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Box score

UMass on a roll: Minutemen rip Marshall
By Glen Straub, The Boston Herald, 12/29/2002

AMHERST - The buzz around the Mullins Center yesterday before UMass played Marshall was it was going to be a battle of two styles of basketball with the Minutemen, a defensive-minded team, matched against the high-scoring, run-and-gun Thundering Herd.

But in an impressive 81-58 victory, the Minutemen showed their ability to play a high-octane game while continuing stellar play on the defensive end. It was the best offensive output by UMass in the two seasons coach Steve Lappas has been at the helm.

``Defensively, our guys were unbelievable today,'' Lappas said. ``We have been great defensively all year long but what has changed is our offense is beginning to come around.''

The Minutemen (4-6) shot 55 percent from the field while Marshall came in averaging 86.9 points with a 53 percent shooting percentage. But from the opening tip to the final buzzer, UMass shut down the Herd's offensive regime. For the game, Marshall (5-3) shot only 35 percent, leading to its second-lowest offensive output of the season.

``Normally we are good at shooting the basketball and obviously today we didn't make our shots,'' Marshall coach Greg White said. ``We were our own worst enemy today.''

A pair of double-digit runs in the first half boosted UMass past the Herd and gave the Minutemen a 19-point lead at the break.

Marred by six turnovers in the first six minutes of the game, Marshall found itself down 26-9 with 9:16 remaining in the half. UMass went on its first major run at the 18:13 mark. A 16-1 spurt spanning five minutes catapulted UMass toward the rout.

Senior forwards Jackie Rogers and Micah Brand were the catalysts as the Minutemen worked the ball inside time after time against Marshall's inexperienced frontcourt.

Rogers scored six of the Minutemen's first eight points in the game. The Syracuse, N.Y., native finished with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting. His front-line partner, Brand, had a game-high 17 points.

``Our front line has basically outplayed the opposing front line in every game we have played this year,'' Lappas said. ``You can't really ask for more from them.''

UMass extended the lead as high as 30-11, before Marshall, led by Marvin Black and Ardo Armpalu, pulled within 34-23 with just over four minutes to play in the half after it responded to the first UMass run with a 9-2 scoring spree.

But UMass answered later in the half with a 13-0 run en route to a 47-28 halftime lead.

In the second half, Marshall only got as close as 16 points and was unable to find a seam in the tight UMass defense.

The Minutemen pulled ahead by as many as 25 in the second half, the first time on a pair of free throws by Michael Lasme with 4:50 to play that made it 70-45.

Lasme and Jeff Viggiano both finished with 13 points.

Marshall was led by David Anderson with 10 points.

Player of the Game
12/28 Marshall
Anderson (9) 13%
Brand (8) 11%
Cox (0) 0%
Lamb (0) 0%
Lasme (2) 3%
Lee (21) 30%
Rogers (4) 6%
Viggiano (25) 35%
Wilson (2) 3%

Total Votes: 71

UMass routs Herd 81-58
From The Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail, 12/29/2002

AMHERST, Mass. — Ardo Armpalu picked up two quick fouls and Ronald Blackshear couldn’t hit anything as Marshall fell behind 18-3 to Massachusetts.

From there, the only suspense was whether the Minutemen could record their biggest margin of victory in the two-season coaching regime of Steve Lappas. They did so by a point, beating the Thundering Herd 81-58 Saturday at the Mullins Center.

Marshall shot just 37 percent and committed 16 turnovers against the defensive-minded Minutemen, falling behind 47-23 late in the first half. Only one Herd player, backup forward David Anderson, sneaked into double figures, leading the Herd with 10 points.

UMass (4-6) scored a season high in points and shot 57 percent from the floor, easily its best of the season. Micah Brand led four UMass double-figure scorers with 17 points, followed by one-time West Virginia player Jackie Rogers with 15. Freshmen Michael Lasme and Jeff Viggiano each scored 13.

Rogers led the opening charge, scoring six points as the Minutemen opened the game with an 18-3 run.

They extended the lead as high as 30-11 before Marshall pulled within 34-23 with just over four minutes to play in the half.

But Gabe Lee had five points as Massachusetts went on a 13-0 run over the next three minutes to make it 47-23. The Minutemen’s biggest lead was 70-45 with 4:50 left in the game.

Marshall fell to 5-3, with two of those losses connected to bad first halves on the road against bigger-name teams. On Dec. 2, the Herd fell behind 49-23 in the first half against Rutgers in a 75-56 setback.

“We just played extremely poorly in the first half,” said MU coach Greg White. “It was our own doing. We forced a lot of shots.”

Blackshear led the forcing, hitting just 1-of-12 from the floor and scoring only nine points. That comes off the heels of a four-point showing eight days earlier in an 83-68 home win over Western Carolina. He has hit just 3-of-23 from the floor over the two-game span.

“We need Ronald to play well,” White said. “He’s got to give up the ball, get lost in the offense and get the ball on the back side.”

UMass scored a whopping 52 points in the paint, a byproduct of Armpalu’s foul trouble. Armpalu, who scored all of his eight points in the first half, played just 10 minutes.

That meant the Herd played three-fourths the game without a true center. Freshman LaVar Carter is still out with a broken hand and Cameroon native Serge Babo still has not been cleared by the NCAA.

UMass shackles Marshall
Minutemen hold Herd to lowest point total of season in 81-58 win
By Rick McCann, The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington WV), 12/29/2002

AMHERST, Mass. - Christmas break had vastly different effects on the Massachusetts and Marshall basketball teams.

Coming off its holiday break, UMass shot 57.4 percent -- by far its best performance of the season -- and also had its best scoring game Saturday in an 81-58 romp past Marshall at Mullins Center. Marshall’s worst shooting game of the year resulted in one of its lowest point totals.

UMass (4-6) was averaging 60.3 points a game.

"For me, going home for a few days helped after not going home in four months," UMass center Gabe Lee said. "That helped me get relaxed."

Lee was a high school teammate of Marshall guard Ronald Blackshear in Camilla, Ga. Lee scored all nine of his points and blocked five shots in the first half when UMass pulled away.

On a day when Blackshear never got going offensively, forward David Anderson led the Thundering Herd with 10 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of playing time off the bench. Anderson was the lone Herd player in double figures.

Anderson said a dunk he missed showed how sluggish the Herd was.

"You know that doesn’t happen to me," said Anderson, who went home to Houston for Christmas. "We had some days off and your body gets used to sitting around."

UMass found its shooting touch, hitting 57.4 percent for the game, after making 41.5 percent in its first nine games.

Marshall, shooting 53 percent coming in, was limited to 36.8 percent. The previous low scoring output was 56 in a 19-point defeat at Rutgers (75-56) when the Herd shot 38.2 percent.

"Give UMass credit, they made shots," Marshall coach Greg White said.

Marshall (5-3) was out of the game early because of its cold shooting and a rash of turnovers.

UMass forward Jackie Rodgers, a senior who played for West Virginia as a freshman, scored six of his 15 points in the opening three minutes and Lee’s dunk off an offensive rebound staked the Minutemen to an 18-3 lead at 13:08 of the first half.

After UMass stretched its lead to 19 points, the Herd battled back. Center Ardo Armpalu’s basket, followed by an Armpalu free throw, cut the deficit to 34-23 at 4:07 of the half.

UMass lost two points on a basket interference call and Marshall had the ball back with a chance to get inside single figures. Following a timeout, Marshall point guard A.W. Hamilton threw a pass to Enoch Bunch, who turned away at the wrong time. The ball hit Bunch in the back of his legs and resulted in a basket by Lee at the other end.

Marshall committed 16 turnovers, with 10 in the first half.

The Minutemen led 47-28 at halftime. Marshall didn’t get closer than 16 points in the second half.

"It’s kind of hard when you give up an early lead like that," Herd guard Monty Wright said. "We tried to chip away at the lead. It was just turnovers and a lot of missed shots. I missed a lot myself."

Wright was the Herd’s second-leading scorer with 9 on 3-for-7 shooting. The senior also fouled out for just the third time in a 93-game career.

Blackshear entered the day averaging 18.9 points and also finished with 9. He was the primary focus of the UMass defense and connected on just 1-of-12 shooting from the field and only one three-point field goal in six tries. He made all six of his foul shots.

UMass assigned freshman Jeff Viggiano to guard Blackshear, with help from junior Raheim Lamb.

"I think the job Jeff and Raheim did on Ron Blackshear was incredible," UMass coach Steve Lappas said.

Blackshear missed his first four field goal attempts and finally connected on a three-pointer late in the first half with the Herd already down by a sizable margin. Realizing his outside shots weren’t falling, Blackshear attempted to drive to the basket several times and was stopped by Brand and others blocking his path to the basket.

In the second half Blackshear got off only two shots and missed them both.

UMass didn’t want to get beaten by Blackshear, and didn’t.

"They just face-guarded him," White said. "They just forgot all defensive principles and face-guarded him. He’s got to learn to give up the basketball."

Armpalu was foul trouble early and had 8 points in 10 minutes of action. Forward Marvin Black also scored 8.

Lee, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, joined with 6-11 senior Micah Brand (17 points) and the 6-8 Rogers to give UMass a distinct advantage inside. With Armpalu on the bench for long stretches because of fouls, the Herd was simply out-manned underneath.

Lappas said his inside players have been consistent all year. With some help from the backcourt the Minutemen played their most complete game, he said.

Armpalu is the Herd’s only true center. Freshman Mark Patton started at forward and played a lot of minutes at center. Freshman LaVar Carter who normally backs up Armpalu is out of action indefinitely with a broken hand.

"I throw Mark Patton in there and he played hard, but there’s a difference between an 18-year-old and 22-year-olds," White said.

Blackshear fuels motivation
By Rick McCann, The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington WV), 12/29/2002

AMHERST, Mass. - Marshall’s Ronald Blackshear might have provided UMass with a little extra motivation for Saturday’s game.

Blackshear and Minutemen reserve Gabe Lee had a brief reunion during Christmas break back at home in Camilla, Ga., where they played on a state championship team at Mitchell-Baker High School.

"Yes, I saw him," Lee said after UMass defeated Marshall, 81-58. "He was talking some noise."

Lee said playing against Blackshear, who was one of the best players at Mitchell-Baker, definitely got him going.

"I had to let him know I’ve improved," said Lee, who provided a big spark off the Minutemen bench.

It’s a fact: Marshall was held to less than 60 points for the 17th time in head coach Greg White’s seven seasons, a span of 178 games.

In those games Marshall has a 1-16 record.

The only time one of White’s teams scored less than 60 and won was a 58-56 victory against Central Michigan in the 1999-2000 Mid-American Conference tournament.

A marked man: Herd forward David Anderson stripped off his warmup top and revealed a new tattoo covering most of his upper left arm.

"It’s a panther," he said.

Lineup change: Junior forward Marvin Black was replaced in the starting lineup by freshman Mark Patton.

Black started the first seven games, but was benched by White in a disciplinary move after he was seven minutes late for a 9:30 a.m. pre-game team meeting in the hotel. David Anderson was also late but isn’t a starter.

After calling the players in their room, White met them getting off the elevator and had a long discussion.

Patton made his fifth start of the season.

Mack’s back: Former Tennessee-Chattanooga and Virginia Commonwealth head coach Mack McCarthy was at courtside working with Keith Morehouse on the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports network telecast.

It’s strange how the world turns. McCarthy coached against Marshall many times when the schools were Southern Conference rivals. Now, he’s calling Marshall games on TV.

McCarthy worked on earlier telecasts from Rutgers and Morehead State. He’s scheduled to be in Huntington for the Feb. 22 ESPN Bracket Buster game.

He resigned from the VCU job after the 2001-02 season.

Although he still lives in Richmond, Va., McCarthy does a live weekday radio show for a station in Chattanooga.

Attendance woes: UMass had a special "Family Day Package" attempting to boost ticket sales. The $50 package included four tickets, four hot dogs and four Cokes. The special came on the heels of a Mullins Center all-time low crowd of 2,317 last weekend for the Rider game.

Saturday’s crowd was announced as 3,474.

Up next:Marshall (5-3, 1-0 MAC) is back at home Saturday for a conference game against Western Michigan.

Western Michigan (7-2, 0-1) plays Monday night at IUPUI. The Broncos have big non-conference wins against Michigan, Auburn and Virginia Tech, but dropped their conference opener at Miami (Ohio).

UMass sharp against Marshall
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/30/2002

AMHERST - A week ago, the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team was still smarting from an embarrassing two-point loss to Lafayette that had people asking if the Minutemen would win again this season.

Seven days and two encouraging wins later, UMass appears to have put that loss and maybe its early-season woes in the rearview mirror.

The Minutemen delivered their best performance of the season and pounded Marshall, 81-58, Saturday at the Mullins Center.

"It was as good a team effort as we've had," UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "This was the first time this year we went out for 40 minutes and played well."

The Minutemen (4-6) will try to keep their momentum going Thursday when they play host to North Carolina State at 7:30 p.m.

"We've played two very good games in a row," Lappas said. "Thursday is going to be a tremendous test for us. It's coming at a good time for us."

Senior Micah Brand, who led the Minutemen with 17 points, shared the coach's optimism.

"I think the way the team is playing right now has been great," Brand said. "If everybody keeps doing what they've been doing and what Coach Lappas asks them to do, we'll be fine."

Late in the game it looked like the Minutemen might have six players finish with double-figure point totals, but they settled for four. In addition to Brand, Jackie Rogers had 15 while freshmen Jeff Viggiano and first-time starter Mike Lasme each had 13.

Anthony Anderson had nine points and a career-high nine rebounds, while Gabe Lee had nine points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.

David Anderson had 10 points to lead Marshall (5-3).

UMass had a double-digit advantage before the game was five minutes old and never relinquished it.

The Thundering Herd appeared to have an opportunity to get back into the game when Anderson and Rogers both were whistled for their second fouls early in the first half.

But instead of losing ground without their two starters, the Minutemen expanded their lead.

Mitchell-Baker High School (Camilla, Ga.) coach Rufus McDuffie drove all the way from the Peach State to see two of his former players - Lee and Marshall star Ronald Blackshear - play each other.

Lee, a sophomore rookie for UMass, stole the show from his more high-profile former teammate. With Rogers sitting, he grabbed seven first-half rebounds and his five blocks disrupted the Herd offense.

"My game is coming back to me," said Lee, who sat out last year as an academic nonqualifier. "I haven't played in two years. It's coming back slowly. I can do a lot more. I just have to get better."

After Marshall got within 11 at 34-23 with 4 minutes, 7 seconds left in the first half, Lee scored inside and then blocked a shot at the other end, starting a 13-0 run that essentially finished the Herd.

"Gabe Lee changed the game in the first half," Lappas said. "He has tremendous energy."

Marcus Cox's playing time was limited yesterday as he logged just nine minutes when Anderson was in first-half foul trouble. The UConn transfer, who'd struggled of late, didn't play in the second half. Sophomore Brennan Martin didn't play at all after starting the last two games.

Raheim Lamb was the beneficiary. After seeing little time of late, he played 22 minutes.

"I'm going to have some decisions to make with (Lamb) and Brennan Martin," Lappas said. "In a game like that where offense isn't the problem, we're going to put the better defender in. That's what Chops (Lamb) can do. In games when we're not making some shots, Brennan can help."

NOTES: The game marked a return to the Mullins Center for Marshall Athletic Director Bob Marcum, who had the same position at UMass until last spring. Luck has not been with the Marshall alum in the basketball series though. In the five games between the two schools, the school signing Marcum's paychecks has gone 1-4.

Matt Vautour can be reached at

Viggiano the real deal
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/30/2002

AMHERST - I was skeptical. Why wouldn't I be? When the University of Massachusetts signed Jeff Viggiano last spring, I couldn't help but wonder: Is this guy really somebody who can help the Minutemen, or is Steve Lappas just desperate for someone who could shoot?

I've heard about would-be sleepers and steals before. Rafael Cruz, Anthony Oates and Willie Jenkins were all supposed to be players who slipped under the radar who UMass was lucky to find. All three turned out to be busts.

With so many AAU Tournaments and maniacal recruiting gurus, it's hard to imagine that there are any sleepers left out there. It seems like somebody knows about everybody and nobody seemed to want or even know about the 6-foot-6 Suffield, Conn. native.

Before UMass entered the picture, Viggiano said he was deciding between Iona and prep school.

This high school senior was playing in a small Connecticut high school division, guarding slow-footed 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4 centers.

Was he quick enough to play the perimeter in college? Tough enough? Could he get his shot off fast enough?

Yes, yes and yes. I'm officially convinced. Jeff Viggiano can play.

Not every game will be like the last two when Viggiano has averaged 15 points, but it's clear that he helps the Minutemen.

Lappas liked Viggiano as a shooter, but even he'll admit Viggiano is better than he expected him to be.

Since Lappas inserted him into the starting lineup, Viggiano proved he can rebound (nine boards against Rider), pass (seven assists in the last two games) and shoot 3-pointers.

Maybe the most impressive thing he's done in the past two games was shut down Ronald Blackshear, Marshall's high-scoring guard.

Blackshear presented a significantly more difficult challenge than those 6-foot-4 Connecticut scholastic centers did. The combination shooter-slasher came in averaging 18.9 points per game.

Viggiano didn't cover Blackshear the entire game and the Minutemen gambled and doubled-teamed him at times. But Viggiano gets a lot of credit for Blackshear's 1-for-12 shooting performance.

Skills aside, his innate feel for the game, his hustle and energy have proved to be valuable assets, too.

In Monday's game with UMass trailing Rider early, Viggiano nearly saved a seemingly unreachable sideline-bound loose ball. The effort seemed to spark his teammates and the crowd. That play may not have started the UMass comeback that defeated the Broncos and continued into the Marshall game, but the timing of it seemed more than coincidental.

The sleeper has awakened the Mullins Center, although that status is likely gone forever. The Atlantic 10 named him its Rookie of the Week for his effort and opponents will certainly start to guard him tighter. But when they do, somebody else will get open.

The 1996-97 Minutemen were 6-9 at one point, but a switch to a three-guard set turned the season around. Will inserting Jeff Viggiano into the lineup be this year's version of the three-guard set? It's way too early to go there, but UMass is 2-0 when Viggiano starts.

Two games doesn't make a turnaround. But two wins can start a surge. And Viggiano has been a big part of those two.

I'm a skeptic no more.

Matt Vautour can be reached at

Pictures from The Daily Hampshire Gazette

Steve Lappas gets pumped up.
Gabe Lee got a little too aggressive and was called for offensive interference, no basket.
Jeff Viggiano's defense was a big factor in Ronald Blackshear going 1-12 from the floor.
Viggiano worked in 13 points on the offensive side.
All smiles for Micah Brand and Anthony Anderson as time runs out.
The rout is on and the celebration starts for Michael Lasme, Gabe Lee and Raheim Lamb.

Jackie Rogers looks for room to work.

Jeff Viggiano gets blocked out of bounds by Monty Wright.

Anthony Anderson tracks A.W. Hamilton.

Video clips

All clips in MOV (QuickTime) format. Download QuickTime.
Video clip Michael Lasme gives the up-fake and drives in close for 2. (file size = 2.8mb)
Video clip Lasme gives it up to Jackie Rogers down low. (2.2mb)

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Marshall Thundering Herd 58
Massachusetts Minutemen 81
at the Mullins Center

Official Basketball Box Score
Marshall vs Massachusetts
12/28/02  2:00 p.m. at Amherst,MA (Mullins Center)
VISITORS: Marshall ( 5- 3)
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
33 PATTON,Mark......... f  2-4    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   3   4  0  0  0  1  15
55 ARMPALU,Ardo........ c  3-3    0-0    2-4    1  2  3   4   8  0  3  0  0  10
02 WRIGHT,Monty........ g  3-7    0-3    3-3    0  3  3   5   9  1  4  0  0  29
03 HAMILTON,A.W........ g  1-3    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   2  5  4  0  2  30
11 BLACKSHEAR,Ronald... g  1-12   1-6    6-6    1  3  4   2   9  0  1  0  1  28
00 BLACK,Marvin........    4-9    0-0    0-1    3  3  6   2   8  1  3  0  2  30
01 DIXON,Renardo.......    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2
05 BUNCH,Enoch.........    0-2    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  3  0  0  0   8
10 DAWN,Ronny..........    2-5    1-4    0-0    1  0  1   1   5  2  0  0  0  21
12 MCCOMAS,Chad........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
15 ANDERSON,David......    4-10   0-0    2-2    2  4  6   2  10  0  1  0  0  24
23 DRESSEL,Joe.........    1-1    1-1    0-0    0  1  1   0   3  0  0  0  0   2
   TEAM................                         4  1  5
   Totals..............   21-57   3-16  13-16  12 17 29  22  58 12 16  0  6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-28 35.7%   2nd Half: 11-29 37.9%   Game: 36.8%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-8  25.0%   2nd Half:  1-8  12.5%   Game: 18.8%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-9  66.7%   2nd Half:  7-7  100 %   Game: 81.3%   1,1

HOME TEAM: Massachusetts ( 4- 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  7-10   0-0    1-2    0  4  4   4  15  0  4  0  1  18
22 VIGGIANO,Jeff....... f  4-6    3-5    2-6    0  0  0   3  13  4  2  1  1  32
40 BRAND,Micah......... c  4-6    1-1    8-8    1  2  3   2  17  0  1  2  2  25
01 LASME,Michael....... g  3-8    0-3    7-8    0  1  1   3  13  3  1  0  1  32
12 ANDERSON,Anthony.... g  3-5    1-3    2-3    0  9  9   2   9  3  1  0  2  29
04 LEE,Gabe............    4-5    0-0    1-3    3  5  8   1   9  3  2  5  1  27
11 WILSON,Kyle.........    1-1    1-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   3  0  0  0  0   2
14 KOTARIDIS,Paco......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
20 ONUORA,Arthur.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
21 KOUYATE,Alassane....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2
34 LAMB,Raheim.........    1-4    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   2   2  5  2  0  0  22
50 COX,Marcus..........    0-2    0-1    0-0    1  0  1   1   0  1  0  0  0   9
   TEAM................                         1  3  4
   Totals..............   27-47   6-14  21-30   7 24 31  18  81 19 13  8  8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 16-29 55.2%   2nd Half: 11-18 61.1%   Game: 57.4%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-11 36.4%   2nd Half:  2-3  66.7%   Game: 42.9%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 11-18 61.1%   2nd Half: 10-12 83.3%   Game: 70.0%   4,2

Officials: Rich San Fillipo, Eric Britto, Joe Pescitelli
Technical fouls: Marshall-None. Massachusetts-None.
Attendance: 3474
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Marshall......................   28   30  -   58
Massachusetts.................   47   34  -   81

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