He finished with a career-high 22 points (7-for-8) to go along with six assists.

"I hit my first two," he said. "I was feeling real good from the Connecticut game cause I was making my shots from that game. Then I hit the first two and I felt real comfortable."

Anderson's improvement sparked the rest of the team.

"It helped out tremendously," said sophomore Brennan Martin. "When 'Ant' gets going it helps get everybody else into the game. He's a great point guard. He knows when the shot is there and also when the guy is open. He really got us going."

Seconds after taking a charge from Taurance Johnson, FIU's 6-foot-9 big man Anderson, who outweighs him by almost 70 pounds, hit a fall-away 3-pointer that beat the halftime buzzer.

Florida International did a good job keeping him from getting the ball in good shooting position early in the second half. The Minutemen missed his production as the Golden Panthers closed an eight-point gap to 49-46 before Anderson buried a trey from the left corner.

A cramp forced Anderson out of the game with 6:50 remaining and the Minutemen struggled without him, scoring just two points in the 31/2 minutes he was out.

"He was out on one foot," UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "He had bad cramping in his left calf. He begged me to let him go back in. The trainer wasn't sure he could go back in. He's one of the toughest guys we have."

Things seemed to right themselves when he returned as UMass pulled away.

Lappas summed up Anderson's importance.

"We won ugly. When Anthony Anderson plays well, we can win a game ugly," Lappas said. "When Anthony Anderson doesn't play well, we can't win a game anyway."

Matt Vautour can be reached at

Video clips

All clips in MOV (QuickTime) format. Download QuickTime.
Video clip Anthony Anderson hits one of his 5 3-pointers. (file size = 4.2mb)
Video clip Brennan Martin connects from the corner. (1.6mb)
Video clip Mike Lasme finds Gabe Lee down low. (3.9mb)

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Florida International Golden Panthers 62
Massachusetts Minutemen 67
at the Mullins Center

Official Basketball Box Score
Florida International vs Massachusetts
12/14/02  7:00 p.m. at Amherst, MA (Mullins Center)
VISITORS: Florida International ( 4- 4)
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
05 HARRIS,Al........... f  3-4    0-0    0-1    3  2  5   3   6  2  1  0  2  26
15 BAEZ,Eulis.......... f  6-11   1-2    2-5    4  6 10   4  15  1  4  1  1  39
42 NOVAKOVIC,Nikola.... c  1-5    0-0    2-3    1  2  3   2   4  0  2  0  0  19
03 MORBAN,Carlos....... g  0-5    0-1    0-0    2  1  3   3   0  5  1  0  1  34
20 MATIAS,Junior....... g  6-11   2-5    7-11   0  0  0   2  21  0  3  0  1  22
01 FISHER,Fab..........    3-4    1-2    0-0    0  2  2   3   7  1  3  0  0  20
11 LUBER,David.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   3
21 SLAVTCHEV,Slavcho...    1-2    1-2    0-0    0  0  0   0   3  0  1  0  1   6
50 BAMBA,Belco.........    1-4    0-0    0-0    3  1  4   4   2  0  2  0  3  18
52 JOHNSON,Taurance....    1-5    0-3    2-2    0  1  1   1   4  1  2  2  2  13
   Totals..............   22-51   5-15  13-22  13 15 28  22  62 10 19  3 11 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  9-21 42.9%   2nd Half: 13-30 43.3%   Game: 43.1%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-5  40.0%   2nd Half:  3-10 30.0%   Game: 33.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-10 60.0%   2nd Half:  7-12 58.3%   Game: 59.1%   4,2

HOME TEAM: Massachusetts ( 2- 5)
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
00 MARTIN,Brennan...... f  3-5    3-5    0-0    0  3  3   3   9  2  5  0  1  30
02 ROGERS,Jackie....... f  1-4    0-0    2-2    0  3  3   5   4  2  1  0  0  25
40 BRAND,Micah......... c  3-6    0-1    0-0    0  3  3   3   6  2  2  2  2  24
12 ANDERSON,Anthony.... g  7-8    5-6    3-4    0  3  3   1  22  6  1  0  1  37
50 COX,Marcus.......... g  0-2    0-1    2-2    0  1  1   2   2  2  6  0  2  17
01 LASME,Michael.......    2-4    0-1    4-6    0  5  5   2   8  4  2  0  1  22
04 LEE,Gabe............    5-7    0-0    2-4    6  2  8   0  12  0  2  1  1  21
22 VIGGIANO,Jeff.......    1-4    0-1    0-0    2  0  2   0   2  0  0  0  1  12
34 LAMB,Raheim.........    1-5    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   2   2  1  1  0  2  12
   Totals..............   23-45   8-15  13-18   8 21 29  18  67 19 20  3 11 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-27 44.4%   2nd Half: 11-18 61.1%   Game: 51.1%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  5-9  55.6%   2nd Half:  3-6  50.0%   Game: 53.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-5  80.0%   2nd Half:  9-13 69.2%   Game: 72.2%    2

Officials: Victor Montgomery, Joe Pescitelli, Bill McCarthy
Technical fouls: Florida International-None. Massachusetts-None.
Attendance: 3273
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Florida International.........   26   36  -   62
Massachusetts.................   33   34  -   67

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