This game has a familiar ring
UMass-Stanford, Part II
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/16/1996
PROVIDENCE – Before the University of Massachusetts' NCAA East Regional second-round game last year, forward Dana Dingle approached guard Carmelo Travieso and asked, “Are you ready to die?”
The Minutemen then went out and played as coach John Calipari wanted – as if losing would earn them a seat in the electric chair.
The efforts led to a 75-53 victory over Stanford that sent UMass on its second trip to the Sweet 16. Stanford, meanwhile, exited with a loss so lopsided that some of its players don't even remember many of the details.
Today the teams meet in the second round of the NCAA tournament again. Both the No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Minutemen (32-1) and the ninth-seeded Cardinal (20-8) return key players from last year.
But only UMass has vivid recollections of the game. “Our kids don't remember too much about the game, but we do remember the feeling of being beaten badly,” said Stanford coach Mike Montgomery, whose team's margin of defeat was its worst all season, perhaps because of its 21 turnovers, including 11 steals.
“We self-destructed. We were up, 8-7, and we hit a 3-pointer, and then, bang, we turned the ball over seven straight times. We don't remember much other than not being able to do anything about it.”
One of the key players for UMass in that game was Travieso, who scored 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting, including 3 for 3 from 3-point range. “If anyone surprised us on their team, it was Travieso,” said Montgomery. “We knew he could hit the threes, but we didn't realize they would go to him so much.”
Travieso could play a key role today, particularly if Stanford tries to double down on center Marcus Camby.
“Last year I caught them off guard,” said Travieso. “They didn't think I could score as many points as I did. That effort made me comfortable for the rest of the tournament. This year they know what I can do and they will be prepared for it.”
Much of Travieso's role could be determined by the play of Camby, who admittedly is still mired in the shooting slump that carried over from the latter part of the regular season.
At 6 feet 11 inches, Camby has as pronounced a height advantage as he did against Virginia Tech; the tallest player in Stanford's rotation, reserve forward Mark Seaton, is 6-9. Camby will likely be guarded by 6-8 starter Darren Allaway.
“This summer I played against Wake Forest center Tim Duncan in Japan, and Duncan and Camby are very similar types of players,” said Allaway. “I did pretty well against Duncan; he didn't go off on me.
“I don't know if Marcus likes to be banged about or anything. But I'm going to try to do what I can to take him out of his game, disrupt him a little bit.”
Camby, still wearing the bandage from the forehead cut he suffered in Thursday's 92-70 win over Central Florida, will likely have to carry the bulk of the load at center again. Reserve Inus Norville is listed as questionable for today's game; he suffered a sprained ankle in practice Tuesday and did not suit up against Central Florida after playing in UMass' first 32 games.
One of the major matchups will be at point guard, between Stanford's leading scorer, Brevin Knight (15.1 points per game) and UMass' Edgar Padilla (9.2).
Knight has dished out 10 assists or more eight times this season; in Thursday's 66-58 win over Bradley, he had 26 points, 4 assists and 2 steals. Padilla, the all-time and season steals leader at UMass, tied his school record with seven against Central Florida.
“Brevin Knight's a very quick player who likes to get into the lane and score and pass to the open man,” said Padilla. “We have to pressure him and keep him under control. That's one of the keys to the game.”
Today's game marks the third time UMass and Stanford have met in postseason play in the 1990s. In addition to last year's NCAA second-rounder, the teams met in the NIT semifinals in 1991, when Stanford won, 73-71 . . . On Thursday against Central Florida, Dana Dingle became the 29th player in UMass history to get 1,000 career points. He is the third Minuteman to accomplish the feat this season, along with Marcus Camby and Donta Bright.
They'll Play A Little 2-on-2 In UMass-Stanford Game
By Terry Price, Hartford Courant Staff Writer, 3/16/1996
PROVIDENCE — How many times has Dick Vitale screamed it? You've got to have a good backcourt to go far in the NCAA Tournament, baby.
If that's true, UMass may be moving on.
Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso, the 40-Minutemen, are finally getting some respect.
“In my opinion, what you're looking at are the two best defensive guards in the country,” Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said.
But in Dion Cross and Brevin Knight, the Cardinal have two terrific guards of their own.
“They're as effective as the top backcourts that we've faced,” Padilla said Friday. “They play well together. They're very dangerous in the things that they can do.”
One of these backcourts won't go anyplace except home after UMass (32-1) and Stanford (20-8) play in an NCAA East Regional second- round game today at the Providence Civic Center.
Padilla said containing Knight is a must if UMass is to duplicate a 75- 53 victory over Stanford in the East Regional second round last year.
“He's a very quick player who likes to get in the lane and score or pass to the open man,” Padilla said. “We have to pressure him and keep him under control.”
UMass' pressure defense was a major disruption for Stanford when the teams played in Albany last season.
“We're going to have to do a good job of taking care of the basketball on a consistent basis for 40 minutes,” Montgomery said. “We know we'll turn it over some, and hopefully it's not something that causes us a lot of problems.”
Knight, the point guard, and Cross have been all-conference selections in the Pac-10 the past two seasons. Cross is the third-leading career scorer at Stanford, while Knight is a penetrator who also can shoot.
Knight, who averaged 7.4 assists in the regular season, had 26 points Thursday in Stanford's 66-58 first- round victory over Bradley.
“Brevin is as good as there is in the country,” UMass coach John Calipari said.
A 5-foot-10 junior, Knight plays with a plastic splint on his right leg after having severe shin splints a year ago. He insists the leg is fine, although he limped through the Bradley game.
“It doesn't bother me,” he said. “I just don't want the injury to come up again.”
Cross, a 6-2 senior, had 16 points against Bradley. Arizona coach Lute Olson calls Cross the best three-point shooter in the Pac-10 since Steve Kerr.
Padilla and Travieso have silenced those who doubted their ability. Although neither is a pure point guard, they have formed a solid, seemingly tireless combination. They both average more than 36 minutes a game.
Padilla (15 points, eight assists, seven steals) took over the game at the start of the second half in UMass' 92-70 first-round victory over Central Florida. He made four steals in the first 1 minute, 19 seconds to key a 12-0 run that broke it open.
“The biggest thing is Edgar is fearless,” Calipari said. “He's not afraid to make plays. And he's a tough cookie.”
Travieso led UMass with 21 points against Central Florida, including 6 of 10 from three-point range.
“They're the starting backcourt for the No. 1 team in America,” said UMass center Marcus Camby. “That should say it all.”
Massachusetts 79, Stanford 74
From The Associated Press, 3/16/1996
Marcus Camby recorded 20 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots as Massachusetts (#1 seed) survived a scare from Stanford (#9 seed) to post a 79-74 victory in the second round of the East Regional at Providence, Rhode Island.
Massasechusetts (33-1) advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year and will play 12th seed Arkansas in the regional semifinals Thursday at Atlanta.
Carmelo Travieso's leaning jumper gave Massachusetts (33-1) its biggest lead of the game at 66-53 with just over seven minutes to play before Stanford rallied with a 21-9 burst.
Freshman Peter Sauer scored nine in the run, Brevin Knight had seven and Dion Cross five, including a three-pointer that cut the difference to 75-74 with 52.7 seconds remaining. But Donta Bright responded with a jumper from the foul line 21 seconds later and Sauer missed badly on a three-point attempt. Camby sealed the win with a pair of free throws.
“I came off a screen from Marcus and Dana (Dingle) gets me on a down screen,” said Bright about his jumper. “And the plan was if they help on Marcus, just give me the ball and let me shoot and just hope it goes in. And it did.”
“We got a clean look at the basket and it did not go down,” said Stanford coach Mike Montgomery about Sauer's three-point attempt at the end. “Interestingly enough Pete was 5-of-6 from the floor at the time. The way this game was being played, he was not a bad guy to shoot the ball. It was the shot they were going to give up. They are a great defensive team, we had to take what they were going to give us.”
Bright and Travieso each scored 14 points for the Minutemen. Dana Dingle had 13 points and Edgar Padilla added 12 assists for Massachusetts.
Knight registered 27 points and nine assists while Cross tallied 16 points for Stanford (20-9), which was trying to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1942.
“Stanford did not quit playing, we got them down and Brevin Knight was unbelievable,” Massachusetts coach John Calipari said. “We had no answers for him. He goes through his own legs and then through your legs. He goes through you and up and under you. He was fabulous today. We tried three different ways to stop that screen on the ball and couldn't do it.”
Massachusetts opened up a quick 14-5 lead, but saw Stanford answer with a 23-10 spurt that gave the Cardinal a 28-24 advantage with four minutes left. Camby picked up his third foul a minute later and the Minutemen managed a 33-31 halftime lead.
Camby did not begin the second half for the first time all season, but Massachusetts still widened the margin with a 9-2 burst that made it 44-36 with 17 1/2 minutes left. Stanford didn't get any closer than six points until the final 21-9 run.
Tyrone Weeks netted 10 points off the bench for the Minutemen, who shot 54 per cent from the floor (32-for-59) and had nine blocked shots. This game was a rematch of a second-round N-C-A-A Tournament game from last year that U-Mass won, 75-53.
Sauer had 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Stanford, which shot 42 per cent from the field (27-of-64) and 25 per cent from three-point range (5-for-20). The team only had seven turnovers, but no blocked shots.
“I kind of lost my cool with the officials at the end,” Knight said. “It was something I shouldn't have done. There's nothing I can say that will change the result of this game. I should have kept my composure more and I got wrapped up in the loss.”
UMass Shakes Off Tenacious Stanford To Win, 79-74
By Ray Parrillo, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer, 3/17/1996
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brevin Knight looked up, way up, at Marcus Camby after the 6-foot-11 Massachusetts center blocked a shot by Stanford's slippery 5-10 guard for the third time in six minutes yesterday.
The two players smiled, patted each other, and had a brief exchange. Camby told Knight that he planned to close the lane all afternoon, that it might be a good idea to take his game away from the basket. Knight said fine, he was going to keep coming at him anyway.
The little guy and his underdog team kept coming at UMass. But as they've done all season, prevailing in so many tense finishes, the top-ranked Minutemen made the right moves and the big shots when it mattered, and fought off courageous Stanford, 79-74, in the second round of the East Regional at the Civic Center.
Seeded No. 1 in the region, UMass (33-1) moves on to Atlanta for a Sweet 16 meeting with Arkansas in the regional semifinals. The 12th-seeded Razorbacks upset No. 4 seed Marquette, 65-56.
For the ninth-seeded Cardinal (20-9), Knight was sensational. The native of East Orange, N.J., ignored by the Big East Conference when he came out of Seton Hall Prep, scored 27 points, handed out nine assists, made two steals, and had just two turnovers in 39 poised minutes.
“We tried three different ways to play him, and nothing worked,” UMass coach John Calipari said. “We had no answers for him. He was fabulous, unbelievable. The scary thing about this tournament is it's one and done, and one guy can carry a team. That's what almost happened.”
Almost. But the Minutemen came up with answers from several sources. Camby, whose late-season play has been marked by stretches of lethargy, asserted himself in the second half, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots, though he was limited to 29 minutes because of fouls.
Forwards Dana Dingle and Donta Bright combined for 27 points and 13 rebounds. Philadelphia's burly Tyrone Weeks scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting when Camby was on the bench. Edgar Padilla had 12 assists, and Carmelo Travieso contributed 14 points, seven assists, and a solid defensive job on Dion Cross, Stanford's best long-range shooter.
Still, Stanford had the Minutemen looking over their shoulders after a 66-53 lead dwindled to 73-71 when Peter Sauer, a freshman substitute from Pittsburgh, drained a three-pointer with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining. Camby got the lead back to four points with a basket before Cross, who had missed eight of his previous nine three-point attempts, nailed one from beyond the arc.
UMass led, 75-74, with less than a minute left, and more drama remained.
Moments earlier, Bright had headed to the bench gripping his wrist. Back he came to pop in a huge 15-footer for a 77-74 UMass advantage with 31 seconds on the clock.
Stanford called a time-out with 24.1 seconds left. When play resumed, though, Sauer rushed an off-balance three-point attempt with 16 seconds left and Travieso in his face.
“It's not easy to pick and choose your shots against UMass,” Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. “When you look at it, no, Peter's a freshman, and if I had my choice to take the shot, it's Dion. But the way the game was played, Peter had hit five of his previous six shots, so he wasn't a bad guy to take it. Dion was having a hard time getting good looks at the basket.”
Camby rebounded Sauer's miss, was fouled, and hit both free throws for a five-point lead with 13.9 seconds remaining, and Knight hurled a wild shot at the basket as he appeared to be fouled. No call. Knight blew his top in frustration, and for the second straight year UMass eliminated the Cardinal from the tournament.
At the end, Camby flung the ball toward the ceiling, and he and Knight embraced. This time, though, only Camby was smiling.
Arkansas 65, Marquette 56 - The Razorbacks (20-12) shot a miserable 31.2 percent and missed 12 of their 23 free throws, but their swarming defense rushed the Golden Eagles (23-8) into a higher degree of incompetence.
And Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, whose team has reached the NCAA final the last two years and is 13-1 in the tourney the last three years, suggested the same might happen to UMass in Atlanta.
“I wish we could play UMass tomorrow,” Richardson said after the Hogs, who start four freshmen, overcame an 11-point first-half deficit. “We played Kentucky last week [in the Southeastern Conference tourney] and they spanked us like little kids when they were No. 1. Now we have the opportunity to play the best team in the land.”
The Hogs, who won the national championship two years ago and lost to UCLA in last year's final, seemed unimpressed by being a No. 12 seed in the Sweet 16.
“It's a nice accomplishment,” junior center Darnell Robinson said, “but it doesn't stop here. We're not here to make the Sweet 16. I want another national championship.”
Huge plays were made by the freshman backcourt of Kareem Reid and Pat Bradley after Marquette closed within 53-52 with 6:12 remaining. Bradley, a skinny dead-eye shooter from Everett, Mass., who was not recruited by other Division 1 schools, nailed a three-pointer to give the Hogs a 56-52 lead. And Reid, a 5-10 point guard from the Bronx, N.Y., who had nine assists and three steals, ripped the ball from the hands of Marquette's Amal McCaskill and fed Lee Wilson for an easy basket that stretched Arkansas' lead to 60-52 with 1:35 left.
Bradley led the Hogs with 12 points on four three-pointers. Marquette, which shot 26.8 percent and had 17 turnovers, got 20 from Aaron Hutchins.
UMass has sweet tooth
Minutemen in Round of 16 after satisfying, but not easy, victory over Stanford
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/17/1996
PROVIDENCE – Perhaps they're best when the drama's high and chips are low. They make a game closer than it should be, win the battle of plays down the stretch – and you figure next time they won't be so fortunate. Someone's going to catch the University of Massachusetts with its guard down and its timing askew in the closing minutes and finally make this law of averages thing stick.
All of college basketball is still waiting for it to happen. In yesterday's NCAA East Regional second-round game, Stanford was added to the list of teams to lose a battle of plays in the closing moments to UMass.
UMass forward Donta Bright – freed up by a screen from Dana Dingle – sank a 15-foot jumper at the top of the key with 32 seconds left to give the Minutemen a 3-point lead. Then No. 1-ranked and top-seeded UMass added two free throws by center Marcus Camby with 13 seconds left for a 79-74 win over the Cardinal to advance to the Sweet 16 round of the tournament for the second time in as many years.
The Minutemen advance to the East Regional semifinal in Atlanta Thursday, when they will meet 12th-seeded Arkansas, which defeated fourth seed Marquette, 65-56, yesterday.
Yesterday, Camby was at his best late. He had a team high 20 points and 7 blocks and point guard Edgar Padilla had a career-high 12 assists for the Minutemen (33-1), who have won 10 games this season by 6 points or fewer. Their efforts offset a brilliant performance by Stanford guard Brevin Knight (27 points, 9 assists, 2 steals).
“You have to understand we're not the kind of team that beats people by 50; we haven't been all year,” said UMass coach John Calipari. “We're a grind-it-out basketball team. We've got terrific players who do it together, grind out games, try to create a cap and then finish the game that way.”
Perhaps that's why George Washington, which jumped to a 23-point lead and squelched each Minutemen rally in an 86-76 victory, is the only team to beat UMass this season. All others have done well to battle the Minutemen evenly.
Stanford followed suit yesterday: The Cardinal rallied from a 9-point first-half deficit to trail, 33-31, at halftime, then rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to cut the lead to 75-74 on a 3-point basket by guard Dion Cross (16 points) with 54 seconds left.
“We knew they would try to keep chipping away and chipping away until they got back into the game,” said Dingle (13 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the floor). “We just seemed to let up a little bit and they got it going.”
“In the last four minutes they focused all their attention on me,” said Knight. “That gave me an opportunity to set up other people. It left Dion open and guys open underneath.”
On the Minutemen's next possession, Bright got free at the top of the key after running off a screen from Dingle and sank his 15-footer.
“That play is usually for Marcus, but on a lot of plays, defenders sag off to try to help on Marcus and that set Donta up,” said Dingle. “So I screen Bright's man and he's wide open for the elbow jumper or the one-dribble pullup.”
On Stanford's next play, Knight drew the defense on a drive and dished off on the left wing to freshman Peter Sauer, who had gone 5 of 6 from the floor but misfired on a 3-point attempt. Camby rebounded and was fouled with 13 seconds left. He sank two free throws for the final tally.
On Stanford's last possession, Knight dribbled through contact and, thinking he was fouled, threw up an off-balance shot with 4 seconds left that caromed off the backboard. He chased the officials off the court in disgust.
“It was a freshman Sauer who took the shot, but we had success with him all game,” said Stanford coach Mike Montgomery. “If I had a choice, I would want Dion Cross to get the shot, but we had problems getting him shots all game.”
Credit that to the Minutemen, who are now just 80 minutes away from the Final Four. “At this point, it's one and done, and a win is a win,” said Dingle. “All you can do is build on that. We won two games here, now we go to Atlanta.”
Coach gets Camby to be all he can be
By Bob Ryan, Boston Globe Staff, 3/17/1996
PROVIDENCE – The Player of the Year began the second half of yesterday's game sitting next to his coach. There were 10 players on the floor and Marcus Camby wasn't one of them.
“It was a positive message,” said University of Massachusetts coach John Calipari. “He had three fouls, but it was also a message; we need more. He said, 'Tyrone Weeks has three fouls, too.' I said, 'We know that.' ”
Coach Cal keeps saying that all he wants is for Marcus Camby to be Marcus Camby, and good things will come, for Camby and UMass. We can talk about the skill and wiles of the UMass guards and forwards, but nothing ever alters the basic fact that talk about winning the national title should begin with the Minutemen because they have the Big Fella and the other teams don't.
Camby had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in 15 minutes of first-half play, which would be OK for a lot of collegiate big men. He had begun aggressively, but soon stopped dominating, and this was an opponent whose only real chance of dealing with a properly-executing Camby was with a 12 gauge.
Who knows why Camby drifts in and drifts out of games? Isn't it enough to suggest that he is nothing more than a 22-year-old kid who just happens to be 7 feet tall and athletically gifted? Isn't it enough to point out that he is a very unselfish player who does not feel the constant need to be the center (as it were) of attention? Is it unfair to expect a kid to have a completely professional approach to the game?
All Calipari knew was that his team had a 2-point halftime lead and was in danger of losing the game if Camby wasn't going to be Camby.
Calipari put him back in with 18:07 remaining in the game. UMass was leading, 42-36. Stanford's mercurial Brevin Knight slithered past an Andy Poppink pick and penetrated into the lane. Camby blocked the shot and Donta Bright wound up with two free throws at the other end.
At 46-40, Knight got past his man and blasted into the lane again. Camby sent that shot back and made it downcourt for an alley-oop dunk from Edgar Padilla.
At 55-47, the persistent Knight tried to get into the lane for a third time. Camby rose up and swatted this one out of bounds. All Knight could do was smile.
“I gave him a little stare and told him I was going to be here for the rest of the afternoon, so he should stick to the perimeter,” Camby said.
These are the defensive things Camby can do that not too many others can. And later on there was a stretch in which Camby took over the game offensively, posting the hapless Stanford defenders for key baskets. Put the package together and you get the Player of the Year Camby, not the namby-pamby Camby Calipari saw slogging through the end of the first half.
“He's everything people say he is, but if he's not playing the way he's capable of playing I've got to take him out because it's in our best interest,” Calipari said.
Camby very often makes the game look easy. It's Calipari's job to make him realize just how easy it can be.
“Part of it is the mentality of what your game is,” Calipari said. “Before the game I said, 'You've got to get some easy baskets so you can feel you're in your game now.' And at the half I told him, 'You've got to catch the ball at the right place. You've got to catch it 2 feet from the basket. You were catching it 7 feet from the basket. I don't care if you've got to start out of bounds, you get yourself down there where you can do some damage.' The key is, he listened. This is a team of good listeners.”
There has been a lot of talk about Camby's recent “slump,” and some of that has been initiated by Camby. He may not be fully out of his down period, but his second-half play yesterday indicates that he may be back on the right path.
“This game helps him,” said Calipari. “This helps him big time.”
The one missing component of Camby's game remains the turnaround jumper. When Camby destroyed Kentucky with 32 points in the first game of the season he did so primarily with an unstoppable turnaround jumper. He has hit a couple of face-up jumpers in this tournament, but he has yet to connect on a turnaround despite the fact that he has not encountered a player who can contest it.
“That shot hasn't been falling,” Camby said with a shrug. “But it will be falling in the next two weeks.”
With or without his trademark turnaround, Camby has enough stuff in the bag to make it worth issuing him a uniform. He'd be valuable if he averaged 0-0-0 for a month.
“If I played with a guy like that,” said Stanford guard Dion Cross with a sigh, “I wouldn't have to work as hard on defense. As soon as a man gets into the paint against UMass, the rest of them go, 'Whatever.' You know he'll get the majority of your shots. And at the offensive end he is very tough because he can score and pass. He knows how to look for the guards by throwing it back out. He has a great feel for the game.”
“Having him on your side is a great advantage,” said Dana Dingle, UMass' quietly efficient forward. “We know he can score, and he's always there to help and rescue you on defense. He allows you to play aggressive basketball on defense. He's our go-to guy on offense. We all appreciate playing with him. He's the best player in the country.”
A slight amendment: Marcus Camby can be the best player in the country. What he should appreciate is the fact that John Calipari has the coaching guts to discipline him when he isn't.
Dingle: Step in the right direction
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/17/1996
PROVIDENCE – University of Massachusetts coach John Calipari said someone would have to step up in yesterday's NCAA tournament East Regional second- round game against Stanford, and someone did. But Dana Dingle doesn't step up the way most players do. You can't tell how valuable the senior from the Bronx was yesterday by looking at the box score.
Although he has a good touch on his jumper from 15 feet in, point pouring is not Dingle's forte. Just about everything else is. He was arguably the most valuable player in the Minutemen's 79-74 victory, coming up with key plays to keep the Cardinal at bay, then a couple of big ones to help finish Stanford.
Dingle's biggest play was a screen that freed Donta Bright for a 15-foot, top-of-the-key jumper with 31 seconds left, giving UMass a 3-point lead. “I come off a screen from Marcus Camby and then Dana gets me on a down screen,” said Bright. “If the other team helps out on Marcus, they give me the ball and I shoot it and hope it goes in. It did.”
“Dana Dingle hit a big shot earlier when they backed off on Camby on the same play,” said Calipari. “These guys have been in that situation so many times, they know what to do.”
But the screen was far from Dingle's only key play. With 9:17 left in the first half, he fed Bright for a basket to put UMass ahead, 16-11, ending a six-minute Minuteman drought. With 3:21 left in the half, and the Minutemen trailing, 28-24, Dingle tipped in a Bright miss to cut the lead to 2, then tied the score at 28-28 on an 18-foot jumper with 2:36 to go.
With 8:29 left in the second half, Dingle stole a pass that UMass converted into a Camby dunk to go ahead, 64-53. With 2:35 left, he deflected the ball from Stanford guard Brevin Knight then tied up the ball for a jump ball, giving possession back to UMass. He followed the play with a jumper from the top of the key to give the Minutemen a 73-68 lead with 2:13 to go.
“Dana's been fabulous in the tournament so far,” said Calipari. “He's shooting the ball; people are seeing a side of his game that we've seen and we understand. Offensively he's much better than people give him credit for, and he's a monster rebounder. Right now his confidence is as good as it's ever been.”
That's why Dingle was not surprised that he and other Minutemen were heard from down the stretch. “We've been in situations like this all year,” he said. “Tight games, at the end of the game we always find a way to win. Somebody has to make the big plays, and whoever does, we're happy for them.”
Minutemen taking it one step at a time
NCAA Basketball Tournament
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/18/1996
PROVIDENCE – They've left a trail of dejected, upset-minded opponents from coast to coast. Throughout the University of Massachusetts' 34-game road tour, the production members have suffered through injuries, shooting slumps and sluggish play. Still, only one squad that entered a game with UMass in search of a victory left the court with its mission accomplished.
Throughout the season, the No. 1-ranked Minutemen have reminded their naysayers that “a win is a win,” and now they've got two discouraged NCAA tournament teams to back up their claim. Question now is: Can UMass add to the number?
As they advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the tournament for the second consecutive season, the Minutemen say they have no concerns about the return of the sluggish play that prompted the winning feats down the stretch.
“At this point, it's one and done, a win is a win, and all you can do is build from that,” said forward Dana Dingle, who set a pick on Stanford forward Andy Poppink to free UMass forward Donta Bright for a crucial top-of- the-key jumper with 31 seconds left in the Minutemen's 79-74 win Saturday.
“We won two games here and we're going on to Atlanta and we've got to get ready for Arkansas,” Dingle said. “The Stanford game is over with. The Central Florida game is over with, and we can't really look back at those games until after the season's over.”
It marked the 10th time this season the Minutemen have won by 6 points or fewer. It also marked the fourth time in nine games they have won on a big play during the last minute of the game.
That's why coach John Calipari said he didn't call a timeout leading up to Bright's jumper. “This late in the season, they know what they're supposed to do,” he said. “They've done it all year. All we talked about was, play to win. If Stanford makes a crazy shot to beat us, so what?”
Stanford didn't get that crazy shot, so the Minutemen move on, hoping that their showing from several key players Saturday will carry over into the Arkansas game.
Among them is leading scorer Marcus Camby, who bounced back from several sub-par showings to get 20 points and seven rebounds. That despite not starting the second half, as Calipari instead went with reserve power forward Tyrone Weeks at center to keep Camby from picking up a fourth foul early in the half.
“Every time we need post presence, he comes through for us,” said Calipari of Weeks. “We went with Tyrone Weeks and all I told Marcus is what I always do, that we're going to play him in-and-out for the rest of the game.”
When Camby returned in the second half, he ceased shooting from outside – where he's struggled most – and attacked the Cardinal down low. “When coach put me back in the game, he just said, 'Go in there and make things happen closer to the goal' ,” said Camby.
“I set a screen down low and I came back to the ball and I got a couple of layups and drives and that got me going. I just picked up my defense from there.”
Perhaps the most consistent UMass player right now is Dingle, who has shown how well he can shoot from the perimeter in the tournament. “Offensively he's much better than people give him credit for,” said Calipari.
“Now, when you have he and Donta playing the way they're playing and Marcus coming back doing the things he's capable of doing, our front line becomes pretty good.”
On the injury front, forward Inus Norville, who missed the Central Florida game because of an ankle sprain, played sparingly against Stanford. Earlier last week, Bright suffered bruised knuckles on his hands. They were still swollen at game time Saturday, but that didn't hamper his play.
Thursday's game will mark the first time Arkansas and UMass have met since Nov. 25, 1994, when UMass surprisingly routed then No. 1 Arkansas, 104-80, in the Tip-Off Classic.
“I'm looking forward to playing UMass,” said Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson. “I love the opportunity to play the best team in the land.”
STANFORD (74) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Harbour 24 1-6 0-0 2-4 1 0 2 Poppink 34 3-13 3-6 3-6 0 1 9 Allaway 30 2-2 0-0 1-5 0 3 4 Cross 32 6-16 2-2 2-2 2 2 16 Knight 39 8-17 10-13 0-4 9 3 27 Weems 8 2-2 0-0 1-1 0 0 5 Sauer 22 5-7 0-0 3-7 0 1 11 Lee 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 Seaton 10 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 27-64 15-21 12-29 13 12 74 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.422, FT-.714. 3-Point Goals: 5-20, .250 (Harbour 0-1, Poppink 0-1, Cross 2-9, Knight 1-5, Weems 1-1, Sauer 1-3). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: None. Turnovers: 6 (Knight 2, Cross, Harbour, Poppink, Sauer). Steals: 5 (Knight 2, Harbour, Lee, Poppink). MASSACHUSETTS (79) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Dingle 35 5-6 2-2 3-8 1 1 13 Bright 31 5-13 4-4 2-5 1 2 14 Camby 29 9-15 2-4 3-8 0 4 20 E Padilla 35 2-5 0-0 0-5 12 3 6 Travieso 38 5-12 1-3 0-0 7 2 14 Clarke 7 1-2 0-0 1-2 2 1 2 Weeks 22 5-6 0-0 1-2 0 3 10 Nunez 2 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Norville 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 32-59 9-13 10-31 23 16 79 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.542, FT-.692. 3-Point Goals: 6-16, .375 (Dingle 1-1, Bright 0-1, E Padilla 2-3, Travieso 3-10, Clarke 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 9 (Camby 7, Bright 2). Turnovers: 13 (Camby 6, E Padilla 4, Clarke 2, Bright). Steals: 5 (Weeks 2, Bright, Camby, Dingle). __________________________________ Stanford 31 43 - 74 Massachusetts 33 46 - 79 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 11,931. Officials: Gerald Boudreaux, Ted Hillary, Dick Cartmell.