UMass wary of Fordham
With Temple on horizon, Minutemen can't afford letdown
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe Staff, 1/30/1996
AMHERST – There is great potential for distraction. The No. 1-ranked University of Massachusetts Minutemen (18-0) host Atlantic 10 foe Fordham (2-14) tonight at 7, but many already are anticipating the following game, Thursday at Temple. With the upset-minded Owls on the horizon, it wouldn't be surprising for the Minutemen to look past the Rams, who are 0-6 in conference play and have lost 10 of their last 11 games.
That's where UMass coach John Calipari comes in. Amid talk of Temple, top rankings and undefeated seasons, the eight-year mentor said he will make certain his squad stays focused on tonight.
With center Marcus Camby back after missing four games following a collapse, and with freshman guard Charlton Clarke back after missing a month because of foot surgery, the Minutemen are at full strength. And while some are pointing to the A-10 race, Calipari & Co. will use these games to prepare for the postseason. With bench strength a concern, Calipari said those players who don't give a top effort the rest of the way will be sitting.
“I don't think we will take Fordham lightly,” said Calipari. “The thing that we're trying to do is get them to see the big picture. There's a way we want them to be perceived in terms of how we play teams: always come to play, play hard and play clean, with no fights.
“But we've got the tough part now. Having Marcus back at full force, and then getting Charlton Clarke back means we have the team that we can build on and get prepared for going to the NCAA tournament.”
Camby played well in his first game back, Saturday against St. Bonaventure, tallying 19 points, 9 blocks and 7 boards. Calipari said he will continue to have concerns about Camby's health because of the big center's lifestyle.
“He has not been taking good care of his body,” said Calipari. “He eats a lot of junk food and he doesn't get enough rest. I've told him that at the pace we go, he has to get rest. I tell him to take care of his body, and if he does that, things will take care of themselves.”
If the Minutemen play as they have lately (tops in the A-10 in scoring margin, second in field goal percentage defense), they should take care of Fordham. But the Rams shouldn't be taken lightly. Their weakness has been sustaining the effort; Fordham has led at halftime in eight of 16 contests.
“There are a few games where we had a chance to win,” said Fordham coach Nick Macarchuk. “But teams have shot better in the second half against us. Virginia Tech shot 39 percent in the first half against us Saturday, then shot 69 percent in the second half. We have shot 50 percent or better in only four halves this season.”
UMass, which is shooting 46 percent, has been led by various players in Camby's absence, most notably senior forward Donta Bright, who set the conference record for consecutive free throws made (31). And junior point guard Edgar Padilla became only the eighth player in school history to reach the 300-assist mark.
“We feel our starters have been consistent,” said Calipari. “Now we need to get the same kind of effort from our bench.”
Calipari said he recently got a few stretch-run tips from Connecticut women's coach Geno Auriemma, whose team went unbeaten en route to winning the national championship last year.
“He gave me some ideas about what to do in that situation, when his team was trying to make a run and people are shooting at them,” said Calipari. ''Am I surprised we've played this way? No. Am I surprised someone hasn't put together an effort to knock us off? Yes.”
Minutemen tune out Fordham
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe Staff, 1/31/1996
AMHERST – Have you heard the one about the squad from the Bronx that challenged the No. 1 team in the nation last night? The game was over practically in a New York minute.
Fordham was just what the University of Massachusetts needed before its battle with archrival Temple tomorrow: a tuneup. When the lowly Rams shot 23 percent in the first half, it was clear they were in for a long evening; all season they've played their best basketball before intermission.
UMass played enough quality basketball to jump out to a 15-point halftime lead, then stretched the margin into a soporific 80-50 win before a listless Mullins Center crowd of 9,493.
Every UMass player saw action, and all but two played at least 10 minutes. Leading scorer Marcus Camby finished with 24 points in 24 minutes to pace the Minutemen (19-0 overall, 7-0 Atlantic 10). Reserve forward Tyrone Weeks added 11 points and guard Edgar Padilla had 9 points and 10 assists for UMass, which forced 11 Fordham turnovers in the first half and shot 60 percent in the second.
Save for a 5-4 deficit in the first minute of play, UMass never trailed, and after racing out to a 24-10 lead with 10:37 left in the half never looked in danger.
Fordham fell to 2-15, 0-8.
“Playing this game and having the performance we had is good,” said UMass coach John Calipari. “We played hard. We dove after loose balls and rebounded. I think our team, through this, will be ready for the Temple game.”
The Minutemen were sloppy at times, particularly on offense. In the first half, they went six minutes without a field goal. Against Temple, that would cost plenty. Against Fordham, it meant only that the rout was deferred.
“Offensively, we got a little bit crazy in the first half,” said Calipari. “Part of it was we forgot we've got the best player in the country on our team. So we went through a five- to six-minute stretch where Marcus didn't even touch the ball.
“So in the second half, every pass that came down, Marcus got the ball.”
And Camby delivered, scoring the first 6 points of the second half to put UMass up, 38-21.
From there, the rout was on. Donta Bright scored on a feed from Padilla to put the Minutemen up, 42-23. Camby sank two free throws to make it 51-27. Fordham countered with a bucket by Connie Mack to pull to 51-29, but UMass then outscored Fordham, 12-6, to take a 63-35 lead with 7:43 remaining.
“The good news with this team is that they respond,” said Calipari. “I challenge them and I tell them what we need to do and they carry it over on the floor. That's why they've had the season they've had.
“Obviously, Camby had great numbers, but how about Edgar Padilla? He had 10 assists and one turnover. He delivered the ball the moment the ball needed to be delivered. He's doing so well that in my opinion, right now as we speak, he's the best point guard I've ever coached.”
When UMass took its biggest lead, 76-43, on a layup by Weeks, the regulars were long gone (starting shooting guard Carmelo Travieso sat out the second half because of a head cold). The complexion of the game hardly changed with the little-used reserves in; Fordham couldn't mount much offense against them, either.
But undoubtedly the most severe blows were dealt in the first half, when the Rams were plagued by unforced errors.
“I think as a team we felt a little nervous out there,” said Fordham forward John Henry. “We made some real bad mistakes with our passing and we didn't sprint to get open. We felt like everyone was a little awed. In other games, we played well in the first half; tonight it was a little different.”
UMass rolls as unbeaten streak is now 19
By Justin C. Smith, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, January 31, 1996
The brutal schedule that the Massachusetts men's basketball team plays saw one of its least formidable foes last night as the Minutemen hosted Fordham at the Mullins Center. As advertised UMass made it look fairly easy, extending its winning streak to 19 as it pummeled the Rams (2-15 overall, 0-7 Atlantic 10), 80-50.
“This is the best defensive team we’ve played all season,” Fordham coach Nick Macarchuk said. “We aren't a real good offensive team to begin, but they contributed to that tonight. We can't take anything positive from this game and that's because of them.”
UMass' defensive intensity led to 17 Ram turnovers and created 21 fast-break points. The Minutemen running game was executed to near perfection by guard Edgar Padilla, who made several key passes which in turn created easy layups for his teammates. He finished with 10 assists while committing only one turnover.
”[Edgar] delivered the ball the moment the ball needed to be delivered,” Calipari said of his point guard. “He's really done the things that he has needed to do and knows where the ball needs to go. In my opinion. he's the best point guard I've ever coached — he's only a junior.”
“The guards never looked like they got tired,” Macarchuk added. “They pushed us outside and if we ever did get inside then we had to deal with [Marcus] Camby.”
Camby was a monster presence in the paint once again as he recorded five blocked shots along with leading all scorers in the game with 24 points.
UMass got extensive productive playing time from its bench as well. Junior Tyrone Weeks was the second leading Minuteman scorer with 11 points, chipping in with five boards Inus Norville also contributed to the UMass cause pouring in five points and grabbing two rebounds in 16 minutes of solid playing time.
Senior Ted Cottrell saw his first major playing time off the pine this season and responded to the delight of the sellout crowd. The Maryland native hit 3-of-5 from the field for six points, and with his positive 10 minutes on the court, his coach feels he may deserve to get more time in the future
“That's the great thing about this team is that they respond,” Calipari said. “The last game [Ted] just went out and performed and he showed he could play, and now he’ll play more. I've tried to tell that as a lesson to the rest of the guys on the team.”
Freshman Charlton Clarke recorded his first field goal last night and finished with four points, two steals and one assist.
Minutemen Notes: UMass guard Carmelo Travieso (no points on 0-for-2 shooting) played only 10 minutes in the Fordham game due to a head cold.
“At halftime [Carmelo] said he felt a little wheezy,” Calipari said. “So I just decided to sit him, and he said it was all right.”
Camby shows no ill-effects in his return
By Candice Flemming, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, January 31, 1996
For those expecting Marcus Camby to be sluggish and out-of-sync upon his return to the court last Saturday against St. Bonaventure, forget about it.
The 6-foot-11 inch National Player of the Year candidate did have to shake off a little rust, but he showed how dominating he can be with his performance against the Bonnies and against Fordham last night.
On Saturday, Camby finished with a game-high 19 points, seven boards and a career-high nine blocks; and against the Rams last night, he broke out for 24 points, five boards and five blocks. The nine blocks against the Bonnies tied Camby with Harper Williams for the UMass record for most blocks in a game.
“When he's on a mission and he's focused, it's a joke how good he is. You see how he played [Saturday], and you can imagine that the last week and a half he's really made an effort,” Massachusetts coach John Calipari said after the St. Bonaventure game. “He was fine, aggressive. He was probably more aggressive then a couple of games before he fainted. That's good to see.”
Last night Camby must have been on a mission, because he scored 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field in the second half, after a first half which saw him shoot the ball only four times.
”[At halftime] Coach said in order for us to be successful in the second half, I had to score more,” Camby said.
“We went a 5-to-6 minute stretch where Marcus doesn't touch the ball. [In the second half], every pass came down and Marcus got the ball — every single time,” Calipari said. “Let him touch the ball because he's unselfish. He can score one-on-one. If they double him, he can pass it.”
At one point in the second half, Camby scored eight straight points, nailing three outside jumpers and two free throws to help increase UMass' lead to 22.
Against the Bonnies, Camby started off slow as well — offensively at least, attempting only three shots from the field and scoring five of his first-half seven points on free throws.
Defensively though, Camby was solid, blocking four shots before halftime while also pulling down four defensive rebounds.
In the second half he got it going offensively, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field while also scoring his 1,000 career point. In one sequence midway through the second half, he scored six straight points. After a basket underneath with 13:13 left, he scored on a turnaround jumper on the baseline and then dunked a pass from Edgar Padilla to give the Minutemen a 51-34 lead at the time.
“What I was telling [Camby] to do before the game [against St. Bonaventure] was worry about defense, rebounding and blocking shots,” Calipari said. “Because those are just efforts. You don't have to think much.
“Coach was telling me to just play defense, rebound the ball and block a lot of shots. Thai's what I concentrated on at first and my offense just came along with it,” Camby said.
Camby was originally cleared to play in time for the Pittsburgh game Jan. 23, but because he hadn't practiced enough Calipari chose not to play him, although Camby was aching to play. But against the Bonnies, he got his chance.
“It felt like my freshman year all over again, getting in the starting lineup,” Camby said about his return. “My palms were getting sweaty. I was just anxious to get out there on the court. It's been tough sitting in a hospital for a week watching my guys play, but it was a relief to get out there and finally get it over with, and show the world that there's truly nothing wrong.
“It felt great. I got out there in the starting lineup, the place was going crazy. I had a lot of blocks and scored my 1,000 point. It's been a great day for me. I just went out there and just played.”
Fordham (50) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Berrien 35 3-7 0-0 1-3 1 1 6 Henry 28 4-11 4-5 3-7 1 1 12 Deschryver 23 2-7 0-0 2-5 3 3 4 Lovett 32 3-7 5-6 0-1 1 3 12 Mascia 15 2-4 0-0 0-1 1 0 4 Kissane 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Carroll 24 1-8 1-2 1-2 0 2 4 Baxter 8 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 0 2 Mack 22 2-8 2-6 1-4 0 3 6 Dimascio 10 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 _______________________________________________ Totals 200 18-56 12-19 8-24 7 14 50 _______________________________________________ Percentages: Fg-.321, Ft-.632. 3-Point Goals: 2-9, .222 (Berrien 0-2, Deschryver 0-1, Lovett 1-2, Carroll 1-3, Dimascio 0-1). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: 1 (Deschryver). Turnovers: 17 (Berrien 3, Deschryver 3, Mascia 3, Carroll 2, Lovett 2, Mack 2, Baxter, Henry). Steals: 3 (Carroll 2, Mascia). Massachusetts (80) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Dingle 27 2-6 3-4 1-7 0 2 7 Bright 28 4-7 0-0 1-6 1 0 8 Camby 24 9-12 6-6 1-5 1 3 24 E Padilla 33 4-8 0-0 0-4 10 1 9 Travieso 10 0-2 0-2 0-0 2 0 0 Clarke 19 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 2 4 Burns 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 G Padilla 5 1-3 2-2 2-3 1 2 4 Maclay 1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Weeks 16 5-8 1-1 3-5 0 2 11 Cottrell 10 3-5 0-0 2-3 0 2 6 Nunez 10 1-4 0-0 1-1 0 2 2 Norville 16 2-3 1-1 1-2 1 1 5 _______________________________________________ Totals 200 33-63 13-16 12-37 17 18 80 _______________________________________________ Percentages: Fg-.524, Ft-.813. 3-Point Goals: 1-9, .111 (E Padilla 1-3, Travieso 0-2, Clarke 0-1, G Padilla 0-1, Cottrell 0-1, Nunez 0-1). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 5 (Camby 5). Turnovers: 7 (Bright, Camby, Cottrell, Dingle, E Padilla, Maclay, Nunez). Steals: 11 (Bright 2, Clarke 2, Dingle 2, Weeks 2, Camby, E Padilla, Travieso). __________________________________ Fordham 17 33 - 50 Massachusetts 32 48 - 80 __________________________________ Technical fouls: Massachusetts 1 (E Padilla). A: 9,493. Officials: Joe Mingle, John Corio, John Cahill.