Camby steers UMass' quiet cruise past Florida
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe Staff, 12/4/1995
LANDOVER, Md. – For once, coach John Calipari didn't give his larynx a workout. Didn't have to. His Massachusetts Minutemen dominated Florida from the outset of yesterday's Franklin National Bank Classic final and breezed to an 80-58 rout.
The Minutemen led by as many as 22 points in the first half and were ahead, 37-18, at halftime. They suffered a brief lapse that allowed Florida to cut the lead to 61-44 with 7:37 left, then reeled off 7 points over the next 1:25 to foil Florida's hopes.
Not bad for a team many figured would struggle, having just two experienced guards – Padilla and Carmelo Travieso.
The two have had to log the team's biggest share of minutes, in part because shooting guard/point guard Charlton Clarke is out at least six weeks after having foot surgery Thursday. But the two have silenced critics' claims that their sub-par preseason play would carry over to the regular season.
“In the preseason, I was playing pretty bad,” said Padilla. “But I worked hard during practice and that has helped me get my confidence back.”
UMass begins its season at 3-0 for the third time in five seasons. “The worst we can do over its first seven games is 3-4, and I thought there was a good chance we would be 0-7,” said Calipari, whose team shot 61 percent from the floor in the second half yesterday and outrebounded Florida, 46-28. “Our kids have really improved over the past two weeks.”
In the Minutemen's grueling 50-47 win over Maryland in the tournament's first-round game, Calipari showed he has some of the best vocal cords in the business. Ditto the season opener against Kentucky. Yesterday, the coach hardly raised his voice, as the Minutemen – who have played three games in six days – jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 18:55 left.
“We came ready to play,” said Calipari. “Anytime you get a 7-0 lead or a 9-0 lead or an 11-0 lead, it's always followed by a letdown. Then the other team comes back. A good team will then bump it up again.”
Florida rallied to tie it at 11-11 with 12:21 left in the first half on a 3-point play by guard Greg Williams. Then Camby took control.
With 11:47 left on the game clock, 1 second left on the shot clock, Camby drained a 15-foot baseline jumper to give UMass a 13-11 lead. He made the score 15-11 with two free throws with 11:23 left. With 8:21 to go, he scored on a baseline pullup jumper to give UMass an 18-13 edge.
With Florida mired in a shooting slump (the Gators went 7 minutes without a point), the Minutemen kept scoring. Camby made it 27-13 on a bucket underneath (assist Padilla) with 4:14 left and added two free throws with 2:50 to go to make it 31-13.
Camby has scored at least 30 points in two of the Minutemen's three games. ''I have improved my level of confidence from last year,“ he said. “I have just worked hard on my game, working on my jumper.”
In the second half, UMass eased up and Florida capitalized. Center Dametri Hill scored on a 3-point play with 7:37 left to cut the lead to 61-47. Then Florida applied a press. But Dingle scored on a 3-point play and Camby followed with four free throws. End of rally. All that was left was the final horn.
“When we cut it to 14 we got into our trap defense and they were able to get easy baskets because of our breakdowns,” said Hill. “That was our fault.”
Calipari had no qualms about any facet of his team's play, but he did take exception to the fact that Camby was the only UMass player selected to the all-tournament team. When asked about UMass' next matchup – against Wake Forest Wednesday – Calipari chided the fourth estate about billing the game as a matchup between Camby and Wake Forest standout center Tim Duncan.
“It's a lot of pressure on our kids, especially Marcus, with this game being played up as Camby vs. Duncan,” said Calipari. “It's not fair to Marcus. It's UMass vs. Wake Forest.”
Tell that to the 22 pro scouts scheduled to attend. UMass sports information director Bill Strickland said he expects that number to climb over the next few days. Camby, meanwhile, played down the matchup yesterday. “I haven't really thought about it yet,” he said. “The next couple of days I'll look forward to it.”
Minutemen beat Maryland, Florida
UM extends win streak to 3, Camby and Dingle carry team
By Candice Flemming, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, December 4, 1995
It’s been synonymous with Massachusetts basketball — the “refuse to lose” attitude — and in Saturday's match up with Maryland, the Minutemen wrote a new chapter.
Down by 13 with 15:19 to go in the game, and with Marcus Camby playing with three fouls, the Minutemen mounted a comeback — and it was Camby who led the way. After a first half that was spent mostly on the bench due to foul trouble, Camby came back to score 10 second half points to lead No. 5 UMass to a 50-47 win over the No. 19 Terrapins.
“Camby did a great job,” said Maryland coach Gary Williams. “We couldn't get the next foul on him, which we really tried to do in the second half. He did a great job.”
The win advanced UMass to the championship game yesterday, where they met Florida, which beat up on George Washington 75-66. Maryland came out fired up at the start of the game and raced to an 11-2 lead in almost five minutes.
The Terps increased their lead to 16 (28-12) on a Sarunas Jasikevicius trey. Jasikevicius provided Maryland with a spark off the bench, scoring eight points during a 10-4 run that made it a 60 point game. (This is the text as printed in the Collegian article, but “60 point game” has to be an error.)
“We played a very aggressive, very intense basketball team today,” said UMass coach John Calipari.
UMass shot poorly in the first half (21 percent) and could have entered the half down double digits if it weren't for Dana Dingle. Down 16, Dingle went on a 7-0 run all by himself to bring the Minutemen within nine at the half, 28-19.
At the start of the second half it looked as if Maryland might pull away — two alley-oops to Keith Booth kept the score and momentum in the Terps favor. But that's when Camby took over.
The Terrapin defense was tough, trying to take Camby out of the game but he wouldn't let them.
“A lot's been said about Camby, about how good he is and you saw it out there [Saturday],” Williams said. “He just brings different elements to the game with his quickness and his size. He was the difference in the game today.”
In the 15-4 UMass run that brought the Minutemen back from 13 down, Camby showed his improved outside touch by sinking three outside jumpers including one just under the three-point arc.
UMass got within two on a Edgar Padilla 15-footer and then two free throws by Donta Bright tied it up at 41. Bright gave UMass its first lead moments later on a give and go between himself and Camby. The Minutemen took the lead for good with two minutes to go when Camby sank a turn-around jumper on the left baseline.
“I'm very happy with my team's ‘refuse to lose' attitude. Down 15 we found a way to get back into the game.” Calipari said. “We found a way to make it close and found a way to win.”
A last second three-point attempt by Johnny Rhodes missed giving UM the tough victory. Bright finished with a double double (14 points. 10 rebounds) while Camby had 14 points and Dingle added ten. Booth led Maryland with 11 points and also had five steals and two blocks.
Against Florida the question as to how the Minutemen would come out after the tough, high-intensity game against Maryland was answered with UMass' 7-0 run to start the game.
On the strength of Camby's outside shooting UMass went on a 26-7 run to close out the half with a 37-18 lead. The run included a 7:05 stretch where UMass’ stingy defense held Florida to no field goals (16-0 run).
“UMass really got the respect of our guys,” said Florida coach Lenny Kruegger. “They’re touch, they’re hard-nosed, and they go to the ball aggressively. They got our attention.”
UMass pulled away in the second half increasing its lead to a game-high 29 points. Although Florida made a couple of small runs getting as close as 14 on a Dametri Hill three-point play, UMass went on to win the game 80-58.
Camby continued to display his new-found outside prowess by knocking down an 18-footer, 15-footer, 12-footer, and 10-footer, finishing with 30 points along with eight boards and two blocks.
Dingle was a force on the boards pulling down a game-high 12 (nine points). Padilla and Carmello Travieso once again played almost the entire game. Padilla was, as he was all weekend, solid, dishing out 10 assists while making three steals. He had five turnovers on the day. but Calipari was pleased with the junior's play.
“Two to one is a good ratio for him,” he said. “He's really, really making progress. He's fearless out there.”
Travieso finished with 11 including three treys.
In UMass' game against Kentucky and again in Saturday's game against Maryland, bench scoring was a problem. But against Florida the Minutemen got the bench scoring they needed. Inus Norville and Tyrone Weeks led the way scoring eight and five points respectively. Norville also grabbed six boards.
“Inus Norville was great [yesterday]. I was proud of him,“ Calipari said. “Tyrone was nasty [yesterday]. He did well.”
Bright finished with eight points, six rebounds as UMass finished with a 46-28 rebounding advantage. Hill and LeRon Williams led Florida with 12 and 17 points respectively.
UMass, now 3-0, prepares for Wake Forest.
Defense is key in win for UM Minutemen
By Justin C. Smith, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, December 4, 1995
LANDOVER. Md.— Entering this weekend’s Franklin National Bank classic, there were many questions still surrounding the Massachusetts men’s basketball team.
Would there be a let down after the upset of top-ranked Kentucky? How would the two guards hold up playing games in consecutive days? Would Coach Calipari use anyone else at the position? What players would step up for UMass? And could Marcus Camby continue his dominance over the opposition?
The answer to the last question was a resounding “yes.” In UMass's two wins over Maryland and Florida, Camby, who was voted the most valuable player of the two day tournament, was nothing short of awesome. The Hartford native scored 44 points on the weekend, 30 of them coming in the championship game, as well as grabbing 15 boards, and swatting six shots. More important than the statistics may be the fact that the confidence of a go-to-guy was exhibited when the Minutemen needed someone to look to in the clutch.
With Saturday's contest with Maryland tied at 47, and just over two minutes remaining in regulation, the UMass offensive set got Camby the ball on the baseline. From there he hit what is quickly becoming his best offensive weapon, a turn around jumper which was the decisive basket of the game. The Minuteman defense shut down the Terrapins the rest of the way.
In fact, when Duane Simpkins made a lay-up with 4:30 left, it was the last Maryland points of the game. That was caused by the tenacious defense and rebounding of all five Minutemen on the floor.
“We don't want Marcus to feel like he needs to be Superman,” Massachusetts coach John Calipari said. “Just play ball, be Marcus Camby, and if that's not good enough, we'll go home.”
Though with just 19 points on seven-for-32 shooting in the first half after the win over Kentucky, it seemed UMass was the victim of a let-down. Late in the first half however, senior co-captain Dana Dingle and junior Tyrone Weeks contributed to getting the Minuteman deficit to single digits before half time by keeping the Terps off the boards.
When UMass returned from the locker room, they were in striking distance and made the most of it. Behind the spirited play of Dingle (10 points, seven rebounds) and Donta Bright (14 points. 10 boards) along with a complete game played by both guards, Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso, the Minutemen came away with a 50-47 win.
The fatigue question of the two guards was put to the test after their extensive play in game one. Travieso came out of the gate quickly, hitting three of six from three-point land in the first half, while Padilla ran the point extremely effectively handing out seven assists, and committing just three turnovers in the first twenty minutes.
“[Edgar's] ratio was two to one,” Calipari said of his point guard. “He had ten assists and five turnovers, that's a good ratio for him. He's really making progress and doing some great things.“
Padilla played 36 minutes, while his counterpart was on the floor for 35 in game two. In Travieso's place for four of those six minutes missed was senior forward Rigoberto Nuñez. With four forwards on the court, UMass continued it's stellar defense, though the offense needed time to adjust.
“At first I was really confused (on offense),” Padilla said about being the only true guard on the floor. “So I looked at Coach and he was confused, too. It was hard at first but we really worked hard at it.”
Just three games into the season, it appears the Minutemen will go as far as their defense takes them, as in both wins this weekend, they held the opposition to less than 20 points in two of the four halves.
“It doesn't matter, you can shoot great one night,” Padilla said, “and not shoot well the next, but you can always play good defense and there’s no excuse for not playing defense.”
FLORIDA (58) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Thompson 19 1-7 0-0 4-6 1 2 2 Stolt 25 0-5 0-2 2-4 2 1 0 D Hill 27 4-8 3-5 0-2 0 4 12 G Williams 32 3-9 3-6 0-4 4 2 9 Shannon 27 4-11 1-2 0-1 0 1 9 Spruel 13 1-3 0-0 0-1 0 1 2 L Williams 20 5-6 6-8 5-7 0 2 17 D Williams 15 1-3 0-0 0-1 0 0 2 Maddox 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0 Lee 9 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 3 Mcfarland 4 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 Griffiths 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Bates 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 21-56 13-23 11-26 7 16 58 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.375, FT-.565. 3-Point Goals: 3-12, .250 (Stolt 0-2, D Hill 1-1, G Williams 0-1, Shannon 0-3, Spruel 0-1, L Williams 1-1, Lee 1-1, Griffiths 0-1, Bates 0-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: None. Turnovers: 13 (L Williams 2, Thompson 2, D Hill, D Williams, G Williams, Maddox, Mcfarland, Shannon, Spruel, Stolt). Steals: 1 (Lee). MASSACHUSETTS (80) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Dingle 31 4-7 1-1 6-12 3 1 9 Bright 30 4-10 0-0 1-6 3 3 8 Camby 25 9-15 12-16 1-8 2 3 30 E Padilla 36 1-5 0-0 0-4 10 3 3 Travieso 34 3-8 2-2 1-2 1 1 11 Nunez 11 0-1 0-0 0-2 1 1 0 Norville 11 4-6 0-0 4-6 0 2 8 Weeks 13 2-4 1-2 1-2 0 4 5 G Padilla 4 1-1 0-0 0-2 2 1 2 Cottrell 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Burns 1 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 4 Maclay 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 30-60 16-21 14-44 22 20 80 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.762. 3-Point Goals: 4-10, .400 (Dingle 0-1, E Padilla 1-3, Travieso 3-6). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 4 (Camby 2, Nunez, Weeks). Turnovers: 15 (E Padilla 5, Camby 2, Dingle 2, G Padilla 2, Bright, Norville, Nunez, Travieso). Steals: 6 (E Padilla 3, Bright, Dingle, Travieso). __________________________________ Florida 18 40 -- 58 Massachusetts 37 43 -- 80 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 16,358. Officials: Frank Scagliotta, Mike Wood, Stanley Rote.