Rainbow promises UMass rough run
From The Associated Press, 12/27/1995
As if being the top team in the nation were not pressure enough, Massachusetts faces two formidable obstacles in the Rainbow Classic, which starts a four-night run today.
The eight-team tournament schedule calls for the Minutemen (7-0), who moved into the top spot following Kansas' overtime loss last week, to play on three consecutive nights and, if it goes according to rank, meet Top 25 teams on Friday and Saturday nights.
Their tournament opener Thursday is against North Carolina State, which is on the fringe of the rankings with a 6-0 record.
If No. 18 Missouri can get by Southern California, it will provide the opposition Friday, with No. 12 Illinois or No. 13 Syracuse possibly moving into the championship game from the opposite bracket on Saturday.
“Being No. 1 means more to the other teams than us,” coach John Calipari said last week. “Now you're a bigger target. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure if we're the best team in the country.”
He will know a little more by this weekend.
The tournament tips off today with the two teams closest in the poll, Illinois and Syracuse, squaring off. Both are undefeated in nine games. Host Hawaii (3-2) plays Rhode Island (5-2) in the second game.
The first round concludes Thursday with Missouri (7-2) playing Southern California (6-2) and UMass playing N.C. State. Four games are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, with the losers-bracket games in the afternoon.
“This is going to be a tough tournament,” Hawaii coach Riley Wallace said Tuesday. “We've got eight teams with a combined record of 52-8, and four of them are undefeated.”
Pack looks for gold at beginning of Rainbow
N.C. State faces its first real test of the season in No. 1 UMass.
By Helen Ross, Greensboro News & Record Staff, December 27, 1995
N.C. State coach Les Robinson doesn't want to play the Grinch.
“So we tell them in recruiting, you'll be home for a few days at Christmas unless we have a really nice trip,' he says. “And a nice trip isn't going to Buffalo to play, either.'Now Hawaii is another story.
So after a brief stop last week for a game in California, the Wolfpack is spending the rest of the holidays in Honolulu to play in the Rainbow Classic.
State's first-round opponent tonight - actually, Friday morning at 12:30 - is a formidable one in No. 1-ranked Massachusetts. State takes a 6-0 mark into the contest, which will be televised nationally on ESPN.
The Wolfpack arrived in Honolulu on Christmas Eve and the team attended a multidenominational service at a cathedral downtown. Sandwiched between turkey and dressing on Christmas were phone calls home to family and friends.
“We try to make it as much like Christmas as we can in Honolulu,' Robinson says, mindful of the incongruity of Hawaii's ample sunshine and summer-like temperatures.
The festivities have subsided, though, and the last few days have been spent in serious preparation for the Minutemen. One of the key matchups will be the duel between UMass center Marcus Camby and State's Todd Fuller.
The battle doesn't have the marquee value of last month's meeting between Camby and Wake's Tim Duncan. But Fuller is expected to be an NBA first-rounder this spring, and how well he plays will figure prominently in whether State can zap the Minutemen.
At the same time, Robinson doesn't want Fuller or the team to focus on the duel.
“I want to avoid the Duncan-Camby hype because Todd's numbers could be average and (we could still) be successful,' Robinson says. “Sometimes it's what a guy doesn't do that makes him successful as much as what he does. What he doesn't do is, say, force the issue against Camby when an opportunity isn't there.
“You want him to challenge him and compete against him, but you also want him to play smart and accept the fact that he's a great shot-blocker. … Todd knows he's not going to stop him by himself. He's going to need help and he'll get help.'
With the exception of the same deft shooting touch and considerable range, Camby and Fuller are decidedly different players.
“Todd's more of a power player,' Robinson says. “Camby is more like a guard playing center. … He's multitalented.' Fuller agrees.
“What makes him dangerous is that he's got a lot of dimensions in his game,' the 6-foot-11 senior says. “He can post up. He can turn around and shoot the jumper effectively. He can drive, and he can also shoot from outside. That's three or four dimensions that make him a dangerous player. “I'm more of a post player … I make my living on the block.'
Fuller also wants to look beyond the individual matchup and concentrate on the things State needs to do to pull an upset.
“UMass is an excellent basketball team. We have to have five guys playing well that night to beat them,' he says.
UMass stays unbeaten
No. 1 Massachusetts 78, North Carolina State 67 From The Associated Press, 12/29/1995
Marcus Camby scored 19 points, 11 in the second half, to fight off determined North Carolina State and keep the Minutemen (8-0) perfect. The Wolfpack's Todd Fuller and Danny Strong combined for 53 of their team's 67 points in the Rainbow Classic game at Honolulu.
“We don't worry about losing,” UMass John Calipari said after the Minutemen rallied in the second half. “We do our thing, and if they play a perfect game, we'll lose. I can accept that.”
UMass gets Weeks worth of scoring off bench
From The Buffalo News Staff, 12/29/1995
With Massachusetts star Marcus Camby in foul trouble, Tyrone Weeks knew exactly what coach John Calipari wanted. After all, he had heard too much about his lack of scoring.
“The coaches are always looking to me to score more,” said Weeks, who had 12 points to help the top-ranked Minutemen beat North Carolina State, 78-67, in the first round of the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu.
“My teammates tell me, too, that I need to score.”
The 6-foot-7, 260-pounder, who was averaging only 3.4 points, hit two quick field goals midway through the second half to start an 8-0 run that opened a seven-point lead.
Weeks was 5-for-6 and Inus Norville 2-for-3 in support of Camby, who wound up with 19 points and eight rebounds.
In tonight's semifinals, the Minutemen will face Southern California and No. 13 Syracuse will play Rhode Island. The Trojans upset No. 18 Missouri, 75-64, in the first game.
In a battle of unbeaten teams, the Minutemen (8-0) struggled for more than half against the Wolfpack (6-1).
“We don't worry about losing,” Calipari said. “We do our thing, and if they play a perfect game, we'll lose. I can accept that.”
Southern California (7-2) matched last season's victory total by surprising Missouri. The Trojans were 7-20 last year.
MASSACHUSETTS (78) – Dana Dingle 3-6 5-7 11, Donta Bright 4-8 4-4 12, Ross Burns 0-0 0-0 0, Giddel Padilla 0-0 0-0 0, Edgar Padilla 1-8 0-0 3, Andy Maclay 0-0 0-0 0, Marcus Camby 8-18 3-4 19, Carmelo Travieso 6-11 0-1 16, Tyrone Weeks 5-6 2-2 12, Ted Cottrell 0-0 0-0 0, Rigoberto Nunez 0-0 0-0 0, Inus Norville 2-3 1-2 5. TOTALS: 29-60 (48.3%) 15-20 (75.0%) 78.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE (67) – Danny Strong 8-15 2-2 23, Ivan Wagner 0-1 0-0 0, Ishua Benjamin 1-5 0-0 2, Curtis Marshall 1-4 0-0 3, Al Pinkins 0-1 0-0 0, Jeremy Hyatt 2-5 0-0 5, Clint Harrison 2-5 0-0 4, Marcus Wilson 0-4 0-0 0, Todd Fuller 12-22 6-11 30. TOTALS: 26-62 (41.9%) 8-13 (61.5%) 67.
HALFTIME: North Carolina State 34, Massachusetts 31. 3-POINTERS: Massachusetts 5-13 (Travieso 4-8, E. Padilla 1-5), North Carolina State 7-24 (Strong 5-10, Hyatt 1-3, Marshall 1-4, Pinkins 0-1, Benjamin 0-2, Harrison 0-2, Fuller 0-2). REBOUNDS: Massachusetts 27 (Dingle, Camby 8), North Carolina State 41 (Fuller 14). ASSISTS: Massachusetts 23 (E. Padilla 9), North Carolina State 14 (Hyatt 4). FOULED OUT: None. TOTAL FOULS: Massachusetts 13, North Carolina State 16. ATTENDANCE: 8,871. RECORDS: Massachusetts 8-0, North Carolina State 6-1.
Massachusetts 31 47 -- 78 North Carolina State 34 33 -- 67