Massachusetts (#2) 74, Geo Washington 65
From The Associated Press, 3/8/1996
PHILADELPHIA – Massachusetts avenged its only loss of the season, getting 19 points apiece from Donta Bright and Marcus Camby in a 74-65 win over George Washington in an Atlantic 10 semifinal Friday night.
The Minutemen (30-1) had lost four straight games against the Colonials, including an 86-76 defeat at home on Feb. 24.
Massachusetts, which has won 14 consecutive A-10 tournament games, will become only the third team in NCAA history to win five straight tournament and regular-season championships if it beats the Temple-Rhode Island winner in Saturday's championship game.
Trailing by 10, the Colonials opened the second half with a 16-5 run to take the lead 43-42 with 14:18 remaining – the Colonials' first lead since 17-16. Vaughn Jones scored eight points and Alexander Koul six during the run.
Over the next eight minutes, there were two ties and three lead changes.
UMass forged ahead 61-55 with 5:29 left when Bright hit a layup and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but Massachusetts chased down the loose ball and Camby buried a 10-footer.
Dana Dingle made a layup after he grabbed one of Massachusetts' 26 offensive boards1) and Bright's 3-pointer gave UMass its biggest lead, 66-55 with 2:04 remaining. GW got no closer than eight the rest of the way.
Camby's three blocks gives him 102 for the season, making the 6-foot-11 junior the only player other than LSU's Shaquille O'Neal to swat 100 or more shots in each of his first three seasons.
Camby scored 12 of his points in the first half as the Minutemen closed with a 17-8 run to take a 37-27 lead at intermission.
Koul led the Colonials (21-7) with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Jones and Kwame Evans each had 14.
The Colonials were the last team to beat UMass in this tournament, 84-83 in overtime in 1991.
UMass turns the tables on GWU
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/9/1996
PHILADELPHIA – They said things like, “We treat every game as if it's a big game,” and they sounded as convincing as your average crooked politician.
Make no mistake, the University of Massachusetts relished last night's 74-65 victory over George Washington as much as any this season. Never mind that the win advanced the second-ranked Minutemen to the Atlantic 10 tournament final for the fifth consecutive season and moved them into position to become only the third team in NCAA history to capture five league regular-season and tourney crowns in a row. Never mind that it boosted them to the 30-win plateau for only the second time in school history. Never mind that coach John Calipari was still around for the final buzzer.
Last night's win avenged the Minutemen's only loss of the season, an 86-76 debacle Feb. 24 that ended UMass' nine-week reign as the No. 1 team in the nation and ruined its hopes of finishing the regular season unbeaten. While UMass players said it was just another in a long list of impressive wins, Calipari, who received his first ejection ever in the Feb. 24 contest, didn't downplay the game's significance.
“This was about pride,” said Calipari, whose Minutemen (30-1) led, 37-27, at halftime. GWU outscored UMass, 16-5, over the first 6:18 of the second half to take a 45-44 lead, and the game stayed close until the Minutemen staged a 12-2 run that put them ahead, 66-55, with 2:02 to go.
“GWU plays us as good as any team in the country plays us,” added Calipari. “They're the only guys that give us trouble. This was a game to break a barrier. I told his players, 'Let's go into the NCAA tournament knowing we can play with any team in the country.' ”
“It will be a fun game,” said Calipari. “Our goal is to win the national championship, so that puts pressure on you, but the way we figure is we're in the tournament final, we might as well go out and win. There isn't any pressure to play a Philadelphia team here. We beat them twice this year pretty soundly.”
GWU was paced by center Alexander Koul, a 7-foot-1-inch, 296-pound widebody who once again proved a nemesis to UMass. He scored 20 points but played just 28 minutes, sitting out the last 9:02 of the first half with foul trouble.
With Koul in the lineup, GWU outscored UMass, 55-51. Without him, UMass outscored GWU, 23-10. “There is not anybody in the country who played Marcus Camby better than Alexander Koul,” said GWU coach Mike Jarvis.
“The difference last night was that Alexander was on the bench in the first half. If he was on the court, the game might still be going. They can't play him; that showed.”
It also showed in the Feb. 24 game, when Koul was a nightmare to Camby, who had one of his worst outings ever. While Camby had another subpar showing against Koul (19 points on 6-for-23 shooting), his teammates improved their efforts dramatically.
Forward Donta Bright, whose 3-for-13 output from the floor Feb. 24 included three missed dunks and an airball, tallied 19 points on 8-for-17 shooting.
“The games were the same, except for our intensity,” said Bright. “In the first game, we just gave up. Last night we played with more intensity; it was a better team effort.”
Guard Edgar Padilla, who had three assists and five turnovers in the first affair, had seven assists and two turnovers last night. He also had a steal and layup with 7:49 left that put the Minutemen up, 57-54, one of the biggest plays in the 12-2 run.
In spelling Camby, both were better matchups against Koul. Particularly Norville, who had 6 points and 6 boards in 16 minutes and kept Koul from dominating inside while Camby was on the bench. Weeks had 5 points and 6 boards in 13 minutes.
“I think the keys to the game were Inus and Tyrone,” said Bright. “Without those two, we lose the game.”
This team wins you over with its sheer determination
By Bob Ryan, Boston Globe Staff, 3/9/1996
PHILADELPHIA – They've got it down to an art form now.
UMass doesn't blow you out. UMass doesn't embarrass you. UMass doesn't give ESPN the fodder for highlights. UMass doesn't give Mr. Vitale the reason to extol its 10- or 12-man greatness.
“That was a good win for our program,” said coach John Calipari after watching his team move into the Atlantic 10 championship game (6:30 tonight) with a 74-65 win over archnemesis George Washington last night. “That's a team which will advance into the NCAA tournament and give people a lot of trouble.”
George Washington is also a team that always gives UMass a massive migraine. Since Mike Jarvis abandoned Boston University in favor of a job at his idol Red Auerbach's alma mater back in 1990, no team has placed an “L” on the all-time UMass ledger more frequently than his Colonials. Even with last night's UMass victory, the Jarvis-Calipari matchup now stands 7-6 in favor of the former. Not that anyone's counting.
UMass is now 30-1, and the “1” was a not-as-close-as-the-score-indicated 86-76 spanking administered by GW in Amherst Feb. 24. In that game, GW took the initiative immediately. UMass has lost only two games at home since moving into the Mullins Center, and both have been at the hands of Guess Who. This is a legitimate rivalry.
Rivalry, yes, but not a Crusade, at least not according to Coach Cal. “You can't make every game a 'statement' game,” he explained. “But we've had so many statement games this year it's been incredible.”
He didn't approach this game with the idea that if his team didn't win, he was going to issue knives and order the players to slit their own throats. He presented the game to them as an individual challenge. In the first meeting, for example, GW's Vaughn Jones ate Donta Bright for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and midnight snack. Bright had three missed dunks and an airball, practically qualifying for some sort of ESPY Award. Let's just say that the mentor reminded his senior forward of these things before the rematch.
Bright responded last night with 19 points, 7 rebounds and some key plays. Jones had a manageable 14 points and 4 rebounds.
UMass won this game on a night when Marcus Camby coulda/shoulda stayed in bed, or so you would have thought by the naked eye. The big fella shot an uninspiring 6 for 23. If some pro scout had dropped in from the Uranus League for his first look at Mr. Camby, he would have sent back a report suggesting that some team in the Uranus CBA consider giving him a tryout.
And yet . . .
“I told him that was the ugliest 19-point, 9-rebound, 3-block, 3-assist effort I've seen in a long, long time,” said Calipari. “He missed a lot of shots. He took a lot of faders. I told him, 'You're better than that.' ”
“I forced a lot of shots today,” agreed Camby. “I didn't play within myself. I've got to buckle down.”
That Camby is not well equipped to deal with burly rivals is a given, and 7-foot-1-inch, 290-plus-pound Alexander Koul is indeed a big and burly rival, who, you should know, also has some athletic dexterity. There cannot be the slightest doubt that the young man from Belarus will someday be handed large paychecks to play in the NBA. Camby was handled by the similarly constructed Big Country Reeves in last year's NCAA tournament, and he has not played well against Koul this year.
“He's a 7-foot guard,” reminded Coach Cal. And with any luck, he's through with Mr. Koul for the season.
But note who won the game. Camby was not Camby, and Camby did pick up two quick fouls, which necessitated some fancy personnel juggling by the coach, but UMass survived. The Minutemen did so, in part, because frontcourt bench subs Inus Norville and Tyrone Weeks combined for 11 points and 12 valuable rebounds.
It's now chic to say that UMass wins games because UMass Finds A Way, but it's the gospel truth. In the first GW game, dynamic Shawnta Rogers, all 5-3 of him, tore them apart with his penetration. This time Calipari put Carmelo Travieso on him, rather than Edgar Padilla, and Travieso worked his fanny off all evening to keep the astounding GW freshman from doing what he does best.
“He absolutely had his own way up at our place,” said Coach Cal. Last night he did distribute some first-half dazzlers in the open floor, but his half-court penetration was kept to a minimum. The Minutemen can live with 4 points and 6 assists from Mr. Rogers.
It all starts with defense for Your State U, and so once again, some of the postgame discussion centered on Dana Dingle, whose task last night was to keep high-scoring Kwame Evans from going off. Evans shot 3 for 14.
“He likes to come off picks and shoot jump shots,” shrugged Dingle. “I just wanted to make him think about taking it to the basket.”
What UMass has spent 31 games thinking about is whatever it takes to win. ''We don't have the most talent in the country,“ said Camby. “All we do is go out and play hard.”
UMass goes for a fifth straight Atlantic 10 tournament championship tonight. Coach Cal says it won't be a statement game, and he's probably correct. UMass makes the same statement every night: We're here to win; how about you?
UMass finally beats GW
By Mike Corey, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 11, 1996
(UMassHoops.com note: This article was published on Monday, 3/11, and at the end it also contains results of the 3/9 game against Temple.)
PHILADELPHIA - Throughout this year there has been much talk of the Minutemen’s success in broken records and extended streaks. With its fifth Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament win, regular season A-10 title, school record 31 wins in a season and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, to say this has been a good year is an understatement.
However, one of the most important things that the Minutemen accomplished this past weekend was not allowing one streak to increase, that of George Washington’s four consecutive wins against Massachusetts.
“The barrier was, they’re the only guys that beat us, they’re the only guys that really give us trouble,” said UMass coach John Calipari. “Let’s break that barrier going into the tournament knowing that there’s no team in the country we can’t play against.”
George Washington has been a team in the past couple years that the Minutemen could not shake. They have been the only team to beat Massachusetts at home in the William D. Mullins Center, not once, but twice. In the last four meetings the Minutemen just did not play UMass basketball. Their only loss this season was two weeks ago to GW by 10, 86-76.
Friday night was a different story. UMass came out of the box with intensity from the start and ran off to an early 37-27 halftime lead. From there it looked like the Minutemen would break the streak and be on their way to the title game by the next day.
Alexander Koul, the 7-foot-1 center, who has had his way with the Minutemen, was on the bench for the second part of the first half with two fouls. Marcus Camby also had two early ones, but was subbed in and out by Calipari for the remainder of the first frame.
However George Washington was not ready to go home early. They erased a 12 point deficit early at the start of the second half down to one in a matter of three minutes. When the second half began, Koul came bck with two quick hoops as Vaughn Jones came alive for the Colonials scoring seven points capped off with a hoop to cut the lead to one.
This time UMass did not sit down. After GW ended up taking the lead by one, 43-42, and again 54-53, UMass went on a 13-1 run to make a 10 point lead for themselves and by that time the clock read 1:39 and the Minutemen faithful began singing the “Hey-Hey-Hey-Goodbye.”
The Minutemen broke the barrier with a 74-65 win and was off to the final game to try for their fifth consecutive A-10 Title.
“I guess the percentages favored UMass and they had to win one game sometime against us,” said George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis.
Both teams shot low percentages from the field with 38 percent for GW and only 37 percent for Massachusetts. However, it was the UMass offensive rebounding edge the Minutemen compiled (26-14) that led to the win. Inus Norville provided a good spark off the bench with six points and six boards, as did Tyrone Weeks with six boards and five points.
“I think you’re seeing a team that will advance and give people a lot of trouble in the NCAA tournament,” said Calipari.
Jarvis didn’t knock the effort both teams put forth though, and felt his team is going to be ready for post season play.
“They’re obviously a great basketball team, and we will use this game to get even better,” said Jarvis. “We have nothing to be ashamed of, we played a hell of a basketball game. When the brackets are announced who ever’s playing GW better watch out.”
It wasn’t any easier for the Minutemen on Sunday when they faced arch rival Temple for the A-10 Championship. Temple is always an opponent that will come to play as the Owls did not just hand over the Minutemen their fifth tourney title without a battle.
Temple has faced UMass the past four years in the finals and each time has come up on the short end, this time by the score of 75-61 as the Minutemen were victorious once again.
UMass ran off to the lead from the start and held the advantage by five at the half 35-30. UMass then had another lapse, like they did with GW, in which Temple took control. They went on a 14-4 run and took a six point lead 44-38, behind Lynard Stewart who hit two free throws, stole the ball, and drained a three to put the Owls on top.
“We were fortunate to get in front,” said Temple head coach John Chaney.
Then it was UMass’ turn once again. Donta Bright fired in a three, Camby jammed one home and Carmelo Travieso, most outstanding player of the tourney, drained a three ball to put the Minutemen on top by two. The lead would dramatically increase and remain for good.
This weekend’s contests for the Minutemen were games of runs. Opposed to UMass having to battle back from deficits right from the start, the Minutemen set the tone early. However the lapses came later in the games, but UMass came alive to shave away any hopes of an upset.
Weeks played very strong again for UMass as he recorded nine points and grabbed three boards. Travieso was phenomenal for the Minutemen all weekend long hitting three after three for a well deserved Tournament most outstanding player award.
“They had an answer for everything,” said Chaney. “They were shooting 10-17 on their threes and those threes were from way out. You were looking at the best team in the country and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be No. 1.”
GEO WASHINGTON (65) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Brade 20 0-1 3-4 0-4 1 4 3 Jones 32 5-7 4-6 2-4 0 3 14 Koul 28 8-13 4-7 3-11 0 5 20 Rogers 40 1-7 2-2 0-1 6 4 4 Evans 36 3-14 6-7 1-7 4 2 14 Green 16 1-5 2-2 2-4 1 0 4 Mescheriakov 22 3-6 0-0 1-1 0 1 6 Williams 5 0-1 0-1 2-3 1 1 0 Camara 1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 21-54 21-29 11-36 13 20 65 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.389, FT-.724. 3-Point Goals: 2-10, .200 (Rogers 0-2, Evans 2-7, Green 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 3 (Koul 2, Green). Turnovers: 14 (Evans 3, Koul 3, Rogers 3, Brade 2, Green, Jones, Mescheriakov). Steals: 6 (Brade 2, Rogers 2, Evans, Green). MASSACHUSETTS (74) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Dingle 34 3-7 2-4 3-7 1 3 8 Bright 32 8-17 1-3 4-7 2 3 19 Camby 25 6-23 7-8 4-9 3 3 19 E Padilla 38 3-4 0-0 0-2 7 4 7 Travieso 39 2-10 5-7 2-5 3 3 10 Norville 16 3-5 0-0 3-6 0 1 6 Weeks 13 2-6 1-3 3-6 0 2 5 Clarke 3 0-1 0-0 1-1 1 1 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 27-73 16-25 20-43 17 20 74 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.370, FT-.640. 3-Point Goals: 4-13, .308 (Bright 2-3, E Padilla 1-2, Travieso 1-7, Clarke 0-1). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 8 (Camby 3, Norville 3, Travieso 2). Turnovers: 11 (Bright 2, Dingle 2, E Padilla 2, Camby, Travieso, Weeks). Steals: 7 (Dingle 2, E Padilla 2, Camby, Norville, Travieso). ___________________________________ Geo Washington 27 38 - 65 Massachusetts 37 37 - 74 ___________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Officials: Gene Monje, Phil Bova, J Mcdaniel.