Redmen Face G.W. At M.S.G.
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, February 26, 1971
UMass basketball returns to Madison Square Garden tomorrow as the Redmen take on George Washington University with tap off at 1:30. In chasing their 21st win of the season against only three losses the Redmen return to the court where they impressed so many basketball officials last season with their fine play in the NIT against Marquette. Tomorrow these same hoop officials and many more will be out to view New England's top post season tournament candidate.
In George Washington the Redmen will be facing a big, physical team, which changes defenses from a man-to man, to a zone press and likes to last break.
In the game against Cincinnati the Colonials knocked off a team that had earlier in the week defeated number 14 ranked Louisville. The record may not seem impressive but the caliber of ball that George Washington plays will make this a stiff test for the Redmen.
In the past few games, Redman opponents have looked at games with UMass as a victory making their season a success. Tomorrow will be the same as the Colonials will be looking to make the Redmen their prize possession.
They will be ready and they will have the shooting to be so as they have hit on 47% of their shots from the floor and 70% from the foul line. George Washington can put the ball through the hoop.
The starting lineup for the Colonials will have Mike Battle, 6'7, Lenny Baltimore, 6’6, and Walt Szczerbiak, 6'6 up front with Ronnie Nunn, 6'3, and Ralph Barnett, 6'2, in the backcourt.
Battle is one of the big men for the Colonials off the boards averaging ten rebounds per game along with his 15 point average.
Baltimore is hitting for ten points per game and should give his team some added muscle under the boards.
Szczerbiak is the spark of the George Washington attack averaging 21.3 points and 11.9 rebounds per game along with being one of the top field goal shooters in the nation hitting 63% from the floor. He is the guy the Redman defense will have to control.
Nunn is a great shooter averaging 17.1 points a game. He's a New York City boy and comes ready to play.
His partner, Barnett, is hitting on 50% from the field and runs the Colonials offense.
For UMass, coach Jack Leaman has decided on four starters, Julius Erving, John Betancourt, Ken Mathias and Mike Pagliara. The fifth starter will be determined on how the coach figures he can best defense the Colonials.
Redmen Tip G.W., 70-65
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 1, 1971
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Julius Erving did it again.
Playing before his home town fans and a large gathering of scouts and tournament officials the junior forward picked up right where he left off against Syracuse scoring 35 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and playing his usual immense game on defense in leading UMass to its 21st win of the season against only three losses over George Washington, 70-65, here at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
In scoring half of his teams points, Erving was called upon throughout the contest to pick up the scoring slack that his teammates left as they were unable to hit consistently from the floor. The offense turned out to be give the ball to Erving and let him do his thing.
What appeared to be a runaway in the first ten minutes of play turned into a rough physical contest the remainder of the way in the Redmens first appearance in the Gardens since their NIT loss to Marquette almost a year ago.
Sloppy play on both sides marked the first few moments as it took UMass almost two minutes to break the scoring ice on a one hander from the corner by Mike Pagliara. From here the Redmen blitzed George Washington up and down the court and led by Erving’s hot hand opened up a quick 11-0 lead before the Colonials knew what had hit them.
After a time out the Redmen were at it again with Erving leading the fast break off the defensive boards resulting in Redman points in the offensive zone with Erving's shooting continuing to excel.
During these opening minutes George Washington seemed to be caught off balance by the UMass fast break and its stingy defense. This resulted in many Colonial turnovers and many UMass points.
With the score 22-7 and the Redmen apparently ready to run George Washington out of the Gardens, mistakes began to happen. This time they were UMass mistakes and the Colonials took advantage as they climbed right back into the battle closing to within 29-25 at one point towards the end of the first stanza.
Outscoring the Colonials, 9-4, for the remainder of the first half UMass went into the locker room on top, 38-29, but those present sensed that this would be tough ball game the rest of the way.
In this first half Erving scored 21 points and had 11 of his rebounds. His play offset the offensive and defensive punch of George Washington's Walt Sczcerbiak who had 11 points and 7 bounds in the first 20 minutes.
Sczcerbiak, who has already been drafted in the secret A.B.A. draft showed why he was as he was second to Erving in scoring with 32 points and led all rebounders with 23. It was his play in the second half that brought the Colonials back into the fray.
The second half was a standoff as George Washington outscored the Redmen 36-32, with both teams committing numerable turnovers in the heat of the action.
George Washington made its biggest threat of the game with about five minutes left as it closed to within five points and began to press all over the court.
After getting the ball successfully over the half court line the Redmen went into their four corner offense and it worked to perfection as John Betancourt was able to move into the pivot and control the show.
With a good pair of hands to control a basketball Betancourt kept the Colonial offenders at bay from the pivot as he moved the ball to Erving, Ken Mathias, Pagliara and Tom McLaughlin on the points.
In frustration George Washington had a foul and with the one-and-one in effect Mathias hit two from the line. McLaughlin did likewise and Betancourt hit one of two.
George Washington made a couple of token hoops as the game came to an end and the final score read 70-65.
HOOP NOTES — UMass hit only 42% from the floor with G. W. hitting even less 39%… From the charity line UMass was good on 73% of its tries and G.W. hit on 68%… The Redmen were outrebounded and out-turnovered by the Colonials which is a switch of roles for those who have followed Redman hoop this season… As far as post tourney play is concerned the papers both in New York and Boston seem to have the Redmen as shoe-ins for the NIT… The fans thought so also as the 2500 who made the trip chanted “N.I.T., N.I.T.” as the final seconds ticked away… A tip of the hat goes to these fans who once again impressed those present with their tremendous backing of their teams play… It was the consensus of the scouts present that Erving has it all to be a great pro… Wayne Embry said that he was in the same class with Sidney Wicks of UCLA and Ken Durrett of La Salle both All-American first-stringers… N.I.T. bids come out on the 4th of March with the N.C.A.A. bids coming out the day before. Tonight the Redmen are at New Hampshire with the regular season coming to a close on Thursday night with the long haul to Maine to play the Black Bears… And then possibly another trip or two of the Big Apple.