UMass, PC in; HC out
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe, 3/11/1991
After Massachusetts lost to George Washington in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament, forward Jim McCoy asked one reporter to put in a good word for the Minutemen so they would be considered for the National Invitation Tournament. “This can't be the last game I play this year,” he said.
It won't be. The Minutemen found out late last night that they will be hosting La Salle in the first round of the NIT Friday at Curry Hicks Cage. UMass (17-11), which lost to Maryland in the first round of the NIT last year, was one of two New England teams to make the 32-team field. The other was Providence, which will host James Madison Wednesday at the Civic Center.
Holy Cross (18-12) was left out. The Crusaders lost in the Patriot League final to Fordham, which will play at South Florida in the NIT.
UMass will host an NIT game in the 4,000-seat Cage for the first time. The Minutemen sold out every home game this season, and coach John Calipari believes that enticed the NIT committee.
“Fan support and student support are the main reasons we got a home game,” said Calipari. “I'm happy for the fans. That's when you can truly say they're part of the program. The NIT looks at those kind of things.”
The Friars (17-11), one of only two Big East teams that didn't make the NCAA Tournament, will be facing former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell.
“Obviously, Lefty Driesell has done a great job at James Madison,” said Providence coach Rick Barnes. “He has won everywhere he has coached. But his team just got upset in the first round of their conference tournament.”
Giles' late shot lifts UMass over La Salle
By Jim Greenidge, The Boston Globe, 3/16/1991
AMHERST – When Massachusetts broke its huddle with a minute left and the score tied at 87, just about everyone in the crowd of 4,058 packed into Curry Hicks Cage figured guard Jim McCoy would take the next, all-important shot for the Minutemen.
And it was set up that way. “I was supposed to run off a pick at the baseline and take the 3-pointer out of the corner, just as we had been doing the whole game,” said McCoy, the school's all-time leading scorer even though he's only a junior.
But the La Salle defense, set in a 2-3 zone, followed McCoy, leaving senior guard Rafer Giles all by his lonesome off the wing. He calmly – and quickly – took the open jumper. Swish. Massachusetts, in the National Invitation Tournament for the second consecutive season, was in front the rest of the way and came away with a 93-90 verdict over La Salle.
The Minutemen (18-11) visit Fordham for a second-round tussle Tuesday night.
All five Minutemen starters finished in double figures, led by Harper Williams (22) and McCoy (19).