Redmen Have Memories Of Last Year For AIC Tilt
By Barry Rubenstein, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Assistant Sports Editor, December 18, 1970
Although it occurred almost a year ago, UMass basketball coach Jack Leaman is not likely to let his charges forget what happened last December 19th. For on that date, the Yellow Jackets of American International College dealt the Redmen one of their most discouraging defeats of the season, 73-72.
But this is a new season and AIC is a much different club than the unit which upset UMass a year ago. New head coach Hilton White does not have the talent nor the experience that his predecessor Bill Callahan had on his squad that went to the NCAA nationals.
Gone from the Yellow Jacket basketball scene are such stars as Greg Hill who averaged 24 points and 19 rebounds a game in 1969-70, Mike White, Bob Rutherford and Alan Bush. The loss of these key players has been quite evident in the performance of AIC thus far.
Coming into the UMass tilt, the Yellow Jacket have a 3-3 mark against some mediocre competition. In its most recent outing, AIC nipped Southern Connecticut, 76-70, on Wednesday night.
The only real veteran returning from last year's NCAA squad is captain Tom Doyle. At 5’11 he was the team's top backcourt reserve and has emerged as the team's leader in 1970-71. Considered an excellent defensive guard, he can also be damaging offensively as his 21 points against So. Conn. attest.
Joining the veteran Doyle in the Yellow Jackets small but high-scoring backcourt is sophomore Al Alvarez. He scored at a 15.3 points per game clip as a freshman and netted 21 in the Yellow Jackets last victory.
In the pivot for AIC is junior George Kastrinakis. Although he managed to nab 10.8 caroms a game last season, he was a bit disappointing at times and the Yellow Jackets will need more from the 6'6 center if they are to go anywhere. Evidence of this is the fact that when he pulled down 18 rebounds, his team was able to defeat a tough So. Conn. unit.
Helping out up front are the forwards, Steve Washington and Forrest Bateman. Washington is a graduate of Westchester Community College and his ability to adapt to the Yellow Jacket style of play will have a lot to do with AIC's success. At Westchester, the 6'3 junior averaged over 20 points per contest. Bateman, a 6' 3 senior, has little experience and is a sign of AIC's waning basketball fortunes.
Beyond these five, the Yellow Jackets have little to offer. John Clendenin, a 6'6 senior forward, and John O'Hara, a 6'7 junior forward, could add some much needed rebounding help up front. But after these two, the AIC bench has little to offer coach White.
The Redmen, coming off of an excellent win over UConn should be more than ready to exact the revenge for last year's upset. After encouraging performances at both Rhody and Connecticut, UMass basketball fortunes are looking better than ever.
A win in this one would be doubly sweet for UMass not only because it makes up for last year's heartbreaker but also since a Redman win here would tie the UMass record for consecutive regular season victories of sixteen. The Redmen won their last ten games of 1969-70 and have captured their first five this season. The old record was set way back on January 16, 1935 and culminated a winning streak begun back in February of 1933.
Coach Leaman will likely go with the same starting five that has done so well so far. That would mean that John Betancourt, Mike Pagliara, Chris Coffin, Ken Mathias and Julius Erving would be on the court for the opening tap. Game time is at 8 p.m.
LAYUP LINES - In a recently released New England basketball poll, the undefeated Redmen were placed in third position. Leading the poll was likewise unbeaten Holy Cross followed by perennial power Providence. Considering the play of these two units thus far, the Redmen will have their hands full if they are to repeat as New England champs.
AIC Takes It On Chin As Cagers Romp, 93-40
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff Reporter, December 21, 1970
Employing a tenacious defense, strong rebounding on both the offensive and defensive boards, and a consistent shooting performance the UMass basketball team ran off the first 15 points Friday night and was never headed as it soundly thumped an outmanned American International College basketball unit, 93-40, before 4200 howling UMass fans at Curry Hicks Cage.
The game was decided in the first six minutes as the Redmen went on their wild 15-point burst before the Yellow Jackets could get untracked.
Mike Pagliara got the show rolling with a short baseline jump shot 32 seconds into the tilt. John Betancourt cashed in a hoop off a Chris Coffin steal to put the Redmen up 4-0 at 18:32. Coffin then came back with a free throw for the fifth Redman point.
Then Julius Erving made his presence known with an unbelievable drive from the foul line that sent the crowd in a frenzy. He was fouled on the play and banged home the charity toss to complete the three point play.
Up to this point AIC was throttled on every offensive trip down the court. It wasn't getting the good percentage shot, and when it finally managed to get one off Erving, Coffin and Ken Mathias were in good position to sweep the boards and start the fast break that virtually ran the Yellow Jackets off the court.
At 15:45 Pagliara made his second bucket of the evening off a fast break. On the next two plays Erving threw two of his patented court-length passes, the first to Pagliara who shoveled the ball to Mathias for a score, and the second one to Betancourt who went in all alone for an easy lay-up.
With around 14 minutes remaining in the first half and the score 15-0, AIC called time out to talk things over. Up to that point the Yellow Jackets could not cope with the tough Redman defense.
AIC scored its first two points after its time out when Steve Washington hit a short jumper at 13:57. Washington was the best Yellow Jacket on the court on this evening as he scored 11 points, the only AIC player to hit in double figures.
For the next ten minutes play became sloppy as UMass was free wheeling it up and down the court, with little resistance from the opposition.
It wasn't until Erving went to the bench with his fourth foul of the contest with 4:41 left in the half, that the Redmen settled down and played their tough brand of hoop until half time.
With Erving out of the line-up, AIC was still only able to get one bucket until the half as Mathias, Coffin, Betancourt, Pagliara, Rich Vogeley and then Charlie Peters tightened things up and made the last few minutes of the half for AIC very difficult.
The half came to an end with UMass going to the locker room with a commanding 42-23 lead.
The second half saw the first half played over again as the margin kept mounting for the Redmen. At 16:21 coach Jack Leaman began to clear his bench as Peters came in for Mathias, who had done a fine job keeping AIC's big man George Kastrinakas out of the action for most of the game.
Betancourt and Coffin exited a few minutes later, each having played his usual solid game on both ends of the court. Pagliara's evening of basketball came to an end in favor of Bob Dempsey, and Erving left the court with just under five minutes to play.
Now the fans had a look at the subs, and as Coach Leaman pointed out after the game, he had never seen his young players shoot so well.
With Peters, Vogeley, Chris Nichols, Dempsey, Sam Provo, Tom Austin, Bill Kesgen, Chuck Olsen and Bill Greeley rotating in and out of the game, UMass went on another surge in the closing minutes outscoring AIC 20-2, giving the final score of 93-40.
BASELINE BABBLES-The Redmen as a team shot 55.4% from the field and 73.3% from the charity line… AIC's shooting was very poor as it hit only 25% from the field… Erving led all scorers with 31 points in 30 minutes of action… Betancourt had 12 points and his backcourt partner Pagliara had ten… Peters saw his longest action of the season playing 18 minutes and doing a fine job, scoring seven points and pulling down six rebounds… Erving also led all boardmen with 18 rebounds… In the turnover column the Redmen had 19 to keep their season average in tack… This many turnovers can be credited to the easiness of the contest for the Redmen… On a final note, the Redmen committed only 14 personal fouls as a team.