UMass, Georgia Tech clash for good cause
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe Staff, 12/22/1995
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The top two nationally-ranked college basketball teams are set to battle here tonight. But not each other.
Still, No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Massachusetts will have their hands full in the inaugural Jimmy V Classic. UMass (6-0) meets No. 21 Georgia Tech, which will be eager to rebound from Monday's upset loss to Mt. St. Mary's. Kansas (7-0) battles Temple (2-4).
Proceeds will benefit the V Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to helping find a cure for cancer. The organization was founded by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, the North Carolina State coach who died of the disease.
Coaches from all four schools joined ESPN analyst Dick Vitale in paying tribute to Valvano at a luncheon yesterday at Rockefeller Center.
“When we were asked to play in the event, I didn't even ask who the opponent would be or how many tickets we'd get. I said, 'We'll play in it,' ” said UMass coach John Calipari yesterday.
“You're talking about a basketball coach who was making a difference in a lot of different ways, not just coaching ball.” UMass has already agreed to play in the tournament next year, along with California, Virginia and a team to be determined.
And although his team will not be battling Kansas tonight, Calipari said the Yellow Jackets will be just as formidable. “When you talk about Georgia Tech, you're talking about playing a mean team right now,” he said. “They just lost a game they think they should have won, so this is not going to be an easy game. They're going to come after us.
“I'm really worried about my team more than anything else. We've had 10 days off. They've had three or four days away from basketball and a couple of guys had to miss practice because of finals. You're talking about a team that'll be a little rusty.”
Once again, the game will be a test for UMass guards Edgar Padilla (9.8 ppg) and Carmelo Travieso (7.3 ppg). The only two available guards on the team, they lead UMass in minutes (each at least 36 a game). They have battled some of the top backcourts, but will probably face the best opposition yet.
Georgia Tech senior Drew Barry (13 ppg, 6.9 assists) is one of college basketball's best passers, particularly in transition, and is a good shooter. Yet the most heralded Tech player is freshman Stephon Marbury, a New York City prospect who has more than lived up to his billing (16.9 ppg, 4.7 assists a game, 2.5 steals a game).
“Stephon's coming,” said Georgia Tech head coach Bobby Cremins. “He's had 10 games, seven excellent and three bad. And I just want him to be normal about his game. It's just too much pressure on him. He needs help from the other players. Drew struggled there for a while, and we need Drew to play great. When Drew plays great, it really helps Stephon.
When both are playing well, Tech's tough to beat. “If Stephon and Drew go nuts, we lose,” said Calipari.
Strangely enough, Tech is led in scoring by seldom-mentioned forward Matt Harping (19.1 ppg), who also averages 9.1 boards. Cremins said his team lost to Mt. St. Mary's because it was physically drained, having played three games in six days.
“After the emotions that come with playing Kentucky, our archrival Georgia and then Louisville, we had nothing left,” he said. “St. Mary's came in and played a helluva game. But that's over with. You have to be emotionally ready to play a Massachusetts team.”
UMass counters with national player of the year candidate Marcus Camby (19.7 ppg, 7.0 rebounds), who is coming off a groin pull that sidelined him in the second half of the Minutemen's last game, Dec. 12 against North Carolina-Wilmington. Calipari said Camby has shown no effects of the injury in recent practices.
UMass likely to take over No. 1 ranking
With a victory over Georgia Tech and Kansas' loss in the Jimmy V Classic opener, the Minutemen should move up.
Massachusetts (#2) 76, Georgia Tech (#21) 67
From The Associated Press, 12/22/1995
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Massachusetts had a chance to get back to the top of the rankings, and the Minutemen didn't waste it.
The second-ranked Minutemen beat No. 21 Georgia Tech 75-67 Friday night, just hours after No. 1 Kansas was beaten 74-66 in overtime by Temple in the opening game of the inaugural Jimmy V Classic at the Meadowlands.
“Number one means more to the other team. Now we're just a bigger target,” UMass coach John Calipari said. “There are 25 games left in the season. I don't know if we're the best team in the country.”
The Minutemen (7-0) weren't as impressive as in their other victories this season, including one over then-No. 1 Kentucky, but took control with a 9-0 run midway through the second half. Marcus Camby had 18 points to lead the Minutemen, who had five starters in double figures. They accounted for all but five of the team's points.
“We were a little tentative to start, but this was finding a way to win and we did it again,” said Calipari, whose team had 10 days off for exams.
Freshman guard Stephon Marbury led Georgia Tech (6-5) with 18 points, while Eddie Elisma had 17 and 15 rebounds.
“They have a great team,” Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins said of the Minutemen.
“They will be there at the end of the season. I look forward to watching them.”
Minutemen win, seek No. 1 spot
Kansas upset by Temple
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe Staff, 12/23/1995
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The team whose coach said he enjoys No. 1 rankings lost theirs last night. Top-ranked Kansas suffered a 74-66 loss to Temple in the first game of the Jimmy V Classic, paving the way for an ascent by No. 2 Massachusetts, whose coach frequently downplays rankings.
Yet for a team that scoffs at climbing to No. 1, UMass certainly knows how to get there. The Minutemen, who have beaten four Top 25 teams this season, shook off early sluggishness midway through the first half against Georgia Tech and jumped out to an 13-point second-half en route to a 75-67 victory last night before a Meadowlands Arena crowd of 13,452.
The win will make the Minutemen the No. 1 team in the nation when the Associated Press and CNN/USA Today Top 25 polls are released next week. Last season, UMass staged a similar rise to No. 1 and held the top spot for five weeks, second only to North Carolina's six weeks.
“Being No. 1 really means nothing,” said UMass coach John Calipari, whose approach to the top ranking is a sharp contrast to Kansas coach Roy Williams.
“It means more to the other team than it means to us,” Calipari added. ''Now we have a bigger target before us. People then say, 'So, how do you get to be No. 1?' We get there because we beat top teams.”
UMass center Marcus Camby scored a team-high 18 points and added 9 rebounds and 6 blocks. Guard Carmelo Travieso added 17 points for UMass, which improved to 7-0.
Point guard Stephon Marbury had a team-high 18 for Georgia Tech (6-5), which trailed, 37-26, with 19:33 left in the second half but cut the lead to 42-41 with 13:59 left on a running jumper.
UMass responded with a 15-4 run to go ahead, 57-45, with 8:43 left. A pair of Travieso free throws made it 46-41, and after a tip-in by Tyrone Weeks, Traveiso hit a 3-pointer to make it 51-41 with 10:37 left.
Georgia Tech cut it to 53-45 on two free throws by Marbury with 9:33 left, but the Minutemen responded with 4 straight points for a 12-point bulge.
UMass increased the margin to 66-53 with 3:51 to go. Georgia Tech cut the lead to 8 but could come no closer. UMass shot 52 percent from the floor in the first half, 47 percent overall and outrebounded Tech, 49-46.
Once again the UMass backcourt fared well against one of the best guard combinations in the nation, particularly Travieso, who switched to the point guard spot with 3:37 left in the first half when Edgar Padilla went to the bench with three fouls. UMass outscored Tech, 9-0, the rest of the half for a 35-26 halftime lead.
“Every time we go up against a tandem, we're told it's one of the best in the country,” said Travieso. “Me and Edgar are still looking for respect, but if we don't get it, it's fine. As long as we win.”
Georgia Tech guards Marbury and Drew Barry combined for 8-for-29 shooting from the floor. As a team, Tech shot 35 percent.
Leading by 9 at the half, UMass made it 37-26 on a pullup jumper by forward Donta Bright with 19:30 left. Then the Minutemen's game went south as they turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions.
Bright ended the UMass doldrums on a bucket with 16:11 left, but forward Michael Maddox scored on a 3-point play with 16:00 left to pull the Yellow Jackets to 39-37. UMass gave itself a 46-41 cushion with 13:04 remaining; after a Tech turnover, guard Carmelo Travieso sank two free throws. UMass made it 48-41 when power forward Tyrone Weeks tipped in a miss by center Marcus Camby. UMass made it 51-41 with 10:37 left on Travieso's 3-pointer.
Georgia Tech cut it to 53-45 on two free throws by Stephon Marbury with 9:33 left, but the Minutemen responded with 4 straight points to go up, 57-45 with 8:41 to go.
As in its previous game over North Carolina-Wilmington, UMass got off to a slow start. Hampered by Georgia Tech's defensive pressure, the Minutemen failed to score on four of their first five possessions. Georgia Tech was slightly better; it took a 5-3 lead on a baseline jumper by Maddox then took a 7-3 lead with 16:30 to go when shooting guard Brent Barry tossed in an off- balance shot over Camby.
But the Minutemen rallied and forged ahead. Point guard Edgar Padilla drained a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run that put the Minutemen ahead, 12-7 with 13:40 remaining in the first half. Georgia Tech cut the lead to 14-12 with 11:25 left on a trey by Maddox but UMass answered with one by Travieso for a 17-12 lead with 10:59 to go.
Georgia Tech rallied on a bucket by Maddox and a 3-pointer by Marbury to tie it at 17-17 with 8:05 left. UMass' Tyrone Weeks scored on a putback to put the Minutemen back in front, 19-17. Marbury tied it with a baseline jumper, then stole the ball, was fouled and sank a free throw to put Georgia Tech in front, 20-19.
Then Camby, who was bothered by a groin pull in the UNC-Wilmington game, took charge. He scored his first points of the game on a running hook with 6:14 left to put UMass up, 21-19. A 3-point play and a dunk put the Minutemen up, 28-24.
Padilla picked up his third foul with 3:37 left, sending him to the bench and bringing Travieso in. But the Minutemen didn't lose a step, outscoring Georgia Tech, 7-0 the remainder of the half to take a 35-26 halftime lead. Camby led UMass in first half scoring with 11 points. Maddox led Georgia Tech with 10 points.
Minutemen beat GaTech, Camby nets 18 points
By Brian Perillo, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, January 30, 1996 (Delayed publication due to winter break.)
EAST RUTHERFORD. N.J. - The Massachusetts Minutemen used 18 points from junior center Marcus Camby to defeat Georgia Tech 75-67 Dec. 22 at the Meadowlands in the inaugural Jimmy V Classic.
The win over the No. 21 ranked Yellow Jackets, despite raising UMass' record to a perfect 7-0, was only one of the story lines that circled the UMass basketball program that night.
With the victory, the Minutemen staked their claim to the No. 1 ranking in the country. Atlantic 10 rival Temple did UMass two big favors to help secure the honor.
Coach John Chaney and the Owls, who had knocked off the No. 2 Villanova Wildcals the week before, cleared a path for UMass by defeating then No. 1 Kansas in the first game of the Jimmy V Classic as the Minutemen looked on.
Temple was led by sophomore transfer Marc Jackson. The former Virginia Commonwealth Ram torched the Kansas defense inside, and the Jayhawks could not muster enough offense to break Temple's match-up zone.
With the Kansas loss, UMass took the court knowing it was one win away from retaking the nation's top spot, a place the Minutemen appeared for the first time ever last season.
However, there was one more obstacle the Minutemen had to overcome. UMass had not had much success in the Brendan Byrne Arena at the Meadowlands. In fact, the last time Calipari's crew played in front of the East Rutherford, N.J. crowd, it was in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight game versus Oklahoma State last season.
In that game, where the winner would advance to the Final Four, the Minutemen, who were the favorites, succumbed to Bryan “Big Country” Reeves (24 points) and the Cowboys 68-54. UMass saw its dream season come crashing down one win shy of its goal of the FinaI Four, and a trip to Seattle.
The Minutemen look the first step toward exorcising those Meadowlands demons, however, as they took it to Georgia Tech from the beginning. Tech's leading scorer Matt Harpring, averaging over 20 points a game coming into the contest, never got going against UMass' pressure man-to-man defense, and fouled out of the game after tallying only five points.
The Yellowjackets' super freshman Stephon Marbury, playing close to his home in New York City, showed why he was the most-highly sought after recruit the year before. The point guard led GaTech with 18 points, scoring several in acrobatic fashion.
“I thought I did alright,” said Massachusetts guard Carmelo Travieso. ”[Marbury's] supposed to be the best point guard in the nation. Every time we go up against a tandem that's supposed to be the best, we dig in. We're looking for respect.”
Aside from Camby, the Minutemen got stellar performances from Travieso, who played all 40 minutes and scored 17, and Dana Dingle, who finished one rebound shy of a double-double.
GEORGIA TECH-Harpring 2-11 0-0 5, Maddox 5-12 2-6 13, Elisma 8-16 1-3 15, Marbury 7-20 3-4 18, Barry 1-9 4-4 6, Saunders 4-7 0-1 8 , Gaston 0-2 0-0 0, Hod 0-0 0-0 0, Murphy 0-0 0-0 0, Bren- nan 0-0 0-0 0, Kelly 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-77 10-18 67. MASSACHUSETTS - Dingle 4-9 2-5 10, Bright 4-6 4-6 13, Camby 8-18 2-9 18, E.Padilla 3-5 5-8 12, Travieso 5-11 4-6 17, Weeks 2-4 0-0 4, Norville 0-0 0-0 0, Burns 0 0 0 0 0, G.Padilla 0-0 1-2 1, Cottrell 0-1 0-0 0, Nunez 0-0 0-0 0, Maclay 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 18-36 75. Halftime-Massachusetts 35, Georgia Tech 26. 3 Point goals- Georgia Tech 3-17 (Harpring 1-2, Maddox 1-2, Marbury 1-8, Barry 0-5) Massachusetts 5-12 (Travieso 3-9, Bright 1-1, E-Padilla 1-2). Fouled out-Harpring, Maddox, Elisma. Rebounds- Georgia Tech 46 (Elisma 15) Massachusetts 48 (Camby, Dingle 9). Assists- Georgia Tech 12 (Barry 7) Massachusetts 12 (E.Padilla 5). Total fouls- Georgia Tech 27. Massachusetts 17. Technicals- Massachusetts bench, Harpring A-13,452.