From the UMass Basketball 1992-93 Media Guide, published by UMass Athletics
The top-seeded and 25th-ranked Minutemen played an up-tempo game which game them the conference tournament scoring record over the eighth-seeded Scarlet Knights.
The Minutemen led 57-44 at the half and never trailed by more than six for the remainder of the contest.
Minutemen beat back Rutgers
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/9/1992
PHILADELPHIA – John Calipari flashed a look of relief. The University of Massachusetts coach had just walked off the floor following his team's 106-94 win over Rutgers last night in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament, but he would have been the first to admit the game was far closer than the score indicated.
Calipari must be getting used to the feeling; it seems that each opponent has given a bit extra against the top-seeded Minutemen – particularly during the latter part of the season, when UMass struggled to beat teams it had handled easily earlier in the year. Last night, eighth-seeded Rutgers, which suffered two blowouts to UMass in the regular season (77-66 on January 30, and 81-67 on February 18), was no different.
The Scarlet Knights led by 6 points midway though the first half, then cut a 13-point halftime deficit to 5 with 17:40 to go. But UMass' pressure defense finally wore Rutgers down, and the Minutemen pulled away over the last 10 minutes. UMass (26-4) faces Rhode Island in the semifinals tonight at 9. URI defeated George Washington University, 75-66, yesterday.
“It seems that in every game people are coming after us,” said Calipari. “Rutgers played a good game. In the second half, they came back because we thought we could just win by standing there.“
Trailing, 57-44, Rutgers outscored UMass, 14-6, at the start of the half, cutting the deficit to 63-58 with 17:40 to go. UMass withstood the rally with better defense, and Jim McCoy scored 7 unanswered points, giving the Minutemen a 70-58 advantage with 16:01 left.
The Minutemen blew a big opportunity to break the game open midway through the second half when they hit just five of 12 free-throw attempts, missing six in a row. Rutgers could not close the gap while UMass floundered at the line, and the Minutemen began to pull away shortly afterward. A pullup jumper by Tony Barbee (21 points) gave UMass a 97-81 edge with 4:04 to go.
“We knew that at some time they were going to come back,” said McCoy, who finished with 21 points. “But we just did what we had to do.”
Rutgers, which got 32 points from Steve Worthy, hurt itself with two technical fouls and several missed shots down the stretch. It cut the lead to 100-90 in the final minute but could come no closer. “Give UMass credit; they found answers to everything we did,” said Rutgers coach Bob Wenzel, whose team finished at 15-14.
The UMass players said it felt good to get the first win. But they seem to enjoy being the hunter more than the hunted. “In the past, we weren't expected to do much,” said Anton Brown. “Now, we're the top seed, and people just expect us to beat up on everyone.”
|Largest lead||6 (17-11)|
|Points off turnovers||13|
|Second chance points||15|
|Points in the paint||34|
|Largest lead||16 (97-81)|
|Points off turnovers||17|
|Second chance points||15|
|Points in the paint||48|
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||OT1||OT2||OT3||Final|
|Officials||Tim Higgins, John Koskinen, Murph Shapiro|
|Technical Fouls||2 (RU Phillips, RU Worthy)|