Men’s hoop travels to Louisville for regular season finale
By Justin C. Smith, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 1, 1996
In its regular season finale, the Massachusetts men’s basketball team travels to Freedom Hall to face the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals. Denny Crum’s already dangerous crew has been recently bolstered by the return of Samaki Walker.
Walker, a sophomore center, had not played the previous 10 games for the Cardinals due to allegations of NCAA rules violations. The NCAA board was looking into the questionable purchase of an automobile by Walker’s father1), but the charges have been dropped.
In his first game back, a 80-79 double overtime loss to Marquette Wednesday, he led the team in scoring with 24 and rebounding with 12. His counterpart tomorrow, Marcus Camby, has seen the big man play and has respect for the 6-foot-9 inch, 240-pounder.
“He’s an aggressive low post player,” Camby said. “It will be another great challenge for myself. I’ve been played physical all year, but they’re a great team with him back in the lineup.”
Louisville (19-9 overall, 10-4 Conference USA) also has quick and strong backcourt with the combination of Tick Rogers and DeJuan Wheat, which could cause some problems for the struggling UMass backcourt.
Over the past two games the tandem of Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso has combined for only seven assists, while committing 12 turnovers. On the defensive end, opposing backcourts in those two games have averaged over 30 points per contest.
“Carmelo just making shots right now,” UMass coach John Calipari said. “They are playing him tougher on defense. He hasn’t hit from the outside but when he goes to the foul line and misses free throws, what kind of defense do they play there?
“On the other end, defensively what happened Wednesday night] hasn’t happened all year, the guy was just quicker.”
Another outside threat for the Cardinals is Brian Keiser. Over his last eight games, he is shooting 59 percent from behind the three-point arc.
The final regular season test for the Minutemen (27-1, 15-1 Atlantic 10) will prove a good test for Camby and his teammates as March Madness begins.
“This game is what we need before the tournament, playing a game in a hostile gym,” Camby said. “This is going to be just like an NCAA Tournament game.”
“They shoot the ball well and create shots for their guard,” Calipari added. “They found themselves guys when Samaki Walker went down that didn’t know they were that good.
“Its a game they have been targeting and its a kind of game we look forward to. We know how hard its going to be.”
Massachusetts (#2) 62, Louisville (#21) 59
From The Associated Press, 3/2/1996
Louisville had a chance to tie the game with under five seconds left, but Carmelo Travieso blocked DeJuan Wheat's three-point attempt and time expired.
U-Mass, virtually assured of a number one seed in the N-C-A-A tournament, finished the regular season with a 28-1 record, 15-1 in the Atlantic 10, and will next play on Thursday in the A-10 tournament.
In a game that was physical throughout and played at tournament intensity, Massachusetts built a double-digit first half lead behind Camby's 11 points, mostly on moves close to the basket. Dana Dingle carried the load on the boards in the first half with eight rebounds.
“That was one of the most physical games I've ever been a part of,” said U-Mass coach John Calipari. “But it was consistently physical. I can live with that. We just beat the crap out of us. As coaches, all we're looking for is consistency.”
Camby presence was also felt on the defensive end. Samaki Walker came off the bench and his first shot attempt was swatted away by Camby. Despite Camby's and the Minutemen's swarming defense, Louisville was able to chip away at the lead and closed the half with a 5-2 run behind a three-pointer by Damion Dantzler and a short jumper by Walker, to cut the deficit to 34-27.
The intensity picked up in the second half as Louisville refused to go away. U-Mass went up 48-40 with 11:20 left on a layup by Tyrone Weeks, but Louisville responded behind two three-pointers by Brian Keiser to pull the Cardinals to within 48-46 with 10:23 left.
Louisville hung tough and cut the lead to 58-57 on three Wheat foul shots. After the teams traded baskets, Wheat made a driving layup to pull the Cardinals to 60-59 with 2:03 left.
After two Massachusetts turnovers, Louisville had a chance to hold for one shot and the win. Wheat attempted to dribble the clock down, and as he was driving to the right wing Donta Bright picked him up on a switch and Wheat lost the ball out of bounds.
On the ensuing inbounds pass Walker was forced to give a foul to Camby, as Louisville was not yet over the limit. Walker then committed his fifth foul on the next play and Camby calmly sank both free throws for the final 62-59 margin.
“It was a heck of a game,” said Louisville coach Denny Crum. “I guess that's what you look for in college basketball – two teams playing their hearts out.”
Camby strengthened his bid for player-of-the-year honors, as he added eight rebounds and five blocks to his 23 points and clutch foul shooting. Camby was 8-of-18 from the field and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line.
“He's as good as there is,” said Crum. “He can score, block shots, rebound and he's a good passer. He's a heck of a player. He reminds me a lot of Pervis Ellison.”
Dingle finished the game with 15 rebounds along with scoring 11 points and Bright added 12 points.
Edgar Padilla recorded seven assists and five steals, including his 75th of the year to set the U-Mass single-season record for steals.
“They like one another and they care about one another,” said Calipari about his team. “I told them before the game – and coaches say this all the time – I know about problems at other programs, but my team, I love being around them.”
Louisville shot only 36 per cent (21-of-59) from the field and 69 per cent (9-of-13) from the foul line.
Massachusetts shot a respectable 46 per cent (24-of-52) from the field, but the difference was at the free throw line were the Minutemen missed only one attempt, going 12-of-13 from the charity stripe.
Wheat, who was playing with a sore shooting hand, finished with 10 points on only 2-of-10 shooting from the field. He added seven assists and committed only two turnovers.
Kiser led Louisville with 14 points, including hitting 4-of-7 from behind the three-point line. Tick Rogers finished the game with 13 points and Walker had just six points on 2-of-10 shooting. The Cardinals, who next play in the Conference USA tournament, dropped to 19-10.
The Minutemen finished the season 19-0 at neutral site and road games and 8-0 against top 25 teams.
The game was played before a Freedom Hall record crowd of 20,076 fans.
Minutemen shoot down Cardinals in season finale
Camby, UM defense rise up to the occasion
By Justin C. Smith, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 4, 1996
With its thrilling 62-59 win over the 21st ranked Louisville Cardinals, the Massachusetts men’s basketball team proved what coach John Calipari said all along.
They’re all right.
For the first time in what seemed to be quite a while, the Minutemen dug in on defense and executed their half court offense as UMass fans have been accustomed to. Though Louisville never gave up and did force a tie at one point late in the game, it was the defense that came up big late to secure the Minutemen’s 28th victory of the season.
Donta Bright forced Cardinal point guard DeJuan Wheat into only his second turnover of the game with less than 10 seconds left in the contest. Wheat wanted to drive down the right sideline, but lost his dribble in front of his own bench, forcing Louisville to foul in hopes of a miracle.
The only time the Minutemen trailed was on the game’s first possession.
Marcus Camby tipped the opening jump ball to Louisville’s Tick Rogers. UMass’ starting corps dropped back to cover the wrong basket and the Louisville guard had the easy dunk. It would be the only uncontested hoop that a Cardinal would see all game.
Just three minutes into the contest the defensive tone was set by Camby. Samaki Walker, who missed 10 games due to alleged NCAA rules violations in his father’s purchase of an automobile, had just entered the lineup and on Louisville’s first offensive possession went right at Camby. This game was Walker’s second since being reinserted into the Cardinal lineup, his first was a 24 point effort last Wednesday against Marquette.
The UMass center, a National Player of the Year Candidate, sent Walker’s first attempted shot back from where it came and started the Minutemen’s transition offense, Louisville’s 6-foot-9-inch sophomore superstar would play 27 minutes Saturday, hitting only 2-of-10 shots from the field, finishing with only six points.
With a chance to cut his team's deficit to a single point, Walker once again challenged Camby. As happened on his first attempt, Walker was denied by the 6-foot-11-inch Camby on his final attempt and preserve the UMass lead.
Though Camby’s numbers overall were still impressive, game high 23 points, eight rebounds and five blocks to go along with an assist and a steal, he often looked tired, leaving spectators to ponder what he could have accomplished with fresh legs.
The defensive prowess of Camby was also exhibited by his point guard. Edgar Padilla broke the single season steal record for a Minuteman with his second steal of the game, which led to a two-handed monster jam. The previous mark was held by Mike Williams at 75 during the 1994-95 season. Padilla now has 79 on the year. In the St. Joseph’s game, Padilla became the all time steal leader with 135 in his first three years at UMass.
MASSACHUSETTS (62) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Dingle 34 4-11 3-4 4-15 1 1 11 Bright 31 6-10 0-0 3-4 3 3 12 Camby 34 8-18 7-7 3-8 1 3 23 E Padilla 34 1-1 0-0 0-5 7 0 2 Travieso 39 2-7 2-2 1-3 3 3 8 Clarke 7 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 Norville 6 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 1 2 Weeks 15 2-3 0-0 0-3 0 0 4 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 24-52 12-13 11-39 16 11 62 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.462, FT-.923. 3-Point Goals: 2-4, .500 (Travieso 2-4). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 6 (Camby 5, Travieso). Turnovers: 17 (E Padilla 7, Camby 4, Weeks 2, Bright, Clarke, Dingle, Travieso). Steals: 8 (E Padilla 5, Bright, Camby, Travieso). LOUISVILLE (59) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Sims 29 3-9 0-0 2-4 1 0 6 Dantzler 26 3-7 0-0 3-5 0 0 7 Smith 13 1-2 1-2 0-0 1 2 3 Rogers 28 5-8 1-3 2-2 0 3 13 Wheat 33 2-10 5-5 1-2 7 0 10 Walker 27 2-10 2-3 2-8 2 5 6 Kiser 32 5-11 0-0 0-5 2 1 14 Flynn 12 0-2 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 21-59 9-13 10-27 13 11 59 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.356, FT-.692. 3-Point Goals: 8-16, .500 (Sims 0-1, Dantzler 1-2, Rogers 2-2, Wheat 1-3, Kiser 4-7, Flynn 0-1). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 3 (Sims, Dantzler, Walker). Turnovers: 13 (Flynn 4, Kiser 3, Wheat 2, Dantzler, Rogers, Sims, Walker). Steals: 10 (Sims 4, Walker 3, Rogers 2, Kiser). __________________________________ Massachusetts 34 28 - 62 Louisville 27 32 - 59 __________________________________ Technical fouls: Massachusetts 1 (Head Coach Calipari). A: 20,076. Officials: Larry Lembo, Steve Olson, Steve Welmer.