Redmen Meet URI Tonight In Big Conference Game
Capacity Crowd Is Expected For Contest Between YC Powers
By Steve Ross, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Senior Reporter, 12/9/1969
After Saturday night's easy win over Vermont, the Redmen must take on their toughest Yankee Conference opponent in Rhode Island. Coach Jack Leaman calls this URI unit, “the best unit we've faced from Rhode Island since I've been here.” Considering some of the Ram aggregations that have thumped the Redmen over the past few campaigns, this must be quite a team.
Rhody has a 2-1 record, and a 1-0 YC slate. The Rams bombed Bridgeport 107-72 in the opener, lost a tough 70-68 decision at Manhattan when foul troubles caught up with them, and crushed Maine 98-65 on Saturday night.
Coach Tom Carmody has secured himself some first rate material through the Junior College ranks. Starters Dwight Tolliver at 5'11, Nate Adger, 6'5, and Claude English, 6'5, have all come to URI through the Junior Colleges. English was an all-conference selection last season while the other pair are playing in their first season.
The other starters are 6'6 John Fultz, and 6'4 Phil Hickson, a guard. Fultz seems to get better every year, and he was an all-conference selection last year. If he and Julius Erving don't make it this year, many experts will be shocked. Hickson was a member of the Weequahic “Wonder Five” in New Jersey, probably the finest high school team this side of Lew Alcindor's Power Memorial quintets.
Backing up the first five will be Ron Louder, and Ed “Flea” Molloy. Louder was a regular on last year's team, while the 5'5 “Flea” is unbelievably quick. Carmody can also call on soph Mike Beale or lettermen Bud Hazzard and Bill Metkiff.
Leaman will counter with his normal starting line-up of Erving, Dennis Chapman, Kenny Mathias, John Bettancourt, and Ray Ellerbrook. Dick Samuelson, Mike Pagliara, and Jack Gallagher are all slated for back-up duty.
One thing that is very noticable after the first two games is the improved play of both Samuelson and Mathias. Both are anxious to play, and, as a result, they are hustling like men obsessed to pile up playing time. Leaman is handling the situation beautifully by dividing the playing time evenly.
Saturday night's fray was viewed by another turnaway throng of “4200”. Erving distinguished himself with 25 points. Bettancourt could also have been considered a star with a fine all-around performance. The aforementioned Mathias and Samuelson along with Jack Gallagher also stood out defensively.
Vermont coach Art Loche called Erving, “the most exciting sophomore I've seen in my five years in the Yankee Conference.” He also admitted, “I think we were in over our heads with Massachusetts.”
One of the best parts of the games now is the warm-up drill. Erving shows a new stuff shot every night. His latest was a double-pump reverse left handed cram coming across from the right of the lane. He showed the move twice in the second half, sans pump and cram. Too bad the rule committee decided to bank the dunk. Incidentally, dunking in the warm-up can be considered a technical foul because it breaks the spirit of the rule.
Thus far the Redmen have managed to outrebound the opposition by healthy margins. Leaman is guessing, “The team that wins the battle of the backboards will win the game.” The coach also said, “The game will be so close, that the crowd rooting for us could well make the difference.”
If Saturday were any indication, be there early, and bring noise. Bring lots of noise.
Also appearing in The Collegian that day…
“The Department of Public Safety has limited the basketball attendance figure for the student sections on the floor in the Curry Hicks Cage to 3000. Student admissions must be terminated when this figure has been reached, and as a result, for the more attractive games we may not be able to accommodate all who wish to attend. We regret this disappointing situation; however, the safety of spectators must remain our primary concern.”
- University Athletic Council
Rhody Rams Redmen, 77-73, In Overtime
UMass Loses Late Lead, URI Too Tough At End
By Peter Pascarelli, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Sports Editor, 12/10/1969
A desperate UMass last half comeback went down the drain in a frustrating overtime period as the Redmen dropped their first contest of the young season, 77-73, to a rugged physical Rhode Island team, before another turn away Curry Hicks throng. UMass is now 2-1 and 1-1 in the Yankee Conference while the Rams are 3-1 and in control of the Conference lead with a 2-0 mark.
Actually the Redmen had no one to blame but themselves after climbing back into things. UMass was down by as much as six points with under four minutes to play. But a combination of Rhode Island fouls, and clutch down the stretch shooting by Ray Ellerbrook and Ken Mathias brought them back.
Down 65-59, Julius Erving, who was “held” to 20 points and 14 rebounds, canned three free throws and Mathias one foul answered by a free throw by Rhody. Then Mathias hit a jumper, came down to steal a Ram pass and drove for a score to give UMass their first lead since 2:32 of the first half.
After John Fultz brought the Rams back into the lead, Ellerbrook who had shots repeatedly blocked and still kept coming back, canned two straight jumpers and the Redmen led by three, 71-68 with 1:15 left.
It was then that UMass lost chances to ice the contest. Ellerbrook missed the first of a one-and-one situation that could have put the Redmen up by four with 45 seconds left. Then after Rhody was called for traveling, UMass had 39 seconds to kill for the win. However an errant pass gave the Rams the ball and with eight seconds left Nate Adger canned a short jumper for the Rams and things were all tied up. A desperate John Betancourt 35 footer at the buzzer hit the rim and things were in overtime.
Whatever momentum UMass built up by a violent ritous crowd and the comeback, was non-existent in the five minute extra period. UMass did not score until ten seconds were left in the game when the issue was long since resolved. Adger, Dwight Tolliver and Phil Hickson plus a cold freezing offense took the Rams to a big victory.
It was nip and tuck throughout the first half, with Rhode Island having the upper hand most of the way.
Rhode Island scored five straight at the outset only to be quickly answered by five Redman markers, three by Mathias and two from Ellerbrook. Erving and English traded hoops for a few minutes until Fultz, an All-East and All-Conference pick a year ago, and headed that way again, got hot to lead the Rams to a seven point, 27-20 lead midway in the half.
Erving and Ellerbrook brought the Redmen closer at 27-25. After Rhode Island leads fluctuated between five and three points for a time, Dennis Chapman led a quick rush that gave UMass a 39-38 lead.
However, a Rhode Island substitute, Mike Beale, canned two jumpers to help the Rams to their four-point, 44-40 halftime lead.
It was the same type of a second half. Rhode Island would take a lead because of cold shooting Redmen and the Ram dominance of the boards, and then someone would lead UMass back close.
The largest lead of the game came at 12:29 of the second half as Rhode Island jumped ahead 58-50. Then Mathias, Ellerbrook and company began their comeback that would go all for naught in the end.
Fultz led all scorers with 26 points and also had 15 rebounds. He was helped by English with 17 points and Tolliver with 10.
Erving's 20 led UMass, but Ellerbrook with 18 and Mathias with 16 were right behind in the balanced attack. Chapman chipped in with 10 points.
REDMAN RANTINGS - UMass shot 45% from the field while Rhode Island was 49% … The foul shooting was atrocious on both sided with UMass shooting 70% from the charity stripe and Rhode Island 68% … Rebounding tells a big story as the Rams outrebounded the Redmen 45-35 … English fouled out with three minutes to go while Fultz and Hickson each had four fouls down the stretch but neither got the big fifth one … Mathias picked up his fourth with 10:02 remaining and fouled out with minutes to go in regulation … A disappointed but not discouraged UMass coach Jack Leaman praised the Rams saying “They are a real good ballclub and showed maturity” … Leaman termed the game “a physical game. It got so rugged under there, I wouldn't want to be in there” … The coach termed the shooting “either real good or awful” but added about his charges, “We'll be back and we are gonna win a lot of games. The kids had chances to quit and never did. It wasn't one of their best games, but they never died. We'll be back.”