Hoopmen Host Hot Huskies
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Sports Editor, February 12, 1971
Riding the crest of three convincing wins in a row, the Huskies of UConn will be gunning for the upset when they come to do battle with the UMass hoopmen tomorrow night at Curry Hicks Cage with tap-off set for 7:30.
After a rather slow start including a humiliating defeat at the hands of Maine at Orono, UConn has come back to avenge that loss at Storrs, defeat Florida Southern and trounce Colgate a couple of nights ago.
This will be the second meeting of the year between the two clubs, the first being the hard earned Redman triumph at UConn, 74-68, in the middle of December. Regardless of the records the Huskies and the Redmen have always had tough games over the years.
UConn comes into this encounter with a league record of 4-3 and an overall record of 8-9. The Huskies rely mostly on the offensive punch they get from three sharp shooters by the names of Bob Staak, Bob Boyd and Al Vaughn.
UMass fans will remember Staak and Boyd from the first game this year as the two of them scored 55 of UConn’s 68 points and time and time again hit on long bombers to keep the Huskies in the fray when it appeared the Redmen were in command of the game.
Staak stands 6’4 and has been averaging in the neighborhood of 22 points this season. Boyd, at 5’11 had been in a mid-season slump but has come out of it over the past few games.
Vaughn is the sleeper of the trio. He’s a sophomore and saw only limited action in the first game without scoring. Since that time he has developed into a strong outside threat from his guard position. He stands 6’2 and has scored 34 points against Maine, and 19 against both Fairfield and Boston College.
These three will pose a problem on offense due to the fact that they shoot consistently from the outside. Thirty foot attempts are right down their alley and if they’re hitting as was the case at Storrs, UMass could have its hands full.
The other two starters for UConn are 6’5 Ron Hrubala and 6’7 Bob Parsons. Hrubala is the squad’s tough man under the boards and leads the team in rebounds as he did last season. In the first contest he scored only five points and was kept in check by the UMass front court.
Parsons, like Vaughn, did not see much action at Storrs. But he too developed rapidly and has been a welcomed addition to the Huskie front court.
On the bench UConn has three solid reserves in Dick Gillespie, Phil Hoagland and Doug Melody. Gillespie is a 6’8 sophomore transfer from William & Mary and was recently activated by the Huskies.
Hoagland and Melody were starters against the Redmen at Storrs but have since been replaced by Vaughn and Parsons.
On defense one can expect UConn to press, play man-to-man and zone if they have to. The Huskies will probably try to get fouls on the Redmen as so many teams have tried this year.
They believe they can beat the Redmen. Winning is in their blood and after their loss to UMass at Storrs they’ll be ready to give their all when the battle begins.
For the Redmen coach Jack Leaman has not decided on his complete starting line-up for the game. One position is yet to be decided on and by the end of tonight’s practice this will be resolved.
Commenting on the game and the UMass-BC game… Latest stats show Julius Erving still way out in front in scoring and rebounding in New England with 27.9 points and 20 rebounds per game… Syracuse, which comes to play the Redmen at the Cage on Monday the 22nd defeated Army Wednesday night 57-46 to run its record to 13-5… Don’t forget the George Washington game at Madison Square Garden on the 27th of this month. Another 500 tickets have been received at the Boyden ticket office… Regarding his team and the atmosphere surrounding it coach Jack Leaman said, “After the big win over Boston College everyone thought the season was over. The nets were cut down and the fans went wild. We’re a little tired after the win but I’m sure the guys will be ready for this one when Saturday comes.”
BASELINE BABBLE - In the recent UPI New England rankings UMass was still second behind Providence College. Holy Cross was third and Boston College was fourth. This poll was taken before the BC/UMass game.
Second Half Spurt Buries UConn
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Sports Editor, February 16, 1971
Pulling away midway in the second half with a 9-1 burst, the UMass basketball team went on to soundly dispose of the University of Connecticut, 89-67, before a packed house of 4200 at Curry Hicks Cage Saturday night. The victory upped the Redman conference mark to 6-0 and their season record to 17-2 with UConn falling to 4-4 in the conference and 8-10 on the season.
This was one of those contests that didn’t allow for the Redmen as a whole to display their full talents as UConn’s style of play caused the Redmen into their type of play before the burst in the second half put the contest in the hands of UMass.
The opening minutes were spiced with a see-saw battle with Mike Pagliara running the offense well and the three big men up front controlling the boards on both ends but being unable to take advantage of the situation on the scoreboard.
With the score 19-17 around 12 minute into the fray Erving went on a six point spree, opening up the UMass lead to 25-17.
From there on in to the half both teams exchanges baskets with the Redmen being able to add one more point to the lead before heading to the locker room on top, 37-28.
As the second half got under way UConn picked up its shooting and within seven minutes had the UMass lead down to 49-46. It was here that the game was decided as in the next two minutes the Redmen went on the 9-1 spree to open up and coast from here on in to victory.
Tom McLaughlin opened up the surge with a short jumper. Al Vaughn of UConn answered with a free throw, but this was followed by a Ken Mathias offensive tap-in, a jumper from the corner by John Betancourt, and three free throws from Erving and Mathias.
With the score 59-47, the Redmen had the game well in hand with a last second goaltending charge on UConn making a prophet of the Dunkel system as the Redmen won by the final score of 89-67.
If three stars were to be named for this contest, the list would read Mathias, Erving, and Pagliara. Mathias, recently named the YanCon front court player of the week for his performances against B.C. and in this game was immense all evening as he led all scorers with 24 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and assisted on seven other hoops. He went to the hoop the entire game, scoring 19 of his points in the second half and was trouble all evening off the offensive boards for the Huskies.
Erving was his usable, intimidating self on defense and a picture of consistency on offense. He scored 23 points, pulled down 22 rebounds, blocked four shots and kept the UConn front at bay all evening.
Pagliara played himself a whale of a game contributing 13 points, seven assists and running the offense smoothly the entire game.
One cannot forget the defensive performances turned in by Chris Coffin and John Betancourt and the fine reserve roll turned in by Tom McLaughlin. Coffin had the rough assignment of defending against Bob Staak who scored 33 points in the first meeting of these two clubs. Before fouling out, Coffin kept Staak in raps limiting him to 16 points and forcing him to hit only seven for 20 for the night.
Betancourt likewise had a difficult assignment in guarding Vaughn, who was on a hot streak coming into the game. All Vaughn was able to show for this battle was eleven points and a case of too much Betancourt to cope with.
McLaughlin filled in for both Mathias and Coffin and scored eight points in the process while playing his usual strong game on defense.
For UConn’s Bob Boyd the talented backcourt man was high scorer with 22 points. He also led the Huskie comeback that pulled them within three points in the second half. Staak and Vaughn were the only other Huskies to hit double figures.
BASELINE BABBLE - Erving became the fifth all-time leading Redman career scorer in this contest and also became the all-time leading rebounder with 904 and still has over a season left to play… After hitting only 41% in the first half from the floor, UMass picked up its shooting and finished with 46% from the field… UConn was only able to muster 36% of their field goal attempts… For the second game in a row the Redmen were outstanding from the free throw line, connecting on 87% of their charity tosses… Syracuse, which plays here on the 22nd, rolled past West Virginia, 102-90, on Saturday and now stand 14-5 with eyes on the NIT. Should be some battle… Remember, tickets are still on sale for the UMass - George Washington game on the 27th, at the Boyden ticket office.
YC Selects Mathias
From The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, February 16, 1971
UMass center Ken Mathias was selected as the top frontcourt performer in the Yankee Conference for last week's action. The 6’7 senior co-captain scored 40 points with 24 rebounds as the Redmen defeated Boston College, 85-77, and UConn, 89-67. He hit on 12 of 20 field goals, 16 of 18 free throws and had 11 assists for his weeks play.
Rowell, a 6'4, has been forced to play center for URI. He responded with 75 points and 40 rebounds in four games and scored 28 in a loss to 12th ranked Duquesne.
Other nominations included for the backcourt: Mike Pagliara (UMass), Paul Bessey (Maine), Ed Molloy (URI), and Bob Boyd (UConn). For the frontcourt: Dave Pemberton (UNH), Nick Susi (Maine), and Mark Miller (Vermont). For top sophomore: Peter Gavett (Maine), Al Vaughn (UConn) and Jim Ducey (Vermont).