Hoopmen At Maine For Regular Season Finale
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 4, 1971
The UMass basketball team ends regular season play tonight when it takes on the Black Bears of Maine in a 7:30 p.m. encounter in Orono. The Redmen will be going after their first perfect record ever in the Yankee Conference and also their 23rd win of the season.
This will be a game of attitude. Travelling all the way to Orono, the Redmen feel that if they can’t beat Maine at Maine then they certainly don’t want to go to Madison Square Garden to play N.I.T. caliber of competition. But after Monday night’s fiasco at New Hampshire, they should be ready to put it to the Black Bears.
Maine is a funny team. They’ve been an in and out ball club this season and come into this game with a record of eight wins and 13 losses.
The Black Bears like to run and gun and if the ball starts going in the basket for them the game could turn out to be very interesting. On defense they’ll probably throw various combinations at UMass trying to create turnovers. This was tried at UMass but in the first encounter but was unsuccessful.
Maine has four starters 6’6 with a 5’11 field general to control the tempo for this group of timber. They’ll be tough on the boards due to their size and with Nick Susi ready to play they will give a better indication of their type of play tonight. In the first meeting Susi sat out most of the contest due to an early injury.
For UMass this will be hopefully the end of one season and the beginning of another as word on the N.I.T. will probably be coming out of New York sometime tomorrow.
So far this year the Redman have had a tough time on the road in Yankee Conference play. They won in overtime at Rhode Island and beat Vermont, beat UConn by six and just got by UNH by three Monday night. With the psych of playing the Redmen working for the opposition, road games have been tough and if tonight’s holds true to form this could be an interesting contest.
As for the starting lineup Tom McLaughlin will not be in there and may not see any action as he has a back ailment. In his place will be either Chris Coffin, Rich Vogeley or Tom Austin, who will join Julius Erving, Ken Mathias, John Betancourt and Mike Pagliara.
Tourney Bound Redmen Win At Maine
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 5, 1971
ORONO, ME. - Pulling away quickly in the second half, the UMass hoopsters defeated an inspired and stubborn University of Maine basketball team, 84-71, here last night, before a packed house of Black Bear fans. The win for the NIT-bound Redmen was their 23rd of the year against only three defeats and tenth in a row in YanCon play for the first undefeated conference season under Coach Jack Leaman. Maine’s record is now 8-14.
Ahead by only two at the half, 41-39, the Redmen opened quickly in the second stanza on baskets by Mike Pagliara and Julius Erving to open up a six point lead the Black Bears were never able to close.
In this last twenty minutes of play both teams matched hot streaks for hot streaks after the sudden Redman burst. Tom McLaughlin in his first action of the evening got things rolling with two quick hoops from the corner for a ten point Redmen lead, 60-50. The spunky Bears came right back to close to within six again behind the sharp shooting of Nick Susi.
Julius Erving came back with two hoops and Betancourt hit one of his own and the Redmen were up by twelve, 68-56. Maine came back again to within seven and the remainder of the contest was run and gun with the sloppiness of Maine resulting in the final thirteen point spread.
In the first half Maine was as predictable as expected. Run and gun, wide open offense, crashing in on both boards. And to the delight of the home town fans, it worked. Playing against the Redmen once again inspired a YanCon foe to its best effort of the season on its home court.
Top guns for the Black Bears on the first half were Susi, Peter Gavitt and Paul Bessey who between them scored 32 points and controlled the wide open play tactics for the Black Bears.
Susi, who was injured in the first meeting between these two teams and did not see much action, was the dominating figure for the Black Bears throughout the game. And he scored 20 points, hauled down 15 rebounds and played tough defense in the middle for Maine. Gavitt, a 6’6 sophomore guard used his height to his advantage as he took the Redmen guards into the low post and shot over them for 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the entire game.
UMass opened the contest quickly with a 10-5 lead but this was the largest margin the Redmen enjoyed all half. Betancourt and Chris Coffin were the Redmen offensive punch in the opening moments, both hitting well from the outside.
As the tempo picked up and after being slapped with his second foul of the game Erving gave the Maine fans what they came to see - good shooting, tough rebounding, and intimidating defense. For the half he ended with 11 points and 6 rebounds the entire contest stats read 25 and 14.
Tom Austin came in for the Redmen with 8 minutes to go in the first half and spell Ken Mathias and give UMass some added speed up front. He filled in well playing his best ball of the year, hitting for 6 points and playing well off the boards.
Mathias and Mike Pagliara, who got off to a slow first half, came to life in the big Redmen second half with Mathias knocking in three key hoops on offensive rebounds and Pagliara once again controlling the tempo of the Redmen offense.
Coffin had one of his finest shooting nights of the season hitting 6 of 10 shots from the floor for 13 points and also added 10 rebounds.
Maine played itself a fine ballgame keeping within striking range for the entire first half, only trailing by two in the fast paced first stanza. They played tough ball and the Redmen had to likewise just to stay ahead. But in the second half the Redmen were too much for the Black Bears to handle.
HOOP NOTES: Both teams shot well from the floor with UMass shooting 52% and the Black Bears 43%… From the foul line the Redmen shot an atrocious 48% while Maine hit 77%… Dave Collette, a Redman cheerleader, was the only UMass fan to make the game and delighted the Black Bear fans with a series of time-out cheers - a tip of the hat to Dave… The Mathias family made the long haul from Lodi, New Jersey to Maine for the third straight year… And now off to Pat’s Pizzaria.