Redman Hoopsters Seek Second Win, In Catamount Country
By Barry Rubenstein, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Assistant Sports Editor, December 4, 1970
After an 8-16 season and with only four veterans returning, the Vermont basketball team looks to be in for a long, long season. Considering that the Catamounts have lost their most prolific scorer, Frank Martiniuk, and that they play five of their first six games on the road, it may turn out to be a rebuilding year. Their only home game in this stretch is Saturday night at 8 p.m. against UMass.
Coach Art Loche looks at the situation as a challenge. Due to the inexperience of the squad, the Vermont mentor will be stressing fundamentals and UMass will probably be seeing nothing fancy from the Catamount five. Loche will be using a very controlled type of attack. “We will be working for that good percentage shot - it simply will be a more disciplined offense.”
Leading the returnees is senior captain Tom Clay, a 6'2 forward. Clay is a good driver and possesses a fine shot from the corner. Also starting up front for the Catamounts will be veterans Rich Trela at forward, and Mark Miller at center. The 6'6 Miller is an excellent rebounder and scores most of his points on easy layups underneath.
In the backcourt Loche will go with Ray Ortiz and Jim Ducey. Ortiz, a 5'11 junior, is described by Loche as “one of the best shooters I have ever coached at Vermont, and we'll be counting on his jumpers from the outside.”
Ducey will act as the team's playmaker, a position which the coach feels is the key to the “more disciplined offense.” He will be the only sophomore starting on the team.
Among the leading substitutes for the Catamounts are juniors John Deibert, Todd Schill and Neil Hermann. Deibert was impressive in early workouts and at 6'7 could see a lot of action.
As well as operating in a strict fundamental offense, Coach Loche will probably mainly rely on a zone defense although he is likely to use some man-to-man against the Redmen.
With so many things going against him, Loche is still envisioning a good year. “We'll just have to take one at a time. Undoubtedly, we'll be underdogs in most of our games, but we're eyeing a winning season. With all this youth, it's like starting a new program.”
As far as the Redmen are concerned, Coach Jack Leaman will likely go with the same starting five that he sent in the team's opening win against St. Anselm's. That would mean that Mike Pagliara and John Betancourt will be in the backcourt with Chris Coffin and co-captain Ken Mathias and Julius Erving up front. The way the game shapes up. most of the UMass squad will probably see action as UMass should not be severely tested.
BASELINE BANTER - Vermont has played two contests thus far, losing its opener to Dartmouth and James Brown, 87-66. Although winning by 21 points, the Big Green led by only four at halftime. The Catamounts second contest was played last night against Maine up at Orono. (Vermont lost at Maine, 60-45.)
UMass Teams Eke Out Wins Over UVM In Overtime
Hoopsters Scared, 79-68
By Barry Rubenstein, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Assistant Sports Editor, December 7, 1970
BURLINGTON, VT. - After getting the scare of its basketball life, the UMass basketball team came from behind to tie an upset-minded Vermont quintet in regulation time and then went on to down the Catamounts in overtime 79-68, before an “official” attendance of 2540 fans here at Patrick Gymnasium. The Redmen are now 2-0 on the year while Vermont slipped to 0-3.
Who would have thought that this highly-rated UMass team would have any trouble with a bunch of Catamounts that had lost to Maine by fifteen points? But this Vermont unit gave the Redmen all they could handle, and sometimes more, behind an aggressive defense and a well-disciplined offense that at one point had the home club on top by thirteen points. UMass, on the other hand, was harassed into playing a sloppy floor game and shot a poor 38% in the first half.
Heroes tor the Redmen in this heart thumper were Julius Erving, Mike Pagliara, Rick Vogeley. Billy Greeley and Bob Dempsey. Erving, though bothered by fouls the entire contest, netted 27 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, both game highs. Although he experienced a cold first half, he heated up in the late going and it was his steal and layup that finally put the Redmen ahead with 1:50 left.
Pagliara was immense in the overtime period as he scored nine of the team's fifteen points in that span. With backcourt mate John Betancourt out of the game on fouls, Pagliara became the floor leader and helped to settle down the offense in the hectic closing minutes.
But it was the bench strength of the Redmen that was the difference in this one. When Chris Coffin fouled out with 5:20 left in regulation play, Vogeley came into the game and nabbed seven big rebounds as well as poured in seven points. In the overtime period he grabbed two rebounds which were turned into crucial Redman hoops.
Called upon to fill the hap left by Betancourt’s departure, Greeley and Dempsey filled the void more than adequately. Greely, though the smallest man on the court at 5’8, snared one of the game’s biggest caroms when UMass was ahead by one in regulation time. Dempsey came in in the overtime period, utilizing his ball-handling ability to break the Vermont press, and the senior guard netted four charity tosses to ice the verdict.
The game started slowly as UMass committed turnovers the first two times it had the ball. This was to be indicative of the Redman’s play throughout the first stanza. Vermont took the lead at 16:48 on a Ray Ortiz jumper from eighteen feet, 5-4, and as it turned out the Catamounts would not relinquish their cushion for about 35 minutes.
Vermont started building on the lead, scoring mainly on the baseline jumpers of 6’9 John Deibert. Operating against Erving, who was saddled with his third personal at 10:57, two of which were of the offensive variety, Deibert was able to move towards the hoop against the careful Erving.
During this period, UMass was having trouble getting organized and began playing Vermont's slow down style. This adjustment hurt the generally fast-moving Redmen and seemed to throw them off a bit. None of the Redman sharpshooters could hit from outside and the bulk of the UMass scoring was done on tap-ins and rebound shots by Coffin, Erving and Ken Mathias.
Rich Trela hit a layup at 4:21 of the half to give the Cats their biggest margin of the evening, 28-15. UMass then began to move as Erving hit a fifteen footer and a free throw and Betancourt netted five straight points to close the gap to 28-23 with just over two minutes left.
Trela hit two more layups which were answered by a Pagliara jumper and a Coffin tap-in with just under a minute to go. Then, with time running out, Erving intercepted a Vermont pass and raced the length of the court for an uncontested hoop to end the scoring for the half. UMass trailed, 32-29.
After Pagliara hit another jumper to open the second half, it appeared that UMass was back on the track. But the Catamounts were not about to give up so easily. With Mark Miller rebounding and scoring inside for the Catamounts and Erving starting to hit for the Redmen, Vermont was able to maintain its lead for most of the second stanza.
With 15:14 remaining, Erving was hit with his fourth personal foul, once again an offensive call. This severely limited his mobility and the 6'6 co-captain did not score for the next six minutes. During this span, Vermont upped its lead to ten 49-39 behind the scoring of Miller and captain Tom Clay.
In the last ten minutes of regulation play, the game got extremely tight. UMass scored three straight hoops on rebound shots by Erving and Vogeley and an Erving layup from a Betancourt steal. With 9:13 left it was 54-51.
After Miller hit another layup at 6: 15 to put his side on top, the Redmen started to move. Spurred on by a good-sized and spirited UMass contingent of fans, the Redmen came from a 60-55 deficit to knot the count at 60-60 with 4:11 to go. All five points were by Erving on a fifteen footer, a rebound, and a charity toss.
Once again, however, Miller scored from inside to put the Cats on top. Mathias hit a clutch jumper from the top of the key to tie it again at 62-62 with only 2:45 to go. Then, for the first time since the opening minutes of the game, UMass took the lead as Erving once again stole a pass and scampered downcourt for the hoop. But there was still 1:50 on the clock.
When Greeley pulled down the rebound of a missed Clay shot with a minute and a half to go, it looked like the Redmen could hold on to win. But nothing was going as planned for UMass. The Redmen missed some crucial free throws and with but 0:36 on the clock, Jim Ducey hit his only hoop of the night to make it 64-64. Bob Dempsey’s desperation shot from 25 feet hit the rim at the buzzer and the game that was supposed to be an easy one for the Redmen was sent into overtime.
The extra period was all UMass. Erving won the tap and Pagliara was fouled and made the free throw.
The lead grew to three when Mathias tipped in a Vogeley attempt but the Cats came right back as Miller hit two more layups to put Vermont ahead, 68-67, with 3:40 to go. But the Catamounts would not score again.
Pagliara netted a pair of fifteen footers and two free throws to put the Redmen up by five, 73-68, with only 1:29 left on the clock. The Catamounts were forced to foul and Pagliara made two more free throws and Dempsey added four charity tosses to finally put the game out of reach, 79-68. What looked like an early end to the Redman season was finally turned into a precious victory.
The game, however, should serve as a good lesson for the Redmen. They can ill afford to take anyone lightly as everyone will be taking aim at the New England champs. As Coach Leaman said, “They scared us to death. Thank God for such guys as Vogeley, Greeley and Dempsey.”
BASELINE BANTER – The officiating was nothing short of atrocious though it should be noted that the referees showed no favorites. They called them terribly both ways.