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Play by Play
wo years ago, the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team got a sneak peak at Rashad Anderson's future. The Minutemen took a 25-point lead on the then-No. 9 University of Connecticut, before Anderson, then an unheralded reserve, came off the bench and shot the Huskies back into the game.
UConn went on to win that game 59-48 on Dec. 10, 2002, but Anderson returned to obscurity overshadowed by his more high-profile teammates.
Now Anderson has found some notoriety of his own. He's leading the Huskies in scoring at 16 points per game. He's one of several UConn players who have risen to prominence this year, helping to offset the loss of three key seniors from last year's national championship team.
The No. 7-ranked Huskies will try to improve to 5-0 at 9 tonight when they visit the Mullins Center.
As usual, UConn is deep and talented with 10 players going nine or more minutes per game. UMass coach Steve Lappas, who has coached against UConn since his days at Villanova, said the Huskies' approach has gotten less complex over the years.
''The scouting report gets smaller and smaller every year. They rely less on set plays and less on defenses other than man to man,'' Lappas said. ''They throw hordes of guys at you and keep running down the floor and eventually wear you out.''
To contain UConn, opponents must keep the tempo from moving too fast and the Huskies from dominating the boards. That hasn't been easy so far.
UConn is averaging 90 points and 60 rebounds over its first four games.
Sophomore big man Josh Boone, who was solid last year, has emerged from the shadow of Emeka Okafor who is now with the Charlotte Bobcats. Boone is averaging 15.8 points and a team-high 11 rebounds per game.
He has plenty of inside help as coach Jim Calhoun's squad has six players who are 6 feet 8 inches or taller.
Lappas said UConn's inside presence opens things for Anderson and Denham Brown on the perimeter.
''Those guys are allowed to take any shot at any time because they have some great rebounders that will go to the glass and feel like they will get the ball back,'' Lappas said.
Tempo has been a problem for UMass in the early going. Northeastern's breakneck pace frustrated the Minutemen into an unexpected 84-68 loss Dec. 1.
''We didn't respond well to the pressure we got against Northeastern. We're going to get more pressure in this game,'' Lappas said. ''This is about what have we learned since last week.''
UMass senior point guard Anthony Anderson said keeping the game at a reasonable pace is his responsibility. ''Northeastern played us the same way UConn is going to play us, but UConn is bigger and more athletic,'' he said. ''A lot of it is on my shoulders. I have to run the show and slow us down and not let us get into a fast-paced game like they want to play.''
Minuteman junior Jeff Viggiano, who has played only limited minutes of late, figures to see more action tonight. He scored 22 points against UConn last year.
''We're going to need to play a little bit bigger anyway,'' Lappas said. ''So we're going to play him at the three and see how that helps him and helps us.''
LAMOUREUX STILL OUT - Minuteman freshman big man Olivier Lamoureux will remain out of action with a strain of his Achilles tendon.
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE - UMass spokesman Jason Yellin said the athletic department is battling the impression that this game is sold out. There are indeed many tickets still available.
MISCELLANEOUS - UConn leads the all-time series between the two schools 68-38. ... Former UMass assistant coach Pat Sellers is UConn's director of basketball operations. ... This is the first nationally televised game of the season for UMass, and it will be shown on ESPN2. ... The Minutemen are 2-1 all-time against defending national champions. UMass defeated North Carolina in the Preseason NIT in 1993 and Arkansas in the Tipoff Classic in 1994. The Minutemen fell to the Huskies after their first title in 1999. This is the first game against a reigning national champ in the Mullins Center. ... UMass hasn't beaten a ranked team since March 9, 2001, when the Minutemen defeated No. 21 Saint Joseph's 75-70 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinals.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
here have been nail-biters and blowouts, chokes and runaways, high scoring and low scoring. The methods and styles have changed, but the results haven't since 1983. Since then, Connecticut has owned Massachusetts in the battle of neighboring state universities.
The Minutemen will try to end that futility streak at 9 tonight on ESPN2 against the No. 7-ranked Huskies.
Can they do it? Not easily. Quite a few things have to go right for the Minutemen to break through.
The following is a look at what UMass needs to do to pull off the upset.
Control tempo - If this game gets played at a high-scoring pace, the Minutemen are going to lose and probably by quite a bit. UMass doesn't have the talent or depth to run with the Huskies.
Manage UConn's rebounding edge - The Huskies, who led the nation in rebounds per game last year with 44.7, are averaging an absurd 60 per game after the first four games of this season.
The Minutemen, who are averaging 37.5 rebounds, will need to narrow that gap to keep the Huskies from getting extra opportunities and running off UMass misses.
Make smart shots - If the Minutemen are forcing ill-advised shots or even taking desperate ones late in the shot clock, they're likely headed for trouble.
Even if their shot selection is solid, if they don't go in, it won't matter.
It's hard to imagine UMass being successful with another 3-for-12 shooting performance from Artie Bowers. The Minutemen will need him to make more or shoot fewer shots in this game.
Avoid foul trouble and turnovers - UMass can't expect rookies Jeff ''Big Deli'' Salovski and Lawrence Carrier to neutralize UConn's collection of players inside. The Minutemen need Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme to stay in this game and be effective defending and rebounding.
Freeman and then starting center Gabe Lee both fouled out against the Huskies last year, while Lasme picked up four fouls in 18 minutes in the 91-67 UConn win.
Early turnovers put the Minutemen in a hole against Gonzaga Saturday and UConn produces a lot of take-aways. UMass can't be sloppy with the ball or the Huskies will get easy baskets.
Don't be intimidated - UConn's rank, rings and reputation can sometimes psyche out an opponent before the game even starts.
This is the biggest game on the schedule for the Minutemen. If that pressure produces anxiety, UConn could grab an early lead and deliver a psychological knockout blow.
Get a little lucky - As a sizable underdog, the Minutemen could certainly use a little boost from somewhere. A key UConn turnover, foul trouble for Josh Boone ... or a hot shooting night for some Minuteman on the perimeter could give the team some added confidence.
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com.
hroughout its 12 seasons as the home of Massachusetts men's basketball, the William D. Mullins Memorial Center has hosted a number of the nations top basketball programs.
From an epic contest with Tim Duncan's '95-96 Wake Forest squad, to a match up with a Roy Williams-led Kansas team in 1998 to battles with the likes of Florida State, Pittsburgh, Boston College and conference rival Temple, the Mullins Center has been an integral part of the history, tradition and success of the once-proud UMass program.
Yet tonight, before a national television audience and what is expected to be a rabid, season-best crowd, the Maroon and White will take to the Mullins Center hardwood to face an opponent the likes of which the 9,493-seat arena has never seen, as eternal rival Connecticut will become the first time reigning National Champions to ever play in Amherst.
Tonight's game will mark the 107th meeting between the Minutemen and the Huskies, with UConn leading the all-time series 68-38. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m., with the game being broadcast on ESPN2. Dave Revsine will call the game, with Len Elmore handling color commentary.
"This is always a big game for us, and a game we're going to need to work hard to prepare for," fourth-year UMass coach Steve Lappas said. "It's an opportunity for us. It's a chance to go out there and compete against one of the best programs in America, and see how we measure up, but we have to be prepared."
While the Huskies have dominated the all-time series with UMass of late, the numbers are somewhat skewed due to the fact that UConn coach Jim Calhoun did not schedule the Minutemen during their highly successful seasons under coach John Calipari in the early-to-mid nineties.
Despite having won the last 13 meetings between the two schools and 21 of the last 22, Connecticut has only played in the Mullins Center twice, having earned wins in 1998 and 2000, while UMass' last win in the series came in overtime at the Curry Hicks Cage in December of 1983.
Therefore, Lappas realizes the urgency from within the UMass basketball community to finally get the best of the Huskies.
"This is a series that will always continue as long as I'm here, but we need to win one of these games for it to be a good series for us," Lappas said. "I have a great relationship with [Jim Calhoun] and I have a lot of respect for him from my time in the Big East...[and] we'll always play each other, but the time has come for us to put a solid effort together and do what we need to do to make our mark on the series."
Currently ranked No. 7 in the nation, finding its way into the win column against this Huskies team will be easier said than done for UMass. A year after watching First Team All-Americans Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor leave school to become NBA Lottery picks and losing Taliek Brown, the Big East's all-time winningest point guard, to graduation, Calhoun and the Huskies still have a plethora of talent and size that will pose match up problems for the Minutemen on both ends of the court.
With five players in its rotation 6-foot-9 or taller, UConn is a relentless rebounding team that clearly possesses a significant size advantage over UMass. Led by sophomore forward Josh Boone, a part-time starter as a freshman last season who averages 15.8 points and 11 rebounds per game this season, and classmate Charlie Villanueva, a former top recruit who has chipped in averaging 9.5 points and five rebounds per game, the Huskies have averaged an astounding 60-plus rebounds per contest, and have outrebounded their opponents by an average of 40 rebounds per game.
"I've never seen a team with rebounding numbers like that," Lappas said at Wednesday's Alumni Association sports luncheon. "They are clearly as good a rebounding team as there is in the country, and we definitely have our work cut out for us."
Another big contributor up front for the Huskies has been freshman Rudy Gay, a 6-foot-9 former McDonald's All-American who was at the top of the 2004 recruiting class and chose UConn over a number of prominent programs across the nation. Averaging 9.5 points and seven rebounds in an average of 23 minutes per game, Gay has already shown superior athletic ability and an impressive knack for getting to the rim.
"He's the real deal," Lappas said of Gay. "He can run, shoot, rebound and jump through the roof, he's going to be a very good player if he stays."
While Connecticut's overwhelming size up front has been a driving force towards its success in the early going, Calhoun's offense is complimented well by solid perimeter shooting and consistent guard play that make the Huskies a near-impossible match up.
Along with sophomore Marcus Williams, who has taken over for Brown at point guard, Rashad Anderson has emerged as UConn's leading scorer this season at 16 points per game despite shooting an uncharacteristic 29 percent from beyond the arc.
Joining Anderson in giving Calhoun an arsenal of premier shooters is unheralded forward Denham Brown, who has connected on 54 percent of his 3-point attempts, and is second on the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game.
"They both have the green light to shoot from anywhere on the floor," Lappas said. "Good shots, bad shots, open shots, shots with a hand in their face, they can shoot it whenever they want, and they're great shooters. We need to make sure we get out and cover them if we want to contain them offensively."
he first few weeks of winter have been an interesting time here in Western Massachusetts. The snow has fallen, melted, frozen, and then it came down again. It's such an uneasy feeling of anticipation. Everyday you warily approach the door and brace for the possibilities of snow, ice, rain, or just the bitter cold of a New England morning.
Yet sometimes, it's just a nice day.
It appears that the Massachusetts men's basketball team has been following winter's trends this season. The Minutemen have been good, average, and at times pretty hard to watch.
The UMass fan base has been watching and preparing for another roller coaster year, in hopes that one day, everything with come together as it should. With signs of brilliance and collapse in each of its four games, the Minutemen have yet to really play for a full contest.
So tonight, in front of what should be the biggest crowd to watch the Maroon and White play in Amherst in nearly three years, UMass will be looking for that random fall day, lost in the midst of winter. It will try to do something it hasn't done since Dec. 15, 1983.
Defeat the Connecticut Huskies.
For most people interested in college basketball, tonight's game appears to be just another blowout on the calendar. When people see UMass versus UConn on the stat bar, scrolling along the bottom of their favorite sports show, they chalk it up to the Huskies and move on.
For myself, I try not to think about it. After you watch UMass play UConn enough times, you start to realize that anything is possible. These teams have played three times in as many seasons and I was there for two of them, both exciting, unexpected contests resulting in a Minutemen collapse.
During the 2001-'02 season, UMass was in a similar situation as they are now. It had just dropped a game to a lesser Holy Cross team, which was followed by an 80-78 nail-biting loss to Boston College. The Minutemen came full-circle this season and were outclassed by Northeastern then beaten by a worthy foe in Gonzaga.
Three years ago, in front of 8,894 fans at the Mullins Center, the Minutemen came out slow but played consistent enough to keep the fans interested. With the most energy I had seen at a college athletic event in my life, I was pleased with the performance regardless of the loss.
The following year, things were much different.
I drove over the frozen strip of route 91 that connects Amherst to Hartford, straight into the wolf den. As usual, I showed up late to the game, and found myself running around the Hartford Civic Center, just looking for a place to get in.
If you have never been to the Civic Center, it is quite the loud arena when the fans are upset. As I entered with less than half the period remaining, dirty hat, and maroon shirt, I turned around to see that UMass was up... big.
I flipped back around just in time to get nailed in the face with a 20 oz. drink, followed by laughter and boos from those in the UConn section that I had mistakenly purchased tickets in.
One might think that the fizzy bath would of upset me, but no, not then. The splash was a perfect complement to the shock of what was happening. I sat, smiled, and as the final seconds slipped off the clock, the Minutemen were up 30-9.
If you have followed UMass basketball at all over the last few years you know what happened next.
My buzz was going strong; I was running off the negative energy that was produced by the big blue sea known as my section. Nothing could go wrong, the Minutemen were rolling, but then the whole scene imploded on itself.
UMass lost that night, 59-48, and was outscored 50-to-18 in the second half.
On the ride home I was sticky. The contents of the 20 ouncer were dried, and as I drove in silence, I was candy-coated and confused.
So here comes UConn again poised and dominating everyone in its way. Not only that, but the Huskies have set the bar for the Minutemen. UConn defeated Northeastern 97-60 on Monday night, dominating the lesser Huskies in every aspect of the game.
Now the Huskies of UConn the No. 7 team in the country and, oh yea, the defending national champions, are coming to Amherst. UConn is coming in as huge favorites, and if they win, no one will think twice.
It's the other side of the spectrum that will pack the house.
The Minutemen need to come out poised and play as they do so seldom, together. They always get up for this game, but UMass will have to play perfect in order to make history.
So here's another chapter in this one-sided sandbox fight. As usual the Maroon and White have an arsenal to put up a fight, and just maybe set those in attendance loose on the hardwood of the Mullins Center.
I guess we'll just see what kind of day it is.
Bob McGovern is a Collegian Columnist, he can be reached at McGovern@dailycollegian.com
or members of the Massachusetts men's basketball program and all those who support and follow the Minutemen, Jim Calhoun's Connecticut Huskies are the bad guys -- the bitter rival that is easy to hate, hard to compete with and near-impossible to beat. Despite their best efforts, the Minutemen haven't beaten UConn since 1983, and have watched the Huskies capture national titles in 1998 and 2003.
However with the dawn of a new season comes hope, and with that a slight glimmer of faith. Tonight, Massachusetts and Connecticut meet again in the latest renewal of a rivalry that has the potential to be great, yet has never reached the point of being competitive. In a make-or-break season for UMass and coach Steve Lappas, the opportunity to finally topple its favorite enemy is clearer than ever.
With the raucous UMass student section likely to be filled for the first time since the last meeting between the two schools three years ago, UMass has a chance to re-ignite a passion for basketball this campus once cherished with just one win. To do just that, here's what the Minutemen must do:
Rebound, Rebound, Rebound
Entering play averaging more than 60 rebounds per game, the Huskies are easily the best rebounding squad the Minutemen will face all season. While it's not realistic for Lappas to ask his team to break even with UConn on the glass, the Minutemen must avoid being dominated on both ends if they want to hang in the game.
With five solid big men 6-foot-9 or taller, UMass is clearly outmatched and outsized along the front line. With that being said, whoever Lappas employs to guard Josh Boone, Charlie Villanueva, Rudy Gay, Hilton Armstrong and Ed Nelson/Marcus White must box out, and box out consistently. If UConn's big men are allowed to camp out down low, their superior height and athleticism will translate into one-shot possessions for UMass and fast-breaks for the Huskies on one end, and easy put-backs for UConn on the other end.
Slow the Pace of the Game
Northeastern proved to Lappas and his players that they must slow the game down to be successful, and that will be no different against UConn. Calhoun's aggressive man-to-man defense is designed around denying position and the ball all over the offensive end to force bad shots, so UMass must be persistent in enforcing its will on offense.
Unlike what they did against NU, the Minutemen must be patient and work the shot clock, much like they did in jumping out to a 31-9 halftime lead over the Huskies in Hartford, Conn. two seasons ago. If they can hold their own on the offensive glass and thus prevent UConn from running up-and-down the court, the Minutemen will have the opportunity to set up their offense and execute it as planned, which will likely translate into numerous touches inside for Freeman, and open shots for UMass' perimeter players.
Make Open Shots
If the aforementioned assertion of its offensive gameplan goes as planned, UMass clearly must make the open shots it earns to have success. While Anthony Anderson and Maurice Maxwell have enjoyed solid starts shooting the ball, backcourt mate Art Bowers and forward Jeff Viggiano have not. If the Minutemen hope to steal one from the Huskies, then all four of these players, among others, must knock down open shots consistently.
Shooting just five percent from 3-point range and barely better than that from inside the arc, Bowers' woes can likely be attributed to what Lappas calls "Achilles tendonitis." Nonetheless, the Maroon and White cannot afford a sub par effort from any of its main scorers, and Bowers must find a way to chip in and make the shots he is capable of making -- whatever shots those may be.
Keep Freeman Involved
As he has, and will, over the course of UMass' 2004-05 season, Freeman will draw double teams from buzzer to buzzer tonight, and must find a way to work out of them and contribute in the scorebook. After being held to just nine points against All-American center Ronny Turiaf in a loss to Gonzaga, Freeman must show he can get the best of other talented big men as he continued to establish himself on the national hoops scene, and must be able to break through against vicious double and triple teams tonight for UMass to have success.
At 6-foot-8, Freeman will be outsized across the board with whoever Calhoun employs to guard him, and must find a way to score despite this. As UMass' foremost scoring option, he must remain persistent on offense and on the glass, and capitalize on any opportunity he receives to score or get to the line. If he is able to move bodies down low and force UConn's big men into foul trouble, then he will keep Calhoun's front line rotation back on its heels and put his team in position to develop a rhythm on both ends.
Stay Out of Foul Trouble
Very simply, the Minutemen have little to no chance against the Huskies if either Freeman or Stephane Lasme has to leave the game prematurely due to foul trouble.
Without a legitimate option in the post outside of freshmen Lawrence Carrier, who prefers to play the wing, and Jeff "Big Deli" Salovski, who is still a step or two behind in his conditioning, UMass will be caught with its pants down if it doesn't have one or both of its big men to combat UConn's mammoth front line.
Neither Lasme nor Freeman can pick up any cheap fouls, and must therefore be extremely cautious in how they play defense and rebound. If they are able to remain aggressive and hold their own without fouling, they will greatly improve UMass' chances of holding its own.
MHERST, Mass. (AP) - Rashaun Freeman made a layup with 4.3 seconds left to lift Massachusetts to a 61-59 victory over No. 7 Connecticut on Thursday night.
Freeman came up big time and again for the Minutemen (3-2), who beat the Huskies for the first time in 14 meetings.
UMass hosted a defending national champion in Amherst for the first time, and drew a crowd of 9,037, the largest in four years. Fans stormed the floor at the Mullins Center following the final buzzer.
The Huskies (4-1) ran into a hostile environment on their first road trip of the season. Freeman and the Minutemen's frontcourt beat the Huskies at their own game - rebounding and second chance points.
Massachusetts outscored Connecticut 42-24 in the paint.
Freeman led the Massachusetts with 18 points.
The Huskies came back from a 12-point, first-half deficit and held a tenuous five-point lead late in the game.
Freeman hit consecutive baskets with under four minutes left, pulling the Minutemen within a point at 55-54.
Turnovers doomed the Huskies down the stretch. Antonio Kellogg dribbled the ball off his foot, and the Minutemen made him pay. Jeff Viggiano hit a 3-pointer with 55.2 seconds left to give UMass a 57-55 lead.
After UConn's Rudy Gay hit a pair of free throws to tie on the next possession, the Minutemen raced upcourt on the inbounds play and Art Bowers hit Freeman in full stride for the winner.
It was UConn coach Jim Calhoun's first loss to UMass in his 19 years with the Huskies.
Rudy Gay had 13 points for UConn and Josh Boone added 12.
The Minutemen dominated inside early and used a 14-1 run to put the defending NCAA champs in an early hole. Stephan Lasme and Freeman combined for eight points in the spurt. Jeff Viggiano's putback with 12 minutes remaining capped the run and gave UMass an 18-7 lead, bringing a thunderous roar from the crowd.
Lawrence Carrier hit a 3-pointer with 8:46 remaining to give UMass its largest lead at 25-13.
The Huskies finally got untracked and reeled off a 10-0 run. Gay and Rashad Anderson each hit 3-pointers in the outburst.
Gay's two free throws with 2:24 left pulled the Huskies even at 27-all, and after a steal by Marcus Williams, the Huskies briefly grabbed the lead by a bucket on Charlie Villanueva's dunk.
The Minutemen closed out the half on Bower's jumper to take a 31-29 lead at the break.
he crowd of 9,037 was the largest in four seasons and the biggest since the last sellout at the Mullins Center, when 9,493 came to the UMass-Temple game on Feb. 17, 2001.
• UMass picked its first win over a ranked team since March 9, 2001 when they beat No. 21 Saint Joseph's, 75-70 in the A-10 Tournament.
• It was UMass' first win over a top-10 team since a 78-61 win over No. 10 Maryland on Feb. 15, 1997.
• It was UMass' third win over a defending national champion, as they also beat 1993 champ North Carolina and 1994 champ Arkansas. The Minutemen are 3-1 vs. defending champions. This was the first trip by a defending a champ to Amherst and the Mullins Center.
• It was UMass' first win over UConn since Dec. 15, 1983, with UMass winning 67-65 in overtime at the Cage.
• UMass was the first team from New England outside of the Big East to beat UConn since 1986.
• UMass held UConn to its fewest points of the season and fewest since March 13, 2003 , when they scored 61 vs. Pittsburgh in the Big East Tournament. UConn came into the game scoring 90.0 per game.
• UMass controlled the first 12 minutes of the game, building a lead as large as 12, at 25-13 as Lawrence Carrier canned a three-pointer with 8:40 left in the first half. That was the second-largest deficit UConn had this season through five games. . The largest deficit UConn had this season through five games, was -13, as they trailed Indiana, 54-41 with 13:05 left in the second half.
• UMass led at the half, 31-29, marking just the second time this season, UConn trailed at the half. In the first half, 22 of UMass' points were in the paint, compared to just eight for the larger Huskies.
• In the first half, UMass bench combo of Jeff Viggiano and Lawrence Carrier combined for nine points on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor.
• UConn came into the game averaging 60.0 rebounds per game and outrebounding their opponents by 25.0 per game. UMass tied them on the glass in the game, 39-39. The Minutemen outrebounded the Huskies in the first half, 23-21.
• UMass led as late as 13 minutes left in the game at 37-36 and eventually tied the game against at 46-46 as Anthony Anderson nailed a three-pointer with 8:27 in the game.
• Sophomore Rashaun Freeman came out like a house on fire, hoisting up seven shots and canning three in the first four minutes as UMass built a 10-6 lead with 3:56 elapsed in the first half. In contrast to his last game vs. Gonzaga he took just four shots the entire game, making all of them.
• Freeman finished with 18 points, marking the fourth time this season and 28th in his career he reached double-figures.
• In his most playing time of the season, junior Jeff Viggiano scored 12 points in 27 minutes.
Other Notes: UMass won the opening tip ... Rashaun Freeman scored UMass' first points on a lay-up at 18:55 ... Freeman took five shots in the first three minutes after taking just four all of last game vs. Gonzaga ... Stephane Lasme and Freeman had back-to-back dunks to give UMass its first lead at 10-6 with 3:56 elapsed in the first half ... Lawrence Carrier had UMass' first drawn charge of the season with 59 seconds left in the first half as he took the foul from Rashad Anderson on a drive to the hoop.
Lappas on UConn:
"They're a great team and tonight was our night."
Lappas on traveling to Miami:
"Let's enjoy tonight. Unfortunately, we do have to fly to Miami tomorrow. We have to go down there and play and that's not going to be an easy one. This is a great lesson for our guys. Now you have to come back."
Lappas on Viggiano:
"We have a couple of upper classmen. He's one of them. If something showed up in the box score, I'm happy for him, but a lot of it didn't."
Lappas on the team:
"This team is going to be a very good team. We start four sophomores and a senior. We will see how they handle success."
Lappas on the team's play:
"I don't think we played that well. But we played great defensively and great on the glass, and that gave us a chance. It was a gutsy win."
Lappas on the A-10:
"Last year it was proven that we had a much better league than what most people thought. Anytime you have a league that has three or four teams in the NCAA Tournament, you have a good league."
Jeff Salovski shuts down Ed Nelson's options.
Rashaun Freeman gets in Josh Boone's way.
Maurice Maxwell snags the rebound away from Rudy Gay (top) and Rashad Anderson.
MHERST - UMass senior point guard Anthony Anderson hasn't gotten close to playing in the NCAA tournament, but last night he felt like a national champion.
Sophomore forward Rashaun Freeman scored on a transition layup with 4.3 seconds remaining to lift the Minutemen to a stunning 61-59 victory over defending national champion Connecticut in front of 9,037 at the Mullins Center.
The student body stormed the court in a frenzy of stunned disbelief to celebrate the victory over the seventh-ranked Huskies. Anderson has been waiting a long time to savor a moment like this.
``The team played with a lot of heart and I feel like we just won the national championship,'' said Anderson, the Minutemen team captain who played his high school ball at Lynn English.
``This is my fifth year and I've never seen a crowd like that. You don't see that too often so we are going to have to keep putting these ones up.''
The historical significance of the victory can be told in numbers. The Huskies had won 13 straight and 22 of the last 23 border disputes dating back to 1977-78 going into the contest. UConn coach Jim Calhoun was 11-0 against UMass in his 19 years in Storrs, and he was bringing his Huskies to play a UMass team coming off consecutive losses to Northeastern and Gonzaga.
But the numbers at the end of 40 minutes of furious basketball told a story that slightly favored the Minutemen (3-2). UConn (4-1) was averaging 60 rebounds a game, but the teams finished with 39 boards each. UMass won the shooting war, 42.9 percent to 31.6 for the Huskies.
Freeman led all scorers with 18 points and eight rebounds while the game's eventual hero, sixth man Jeff Viggiano, netted 12. Rudy Gay came off the bench to lead the Huskies with 13 points while Josh Boone and Denham Brown combined for 23 more.
``Our guys just did a tremendous job tonight, playing together and playing hard,'' said UMass coach Steve Lappas. ``To play that team even on the glass 39-39 when their average was 60 coming in is just a tremendous achievement for our guys.''
UMass led 31-29 at the break and the teams played relatively even through the first 15 minutes of the second half. UConn appeared to have assumed control when Charlie Villanueva potted a pair of free throws to make it 55-50 with 4:53 to play.
Freeman got the Minutemen back into the contest with consecutive power moves in the paint to make it 55-54 with 3:28 to play. Viggiano then stepped up and made the most important contributions of his tenure.
The senior canned a trey to give UMass a 59-55 lead with 1:55 to play, and was credited with another hoop after a goaltending call on Boone.
Anderson and Maurice Maxwell both missed free throws, leaving the door open for Gay to tie the game with two free throws with eight seconds left. UConn put on its fullcourt press, but Viggiano took the inbounds pass and fed Freeman for the game-winner.
``It's been a long time coming to have a night like this, but our season has a long way to go,'' said Lappas. ``This night was great for our guys to experience.''
MHERST - UConn coach Jim Calhoun considers UMass coach Steve Lappas a friend.
But Calhoun likes his players and his university and the fact that the Huskies are the defending national champions a lot more.
Calhoun was livid with himself and the collective effort of his players after the seventh-ranked Huskies were stunned, 61-59, before 9,037 frenzied fans last night at the Mullins Center.
Calhoun came into the contest 11-0 against UMass while the Huskies had won 13 straight and 21-of-22 games. Calhoun is a Hall of Fame coach who has achieved great success, but he took umbrage when asked if he felt happy for his pal Lappas.
``I don't give a (expletive) about being friends with anybody,'' said an irate Calhoun. ``Steve's a great guy and I'm very happy for him but I'm not going to go home thinking the best thing that happened tonight was Steve Lappas won.
``I think that's a little bit - and quite frankly - asinine. Steve Lappas is a good person and I hope he's here for as long as he wants to be but I think it's kind of a dumb question if you think I'm going to drive home to Storrs, Connecticut, thinking how the other coach feels.
``Steve's not feeling bad for me because I lost. We are good friends but we are competing. I'm thinking about what we didn't do.''
Freeman had it covered
UMass sophomore center Rashaun Freeman scored a game-high 18 points, including the game-winner with five seconds remaining to complete his storybook night.
Freeman reached double figures for the fourth time this season and the 28th of his career.
``He did unbelievable and he played great defensively and on the glass,'' said Lappas. ``They lead the nation in rebounding and it was a gutsy win for him.''
This ranks high
UMass registered its first victory over a ranked team since March 9, 2001, when the Minutemen beat No. 21 St. Joseph's, 75-70, in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. It was UMass' first victory over a Top 10 team since the Minutemen beat No. 10 Maryland on Feb. 15. 1997. . . .
It was UMass' first win over UConn since Dec. 15, 1983, when the Minutemen won in overtime, 67-65. UMass was the first New England team not in the Big East to beat UConn since 1986. . . .
UMass held UConn to its fewest points of the season. UConn came in averaging 90 points and 60 rebounds per game.
MHERST -- What would have been the most excruciating kind of loss turned into the most exhilarating kind of win last night for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team. Shaking off a gagging performance at the foul line in the final minute, the Minutemen surged past defending national champion Connecticut, 61-59, on a Rashaun Freeman basket with five seconds left.
When Denham Brown's desperation 3-pointer fell short, UMass fans stormed the court in a raucous celebration of the Minutemen's greatest win in the post-John Calipari era. The victory vaulted UMass back onto the national stage for the first time in many moons and left the Minutemen believing that a return to the glory days was indeed possible.
"I've got to see it on ESPN to believe it," said Freeman, who led all scorers with 18 points.
"I'm happy for our kids," said ebullient UMass coach Steve Lappas. "I've been through it. I want for our kids to have it. We're flying to Miami tomorrow. We probably don't need the plane right now."
Coming in, the Minutemen were prohibitive underdogs. UMass was 2-2 and light-years from the national rankings. UConn was 4-0 and ranked No. 7. What's more, the Huskies had won 13 straight over the Minutemen and 21 of the last 22. Earlier in the week, UConn had pulverized Northeastern, 97-60. The Minutemen had already lost to the Boston-area Huskies at home, 84-68.
But before the largest Mullins crowd in four years (9,037), the Minutemen were in the game from the start. They played the Huskies tough in the first half, and went to the locker room with a 31-29 lead, and, perhaps more important, held a 23-21 rebounding edge against a team that had outrebounded opponents by 25 per game.
In the second half it was more of the same in a brutally physical game that had players flying all over the court and cheerleaders and dance team members scurrying for cover. UMass's front line of Freeman (who also had eight rebounds) and Stephane Lasme (9 points on 4-of-5 shooting and six boards) went toe-to-toe with UConn's vaunted frontcourt. The Minutemen and Huskies wound up even on the boards, 39-39.
UConn appeared to finally break free in an overpowering three-dunk sequence within a minute, which transformed a 37-36 deficit into a 42-37 lead with 11:58 left. But the Minutemen proved resilient, tying the game on a 3-pointer by Anthony Anderson with 8:28 left.
UConn regained the lead and held it tenuously for the next several minutes before Jeff Viggiano popped out for a 3-pointer to give the Minutemen a 57-55 edge with 1:55 left, as the Mullins Center hit decibel levels not experienced in recent memory.
After an Antonio Kellogg turnover, Viggiano (12 points on 5-of-6 shooting) came up big again, taking the ball right at Josh Boone and drawing a goaltending call for a 59-55 lead with 55.2 seconds left.
The Minutemen appeared to be home free when Lasme blocked a Kellogg three, leading to a Freeman rebound and Anderson being fouled. But the usually reliable Anderson (81.2 percent from the line last year) clanged the front end with 31.4 seconds left.
UConn cut the gap to 2 on a pair of free throws by Boone (12 points, nine rebounds) with 20.2 seconds left.
A few moments later, Maurice Maxwell (85.7 percent coming in) missed another front end, and the Huskies surged downcourt. Freshman sensation Rudy Gay (team-high 13 points) got fouled with 8.8 seconds left, and calmly hit both for a 59-59 tie.
Rather than dwelling on the potential choke job, the Minutemen attacked UConn's press, and Artie Bowers broke ahead with Freeman. He drew Boone to him, delivered a bounce pass, and Freeman banked home the winner.
"It seemed that we thought that they were going to be easy," said Boone, "that it was going to be handed to us, and that isn't how it is."
"What I think about is my team and what we didn't do," said UConn coach Jim Calhoun. "What we didn't do is work hard."
MHERST -- The bus ride to the airport in Warwick, R.I., was a raucous one for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team yesterday afternoon. Over and over, the team watched the highlight from Thursday night when Rashaun Freeman hit the go-ahead basket against Connecticut and then leapt into the crowd with 4.3 seconds left on the clock.
"The guys were just cracking up," said coach Steve Lappas.
The Minutemen were able to laugh, because UConn did not convert on the five-on-four break. Denham Brown's 3-point bid came up short at the buzzer, giving UMass an improbable 61-59 victory over the defending national champion.
"It was unbelievable," Lappas said from the airport, where the 3-2 Minutemen were set to fly to Miami for tomorrow's game against the Hurricanes. "Ray's an emotional kid. He was so happy. We've got to be happy in life, but we have to make sure we get it going at the right time."
Freeman, who led all scorers with 18 points, admitted his emotion got the best of him. "When I made the layup, I lost it," he said. "Honestly, I couldn't hear anybody. I was in my zone."
The Minutemen were in a zone much of the night, startling a UConn team that came in 4-0 and with a No. 7 national ranking. Before a feverish crowd of 9,037, the largest in the Mullins Center in four years, UMass won its third of four games against defending champions, the others against North Carolina in 1993 and Arkansas in 1994. The victory also put an end to a number of imposing streaks. UConn had won 88 straight games against nonconference New England opponents. The Huskies had won 13 straight overall, and another 13 straight against the Minutemen. The last UMass victory in the series took place Dec. 15, 1983, one year to the day before Freeman was born.
One of the Minutemen who was alive at that point was fifth-year senior point guard Anthony Anderson, who was beaming at the postgame press conference, despite a 1-for-10 shooting performance. "It feels like we just won the national championship," said Anderson. `'It's my fifth year, and I've never seen the crowd like that."
Lappas said he was particularly pleased for Anderson, the captain from Lynn who has weathered three straight losing seasons and heavy doubts about the direction of the program. "The kid has stuck with me, and he's stuck with all the things that we've been doing," Lappas said.
When Lappas got to his car after the game, he said there were 15 messages on his cellphone. One was from former UMass coach John Calipari, now at Memphis. According to Lappas, Calipari said, "Man, I'm telling you, that was one of the biggest wins in the history of the school." Calipari, who led UMass to unprecedented heights, a No. 1 ranking, and a Final Four, never was able to beat UConn coach Jim Calhoun. Of course, he didn't have many chances. After a hard-fought loss in Calipari's second year at UMass, 1989-90, Calhoun suspended the series. Thereafter, the two carried out a prickly rivalry as both teams vaulted onto the national stage.
At one point, Calipari told Sports Illustrated he agreed with Calhoun's assessment that the best coaching job in the nation had taken place in Storrs, but by women's coach Geno Auriemma. Calhoun bristled at shirts then in vogue in Amherst, which depicted UMass on the front with the trademarked phrase "Refuse to Lose." On the back, UConn's logo appeared with "UScared" and "Refuse to Play." In the Husky Blue and White fan publication, Calhoun once said he preferred playing teams such as Kansas and Virginia to UMass: "We recruit the same kid and we have respect for them. I'm not sure if that's the case with UMass."
During the 1995-96 season, when both teams ranked in the top five, the schools negotiated a resumption of the series. It was announced on the very day when Calipari left UMass for the head coaching job with the New Jersey Nets -- this two days after the scandal in which National Player of the Year Marcus Camby admitted taking money and gifts from agents broke.
When the action returned to the floor, UConn dominated en route to a pair of national titles, in 1999 and 2004. Two years ago, UMass built a 25-point lead against the Huskies, held them under 60, and still managed to lose by more than 10 (59-48), a feat possibly unmatched in college basketball.
But on Thursday night, the Minutemen held on for their biggest win in many years, a victory that held out the tantalizing prospect of a return to college basketball prominence.
"It was great for our kids," said Lappas. "This is what they're here for. It's been a long time coming."
ashaun Freeman didn't hear the loudest roar the Mullins Center has experienced in some time. After he made the game-winning shot with 4.4 seconds remaining in Thursday's 61-59 win by the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team over No. 7 Connecticut, the arena's decibel level soared. But the junior was already zoned out.
''When I made the layup, I lost it. I couldn't hear anybody,'' said Freeman, who finished with a game-high 18 points to go with eight rebounds. ''I was in my own zone. (Coach Steve) Lappas started pushing me down (the court) saying we had four more seconds to go.''
After UConn freshman Rudy Gay (team-high 13 points) made two free throws to tie the game at 59-59 with 8.8 seconds left, Minuteman Maurice Maxwell inbounded the ball to Jeff Viggiano at the foul line.
Viggiano tossed the ball ahead to Artie Bowers, who pushed the ball into a two-on-one break with Freeman. Bowers took the ball inside the 3-point line and sent a bounce pass to Freeman, who ducked under Husky Josh Boone and made the layup.
''I kind of wished we had taken seven seconds so they couldn't get a last shot off, but you can't choreograph'' basketball, Lappas said.
The Huskies pushed the ball up one final time, but Denham Brown's 3-point try was short and many of the 9,037 fans stormed the court.
UMass (3-2) will play at University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Minutemen played the Huskies even on the glass 39-39. UConn (4-1) entered the game leading the nation in rebounding, averaging 60 per game.
''Steve Lappas' kids outworked us and outhustled us,'' UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. ''I give them all the credit in the world. They just outplayed us.''
Freeman celebrated with a live interview on ESPN's SportsCenter.
''It was pretty far-fetched'' to think I would do that someday, Freeman said. ''I've seen other guys on there a million times and I never thought it would happen to me.''
The Minutemen took control early in the first half, breaking a 6-6 tie with a 19-7 run capped by a Lawrence Carrier 3-pointer with 8 minutes, 46 seconds left in the half.
But the Huskies answered, ending the frame with a 14-4 run to cut the UMass lead to 31-29 at the break.
Connecticut stormed ahead in the second half with a 13-2 run for a 42-37 lead with 11:58 seconds remaining. Antonio Kellogg and Gay combined for eight points in the surge.
Seven minutes later, Freeman cut the deficit to 55-52 when he put back a Maxwell miss.
After a miss by Charlie Villanueva, Freeman scored from inside again for a 55-54 score.
The Minutemen regained the lead for the first time in 10 minutes when Viggiano (12 points) buried his only 3-point attempt of the game with 1:56 left.
After a Kellogg turnover, Viggiano drove to the lane and had his attempt swatted away by Boone. But the basket counted as the referees whistled a goaltending violation and the Minutemen led 59-55 with 55.2 seconds left.
UConn evened the score, however, when Anthony Anderson and Maxwell missed the front ends of their 1-and-1 attempts on the next two possessions.
Kellogg and Gay, meanwhile, knocked down four straight from the charity stripe to even the score.
Then Bowers connected with Freeman for the game-winner.
''I'm happy for the kid,'' Lappas said. ''He's one of the best-kept secrets in college basketball because we didn't win last year.
Jim Pignatiello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fans mob the floor at the conclusion of the upset.
hen Connecticut guard Denham Brown released his 3-pointer Thursday, the crowd in the Mullins Center held its collective breath, as heartbreak and history hung in the balance. When the ball touched the front of the rim and fell harmlessly away, the fans erupted, celebrating the 61-59 upset by the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team over the No. 7 and defending national champion Huskies.
Rashaun Freeman, who had made the game-winning layup just seconds before, leaped onto the scorer's table and surveyed the joyful scene as students gleefully poured past security personnel and flooded the court.
Senior Anthony Anderson, who had been on the short end of three previous meetings with the Huskies, held his arms above his head and smiled.
After sharing hug after hug with his teammates, Jeff Viggiano - who made a handful of big plays that made the win possible - accepted embraces from strangers.
Just over a week ago in front of a two-thirds-empty Mullins Center, the Minutemen had suffered a bad loss to a lowly Northeastern team. But Thursday night, embattled coach Steve Lappas drew up a defensive game plan that frustrated Connecticut into taking bad shots, which led to the biggest win of Lappas' four years in Amherst.
The players lingered on the court for awhile, savoring the moment with their thrilled fans.
Minuteman fans had yearned to play UConn in the mid-1990s, when both teams were among the nation's top five programs, but the series wasn't renewed until the 1997-98 season.
At that point, the two schools were on similar footing. UMass actually had the edge then, coming off its 1996 Final Four appearance. But the Huskies surged past the Minutemen, who faded from national prominence when coach John Calipari and star center Marcus Camby left for the NBA. UMass fans were forced to watch their rivals win two national championships and seven straight games over the Minutemen.
Heading into Thursday's game, there was little reason to believe that UConn's streak wouldn't reach eight. UMass was coming off two straight losses, including the 84-68 loss to Northeastern.
Meanwhile, UConn was ranked in the top 10 in both polls with a 4-0 record that included a 97-60 pounding of the same Northeastern team on Monday.
But there was something different from the beginning Thursday, and it wasn't just the 9,037 fans who revived a raucous atmosphere that had been missing in the building since the late 1990s.
UMass took advantage of UConn mistakes early and took a 12-point lead in the first half.
But even when the Huskies stormed back in the second half, UMass showed a poise it had lacked in recent years. Strong defense and solid rebounding made up for a miserable shooting night (6-for-30) by the Minuteman guards.
''I told the guys, I don't think we played great,'' Lappas said. ''But we played great defensively and great on the glass.''
As Lappas' wife Harriet shed a few tears of joy in her seat behind the UMass bench and his 14-year-old son Pete raced into the celebration on the floor, Lappas hurried into the locker room, not wanting to steal the moment from his players.
''It was great for our guys who came here wanting to bring this program back,'' said Lappas, whose hair was disheveled from the locker room celebration. ''I was reflecting on how happy I was for them.''
He thought about beloved former UMass coach and radio broadcaster Jack Leaman, who died in March.
''Jack Leaman was knocking a couple of their shots away from that rim. Jack was a defensive guy and he was playing a little D for us tonight,'' Lappas said. ''He always wanted this game so bad.''
In a season of highs for sports in the Commonwealth, this ranks far behind the World Series win by the Red Sox and the Super Bowl title for the Patriots. But around Massachusetts, quite a few fans have UMass gear sharing closet space with that of the Red Sox and Patriots. The Minutemen ending 21 years of Husky-fueled frustration provided a tasty dessert for a happy sports year. Before Thursday, UMass last beat UConn in 1983.
As Freeman walked out of the press conference back to the locker room, he smiled and pumped his fist.
''This doesn't even feel real,'' he said, and repeated it. ''This doesn't even feel real. It's not going to feel real until I wake tomorrow and watch it on SportsCenter, although I don't think I'm going to sleep tonight.''
It felt plenty real to Anderson.
''It feels like we just won the national championship.''
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com.
Rashaun Freeman gestures to the crowd.
hursday night's 61-59 win over No. 7 Connecticut was exactly what Anthony Anderson dreamed about. With the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team struggling in his first three years, there weren't many big wins.
Thursday changed all that.
''Everybody wants to win that big game and have the fans rush the court,'' said Anderson, who was mobbed at the final buzzer when many of the 9,037 in attendance joined him on the floor. ''It was crazy. It's something I'll always remember.''
In the locker room moments later, the senior point guard was exuberant in celebrating with his coach.
''He must have hugged me eight times in the locker room. ... I'm well beyond getting chest bumped. I need a chest protector to get chest bumped,'' UMass coach Steve Lappas said. ''I'm probably going to be sore in the morning. He must have chest bumped me five times. He doesn't look that big, but he's pretty strong.''
After three failed attempts, Anderson, who started all four games against the Huskies, finally enjoyed a win against the U-Game rivals.
''He was really excited and really, really happy,'' Lappas said. ''That kid, all he's ever wanted to do since he's been here is win. And all he's ever done is listen to every word I tell him. That's the kind of guy you need to have running your team.''
The experience made Anderson hungry for more.
''This is my fifth year and I've never seen a crowd like this,'' said Anderson, who sat out one year as an academic non-qualifier, but earned the season back by graduating after four years. ''We need this more often, so we're going to have to keep pulling these off.''
Statistically, Anderson had his worst game Thursday of his four against UConn. He shot just 1-for-10 from the field (1-for-9 on 3-pointers).
But none of that mattered Thursday and Anderson believes the win is a major turning point.
''We've all been saying that this is our year,'' he said. ''If this isn't showing evidence of it tonight, nothing will.''
FINALLY A RIVALRY - It was UMass' first win over UConn since Dec. 15, 1983, when the Minutemen won in the Curry Hicks Cage in overtime, 67-65.
''Hopefully, we're going to make it a rivalry,'' Lappas said. ''A rivalry is two-sided. There's no rivalry if both sides don't win once in a while. We needed to win one.''
MULLINS' MILLIONTH - With 9,037 in attendance Thursday night, UMass needs 1,680 fans against Davidson Dec. 19 to reach the one millionth to attend a Minuteman game at the Mullins Center, which opened Feb. 4, 1993.
That fan will receive a prize pack that includes two UMass season tickets for 2005-06 and a free trip to the 2005 Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Thursday's crowd was the largest at the Mullins Center since the arena's last sellout, when 9,493 attended the Feb. 17, 2001, game against Temple.
DEFENDING CHAMPS - The Minutemen are now 3-1 all-time against defending NCAA champions. UMass defeated North Carolina in the Preseason NIT in 1993 and Arkansas in the Tipoff Classic in 1994. They lost to UConn 79-65 in 1999.
UMass sports teams are 1-2 against defending national champions this fall. The football team lost to Delaware and the hockey team lost to the University of Denver.
MISCELLANEOUS - It was also the first time a Jim Calhoun-coached team lost to a non-Big East New England foe since 1986.
The Minuteman's last win against a ranked opponent was March 9, 2001, when they beat No. 21 Saint Joseph's, 75-70, in the A-10 Tournament.
It was the first win by the Minutemen over a top-10 team since Feb. 15, 1997, when they beat No. 10 Maryland, 78-61, at the Worcester Centrum.
Former UMass forwards Ronell Blizzard and Chris Kirkland attended the game.
Jim Pignatiello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The big, boisterous student crowd was the 6th man in the UMass victory.
eff Viggiano could only watch most of the back-to-back losses by the University of Massachusetts to Northeastern and Gonzaga earlier this month. The 6-foot-6-inch forward played 12 and eight minutes, respectively, in the two games and had minimal impact on the outcome.
But on Thursday he went from spectator to spectacular in the second half, helping to lead the Minutemen's 61-59 upset of No. 7 Connecticut.
UMass coach Steve Lappas pledged to play Viggiano more against the Huskies, a move that earned the Minutemen their biggest win in the coach's four years in Amherst.
Viggiano's solid stat line of 12 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots barely offers a glimpse of how indispensable he was.
He had only made three shots all season before Thursday night's game and none from 3-point distance.
But with just under two minutes left and the Minutemen trailing Connecticut by one, Viggiano buried a 3-pointer from the left shoulder to put the Minutemen ahead 57-55.
After UConn turned the ball over, the Husky defense forced UMass deep into the shot clock without a good look at the basket. Viggiano got the ball at the top of the key, sliced toward the basket and put up a the shot.
Josh Boone swatted the ball away, but he was whistled for goaltending.
Viggiano's final play doesn't show up in the stat sheet, but it might have saved the game.
With the teams tied at 59-59 with eight seconds left, UMass was set to inbound from under its own basket.
The play was designed to get the ball to senior point guard Anthony Anderson to start the offense. But UConn sealed him off and nearly forced a five-second violation as Maurice Maxwell struggled to find someone else to pass to.
Viggiano alertly raced back and caught Maxwell's pass at the foul line. He turned, pivoted and tossed the ball to Artie Bowers, who fed Rashaun Freeman for the game-winning layup.
''I can't even explain the emotions going through my body right now,'' Viggiano said. ''This feels great.''
Lappas was happy for him.
''He played unbelievable tonight. He knocks down that three after struggling with his shooting all year. But that's what you hope upperclassmen are going to do for you,'' Lappas said. ''He's a program guy, a team guy. He does every little thing. Rebound. Make a pass. Box out. Go to the basket. Play defense. 'Coach whatever you want me to do, I'll do it.'
''The last couple of games he only played a couple of minutes - that's my fault,'' Lappas said. ''But he hangs in there. He doesn't hang his head. He comes out ready to go every day.''
Despite being Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Suffield High School, Viggiano never got any recruiting interest from the Huskies. But he's been a thorn in their side for the past two seasons.
After scoring 22 against them last year, he earned coach Jim Calhoun's respect again Thursday.
''He played terrific,'' Calhoun said. ''He was the best player on the floor coming down the stretch.''
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com.
Jeff Viggiano tracks down the loose ball.
hey did it.
The members of the Massachusetts men's basketball team finally did it. The team that hasn't had a winning season in five years, the team that has put head coach Steve Lappas on the ropes because of its poor performance during his tenure and the team that has watched its fan base dwindle to an all-time low did the one thing that no one thought it could do - it earned the one win that fans young and old who bleed maroon and white thought they may never see again.
On a cold, winter night in early December, the Massachusetts Minutemen took on, hung with and eventually beat archrival Connecticut - make that defending NCAA National Champion and No. 7 Connecticut - 61-59 before one of the more raucous and supportive crowds in the history of UMass basketball - 9,037 strong.
They accomplished, in one night, what every UMass basketball team since the departure of John Calipari was not able to do. They re-ignited a dormant passion for basketball on the campus of the state university of Massachusetts that hasn't seen a win of this magnitude in over half a decade, and did so in one small window of time when the eyes of the college basketball world were focused not just on the small college town of Amherst, but ultimately on the return of UMass basketball to the spotlight of national prominence.
"It feels like we just won the National Championship," Anderson said. "I've been waiting my whole career for this, and for it to finally happen is just amazing. It's an incredible feeling, and I don't want it to end.
"I still can't believe what just happened," sophomore forward Rashaun Freeman added. "I'm going to have to watch it again on SportsCenter to make sure it's really real."
Freeman led the Minutemen with a game-high 18 points, while Jeff Viggiano chipped in with 12 points.
Freshman Rudy Gay paced Connecticut with 13 points, and was joined in double-figures by Josh Boone with 12 points and Denham Brown with 11 points.
"This ranks up there with some of my top wins all time," Lappas said. "These guys really deserved this win, and to see the UMass fans fill the Mullins Center for a night like this is just tremendous."
With the game tied at 59 with just nine seconds remaining, Freeman's breakaway lay-up off a feed from classmate Art Bowers on a 2-on-1 fast break gave UMass a 61-59 lead it did not relinquish, as UConn's Denham Brown was short on a game-winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer, sending the delirious UMass students flooding onto the court in pandemonium.
Feeding off the energy of a raucous student section and a season-best crowd, the Minutemen came flying out of the gates against the defending National Champions. After trading baskets with the Huskies over the first two minutes of action, a pair of easy baskets from Freeman sandwiched around a Stephane Lame dunk helped spark a 12-3 run that gave UMass an early 18-7 lead and further ignited the crowd.
UConn answered back with a mini 5-2 run of its own to pull within seven, but UMass continued its success on the offensive end by scoring the next five points to increase its leads to 25-13 with just under nine minutes to play in the half.
With the Maroon and White struggling on offense in scoring just four points over the final 8:15 of the half, the Huskies utilized four points from Boone and five from Denham Brown as part of a 14-4 run that culminated when Villanueva tied the game at 29 with a breakaway dunk at the 2:03 mark.
Bowers then gave the Minutemen the last laugh before the buzzer, converting on a strong driving layup to give UMass a 31-29 lead heading into intermission.
The Huskies could have elected to hold for the last shot, but Antonio Kellogg attempted an alley-oop lob to Villanueva that the sophomore forward clanged off the side of the rim. The Minutemen then elected to hold for the last shot themselves, but another strong move to the hoop by Bowers ended in the ball rolling in and out as the buzzer sounded.
After UMass scored the initial four points of the second half on a pair of Freeman lay-ups, UConn stormed back with a 13-2 run, highlighted by back-to-back thunderous, breakaway dunks from highly-touted freshman Rudy Gay that gave the Huskies their largest lead of the game at 42-37.
With the teams trading baskets over the next few minutes, UMass was able to even the score when a Lasme free throw and Anderson's first basket of the game, a 3-pointer at the 8:28 mark, made the score 46-46.
Rashad Anderson answered right back with a 3-pointer of his own, however, and the Huskies used six points from the free throw line to pull ahead by five at 55-50 with just under five minutes to play.
From there the Minutemen battled back, however, and five consecutive points from Connecticut's own Jeff Viggiano gave UMass a 59-55 lead with 55 seconds to play. Two free throws apiece from Boone and Gay tied the score at 59, before Freeman gave UMass fans a reason to flood the court for the first time in recent history.
f a coach has ever gotten a big win in the preconference schedule, it's Steve Lappas of Massachusetts. Lappas' Minutemen stunned top-10 and defending national champion Connecticut on Thursday night. After losing 13 straight meetings to coach Jim Calhoun's Huskies, there was joy and jubilation in Amherst following the Shock City performance.
The 61-59 upset led to quite a celebration. The enthusiasm, energy and excitement in the arena was something special as I caught the game on ESPN2. You could tell the place was rocking as it was in the John Calipari days.
Why was it such a big game? Lappas has been on the hot seat, with this being the final year of his contract after two years were voided. Lappas has been a winner at Villanova and Manhattan, and I always felt he got a raw deal at 'Nova.
Lappas brings so much spirit to everything he does. Last night was a great moment for the kids from UMass.
Rashaun Freeman is a special player and a major force on the interior. He scored 18 points against the Huskies, including the game-winning shot with 4.3 seconds left. His emotions got the better of him and he ran to celebrate before the game was over. Fortunately for Freeman, UConn's Denham Brown missed a last-second 3-point attempt for the win.
I was impressed with Massachusetts' defense, which came up with 10 steals. The sign of a good team is one that can win despite a suspect shooting night. The Minutemen made just 3-of-19 trifectas but still got to the winner's circle with their passionate, emotional performance.
It should be a good season for Lappas and Co., because the Atlantic 10 has some good but not great teams. I could see UMass being in the mix for A-10 honors, right up there with George Washington.
Lappas is in a must-win situation, and while I don't like what happened with those two years of his contract voided, the good news is that he has something to build on with the momentum of this big-time W, baby!
MHERST, Mass. -- Rashaun Freeman didn't bother with UConn's last chance.
The sophomore forward scored over Josh Boone with 4.3 seconds left to give UMass a two-point lead and then sprinted into the stands while UConn made a last frantic rush up the floor.
It was almost costly.
"When I made the layup I just lost it," Freeman said.
The Huskies got a shot at the buzzer, but Denham Brown's three hit the front rim and bounced away as UMass students, fueled by the sting of 13 consecutive losses to UConn, stormed the court at the Mullins Center, nearly knocking Huskies coach Jim Calhoun to the floor.
"It's not happening right now," Freeman said. "I need to see it on ESPN to believe it."
Freeman had 18 points as UMass defeated No. 7 UConn 61-59 Thursday before 9,037. Jeff Viggiano had 12 points, including two crucial baskets in the final two minutes, for UMass (3-2).
Rudy Gay led UConn (4-1) with 13 points, including two free throws with 8.8 seconds remaining that tied the score and set the stage for Freeman's winner.
"UMass deserved to win the game," Calhoun said. "Give them all the credit in the world. They just outworked us and outplayed us."
During the final timeout, called by UMass coach Steve Lappas in an attempt to freeze Gay, Calhoun called for the Huskies to feign full-court pressure and attempt to make UMass use time working the ball up the court.
But Viggiano caught the inbounds pass in the left corner, spotted Art Bowers free in the middle of the floor and tossed him the ball.
Bowers dribbled in on Boone (12 points, nine rebounds) with Freeman on the wing. Boone nearly broke up the play twice.
"I got a piece of the pass and I got a piece of the ball going up but it wasn't enough either way," Boone said.
After Freeman scored, Antonio Kellogg raced up the floor and left his feet to attempt a three from the right side but instead passed to Brown.
"When it left his hands and I turned around I thought it was going in," UMass guard Anthony Anderson said. "It feels like we just won the national championship."
Despite being outworked most of the night, UConn led 55-54 with 2:24 left.
But Viggiano, a former Connecticut high school player of the year from Suffield, hit a three over Gay to give UMass the lead with 1:56 left.
After a Kellogg turnover, Viggiano pushed the UMass lead to four with a driving hoop - a goaltending call on Boone - with 55.2 seconds left.
The Huskies rallied to tie on free throws by Boone with 20.2 seconds left and the two by Gay but couldn't close the door.
"I didn't feel good the whole game," Calhoun said. "I thought we were awful."
UMass led by two at halftime and extended its lead with four unanswered points to start the second half.
But the Huskies outscored UMass 13-2 over the next six minutes to take their first lead.
The run was built on defense and the transition game and was dominated by the trio of Kellogg, Gay and Marcus Williams, who sparked rallies against Indiana and Northeastern.
Kellogg scored two transition hoops off passes from Williams, the second a nifty duck-under from the baseline that narrowed the UMass lead to 37-36 with 14:46 left. Almost two minutes later Kellogg hit Gay running ahead for a dunk. Then Brown stole the ball and started a break that ended with Williams hitting Gay for another dunk that seemed to have the force to finish the Minutemen.
It did not.
The Huskies were ahead 42-37 and gaining speed. Lawrence Carrier ended the run, catching a ball that was knocked away from Freeman and converting a layup, and UMass outscored UConn 12-7 over the next three minutes.
When Anthony Anderson hit a three from the left side with 8:26 left it was 49-49 and it was clear that UMass was going to be around for the finish.
"This hurts," Gay said. "This is a nightmare."
MHERST, Mass. -- The question came straight from here, and the answer came from another man's gut.
"How" was the first word to start the sentence, but UConn coach Jim Calhoun knew what the rest was going to be.
"I'm a lousy coach. Do you like that?" he said. "How does it happen? It happens when one team shows up strong and works hard and the other team doesn't work hard. Then I always say it must not be the coach motivating them. Our team wasn't ready to play, and their team apparently was. That's all I can give you. I can't give you a better answer than that.
"I hate people who want copouts. I'm responsible for the UConn basketball team. We didn't play hard. I always say - and I tell my assistants the same thing - the buck stops here."
You can count on Calhoun to be brutally honest - especially in the heat of the moment and particularly after a loss. And the coach was all that and more after his seventh-ranked Huskies were stunned 61-59 at the Mullins Center Thursday, snapping UConn's 13-game domination of the Minutemen.
The fans stormed the court afterward. And he hates to see that at his team's expense.
"So you want to write a column or a piece or something," Calhoun said. "I'd come back to the head coach of whoever is coaching that team that doesn't play as hard as the other one. That's what I would do. He's the one that gets them to play hard, I think. If you give credit, you've got to give discredit, too."
This is a tough one for the Huskies. This is a young team that is still searching for a lot of answers. Calhoun walked away still saying he has only one starter, Josh Boone.
But there was no way Calhoun could see this kind of effort coming. He couldn't have seen it in the Huskies' previous games. All four were either at Gampel Pavilion or the Civic Center, where the crowd can jack them up like crazy.
Thursday night, it was the UMass crowd doing that for their Minutemen.
"We've got to play the same way on the road that we play at home," point guard Marcus Williams said. "And we didn't do that. Too many mistakes, and we got outhustled. That's not what a UConn team does."
Effortwise, the Minutemen looked a lot like a Calhoun-coached team.
For his Huskies not to have held an edge against the Minutemen on the boards (39-39) when they came in averaging 60; to get outscored 42-24 in the paint; to allow a team to shoot 44 percent in the second-half - including a three-pointer by Jeff Viggiano with 1:56 to go that gave the Minutemen a 57-55 lead - with the game on the line; and to lose too many loose ball battles? It's hard for the coach not to go off on somebody. Anybody.
In the end, though, even though he's the one wearing the jacket and tie and not a UConn uniform, he will take full responsibility for the way his team played.
"If we got loose balls, if we rebounded and did the things we were supposed to do ... that defense we shredded last year and this year we can't attack it," said Calhoun, whose Huskies shot 31.6 percent. "Maybe it's because those guys can't make 3- or 4-footers. I have no idea about that. But right now, when your team doesn't play as hard as you'd like them to, the responsibility should, at least ... I've heard other coaches make reference to all the different things that happened. What happened is they outworked us and therefore, [UMass coach] Steve [Lappas] got his kids jacked up for the game. They played exceptionally hard. There's no reason for us not to play hard."
There's a lot of youth on this team. They say they know the Calhoun way, which is to at least play hard every second. If a loss comes, it could come at the hands of poor shooting, poor defense, even poor rebounding. But it can't come because the other team played harder.
The tough part is the players are going to have to stew on this loss for another 11 days. That's when the Huskies play again, against Rice.
LAYER OF THE GAME: Rashaun Freeman had 18 points and eight rebounds and scored the winning basket with 4.3 seconds left for UMass.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Huskies got pressure free throws from Josh Boone, who made two with 20.2 seconds left, and Rudy Gay, who made two with 8.8 seconds left. Gay's tied the score.
WHAT WENT WRONG: UConn entered with a plus-25 rebound margin but could only manage a 39-39 tie against UMass. ... The Huskies shot 31.6 percent, including 4 of 15 on threes. ... UConn's defense broke down on the final play, which resulted in a 2-on-1 for UMass. Art Bowers connected with Freeman for the winning hoop. ... The Huskies had 11 assists and 15 turnovers.
RIVALRY: When these two teams didn't play there was a clamor for the game.
The passion did not last but it might be rekindled now.
"The rivalry that you all don't write about, now you can write about," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said.
The Mullins Center was not filled, but it was the largest crowd in four years. This one clearly meant something to the UMass fans.
UConn had won 13 straight and 21 of 22, dating from 1977-78.
Calhoun knew what a win would mean for UMass.
"There is a rivalry," Calhoun said Wednesday. "It still exists but we have won a lot of games against them and that tones down a rivalry. A win over us would have more importance for them beyond Big East and defending national champions.
"When we didn't play each other there was always a lot of talk between the two schools."
OF NOTE: Calhoun did not make an appearance at the podium, although he was willing and did answer questions about the loss in the hallway of the Mullins Center.
The problem was the interview room was open to UMass boosters, who were loudly cheering as UMass players answered questions.
UP NEXT: Rice (4-1), Dec. 19, Civic Center, 2 p.m. (Ch. 20).
s Jim Calhoun stood in the corridor of the Mullins Center Thursday night, delirious UMass fans milling about creating a cacophony of celebration, he kept returning to the same theme.
"If you get beat because the other team outplays you that's one thing," Calhoun said. "If you get beat because the other team outworks you that's another. You can always control work."
UConn was outworked Thursday, and it cost the Huskies when Rashaun Freeman scored with 4.3 seconds remaining to lift UMass to a 61-59 victory.
UConn's inactivity was easy to spot on a stat sheet.
Despite a significant size disadvantage in the frontcourt, the Minutemen were even in second-chance points, 17-17, and had a 42-24 scoring advantage in the paint.
The Huskies have nine unpleasant days to dwell on those numbers before their next game against Rice.
"We are going to have to work a lot harder than we have been," sophomore center Josh Boone said. "They worked really hard. They ran their offense and boxed us out, and that was the key."
As disturbing as the numbers inside may be to UConn fans, Boone hit upon another truth that was lost in all the chatter about the defensive breakdown that led to the winning basket.
UMass ran its offense most of the game. UConn did not.
Too many times the Huskies settled for the first shot they stumbled upon against the Minutemen's triangle-and-two defense.
More than anything, this is what caused UConn's poor shooting (18 of 57) and denied the Huskies any sense of offensive rhythm.
"It was the same triangle-and-two that Steve [Lappas] has run the last four years," Calhoun said. "We couldn't find the answer for it. Maybe the bubble has burst and we discovered what we aren't."
What the Huskies are not is Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon and Taliek Brown. That trio had a wealth of big game experience and had developed a faith in their half-court sets that this team does not yet have.
There are some excuses readily available - youth being the most obvious - but the Huskies don't have much time for such thinking.
"We're going to face tougher competition as we move through our schedule," Calhoun said. "We are certainly not ready to do that right now."
There were two moments when it seemed UConn was ready to assert itself and take control against UMass.
The first was near the end of the first half, when the Huskies went on a 10-0 run to pull to 27-25.
The second was a 9-4 run that gave UConn a 55-50 lead with 4:56 remaining in the game.
Each time the Huskies abandoned the tactics that had brought them back, opting for a quick three-pointer instead of running through an offensive set.
Each time it cost them.
"I can think of about six plays, seven plays, 15 plays where we couldn't complete the plays we needed to complete," Calhoun said. "When you just take soirees into never-never land and are just playing 1-on-1 basketball it's completely against what we do."
Antonio Kellogg led the first-half run but forgot his better judgment once the Huskies got close. He fired off two quick threes on the Huskies' next two possession, and his impatience was contagious.
Rudy Gay missed a quick three-pointer and Denham Brown took a deep three in transition, if a 1-on-4 counts as a transition opportunity.
"Denham Brown took a shot I don't think a UConn kid has taken in a long time unless it's at the end of a clock," Calhoun said. "I was just talking about Memphis and the fact that they had a bad game against Pittsburgh because everyone came out and chuck and duck. We did some of that."
Despite the first-half woes, the Huskies had an opportunity to seize command late in the second half, when they began attacking inside and dominating the glass to build a five-point lead.
But Boone missed Charlie Villanueva on an entry pass from the high post for one turnover, and Villanueva missed a jump shot from the free-throw line on the next possession.
As UMass closed the gap, the Huskies lost patience.
Brown lost the ball on an ill-advised drive, and Kellogg did the same.
Then Kellogg fired off two quick threes from the right corner. Both were contested, and both missed.
The stalled UConn offense allowed UMass to complete its comeback and defeat the Huskies for the first time in the Calhoun era.
"To be honest with you, in the end they outworked us," Boone said. "They outworked us, and they out-executed us. We're a young team, but that's no excuse."
MHERST, Mass. -- It's dangerous on the road once more. Storming the court is back at full force.
The University of Connecticut men's basketball team got its first look at exactly how the world views the defending NCAA champions last night as the University of Massachusetts conquered the Huskies, 61-59 at Mullins Center.
The 9,037 fans on hand unleashed a tidal wave of emotion as Denham Brown's 3-point attempt grazed the front rim at the final buzzer by pouring on to the court to celebrate the Minutemen's triumph before a national TV audience.
"We've all been saying that this is our year," said UMass junior Jeff Viggiano of Suffield, who had the assist on Rashaun Freeman's game-winning layup with 4.3 seconds left. "If this doesn't show glimpses of it tonight, nothing will. It was just crazy seeing the fans rush the court."
"We didn't play great," said UMass coach Steve Lappas. "But we were great on the glass and great on defense. And that gives you a chance. It was a gutsy win for our kids.
"Jim Calhoun is a Hall of Fame coach. Absolutely, three of my greatest wins have come against UConn," Lappas continued. "But in reality, it's just one night."
It was an evening that will stick in UConn coach Jim Calhoun's craw for the Huskies' entire 10-day final exams break.
"They outworked us. That was the game," Calhoun said. "Coach Lappas has been playing triangle-and-two and box-and-one defense against us the last four years. Tonight, they only played triangle-and-two. We shredded that defense last year. This year we couldn't make any three or four-footers.
"You attack that defense by going two against one up top," Calhoun continued. "We had three, six, seven maybe 15 plays two against one at the top and we couldn't execute."
UMass (3-2) used a 14-1 surge to jump out to an 18-7 edge with 14:55 left in the first half. But UConn settled in and closed the gap to 31-29 by halftime.
No. 7 ranked UConn (4-1) appeared to finally have things in hand as the double point guard setup of Marcus Williams and Antonio Kellogg kicked off a 13-2 surge to lift the Huskies to a 42-37 advantage with 11:58 left.
UConn still seemed in control at 55-50 with 4:56 to go when it all came apart for the Huskies.
Led by Freeman's 18 points and Viggiano's 12, UMass answered with nine straight points -- capped by a goaltend call on Josh Boone on a Viggiano drive with two seconds left on the shot clock.
Suddenly, UMass led 59-55 with 55.2 seconds left.
But UConn gained a second life as senior Anthony Anderson (three points, 1-for-10 shooting) and Maurice Maxwell each missed the front ends of one-and-ones from the foul line.
Boone (12 points, nine rebounds) canned two free throws at 20.2 seconds and freshman Rudy Gay (team-high 13 points) swished a pair at 8.8 seconds for 59-59.
Just when it appeared UConn might regroup in overtime, UMass pulled one last rabbit out of its hat.
Viggiano caught a late inbounds pass at the foul line and found Art Bowers open at midcourt. Suddenly, Bowers and Freeman bore down on Boone on a two-on-one.
Freeman cashed in again with his left hand at 4.3 seconds for 61-59.
"I want to see it on ESPN SportsCenter to believe it actually happened," Freeman said. "I didn't want to go to overtime."
"We just wanted to fake the press," Calhoun said. "But somebody went for a steal, a home run play. And UMass was left with a two-on-one. Josh (Boone) was left in a no-win situation."
"We didn't play the defense the way we should have," Rudy Gay said. "We just wanted to slow them down going upcourt and we didn't. It was a sloppy game and it hurts."
UConn freshman Antonio Kellogg rushed downcourt for a final shot. The defense swarmed him and he passed to Denham Brown. Brown hesitated then tossed up an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that was short.
"When the ball left Denham's hand I thought it was going in," Anderson said. "I was so glad when it didn't go in. We didn't deserve to get to overtime."
Now UConn (18-for-57 field, 31.6 percent) has 10 days to brood and truly understand what that bull's-eye (defending NCAA champions) means to the rest of the college basketball world.
"Do I envy UConn?" Lappas said. "I know 320 teams from last year that envied UConn."
"There's no way we should have lost this game," UConn's Marcus Williams said. "We were up 55-50 and they got every loose ball. We saw Northeastern beat UMass easy and we looked at tonight as an easy night. We have to get to feeling like we want to win. We didn't show passion tonight."
And this year on the road, if they don't find the passion, the result will always be thousands of fans storming the court.
NOTES -- UMass shot 43 percent (27-for-63) from the field but 3-for-19 on 3-pointers. Rebounds were tied at 39.
The Huskies will now take a 10-day break for first semester final exams before hosting Rice University on Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Hartford Civic Center. The clash will be televised on WTXX (Ch. 20) as well as broadcast on WTIC (1080 AM) and WICC (600 AM).
Despite last night's loss, Jim Calhoun remains No. 7 on the NCAA Div. I winningest active coaches list at 683-303.
With last night's loss, UConn saw its 88-game win streak against non-Big East Conference New England foes dating back to Dec. 29, 1986 -- a 49-48 loss to Hartford in the Connecticut Mutual Classic end.
With last night's loss, UConn is 94-39 in games televised on ESPN or ESPN2 since the 1989-1990 season.
The Mullins Center, which opened in 1993, is fast approaching welcoming its 1,000,000th fan this season as it currently stands at 989,283 in total attendance.
With last night's loss, UMass is 2-2 lifetime against defending NCAA champions, having fallen to UConn after each of the Huskies' NCAA crowns. The Minutemen are also 27-62 lifetime against ranked opponents.
With last night's win, Steve Lappas is now 37-55 in his four-season tenure at UMass as well as 267-227 over his 17 seasons of college coaching.
With last night's loss, Lappas is now 7-13 lifetime against UConn.
The UMass players are wearing uniform patches in honor of former UMass hoop coach Jack Leaman, who passed away on March 6, 2004.
With his three assists last night, UMass senior guard Anthony Anderson needs two assists to pass Rick Pitino into eighth place (329 assists) on UMass' all-time dish list.
MHERST, Mass. -- It was only a matter of time. UConn's too young to go undefeated and a loss in the near future was a given. However, few expected that this new breed of Huskies first defeat would come to a previously-unimpressive UMass team.
The 61-59 final was the result that ended in the Minutemen faithful rushing the court as the No. 6 Huskies lost their first game since March 7 when they fell to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome - ending their 13-game winning streak
Rudy Gay made two free throws to tie the game, 59-59, with 8.8 seconds left and the game looked as if it was headed to overtime. However, UMass took advantage of the time left on the clock when Rashaun Freeman (18 points, 8 rebounds) banked in a fast-break layup with 4.3 seconds remaining and there was nothing left but the celebrating.
"They simply outworked us," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. "Quite frankly, we didn't deserve to go to overtime. It was one of the most disappointing performances we've had in sometime."
The Huskies never had full control as they let UMass dominate throughout the first half and the Minutemen led 31-29 at halftime. UMass was led by strong performances by Freeman and Jeff Viggiano (12 points). It was the first time UMass had played a defending national championship team at home.
"I feel like we just won the national championship," UMass guard Anthony Anderson said. "To have the fans rush the court like that. That hasn't happened and that's why I wanted to come to UMass."
The Huskies were led by Gay who scored 13 points.
"We didn't play like we were capable of," Gay said.
Josh Boone, who had struggled with free throws in the past, cut the lead to 59-57 with 20 seconds remaining with two from the line.
"Things aren't going to be handed to us," Boone said. "We've got to do a better job of playing our brand of basketball."
As soon as Freeman's layup went in, UConn attempted to rush back down the court to force the game into overtime, but Denham Brown's (11 points) last-second 3-pointer missed.
UMass frustrated UConn with a lethal dose of zone defenses, in particularly a triangle and two. Charlie Villanueva struggled again and scored only six points.
"Josh was the only starter I knew out there," Calhoun said. "We didn't have any answers."
The Huskies never recovered from their 30 percent shooting performance in the first half and UMass out-rebounded UConn 23-21.
The victory was UMass's first over UConn since 1983 - ending the Huskies' 13-game winning streak over the Minutemen.
"Steve Lappas's kids just outplayed us," Calhoun said. "They outworked us and we got what we deserved."
MHERST, Mass. -- It wasn't on par with Joe DiMaggio's 56, but UConn's 13-game winning streak over border rival UMass was pretty impressive and didn't figure to end any time soon.
But the Huskies' luck ran out Thursday night.
UMass forward Rashaun Freeman's fast-break layup with 4.5 seconds left in the game lifted UMass to a 61-59 win over the seventh-ranked UConn, the Minutemen's first win over their rivals in 21 years.
Before a late-night gathering of 9,037, the largest crowd at the Mullins Center in more than three years, UMass was able to end the game on a 11-4 run. UConn (4-1) went without a field goal for the final eight minutes and 11 seconds.
"It feels like we just won a national championship," guard Anthony Anderson said.
Rudy Gay led the Huskies with 13 points while Josh Boone added 12 points and nine rebounds.
"UMass outworked us and outhustled us," a disappointed coach Jim Calhoun said. "It's the same triangle-and-two defense that Steve (Lappas) ran the last four years in a row. Tonight, we couldn't find the answer for it."
Gay was fouled by Freeman with 8.8 seconds left in the game. After a timeout, Gay calmly hit the free throws.
After UMass at first had trouble getting the ball in bounds, UMass guard Art Bowers found himself with the ball on a 2-on-1 fast break with Freeman. Only Boone was back for the Huskies.
"We put him in a bad position," Calhoun said. "We told them to make it look like the press, then retreat. Of course, someone went for the steal and tried to be a home run hero."
A ball-fake by Bowers drew Boone's attention for a moment, but when Bowers passed to Freeman on his left, the UConn center was still in position. He appeared to get a piece of Freeman's shot, but the ball went in the basket anyway.
"I got a piece of the pass and I got a piece of the ball going up," Boone said. "But it wasn't enough either way."
The Huskies raced up court with a chance to win or tie, but Denham Brown's deep 3-pointer hit the front of the rim to end the game. Brown chipped in 11 points for UConn.
"This isn't happening right now, you know what I mean," Freeman, who scored a game-high 18 points, said in disbelief. "I have to see it on ESPN to believe it."
A 3-pointer by Jeff Viggiano put UMass head 57-55 with 1:56 to play. On UConn's ensuing possession, point guard Antonio Kellogg lost the ball out of bounds.
After the Husky turnover, Viggiano had the ball at the top of the key with the shot clock winding down. This time, the Suffield, Conn., native up-faked and drove to the hoop. His shot was goal-tended by Boone and the Minutemen took a 59-55 lead with 55.2 seconds to play.
"He played terrific, and was the best player on the floor coming down the stretch," Calhoun said of Viggiano, who scored 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting. "We didn't have a good player."
Kellogg took the shot on UConn's next possession, but UMass' Stephane Lasme got a piece of the freshman's 3-point attempt and the Minutemen got the ball back with 44 seconds to play.
Two free throws by Boone, after he rebounded another Kellogg miss, cut the UMass advantage to 59-57.
UMass could have put the game away, but both Anderson and Maurice Maxwell missed the front end of 1-and-1's in the final 31 seconds.
The late start didn't seem to bother the home team, as UMass became the first team this season to play the skyscraping Huskies to a draw on the backboards. That effort on the glass, along with a myriad of changing defenses, helped the Minutemen (3-2) stay close to their neighbors throughout the game.
The Huskies entered the game averaging 60 rebounds per game, 25 more than their opponents. But each team pulled down 39 boards Thursday.
The Huskies had the longest winning streak in the nation, thanks in large part to their run through March, at 13 games.
The series had been very one-sided, with UConn winning 13 in a row and 21 of the last 22. But the games have certainly not all been blowouts. It was only two seasons ago, as part the 2002 game in Hartford, that the Huskies scored just nine points in the first half before storming back to win.
The last time UMass actually beat UConn was Dec. 15, 1983. The Minutemen won 67-65 in overtime, a game played in the old Curry Hicks Cage here on the UMass campus.
Rudy Gay had some acrobatic dunks that probably made for good television. There wasn't a lot more than that.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
The "hustle factor," according to coach Jim Calhoun, has made nearly every starter vulnerable. "Josh is the only starter I know on the team," Calhoun said.
UConn's remarkable streak off 88 consecutive wins against non-Big East teams from New England came to an end. The last time UConn lost such a game was in Calhoun's first season as coach, a 49-48 loss to Hartford on Dec. 29, 1986.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Rashaun Freeman. He battled the UConn front line ably all evening and hit the game-winner.
Dec. 19 vs. Rice in Hartford, 2 p.m., Ch. 20
MHERST, Mass. -- After pounding its first four opponents into submission, there was going to come a time when No. 7 UConn had to fight with its heart.
The thing is, nobody on the Huskies expected it this soon. Maybe against Oklahoma in January. Or North Carolina in February. But not against UMass, a team UConn had beaten 13 straight times coming into this building.
And yet, from the moment the Minutemen glued a chip to their shoulder Thursday night, the Huskies knew they were in for a battle of wills at the Mullins Center before 9,037 fans, the largest on-campus crowd in four years, and a national TV audience on ESPN2.
After trailing by 12 points in the first half, UConn rallied for a 55-50 lead with 4:56 to play. But just like that, the last five minutes belonged to UMass, the understudy on UConn's stage for so long.
After all the losses, after all the heartache, the Minutemen finally held off the Huskies for a stunning, 61-59, victory.
UConn (4-1) appeared headed to overtime when Rudy Gay tied the game at 59 on two foul shots with 8.8 seconds to play. But Rashaun Freeman, the best player in a UMass uniform, scored the game-winning basket on a 2-on-1 layup with 4.3 seconds left.
The Huskies had a chance to win the game, but Denham Brown missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the UMass students storming onto the court.
"We had soirees into Never, Never Land, and we played too much one-on-one basketball. It's just not what we do," said UConn coach Jim Calhoun, whose team snapped an 88-game winning streak against non-Big East teams from New England. "Plus, we got out-hustled. Its one of the more disappointing losses we've had in quite some time.
"Maybe our bubble has burst and we've discovered what we aren't," Calhoun added. "They just outworked us. They completely outworked us. That's why we lost the basketball game."
Gay led the Huskies with 13 points, while Josh Boone had 12 and Brown added 11. But in so many ways, UConn didn't have the mettle to defeat UMass in 40 minutes of tug-of-war.
The Minutemen stuck a flag in UConn's heart with 1:56 left, after Jeff Viggiano hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to give UMass a 57-55 lead.
As he ran up the court, Viggiano let out one of those primal screams. Calhoun, meanwhile, clapped in utter disgust. He saw this game slipping away, the same way the Minutemen saw it slipping into the win column.
"We've been waiting for a game like this ever since we got here," said Viggiano, who grew up in Suffield. "It's just a great feeling."
Down the hall in the UConn locker room, the Huskies still didn't know what happened.
Rashad Anderson, who shot 3-of-11 against Northeastern earlier this week, opened the game with a 3-pointer for UConn. But UMass (3-2), running on full adrenaline, punched back with a 10-3 run. Freeman scored six of those points, after repeatedly beating Boone in the low post.
Freeman, one of the most underrated players in the Northeast, capped the spurt with a fastbreak dunk for two of his game-high 18 points. As he stuffed the ball through the cylinder, Freeman swung around on the rim, just to make sure the Huskies saw him.
"I don't know how to explain it. We lost. I still can't believe it," Gay said, shaking his head. "But it's over now."
With UConn gasping from the start, UMass ratcheted a 10-6 lead into an 18-7 advantage, after Viggiano flew through the lane for a tip-in with 12:01 left.
Of course, it got worse before it got better for UConn.
The Minutemen took a 25-13 lead, their largest of the first half, on a 3-pointer by Lawrence Carrier. All of a sudden, with 7:50 remaining, UMass was shooting 52 percent (13-of-25) and UConn was shooting 27.8 percent (5-of-18).
And Calhoun could only scratch his head.
But Calhoun refused to let the Huskies submit to UMass. He refused to let them surrender to the ghosts of Julius Erving, Rick Pitino and everyone else who ever played here.
Whatever Calhoun said — forget about the 'R' rating — apparently worked early on.
UConn rallied to tie the game at 29 on a dunk by Charlie Villanueva with 2:04 left. The play capped a 14-2 spurt by the Huskies, but UMass wasn't going away.
Not this time.
The Minutemen took a 31-29 lead at the break, after Art Bowers scored on a slippery drive with 1:06 left. It wasn't the prettiest basket of the game, but it was important to UMass, if only for psychological reasons.
UConn, the team with arguably the best frontcourt in America, was outscored in the paint, 22-8, in the first half. Other than a one-minute cameo by 6-foot-11 freshman Jeff Salovski, the Minutemen beat the Huskies at their own game with no one taller than 6-9.
UConn struggled just as much from the perimeter.
After hitting his first shot of the night, Anderson went cold, if not gun shy, in the first half. Anderson took just three more shots the rest of the half. And missed them all.
Freeman came out just as inspired in the second half. He scored a quick rebound basket to give UMass a 33-29 lead and give Calhoun a heartburn-induced timeout.
Nothing was going to come easy now, not with UMass seeing headlines before they were printed.
MHERST, Mass. -- UConn point guard Marcus Williams couldn't bring himself to turn around at the Mullins Center on Thursday night. It was too painful, too crippling, too awful.
It was enough to have the soundtrack of a 61-59 loss ringing in his ears. Williams didn't need to see the delirious UMass students doing swan dives off press row.
Not now. Not ever.
"There's no way we should've lost the game," Williams said later, his eyes still vacant with disbelief. "We didn't get any hustle plays. We didn't get any loose balls, loose rebounds — the hustle plays.
"You have to get those in away games in order to stay with them and keep a lead. We were up 55-50 (with 4:56 left) and we made a lot of turnovers. We let them get a couple of loose rebounds and second shots and that hurt us."
But this was so much more than a collapse down the stretch for No. 7 UConn. This defeat, the first of the season for the defending national champions, unmasked the Huskies as selfish, misguided basketball players driven by their own agendas and their own statistics.
When UConn junior Denham Brown launched a 30-footer in the first half that missed miserably, the bench gasped. UConn coach Jim Calhoun, meanwhile, stomped his foot and screamed, "What are you doing?!"
When UConn freshman Rudy Gay drove the lane against three UMass defenders instead of passing the ball, Calhoun quickly sat him down. The 6-foot-9 prodigy from Baltimore, despite his wealth of talent, still has much to learn about college basketball.
After shooting 3-of-15 against Northeastern last Monday, Gay shot 4-of-13 against UMass on a night when nobody else for UConn took more than eight shots.
Give Gay credit for his confidence, if not his arrogance. But if the Huskies hope to breathe rarefied air this season, Gay can't shoot 25 percent like he did this week.
After the game in Amherst, as Gay sat in the bowels of the Mullins Center, he was interrupted by applause spilling out of the UMass press conference. It was a sobering reminder of UConn's inability to find the open man and its proclivity to draft the easy excuse.
"It hurts," Gay said of his first collegiate loss. "Of course, it hurts, especially with it being a team I feel we could've beaten."
Apparently, the Huskies are more fragile than anyone ever imagined, including Calhoun.
Other than sophomore center Josh Boone, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds against UMass, the rest of UConn's starting lineup remains murky after five games, Calhoun said.
Charlie Villanueva has vanished at power forward. Brown has become impatient. Shooting guard Rashad Anderson, who averaged 19 points in UConn's first three games, scored exactly nine against UMass, after scoring just seven against Northeastern.
Gay has already played three positions this season: shooting guard, small forward and power forward. He has the versatility to pull off all three. And the inexperience to be exposed.
"It just can't be the other team," Calhoun said. "It's really unfathomable."
The UConn coach only needs to review a stat sheet.
The Huskies strolled into the UMass game averaging 90 points. They walked off the floor with 59. On the boards, UConn averaged 60 rebounds before Thursday night's game. Against the Minutemen, the Huskies finished with 34.
"When it was close in the first half, I thought we were going to pull away in the second half," Williams conceded, again shaking his head. "We saw how Northeastern beat them. I don't want to say we looked over them, but we were kind of looking forward to a win."
So what if UMass lost to Northeastern by 18 points and UConn beat Northeastern by 37? It didn't insulate the Huskies from an upset. If anything, it only made Calhoun's team more vulnerable.
This was the message of a silent bus ride back to Storrs. For Williams, the sophomore from Los Angeles who crossed a continent to play here, it was the catalyst of every flashback, even before he got on the bus.
Again and again, Williams heard the UMass students trampling over the press tables and dancing on the court. He heard their cheers and their slurs and it haunted him.
Suddenly, Williams felt numb inside. He felt cheated.
Except it was the worst kind of cheated, the kind when you only cheat yourself.
MHERST, Mass. -- This so-called rivalry might be worth saving after all. UMass finally got one Thursday night.
And the Minutemen did it in exciting fashion, one that totally disgusted Jim Calhoun.
UMass took advantage of a severe breakdown in UConn's defense, freeing Rashaun Freeman on the back end of a two-on-one as time ran down. Freeman hit an easy layup over Josh Boone with four seconds to play, giving the Minutemen a 61-59 victory before a crowd of 9,037 at the Mullins Center.
It was the largest crowd in four years at UMass, and most of it deservedly spilled onto the court after the nationally televised upset of the seventh-ranked Huskies (4-1).
Gone is UConn's 13-game winning streak in the series, a streak that stretches back to 1983. Gone is UConn's 13-game overall winning streak, which had been the longest in the country. Gone for the moment are any grumblings about UMass coach Steve Lappas being history after this season.
Present is the question, even if it is premature, of whether these young Huskies (4-1) will do much damage on the road. They failed their first test in the most heinous of ways.
"Hustle," Calhoun said, his fuse already having blown in the lockerroom. "They outhustled us. They outworked us. They continually outworked us."
A mortal sin in Calhoun's world. It will make a for along exam break for the Huskies.
Despite blowing a pair of tenuous five-point leads in the second half, UConn still had its chance to at least get the game to overtime. Freshman Rudy Gay (team-high 13 points) hit a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to tie it at 59.
The Huskies showed pressure defense on the in-bounds play, but it only worked against them. An ill-advised attempt for a steal turned into a breakaway for Freeman and Art Bowers. Boone was left on an island, put in an impossible position.
Bowers raced the ball up court, drew a commitment from Boone and bounced a pass to Freeman for an easy layup. Denham Brown's last ditch 3-pointer fell short and gave way to a celebration UMass (3-2) has been waiting to hold.
"I got a piece of the pass and a piece of the shot," said Boone, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. "It still went in. We talked about not letting anyone get behind us, and it still happened.
"We broke down. That's all there is to it."
The most glaring breakdown was the killer. But it was far from being the only breakdown.
Loose balls went almost exclusively to UMass. The rebounding tally finished in a 39-all tie, a stunner considering UConn entered the game averaging 60 rebounds and a 25-rebound margin over its opponents.
And check this out. The Minutemen scored 42 points in the paint; UConn just 24. That's all Calhoun needed to see to know the story. Unfortunately for him, he saw so much more that pushed him to disgust.
"They outworked us and we weren't ready to respond to it," said Calhoun, who took responsibility for the Huskies' lack of effort. "That's unfortunate. You can always control work by what you do. We picked it up with 10 minutes to go, but we should have done it with 15 minutes to go. We weren't ready to play with intensity.
"It was a really disappointing performance by us, the most disappointing in a long time."
UMass erased a five-point deficit in the final four minutes and took a 59-55 lead with just less than two minutes to play. The Huskies were done in by a player who grew up not far from the Storrs campus.
Following a UConn turnover, Suffield product Jeff Viggiano hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:56 to go, putting UMass on top, 57-55. Another UConn turnover led to a Viggiano basket on a Boone goaltend that gave the home team a four-point lead with under a minute to play.
UMass then gave UConn a chance. Anthony Anderson missed the front end of a one-and-one and Boone hit two free throws on the other end with 20 seconds to go. Three seconds later, Maurice Maxwell also missed his first free throw in a one-and-one situation.
Gay stepped up and hit what should have been the biggest free throws of his young career. Instead, they were merely a precursor to a huge mistakes and an even bigger victory for the Minutemen.
"I'm happy for our kids," Lappas said. "I've been through it. I want for our kids to have it."
Calhoun will certainly let the Huskies have it between now and Dec. 19 when they return from exams to play host to Rice.
UConn squandered spurts of 14-2 and 13-2, the former forcing a tie game in the first half and the latter giving the Huskies a five-point lead late in the second half. But they might not have needed either if the effort was there. Instead, there were poor shots, a decided lack of patience and a team that almost looked afraid at times.
"We've got a lot of work to do," UConn guard Marcus Williams said. "We just have to make hustle plays in practice. We have get on the ground. We have to act like we want to win. We didn't show that."
MHERST, Mass. -- Pat Sellers has had easier nights than Thursday.
A year ago, the former Central Connecticut star was an assistant coach at UMass. Returning to the Mullins Center as part of the UConn staff was a bittersweet event. Sellers cut his coaching teeth under UMass coach Steve Lappas and still has a strong relationship with all of the Minutemen.
"It's going to feel a little different," Seller said Wednesday. "I'm really pulling for those guys because Coach Lappas has a unique contract situation. It's a good group of guys up there. I got a good feeling for those guys. I speak to them still now, trying to pep them up a little bit.
"I hope they win every game except for (Thursday) night."
Sellers left a position that allowed him to coach and recruit for a spot that doesn't allow him to do either. As the director of basketball operations for the Huskies, Sellers can't coach or recruit. He's almost on the periphery of things.
But he saw an opportunity at UConn, where his brother, Rod, played. And he saw the tenuous situation under which Lappas is coaching. He turned down a contract extension, in effect telling UMass officials they can either fire him or retain him based solely on this season.
Lappas could have tried to keep Sellers, but even he knew the move was for the best.
"It was very, very, very hard for me to lose him," Lappas said, "especially at this juncture. We're in a situation where winning is paramount. It was very hard to let him go, but it's not just about me. It's a step in his career. If he wanted to go to some other place, I would have said it was not a good idea. But he went to a place where it's a great situation."
It was an equally difficult decision for Sellers. But in many ways, UConn is his home.
Because Rod Sellers played at UConn, Pat Sellers was already familiar with Jim Calhoun's ways. He was further indoctrinated into Calhoun-ism after having been coached by former UConn assistant Howie Dickenman at Central.
Technically, Sellers took a step down when he went to UConn and left the sidelines. But it was easier for him to do that at UConn.
"The hard part was leaving recruiting and the coaching," Sellers said. "It's hard not being on the floor and coaching the guys. When I first got to UConn, somebody said something about Coach (Dickenman) and I said to myself, 'I'm home.' It felt good to be back home and in a situation I'm familiar with.
"I feel like I've been here forever. Everything is just a real good feeling."
Despite the familiarity, there was a learning curve for Sellers. He learned the hard way that telling jokes to Calhoun near game time is not a good idea. The head coach and his new director of basketball operations have cleared that hurdle.
"He's terrific," Calhoun said. "He's really been good for us."
Back for more? Though UConn has dominated the series against UMass, especially lately, neither coach has any desire to discontinue it. If it was put to rest, UConn might be left with only Providence as a New England rival, what with Boston College leaving the Big East and Calhoun having said he won't play the Eagles again.
"I think there's no question it's a rivalry," Calhoun said. "We've just won a lot of games against them. That sometimes tones down a rivalry. I think a win over us does have some importance for them. I remember during the times when both teams were really good and we didn't play each other, there was a lot of talk between the two parties. Therefore I know it means an awful lot to them.
"I love rivalries. I've always thought it's very healthy if you have somebody who wants to beat your brains in and you want to bear their brains in."
The Minutemen certainly need the series more than the Huskies. It gives UMass some rare national television exposure. Thursday night's game was UMass' only scheduled national television appearance.
Lappas wants to keep playing the game, but he knows his team has to hold up its end.
"We have to get more competitive," Lappas said. "It's either going to happen now or it's not going to happen. We have to make it more interesting. That's on our part. It's certainly not Connecticut's fault."
Free throws: UConn players spent about an hour at the basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday afternoon, killing a huge amount of down time before the 9 p.m. start ... UConn has one other 9 p.m. start during the regular season, Jan. 22 against Pittsburgh at Gampel Pavilion. ESPN will carry that game and debut its College Gameday show for basketball ... The Huskies take a break for final exams and return to action Dec. 19 when they play host to Rice at the Hartford Civic Center.
MHERST, Mass. -- UConn has issues.
Jim Calhoun knew his Huskies had things to work out before the season began. He didn't know, at least until Thursday night, how many problems they have to rectify. The stunning 61-59 defeat against UMass at the Mullins Center told a story Calhoun does not want repeated.
The Huskies shot 31.6 percent against a defense they had no problems with last year. They allowed UMass to shoot 42.9 percent, the first time this young a season that an opponent shot better than 37 percent. The Minutemen forged a 39-39 count on the boards, and for a long time were clobbering the Huskies in what is supposed to be their strongest area.
All of those things were the result of one broken Calhoun law -- don't allow anybody to outwork you. UConn did. While the loss certainly displeased Calhoun, he could have lived with it a lot easier had the Huskies put in a better effort.
"Those (UMass) kids were jacked up," Calhoun said. "They had a lot more energy than we did. Our team wasn't ready to play. They just completely outworked us. I'll take responsibility for that.
"I'm responsible for the UConn basketball team. The buck stops here."
Actually, it just begins there, for this exam break promises to be as close to a living hell as the Huskies have experienced in some time.
On the rare occasions when UConn is outhustled, practices generally are devoid of basketballs. With more than a week with nothing to do but study and practice, the Huskies likely can't wait until they return to the court Dec. 19 to play Rice at the Hartford Civic Center.
There is much work to do before then.
Rotations that appeared to have been close to set are now in disarray. After having time to calm down, Calhoun will realize that knee-jerk reactions to one bad loss are ill-advised. But they would also be understandable.
Calhoun and the coaching staff have to figure out why 6-foot-11 Charlie Villanueva was continually beaten for rebounds by UMass. He played just 13 minutes, going for just six points and four rebounds. The Huskies must figure out what is wrong with Rashad Anderson, who was just 2-for-5 against UMass after going 3-for-11 against Northeastern. Where does Hilton Armstrong fit in? What about guards Antonio Kellogg and Marcus Williams?
Where is a power forward? Why is Denham Brown, with all of his experience, too often playing like this is his first time on a college court?
There are questions all around right now.
"I think you're limiting yourself," Calhoun said when asked if anyone would emerge as a solid power forward candidate. "You're limiting yourself if you think that's the only problem. We have Division I guards who were left alone at the foul line. Denham Brown took one of the worst shots a UConn player has ever taken, a 30-footer on a one-on-four.
"Josh Boone is a good center. He's the only starter on this team. The rest we have to figure out."
So now the Huskies find themselves back at the beginning.
Calhoun doesn't care that it was UMass' first victory over a top 10 team in more than seven years. He doesn't care that UConn's 13-game winning streak against the Minutemen came to an end. He doesn't care that it marked the first time since 1986 that a New England foe from outside the Big East toppled the Huskies.
The issue he cares most about is UMass' imposing its will on the Huskies. UConn did nothing about it for the most part, and that will bother Calhoun for a long time.
That just doesn't happen at UConn, not in any acceptable sense.
"There's just no reason for us not to play hard," Calhoun said.
The season obviously has a long way to go. In the long run, the loss might well be the best thing for a young team. Certainly such a loss is better in December than at any other time.
But the defeat undoubtedly raised questions that Calhoun had hoped were close to being resolved.
MHERST, Mass. -- Thanks to a Connecticut native, the U-Game dominance for the University of Connecticut is over. UMass’ Rashaun Freeman scored on a layup with 4.4 seconds left on an assist from Art Bowers to give the Minutemen a stunning 61-59 win over the No. 7 Huskies Thursday night.
After UConn’s Denham Brown missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, the long-frustrated UMass fans stormed the court as the Mullins Center erupted into pandemonium.
Suffield’s Jeff Viggiano, a UMass junior forward, made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:56 remaining and then scored when UConn center Josh Boone was called for goaltending on his floater in the lane to give the Minutemen a 59-55 lead.
The Huskies tied the game on four straight free throws from Boone and Rudy Gay in the final 20 seconds before Freeman’s heroics.
UMass earned its first win over UConn (4-1) since 1983 and ended a 13-game losing streak to the Huskies. It was the first win for the Minutemen (3-3), just eight days removed from a 16-point loss to Northeastern, over a Top 10 team since beating Maryland in 1997.
The Huskies’ last loss to UMass was in 1983 at Curry Hicks Cage. UConn coach Jim Calhoun is now 11-1 against UMass since taking over the Huskies program in 1986.
Calhoun’s team had overcome a 12-point first-half deficit and led by five points with just under five minutes remaining before UMass came storming back.
UConn took the lead for the first time since early in the first half when Boone grabbed an offensive rebound and dunked to make it 38-37 with 12:56 remaining. Gay then had two consecutive stirring tomahawk dunks, the first coming on a nice pass from Antonio Kellogg and the second from Marcus Williams, to give UConn its biggest lead of the game at 42-37 with 11:53 remaining.
The Minutemen came back to tie the game at 46 on an Anthony Anderson 3-pointer with 8:26 left, but UConn’s Rashad Anderson, who had been quiet most of the game, answered right back with a 3-pointer from deep in the corner in front of the Huskies bench.
UConn opened up a 55-50 lead on two Charlie Villanueva free throws, but UMass roared back, scoring the next nine points, which included a Viggiano 3-pointer, to make it 59-55 with 55.2 seconds remaining.
UMass twice held 12-point leads in the first half, the latter coming when Lawrence Carrier scored on an offensive rebound to make it 27-15 with 8:14 left in the half. The Minutemen built the lead by holding the Huskies scoreless for 6:43 earlier in the half, at which time they increased a 10-7 lead to 18-7.
The surge was keyed by Viggiano, who scored twice and blocked two Gay shots during the stretch.
The Huskies got back into the game with a 10-0 run after UMass had taken the 27-15 lead. Gay started it with a 3-pointer with 7:31 left in the half before Brown capped it with a 3-pointer with 5:15 left to make it 27-25.
UConn tied the game at 29 when Villanueva dunked after a Marcus Williams steal, but UMass went into the half up 31-29 thanks to a Bowers layup. The Huskies had a chance to tie the game prior to the break, but Williams’ alley-oop pass to Villanueva was off the mark.
For the first time in five games this season UConn was outrebounded in a half, 23-21. The Minutemen outscored UConn 22-8 in the paint in the first half. Also, the Huskies shot just 30 percent from the field in the first half while UMass shot 41.7 percent.
AROUND THE RIM
STAR PLAYER: Rashaun Freeman, sophomore center, UMass: He had a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds in 39 minutes to lead the Minutemen. That included the game-winning layup with 4.4 seconds remaining.
DID YOU KNOW? Prior to Thursday’s game, UConn was 94-38 overall in games broadcast by ESPN/ESPN2 since the 1989-90 season. The Huskies are 26-8 on ESPN/ESPN2 in the last three seasons.
UP NEXT: The Huskies are off until Dec. 19 against Rice at the Hartford Civic Center.
MHERST, Mass. -- There wasn’t a question that Jim Calhoun didn’t swat out of the park at his team’s expense late Thursday night at the Mullins Center.
Calhoun slapped his team’s competitiveness, his own coaching performance, the wisdom of some questions, and anything else that came his way. Strangely enough, the officials, a longtime pet peeve of the University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach, got a free pass.
It was, for all intents and purposes, a civil question and answer session after University of Massachusetts students stormed the court following a 61-59 triumph over the defending national champion. But it was also as pointed as a samurai sword. How exactly does a Calhoun team, long on pride for its heart, soul and tenacity, get outhustled and out-toughed by a UMass team that lost to the Huskies 91-67 last year and hadn’t beaten Connecticut in 13 straight games, dating back to when Calhoun was coaching at Northeastern 20 years ago?
"I’m a lousy coach," said Calhoun, as close to snapping angry as he would get. "How does it happen? It happens when one team shows up strong and works hard, and the other team doesn’t work hard ... then I always say it must be the coach who is not motivating them. But our team wasn’t ready to play, and their team was.
"I can’t give you a better answer than that. I hate people who want cop-outs. I’m responsible for the UConn basketball team, and we didn’t play hard. I always say the buck stops here. The defense we shredded last year ... and this year we can’t attack it. Maybe it’s because these guys can’t make 3-4 footers.
But when your team doesn’t play as hard as you’d like them to, the responsibility should (fall on the coach)."
Calhoun substituted at a dizzying pace, looking for combinations that didn’t materialize Thursday. In the preseason, the talk was about UConn’s frontcourt strength and depth, but starting power forward Charlie Villanueva played 13 minutes, backup Hilton Armstrong played six, powerful newcomer Ed Nelson played seven, and Marcus White played for a mere matter of seconds before being yanked.
So Calhoun was asked if he expected to be searching for a power forward at this stage of the season.
"I think you’re limiting yourself," Calhoun said. "Josh Boone is a good center. I think you’re really limiting yourself if you think that (the power forward position) is the only problem. Division I guards that were left alone at foul line. You think that might be a problem? I think it could be.
"Josh is the only (deserving) starter. We’re starting to play the two (point guards) together, we’re starting to play Rudy (Gay) at the 4 out of frustration. It just can’t always be the other team. So you have to start looking at a couple of guys that don’t guard anybody."
Whether that means a shakeup of the lineup when UConn next takes the floor on Dec. 19 against Rice in Hartford is anybody’s guess, but you can be certain that practice will be no picnic in the interim.
"We have a lot of work to do," UConn point guard Marcus Williams said. "We have to act like we want to win."
The wrong question at the wrong time pertained to whether Calhoun had, in effect, a smiley face for Steve Lappas, the beleaguered UMass coach, friend, and rival since Lappas’ days at Villanova.
"I don’t give a (spit) about being friends with anybody," Calhoun said. "He’s a great guy, but I’m not going to go home thinking, ‘the best thing that happened tonight was Steve Lappas winning.’ Steve Lappas is a good person and I hope he’s here for as long as he wants to be, but it’s dumb to think that the No. 1 thing is how a fellow coach feels. And Steve’s not feeling bad for me, nor would I expect him to."
In the end, freshman Gay may have summed up the performance best when he said, "They basically took our heart away from the beginning. We just didn’t come out and play Connecticut basketball."
And for that, said Calhoun, referring to his team’s lack of hustle, defense and intensity, there is never an excuse.
verybody remembers last Dec. 9 for almost the exact same reasons, emphasis on almost.
It was the night the Massachusetts men's basketball team was reborn anew, flush with newfound energy backed by an electric crowd, all reminiscent of the Calipari era, "Refuse to Lose" and that blazingly hot starting five of Camby, Padilla, Travieso, Bright and Dingle. The ESPN 2 cameras were rolling, the arena was sold out and it was such a good time to be donning Maroon and White. I couldn't believe it until I saw it again on ESPN Classic.
Why couldn't I believe all this? Oh, right, because I was nowhere near the beloved Mullins Center on the night they pulled off one of the biggest upsets in school history, the famous last-second upset of an overrated defending national champion. In fact, I was about three hours south in lovely Hempstead, N.Y., doing something else I currently love even more - watching UMass women's basketball.
This trip started at roughly 1 p.m., with me pacing around my room back and forth, making sure my tie was on straight and my shirt was tucked in. This was a very important game, which conversely called for very sharp looks. I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, but that was okay because I'd be able to catch some Z's on this long ride over, or so I thought.
Anyways, the phone rings. It's my ride. He's outside the building in his Grand Am. It's go time. I packed a few CD's in my bag just in case conversation stalls and we feel like cruising in style, but I should have known better.
Three hours we drove nearly nonstop on the road, and not a split second went by without one of us sharing a crazy R-rated college story or conversing about some miniscule sports argument. But that's when we weren't talking about how crucial that night's game against Hofstra was going to be for these Minutewomen.
Somewhere we stopped at a McDonald's along a truckstop on Connecticut's Interstate 295, which reminds me: don't pig out at a truckstop. They jack up the prices ridiculously on everything because tourists think it's the only place they can stop and get a bite to eat for the next 100 miles. Losers.
Our route took us by the Nassau Coliseum on the right as we neared the New York Jets' glorified practice facility. The arena had all the looks of the world's largest cesspool following the NHL lockout, but it's not like the Islanders have a huge following anyways.
So we finally arrive at the Hofstra Arena and spend 10 minutes skimming around the campus wondering where we 're supposed to park.
This arena was gorgeous, and when I say gorgeous I'm not talking about some glorified high school gym. This thing easily sits 5,000. It's nice and spread out and on top of that there are club seats. Yes, this neat little arena has a skybox in case the Pride garner another Speedy Claxton-type and generate interest.
But of course, no major college basketball game is complete without the ever-so-important media room. For those of you who have never had such a privilege, you get all the free food you want, and a bunch of cool media guides and releases with extensive stats so you can prep yourself to the max. Somebody want to remind me why I paid $6.75 for a cheeseburger in Connecticut?
My colleague gets a call from Amherst that says the fans have been piling into the Mullins Center since 8 p.m. That's one hour before tipoff. This must be some joke.
The Minutewomen end up winning the game 64-57, but this story is far from over. Another call from Amherst. The Minutemen are up 20-7. 20-7?
We literally raced to the Grand Am and sped off in search of radio reception. All we got was "Zzzz ... fizzle ... crackle-crackle ... Freeman ... criggle-craggle ... zing ... Villanueva ... it is a sea of red here..."
And it would continue like that for the next 45 minutes or so before we finally fiddled around enough with the frequency to stumble upon UConn's flagship station. The reception wasn't much better, but at least you could hear some sort of score.
Oh, the score? So after we passed what seemed like a plethora of police cruisers along the Interstate, the reception finally clears up and tie game?
UMass, a team that hasn't had any significant impact on collegiate basketball since the 1990's, is going basket for basket against the defending national champs? Not to mention with two minutes left to go.
We've got to pull over.
Unfortunately, we landed ourselves in an abandoned church parking lot in New Haven. For those who haven't been to New Haven, it has all the looks of a rundown city left for dead ever since Jim Morrison got arrested there back in the 60's for indecent exposure, but that's a moot point, we weren't spending the night in this dump.
So now we got the game on full blast, all the doors open and windows down, and the three of us are hyperventilating like crazy. My colleague is pacing around the parking lot, I'm leaned against the trunk of the Grand Am with my head down.
You can barely hear the announcers of this game over the deafening roars of a crowd that, for one reason or another, has yet to again show even an eighth of the level of excitement it showed on this particular night. The final 10 seconds, however, are the ones I'll remember in vivid detail now, and probably still when I'm 75.
"Here comes Bowers down the floor. It's a two-on-one...dishes to Freeman and it's good! With 4.3 seconds left the Minutemen have taken the lead 61-59! Now here comes Anderson down the court, dishes off to Denham Brown. Brown for three...GOOD! And the Minutemen have won the game, and here they come onto the court!"
Wait, Brown hit the trey, but UMass won? That would mean our good ol' Maroon and White lost the game, but still won. Only after the announcer repeated the score, UMass winning 61-59 (not losing 62-61 as the play-by-play would have implied), were we truly able to run rampant around the vacated lot screaming our heads off and bumping chests.
We stop at the next gas station, half-angry, half-ecstatic beyond even abnormality. I must have gone to the counter and then changed my mind at least a half-dozen times. A fuse must have blown in my mind because the unthinkable just happened, and we were nowhere near the chaos.
And as we finally make it back to the epicenter of the chaos, Amherst, I think to myself. "Would I do it all again?"
Had I known something of this magnitude was going to erupt, would I have taken the trek, since I wouldn't have arrived back in time to reach the deadline anyways? Would I have even bothered?
The answer to all these questions is yes.
|Connecticut Huskies (#7)||59|
at the Mullins Center
Official Basketball Box Score Connecticut vs Massachusetts 12/09/04 9:00 p.m. at Amherst, Mass(Mullins Center) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- VISITORS: Connecticut (4-1) TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS ## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN 03 VILLANUEVA, Charlie. f 2-7 0-0 2-2 3 1 4 1 6 0 2 2 0 13 33 BROWN, Denham....... f 3-7 1-4 4-4 1 6 7 0 11 2 1 0 1 36 21 BOONE, Josh......... c 4-8 0-0 4-4 5 4 9 1 12 0 3 3 2 36 05 WILLIAMS, Marcus.... g 1-5 0-0 1-2 0 2 2 1 3 5 3 0 3 26 31 ANDERSON, Rashad.... g 2-5 2-4 3-4 2 2 4 3 9 0 1 0 1 30 11 ARMSTRONG, Hilton... 0-2 0-0 1-2 1 2 3 1 1 0 1 0 0 6 20 KELLOGG, Antonio.... 2-8 0-5 0-0 0 2 2 0 4 3 2 0 0 20 22 GAY, Rudy........... 4-13 1-2 4-4 0 3 3 1 13 1 1 1 2 26 23 WHITE, Marcus....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0+ 32 NELSON, Ed.......... 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 7 TEAM................ 4 1 5 Totals.............. 18-57 4-15 19-22 16 23 39 12 59 11 15 6 9 200 TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 9-30 30.0% 2nd Half: 9-27 33.3% Game: 31.6% DEADB 3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-10 30.0% 2nd Half: 1-5 20.0% Game: 26.7% REBS F Throw % 1st Half: 8-10 80.0% 2nd Half: 11-12 91.7% Game: 86.4% 3 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HOME TEAM: Massachusetts (3-2) TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS ## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN 03 Maxwell, Maurice.... f 3-11 0-6 0-1 1 3 4 0 6 0 5 0 0 35 05 Lasme, Stephane..... f 4-5 0-0 1-3 2 4 6 4 9 1 0 2 3 21 01 Freeman, Rashaun.... c 8-16 0-0 2-2 1 7 8 4 18 3 5 0 2 36 12 Anderson, Anthony... g 1-10 1-9 0-1 0 4 4 2 3 3 1 0 2 38 34 Bowers, Art......... g 2-9 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 4 5 2 0 0 26 02 Chadwick, Chris..... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 22 Viggiano, Jeff...... 5-6 1-1 1-2 4 1 5 1 12 2 0 2 1 27 23 Carrier, Lawrence... 4-5 1-2 0-0 2 1 3 2 9 0 3 0 2 12 24 Salovski, Jeff...... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 TEAM................ 6 2 8 Totals.............. 27-63 3-19 4-9 17 22 39 13 61 14 16 4 10 200 TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-36 41.7% 2nd Half: 12-27 44.4% Game: 42.9% DEADB 3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-8 12.5% 2nd Half: 2-11 18.2% Game: 15.8% REBS F Throw % 1st Half: 0-1 0.0% 2nd Half: 4-8 50.0% Game: 44.4% 1,1 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Officials: John Cahill(R),Robert Donato Jr.(U1), Jeffrey Clark(U2) Technical fouls: Connecticut-None. Massachusetts-None. Attendance: 9037 Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total Connecticut................... 29 30 - 59 Massachusetts................. 31 30 - 61 ID-292459 Points in the paint-UCONN 24,UMASS 42. Points off turnovers-UCONN 22,UMASS 17. 2nd chance points-UCONN 17,UMASS 17. Fast break points-UCONN 13,UMASS 2. Bench points-UCONN 18,UMASS 21. Score tied-5 times. Lead changed-5 times. Last FG-UCONN 2nd-08:12, UMASS 2nd-00:05.
Play-By-Play Connecticut vs Massachusetts 12/09/04 9:00 p.m. at Amherst, Mass(Mullins Center) 1st PERIOD Play-by-Play (Page 1) HOME TEAM: Massachusetts TIME SCORE MAR VISITORS: Connecticut ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ TURNOVR by Bowers, Art 19:39 19:19 0-3 V 3 GOOD! 3 PTR by ANDERSON, Rashad 19:19 ASSIST by WILLIAMS, Marcus GOOD! LAYUP by Freeman, Rashaun [PNT] 18:56 2-3 V 1 FOUL by Anderson, Anthony 18:50 18:50 2-4 V 2 GOOD! FT SHOT by ANDERSON, Rashad 18:50 MISSED FT SHOT by ANDERSON, Rashad REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun 18:50 MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun 18:34 18:34 BLOCK by BOONE, Josh REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 18:33 MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun 18:21 REBOUND (OFF) by Maxwell, Maurice 18:21 GOOD! JUMPER by Maxwell, Maurice 18:17 4-4 T 1 18:03 4-6 V 2 GOOD! JUMPER by WILLIAMS, Marcus MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun 17:38 REBOUND (OFF) by Lasme, Stephane 17:38 MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun 17:19 17:19 REBOUND (DEF) by ARMSTRONG, Hilton 17:12 TURNOVR by WILLIAMS, Marcus STEAL by Freeman, Rashaun 17:10 GOOD! LAYUP by Freeman, Rashaun [PNT] 16:58 6-6 T 2 ASSIST by Lasme, Stephane 16:58 16:46 MISSED JUMPER by BOONE, Josh REBOUND (DEF) by Lasme, Stephane 16:46 GOOD! DUNK by Lasme, Stephane [PNT] 16:17 8-6 H 2 16:08 TURNOVR by BOONE, Josh STEAL by Lasme, Stephane 16:07 GOOD! DUNK by Freeman, Rashaun [FB/PNT] 16:04 10-6 H 4 ASSIST by Anderson, Anthony 16:04 15:51 MISSED JUMPER by ANDERSON, Rashad 15:51 REBOUND (OFF) by ARMSTRONG, Hilton FOUL by Lasme, Stephane 15:47 15:47 TIMEOUT MEDIA 15:47 MISSED FT SHOT by ARMSTRONG, Hilton 15:47 REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL) 15:47 10-7 H 3 GOOD! FT SHOT by ARMSTRONG, Hilton GOOD! LAYUP by Lasme, Stephane [PNT] 15:28 12-7 H 5 ASSIST by Freeman, Rashaun 15:28 15:28 FOUL by WHITE, Marcus MISSED FT SHOT by Lasme, Stephane 15:28 15:28 REBOUND (DEF) by VILLANUEVA, Charlie 15:19 MISSED JUMPER by NELSON, Ed REBOUND (DEF) by Lasme, Stephane 15:19 GOOD! JUMPER by Maxwell, Maurice 15:11 14-7 H 7 15:01 MISSED JUMPER by VILLANUEVA, Charlie 15:01 REBOUND (OFF) by VILLANUEVA, Charlie 14:53 TURNOVR by VILLANUEVA, Charlie STEAL by Lasme, Stephane 14:52 MISSED 3 PTR by Anderson, Anthony 14:36 14:36 REBOUND (DEF) by BOONE, Josh 14:27 TURNOVR by BOONE, Josh STEAL by Anderson, Anthony 14:25 GOOD! LAYUP by Viggiano, Jeff [PNT] 14:18 16-7 H 9 ASSIST by Anderson, Anthony 14:18 14:07 MISSED JUMPER by GAY, Rudy BLOCK by Viggiano, Jeff 14:07 REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun 14:05 MISSED 3 PTR by Anderson, Anthony 13:29 13:29 REBOUND (DEF) by ARMSTRONG, Hilton 13:18 TURNOVR by NELSON, Ed MISSED 3 PTR by Carrier, Lawrence 13:10 13:10 REBOUND (DEF) by BROWN, Denham 13:05 TURNOVR by ARMSTRONG, Hilton MISSED 3 PTR by Maxwell, Maurice 12:43 12:43 REBOUND (DEF) by BOONE, Josh 12:35 MISSED 3 PTR by KELLOGG, Antonio REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM) 12:35 12:30 TIMEOUT 30sec MISSED JUMPER by Maxwell, Maurice 12:01 REBOUND (OFF) by Viggiano, Jeff 12:01 GOOD! TIP-IN by Viggiano, Jeff [PNT] 11:57 18-7 H 11 11:51 MISSED JUMPER by GAY, Rudy BLOCK by Viggiano, Jeff 11:51 11:51 REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 11:50 TIMEOUT MEDIA 11:47 MISSED 3 PTR by ANDERSON, Rashad REBOUND (DEF) by Anderson, Anthony 11:47 TURNOVR by Freeman, Rashaun 11:33 11:33 STEAL by BOONE, Josh FOUL by Freeman, Rashaun 11:24 11:20 18-9 H 9 GOOD! JUMPER by BROWN, Denham 11:20 ASSIST by WILLIAMS, Marcus 11:00 FOUL by NELSON, Ed MISSED 3 PTR by Anderson, Anthony 10:50 10:50 REBOUND (DEF) by WILLIAMS, Marcus 10:41 MISSED 3 PTR by ANDERSON, Rashad 10:41 REBOUND (OFF) by ANDERSON, Rashad 10:27 MISSED 3 PTR by BROWN, Denham 10:27 REBOUND (OFF) by VILLANUEVA, Charlie 10:24 18-11 H 7 GOOD! JUMPER by VILLANUEVA, Charlie [PNT] GOOD! JUMPER by Bowers, Art 10:02 20-11 H 9 09:40 MISSED JUMPER by VILLANUEVA, Charlie 09:40 REBOUND (OFF) by BOONE, Josh 09:35 20-13 H 7 GOOD! DUNK by BOONE, Josh [PNT] GOOD! JUMPER by Lasme, Stephane [PNT] 09:13 22-13 H 9 ASSIST by Anderson, Anthony 09:13 FOUL by Lasme, Stephane 09:00 08:55 TURNOVR by VILLANUEVA, Charlie STEAL by Carrier, Lawrence 08:53 08:51 FOUL by ANDERSON, Rashad GOOD! 3 PTR by Carrier, Lawrence 08:46 25-13 H 12 ASSIST by Bowers, Art 08:46 08:35 MISSED JUMPER by WILLIAMS, Marcus 08:35 REBOUND (OFF) by BOONE, Josh FOUL by Carrier, Lawrence 08:32 08:32 25-14 H 11 GOOD! FT SHOT by BOONE, Josh 08:32 25-15 H 10 GOOD! FT SHOT by BOONE, Josh MISSED JUMPER by Bowers, Art 08:30 REBOUND (OFF) by Carrier, Lawrence 08:30 GOOD! TIP-IN by Carrier, Lawrence [PNT] 08:27 27-15 H 12 08:00 MISSED JUMPER by ARMSTRONG, Hilton REBOUND (DEF) by Carrier, Lawrence 08:00 MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun 07:53 07:53 BLOCK by BOONE, Josh REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 07:50 TURNOVR by Carrier, Lawrence 07:50 07:50 TIMEOUT media 07:31 27-18 H 9 GOOD! 3 PTR by GAY, Rudy 07:31 ASSIST by KELLOGG, Antonio TURNOVR by Carrier, Lawrence 07:06 06:48 MISSED JUMPER by GAY, Rudy REBOUND (DEF) by Maxwell, Maurice 06:48 MISSED JUMPER by Bowers, Art 06:38 06:38 REBOUND (DEF) by KELLOGG, Antonio FOUL by Carrier, Lawrence 06:33 06:33 27-19 H 8 GOOD! FT SHOT by BROWN, Denham 06:33 27-20 H 7 GOOD! FT SHOT by BROWN, Denham 06:31 27-22 H 5 GOOD! DUNK by BOONE, Josh [PNT] 06:31 ASSIST by BROWN, Denham TURNOVR by Freeman, Rashaun 06:02 06:00 STEAL by BOONE, Josh 05:55 27-25 H 2 GOOD! 3 PTR by BROWN, Denham 05:55 ASSIST by KELLOGG, Antonio TIMEOUT 30sec 05:53 MISSED 3 PTR by Maxwell, Maurice 05:35 05:35 REBOUND (DEF) by BROWN, Denham 05:21 MISSED 3 PTR by KELLOGG, Antonio REBOUND (DEF) by Maxwell, Maurice 05:21 GOOD! JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun [PNT] 04:57 29-25 H 4 ASSIST by Bowers, Art 04:57 04:39 MISSED 3 PTR by KELLOGG, Antonio REBOUND (DEF) by Viggiano, Jeff 04:39 TIMEOUT 30sec 04:33 MISSED JUMPER by Bowers, Art 04:16 REBOUND (OFF) by Viggiano, Jeff 04:16 MISSED 3 PTR by Maxwell, Maurice 03:47 03:47 REBOUND (DEF) by BOONE, Josh 03:34 MISSED JUMPER by GAY, Rudy REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun 03:34 MISSED LAYUP by Bowers, Art 03:13 03:13 REBOUND (DEF) by ANDERSON, Rashad 03:06 MISSED LAYUP by GAY, Rudy REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun 03:06 TURNOVR by Freeman, Rashaun 03:02 03:00 STEAL by ANDERSON, Rashad 02:55 MISSED 3 PTR by BROWN, Denham REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun 02:55 MISSED LAYUP by Viggiano, Jeff 02:26 02:26 BLOCK by BOONE, Josh 02:25 REBOUND (DEF) by GAY, Rudy FOUL by Anderson, Anthony 02:24 02:24 TIMEOUT media 02:24 29-26 H 3 GOOD! FT SHOT by GAY, Rudy 02:24 29-27 H 2 GOOD! FT SHOT by GAY, Rudy TURNOVR by Anderson, Anthony 02:08 02:07 STEAL by WILLIAMS, Marcus 02:05 29-29 T 3 GOOD! DUNK by VILLANUEVA, Charlie [FB/PNT] 02:05 ASSIST by GAY, Rudy TURNOVR by Maxwell, Maurice 01:44 01:30 MISSED JUMPER by VILLANUEVA, Charlie REBOUND (DEF) by Anderson, Anthony 01:30 GOOD! LAYUP by Bowers, Art [PNT] 01:06 31-29 H 2 01:00 FOUL by ANDERSON, Rashad 01:00 TURNOVR by ANDERSON, Rashad MISSED LAYUP by Freeman, Rashaun 00:42 00:42 BLOCK by VILLANUEVA, Charlie REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 00:42 MISSED JUMPER by Bowers, Art 00:36 00:36 REBOUND (DEF) by GAY, Rudy 00:27 MISSED LAYUP by VILLANUEVA, Charlie REBOUND (DEF) by Anderson, Anthony 00:27 MISSED JUMPER by Bowers, Art 00:02 00:02 REBOUND (DEF) by BROWN, Denham Massachusetts 31, Connecticut 29 1st period-only InPaint Pts-T/O 2nd-Chc FastBrk BnchPts Ties Leads Connecticut 8 13 7 5 6 1 0 Massachusetts 22 9 6 2 9 2 1 2nd PERIOD Play-by-Play (Page 1) HOME TEAM: Massachusetts TIME SCORE MAR VISITORS: Connecticut ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun 19:38 19:38 BLOCK by VILLANUEVA, Charlie REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 19:38 TIMEOUT 30sec 19:38 TURNOVR by Maxwell, Maurice 19:33 19:18 MISSED JUMPER by BOONE, Josh REBOUND (DEF) by Maxwell, Maurice 19:18 MISSED 3 PTR by Anderson, Anthony 19:12 REBOUND (OFF) by Bowers, Art 19:12 GOOD! LAYUP by Freeman, Rashaun [PNT] 19:06 33-29 H 4 ASSIST by Bowers, Art 19:06 19:03 TIMEOUT 30sec 18:51 MISSED LAYUP by WILLIAMS, Marcus REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM) 18:51 MISSED 3 PTR by Anderson, Anthony 18:32 REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 18:32 TURNOVR by Maxwell, Maurice 18:30 18:11 MISSED JUMPER by BOONE, Josh REBOUND (DEF) by Lasme, Stephane 18:11 GOOD! LAYUP by Lasme, Stephane [PNT] 17:56 35-29 H 6 ASSIST by Freeman, Rashaun 17:56 17:43 35-31 H 4 GOOD! LAYUP by GAY, Rudy [PNT] TURNOVR by Freeman, Rashaun 17:14 17:12 STEAL by GAY, Rudy 17:07 TURNOVR by GAY, Rudy TURNOVR by Freeman, Rashaun 16:42 16:40 STEAL by WILLIAMS, Marcus 16:37 35-33 H 2 GOOD! LAYUP by KELLOGG, Antonio [FB/PNT] 16:37 ASSIST by WILLIAMS, Marcus TURNOVR by Maxwell, Maurice 16:18 16:16 STEAL by GAY, Rudy FOUL by Lasme, Stephane 16:10 16:10 MISSED FT SHOT by WILLIAMS, Marcus 16:10 REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL) 16:10 35-34 H 1 GOOD! FT SHOT by WILLIAMS, Marcus MISSED JUMPER by Anderson, Anthony 15:34 15:34 REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM) 15:33 TIMEOUT MEDIA 15:18 TURNOVR by WILLIAMS, Marcus STEAL by Carrier, Lawrence 15:18 TIMEOUT 30sec 15:18 MISSED 3 PTR by Maxwell, Maurice 15:01 REBOUND (OFF) by Viggiano, Jeff 15:01 TURNOVR by Maxwell, Maurice 14:49 14:47 STEAL by WILLIAMS, Marcus 14:45 35-36 V 1 GOOD! LAYUP by KELLOGG, Antonio [FB/PNT] 14:45 ASSIST by WILLIAMS, Marcus MISSED JUMPER by Salovski, Jeff 14:26 14:26 BLOCK by GAY, Rudy REBOUND (OFF) by Carrier, Lawrence 14:23 GOOD! LAYUP by Carrier, Lawrence [PNT] 14:21 37-36 H 1 14:14 MISSED JUMPER by ARMSTRONG, Hilton REBOUND (DEF) by (DEADBALL) 14:14 14:13 FOUL by ARMSTRONG, Hilton TURNOVR by Carrier, Lawrence 13:55 13:35 MISSED JUMPER by BROWN, Denham 13:35 REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 13:31 MISSED DUNK by GAY, Rudy 13:31 REBOUND (OFF) by BROWN, Denham 13:25 TIMEOUT 30sec 12:59 MISSED JUMPER by WILLIAMS, Marcus 12:59 REBOUND (OFF) by BOONE, Josh 12:55 37-38 V 1 GOOD! DUNK by BOONE, Josh [PNT] MISSED 3 PTR by Anderson, Anthony 12:37 12:37 REBOUND (DEF) by WILLIAMS, Marcus 12:30 37-40 V 3 GOOD! DUNK by GAY, Rudy [FB/PNT] 12:30 ASSIST by KELLOGG, Antonio TURNOVR by Bowers, Art 12:02 12:01 STEAL by BROWN, Denham 11:58 37-42 V 5 GOOD! DUNK by GAY, Rudy [FB/PNT] 11:58 ASSIST by WILLIAMS, Marcus GOOD! LAYUP by Carrier, Lawrence [PNT] 11:26 39-42 V 3 11:17 TURNOVR by KELLOGG, Antonio STEAL by Viggiano, Jeff 11:15 11:09 FOUL by GAY, Rudy TIMEOUT MEDIA 11:09 GOOD! FT SHOT by Viggiano, Jeff 11:09 40-42 V 2 MISSED FT SHOT by Viggiano, Jeff 11:09 11:09 REBOUND (DEF) by BOONE, Josh 10:53 TURNOVR by WILLIAMS, Marcus STEAL by Freeman, Rashaun 10:51 MISSED JUMPER by Lasme, Stephane 10:19 10:19 REBOUND (DEF) by BROWN, Denham 10:05 MISSED LAYUP by NELSON, Ed 10:05 REBOUND (OFF) by BOONE, Josh 09:59 40-44 V 4 GOOD! JUMPER by BOONE, Josh [PNT] GOOD! LAYUP by Maxwell, Maurice [PNT] 09:40 42-44 V 2 ASSIST by Viggiano, Jeff 09:40 09:32 42-46 V 4 GOOD! JUMPER by BROWN, Denham [PNT] 09:17 FOUL by NELSON, Ed 08:53 FOUL by NELSON, Ed MISSED FT SHOT by Lasme, Stephane 08:53 REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL) 08:53 GOOD! FT SHOT by Lasme, Stephane 08:53 43-46 V 3 08:44 MISSED 3 PTR by GAY, Rudy REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun 08:44 GOOD! 3 PTR by Anderson, Anthony 08:28 46-46 T 4 ASSIST by Freeman, Rashaun 08:28 08:12 46-49 V 3 GOOD! 3 PTR by ANDERSON, Rashad 08:12 ASSIST by BROWN, Denham MISSED JUMPER by Freeman, Rashaun 07:46 07:46 REBOUND (DEF) by ANDERSON, Rashad 07:38 MISSED LAYUP by GAY, Rudy BLOCK by Lasme, Stephane 07:38 07:38 REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 07:35 TIMEOUT MEDIA 07:32 MISSED JUMPER by GAY, Rudy 07:32 REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 07:05 MISSED JUMPER by KELLOGG, Antonio REBOUND (DEF) by Anderson, Anthony 07:05 MISSED 3 PTR by Maxwell, Maurice 06:47 REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 06:47 GOOD! LAYUP by Viggiano, Jeff [PNT] 06:23 48-49 V 1 FOUL by Viggiano, Jeff 06:01 06:01 48-50 V 2 GOOD! FT SHOT by BROWN, Denham 06:01 48-51 V 3 GOOD! FT SHOT by BROWN, Denham 05:40 FOUL by VILLANUEVA, Charlie GOOD! FT SHOT by Freeman, Rashaun 05:40 49-51 V 2 GOOD! FT SHOT by Freeman, Rashaun 05:40 50-51 V 1 05:25 MISSED JUMPER by WILLIAMS, Marcus 05:25 REBOUND (OFF) by ANDERSON, Rashad FOUL by Freeman, Rashaun 05:21 05:21 50-52 V 2 GOOD! FT SHOT by ANDERSON, Rashad 05:21 50-53 V 3 GOOD! FT SHOT by ANDERSON, Rashad MISSED 3 PTR by Maxwell, Maurice 05:07 REBOUND (OFF) by Lasme, Stephane 05:07 MISSED 3 PTR by Anderson, Anthony 05:03 05:03 REBOUND (DEF) by BROWN, Denham 04:54 MISSED LAYUP by BOONE, Josh 04:54 REBOUND (OFF) by VILLANUEVA, Charlie FOUL by Freeman, Rashaun 04:53 04:53 50-54 V 4 GOOD! FT SHOT by VILLANUEVA, Charlie 04:53 50-55 V 5 GOOD! FT SHOT by VILLANUEVA, Charlie MISSED 3 PTR by Bowers, Art 04:34 04:34 REBOUND (DEF) by KELLOGG, Antonio 04:23 TURNOVR by BOONE, Josh MISSED JUMPER by Maxwell, Maurice 04:06 REBOUND (OFF) by Freeman, Rashaun 04:06 GOOD! LAYUP by Freeman, Rashaun [PNT] 04:02 52-55 V 3 03:52 MISSED JUMPER by VILLANUEVA, Charlie REBOUND (DEF) by Lasme, Stephane 03:52 GOOD! LAYUP by Freeman, Rashaun [PNT] 03:30 54-55 V 1 ASSIST by Bowers, Art 03:30 03:24 TIMEOUT 30sec 03:00 TURNOVR by BROWN, Denham STEAL by Lasme, Stephane 02:59 MISSED 3 PTR by Anderson, Anthony 02:29 REBOUND (OFF) by Viggiano, Jeff 02:29 02:24 FOUL by ANDERSON, Rashad TIMEOUT MEDIA 02:24 GOOD! 3 PTR by Viggiano, Jeff 01:56 57-55 H 2 ASSIST by Bowers, Art 01:56 01:29 TURNOVR by KELLOGG, Antonio STEAL by Anderson, Anthony 01:29 GOOD! LAYUP by Viggiano, Jeff [PNT] 00:55 59-55 H 4 00:45 MISSED 3 PTR by KELLOGG, Antonio BLOCK by Lasme, Stephane 00:45 REBOUND (DEF) by Freeman, Rashaun 00:42 00:31 FOUL by BOONE, Josh MISSED FT SHOT by Anderson, Anthony 00:31 00:31 REBOUND (DEF) by GAY, Rudy 00:21 MISSED 3 PTR by KELLOGG, Antonio 00:21 REBOUND (OFF) by BOONE, Josh FOUL by Lasme, Stephane 00:20 00:20 59-56 H 3 GOOD! FT SHOT by BOONE, Josh 00:20 TIMEOUT 30sec 00:20 59-57 H 2 GOOD! FT SHOT by BOONE, Josh 00:18 FOUL by WILLIAMS, Marcus MISSED FT SHOT by Maxwell, Maurice 00:18 00:18 REBOUND (DEF) by BROWN, Denham FOUL by Freeman, Rashaun 00:09 TIMEOUT TEAM 00:09 00:09 59-58 H 1 GOOD! FT SHOT by GAY, Rudy 00:09 59-59 T 5 GOOD! FT SHOT by GAY, Rudy GOOD! LAYUP by Freeman, Rashaun [PNT] 00:05 61-59 H 2 ASSIST by Viggiano, Jeff 00:05 00:00 MISSED 3 PTR by BROWN, Denham 00:00 REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL) Massachusetts 61, Connecticut 59 2nd period-only InPaint Pts-T/O 2nd-Chc FastBrk BnchPts Ties Leads Connecticut 16 9 10 8 12 1 2 Massachusetts 20 8 11 0 12 1 2 Connecticut vs Massachusetts (12/09/04 - Period 2 00:00) POINTS OFF TURNOVERS 1 2 - Tot Connecticut............. 13 9 - 22 Massachusetts........... 9 8 - 17 POINTS IN PAINT 1 2 - Tot Connecticut............. 8 16 - 24 Massachusetts........... 22 20 - 42 2ND CHANCE POINTS 1 2 - Tot Connecticut............. 7 10 - 17 Massachusetts........... 6 11 - 17 FAST BREAK POINTS 1 2 - Tot Connecticut............. 5 8 - 13 Massachusetts........... 2 0 - 2 BENCH POINTS 1 2 - Tot Connecticut............. 6 12 - 18 Massachusetts........... 9 12 - 21 SCORE TIED BY 1 2 - Tot Connecticut............. 1 1 - 2 Massachusetts........... 2 1 - 3 LEAD GAINED BY 1 2 - Tot Connecticut............. 0 2 - 2 Massachusetts........... 1 2 - 3