Now No. 2, UMass will try harder
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 2/27/1996
After his team defeated top-ranked and previously undefeated Massachusetts Saturday, George Washington coach Mike Jarvis said the Minutemen still deserved to be No. 1 in the polls – but he added that voters probably wouldn't agree. He was correct on at least one account.
UMass' nine-week reign – the longest since Duke was No. 1 for the entire 1991-92 season – has ended. Kentucky, which has not lost since being defeated by the Minutemen in its season opener, is No. 1 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/CNN polls, while UMass fell to No. 2 in both.
Kansas was third, Connecticut fourth and Purdue fifth in both polls. Jarvis' Colonials broke into the AP poll at 24, knocking out Boston College, which lost twice last week.
Yesterday, UMass coach John Calipari said prior to the release of the AP poll that the pressure of being No. 1 and going unbeaten are gone, and now the Minutemen can concentrate solely on improvement.
“The pressure for us now is to prepare for postseason,” said Calipari. “We have pressure to get better. We're not panicking; 26-1 is a good record. We just have to figure out what went wrong.”
After Saturday's 86-76 setback in Amherst, many, including Calipari, anticipated that Kentucky would leapfrog UMass in the polls.
“The team that's going to be No. 1 we beat, but that's fine,” said Calipari. “For us, it's a matter of getting that seed and getting in the NCAA tournament and having some fun.”
Jarvis said Saturday some voters would prefer to see another team No. 1 regardless of the outcome; he was repeating the Atlantic 10 coaches' longstanding claim that their teams seldom get the respect those in other conferences do.
Yesterday, St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli, whose team plays UMass tomorrow, echoed those sentiments.
“I'd be stunned if UMass were still ranked No. 1,” said Martelli. “I just watch the way these things work and I sometimes question the sanity of people.
“You have a team like Virginia Tech, who earlier this season lost a game and dropped four spots. Then a team like Clemson loses twice in one week and drops one spot. It's just a matter of perception.”
Second helping for UMass? St. Joe's to see
St. Joseph's wary entering rematch
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 2/28/1996
No need to tell St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli what to expect from the University of Massachusetts in tonight's Atlantic 10 matchup at the Mullins Center.
The Minutemen (26-1, 14-1) are probably still smarting from Saturday's 86-76 loss to George Washington at home, which ended both their unbeaten season and their nine-week reign as the nation's No. 1 team (the longest since Duke in 1992). In the last game of the season at Mullins, the Minutemen, now No. 2, will be eager to return to the form that earned them that top ranking.
“UMass coming off a loss? I think it's going to be tough for us no matter what,” said Martelli.
And that's not all St. Joe's has stacked against it.
“It's Seniors Night, so the fans are going to be excited for Donta Bright and Dana Dingle,” said Martelli. “The fans are going to be chanting for junior Marcus Camby to stay another year, and I'm going to be leading the chant of 'Leave, leave, leave!' ”
Martelli, whose Hawks (13-10, 8-6) are looking to secure third place in the Atlantic 10 East Division, said the Minutemen are probably still sore over the GWU loss and “looking to see who to take it out on. It will be more difficult for us because we played them tough at our place earlier this year, so we can't sneak up on them.”
Martelli's reference was to UMass' 94-89 overtime win in Philadephia Jan. 10, when Camby had a career-high 34 points. The Hawks are 9-5 since then and have won four straight. But they have lost six straight to the Minutemen.
In the earlier meeting, there were 17 ties and 22 lead changes. Both teams shot extremely well. St. Joseph's hit 57 percent from the floor, including 59 percent in the first half. UMass was 14 for 24 (58 percent) in each half, 4 for 6 (67 percent) in overtime.
UMass led, 76-70, with 44.2 seconds left in regulation but St. Joseph's outscored the Minutemen, 9-3, to send the game into overtime.
UMass coach John Calipari said he is pleased with how his team responded to Saturday's loss.
“We didn't play well and we know that,” he said. “We took blame for that very well. Marcus took the blame, the guards took the blame. We've watched the George Washington tape to make sure those kind of things don't happen again.”
The unbeaten record and No. 1 ranking are history, but they apparently played a role in increased applications at UMass.
University spokeswoman Kay Scanlon said yesterday the total of applications received before the Feb. 12 deadline (when UMass was No. 1 for the seventh consecutive week) was 10,995 – up 7.5 percent from last year.
“I've spoken with a few persons and admissions, and they said that some of the rise is due to the increased exposure of the team,” said Scanlon. “They said that when they go to high school college fair nights, people are talking about the team.”
Play floored St. Joe's
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 2/29/1996
AMHERST – It may have been during the five-minute overtime that Massachusetts offically beat St. Joseph's last night, but if not for an incredible sequence in the final two minutes, the Minutemen never would have gotten that far.
The Minutemen shut out St. Joe's in the final two minutes – in fact, they barely let the Hawks out of their own end – in rallying to tie the game by scoring the final 6 points of regulation before going on to a 68-66 victory.
“I don't know how we got back in it,” said UMass coach John Calipari.
How they did it was through relentless effort to overcome their stumbling play. In fact, the two-minute comeback was not really highlight film material. There were numerous missed shots, six missed free throws, but an all-out effort on the offensive boards and full-court defense overcame that.
Those two things and a controversial intentional foul call against St. Joseph's made the difference.
St. Joe's led, 58-52, after Will Johnson hit two free throws with 2:01 left. Marcus Camby missed the second of two free throws, but the Minutemen got the offensive rebound.
Dana Dingle was fouled but made only one of two. St. Joe's had to call time out when it couldn't inbound the ball, then threw it away.
Edgar Padilla was fouled and missed both free throws. Camby got the rebound and UMass put up four shots before Tyrone Weeks was fouled on a follow.
He missed the first and made the second. St. Joe's again was forced to call time.
Before the ball could be inbounded, Rigoberto Nunez hit the floor with a thud. The referees huddled and called an intentional personal foul on St. Joe's Terrell Myers. That meant two free throws and possession of the ball.
“That was the worst call in college basketball – ever,” said Myers. “I didn't even push him.”
Referee Tom Corbin saw it differently. “I had a 100 percent sure-shot look at No. 5 Myers, who, off the ball, gave a two-hand hard push.”
St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli was hesitant to criticize the call but said, ''The kid may have to go to LA for the Academy Awards.”
“He pushed me,” said Nunez matter-of-factly.
Nunez made only the second of two free throws. UMass trailed, 58-56, but still had the ball.
The Minutemen botched a play in the lane, but the ball went out of bounds off St. Joe's. Off the inbounds pass, Padilla missed a jumper and Camby's tip missed. Then Donta Bright grabbed one of 32 offensive rebounds for UMass on the night and sank a turnaround 12-footer with 3.6 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
St. Joe's Mark Bass took the inbounds pass and finally got the Hawks back over half-court, but his 40-footer didn't come close. And ultimately, UMass dodged another close call.
Sidebar: Atlantic 10 reprimands St. Joe's Martelli
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/1/1996
After the University of Massachusetts defeated St. Joseph's Wednesday in a game that included a controversial intentional foul against the Hawks, losing coach Phil Martelli ran up to the game officials and gave them a piece of his mind.
Yesterday Atlantic 10 commissioner Linda Bruno gave Martelli an official reprimand, saying that he “attempted to contact the game officials in an inappropriate manner.
“Coach Martelli realizes his actions were not in keeping with our code of conduct and is apologetic for those actions,” Bruno added.
“Like all of our coaches, student athletes and administrators, Coach Martelli is expected to conduct himself in an appropriate manner. He has demonstrated that throughout the year, and I know an incident like yesterday's will not happen again.”
According to the Atlantic 10 code of conduct, a second violation could result in more severe penalties.
Martelli was angered by an intentional foul against St. Joseph's guard Terrell Myers, who was called for a personal against UMass forward Rigoberto Nunez during an inbounds play near the end of regulation. Nunez fell to the floor, holding one side of his face. Thanks to the foul, UMass was able to tie the game and went on to a 68-66 overtime victory.
During the postgame press conference, Martelli was reluctant to criticize the call but said Nunez “may have to go to LA for the Academy Awards.”
St Josephs Pa (66) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Domani 36 1-2 4-7 0-2 0 5 6 Townsend 40 7-16 0-1 2-11 6 3 14 Johnson 40 4-6 4-5 4-10 0 3 12 Bey 33 3-9 1-2 1-1 4 4 8 Bass 37 2-9 6-6 0-0 1 2 10 Myers 19 4-10 3-4 1-4 1 4 14 Petrovic 9 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 3 0 Page 3 0-0 2-2 0-0 0 0 2 Simmonds 8 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 4 0 _______________________________________________ Totals 225 21-54 20-27 8-30 12 28 66 _______________________________________________ Percentages: Fg-.389, Ft-.741. 3-Point Goals: 4-13, .308 (Domani 0-1, Bey 1-2, Bass 0-3, Myers 3-6, Simmonds 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 4 (Johnson 3, Myers). Turnovers: 16 (Bey 6, Townsend 3, Domani 2, Petrovic 2, Bass, Myers, Simmonds). Steals: 6 (Bey 3, Bass, Domani, Myers). Massachusetts (68) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Dingle 35 3-6 3-7 2-4 0 0 9 Nunez 3 0-0 1-2 0-1 0 0 1 Cottrell 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 G Padilla 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Bright 33 7-17 1-2 9-15 0 3 15 Clarke 21 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 E Padilla 36 1-8 1-6 2-4 2 4 3 Camby 35 8-20 5-8 7-15 2 4 21 Travieso 26 1-8 1-3 3-4 1 4 3 Weeks 22 2-6 8-9 5-11 0 4 12 Norville 8 1-3 0-1 1-3 0 3 2 _______________________________________________ Totals 225 24-71 20-38 29-57 6 24 68 _______________________________________________ Percentages: Fg-.338, Ft-.526. 3-Point Goals: 0-6, .000 (G Padilla 0-1, Bright 0-1, E Padilla 0-1, Travieso 0-3). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 3 (E Padilla, Camby, Travieso). Turnovers: 19 (Bright 5, E Padilla 5, Camby 4, Weeks 4, Dingle). Steals: 11 (E Padilla 6, Bright 2, Camby, Dingle, Travieso). _______________________________________ St Josephs Pa 19 39 8 - 66 Massachusetts 24 34 10 - 68 _______________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 9,493. Officials: Brent Kerbs, John Corbett, William Koskinen.