Redmen Meet Rhody In Clash Of Unbeatens
By Barry Rubenstein, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Assistant Sports Editor, December 10, 1970
In a clash of unbeatens, the UMass basketball team travels to Kingston tonight to meet the Rams of Rhode Island in a big Yankee Conference tilt scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Although it is still quite early in the season, the outcome of this battle should have a lot to do with the final YanCon standings.
Coach Tom Carmody has led his Rams through their first three games with little or no difficulty. Rhody has downed Maine (110-82), New Hampshire (86-73), and Brown (94-88) and appear to be a team to be contended with this season despite the loss of its two premier players of 1969-70.
Both Bob Fultz and Claude English, All-YanCon picks last season and among the better players developed in New England in recent years, have graduated and it was thought by many that the Rams would miss them dearly. Instead, Rhody is off to one of its best starts in years.
Utilizing a fast break type of attack, the Rams have become a high-scoring unit as their early season scores indicate. Among its players, Rhody claims five men averaging in double figures which demonstrates the balance in its attack.
The leading scorer is 6'5 forward Nate Adger. The veteran Ram is scoring over 20 points a contest and tallied 27 against Maine and 21 versus Brown. He is also considered a fine rebounder.
Joining Adger in the forecourt are Al Hazzard and Phil Hickson. Hickson is a 6'4 forward who is netting about fifteen a game although he hit for 18 at Orono and 17 against Brown. A 6'7 center, Hazzard has scored over 11 per game with a high of 20 against the Wildcats.
Another forward to be contended with is Steve Rowell. Though only a sophomore, the high-scoring reserve forward is popping them in at a 16 per game clip and he too has hit twenty in the Rams battle with intrastate rival Brown.
In the backcourt, Rhody has a couple of veterans who make the running attack work. In the age of the big man, 5'5 Ed “Flea” Molloy is somewhat of an anachronism yet he is in large measure responsible for the Rams success thus far. Despite his size, Molloy has managed to contribute 16 a game for the Rams and has twice hit the 20 mark, against both Brown and Maine.
Another one of Carmody's mini-guards who will get a starting nod is 5'9 Dwight Tolliver. Though the lowest scorer among the starters, Tolliver has still managed eight points a game.
This is the second of four straight conference games for the Redmen and each one is important if UMass is too repeat as YanCon champs. After its unexpected struggle with Vermont many people might wonder how the Redmen will do against a club of Rhody's talent. Coach Leaman, however, feels his players are ready and mentioned what he thought the keys to the game would be.
“We have to stop their break. They're a tough team to defense but if we rebound we should stop their break.”
LAYUP LINES-The initial Redman statistics of the season were released yesterday and they showed Julius Erving to be averaging 29.5 points and 18.5 rebounds per game. Though the opponents so far leave a bit to be desired, the talented Erving seems off to another great year. Talk about balance, UMass' backcourt twins, Mike Pagliara and John Betancourt, are averaging 14.5 and 15 points per game, respectively.
Betancourt has ten assists to Pagliara’s nine while Pagliara edged out his backcourt mate in shooting percentage, .529 to .520… Overall, the Redmen are scoring 88.5 per game to 65.5 for their opponents. They also lead in the rebounding category, 98-78.
UMass Rebounds From Errors To Beat URI In OT
By John Sullivan, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Assistant Sports Editor, December 11, 1970
KINGSTON, R.I. - UMass' basketball team showed it was still a young team last night but had loads of character and stamina, enough to defeat a very fine University of Rhode Island quintet, 80-76, in overtime here before a large Keaney Gymnasium gathering.
What a great ball game! Except for a few stretches of time, it was nip n' tuck all the way. The Redmen made a lot of mistakes, mistakes that will only disappear as the squad grows in experience, but this team won the game, yes, won the game! It showed a lot of determination and an ability to bounce back from many costly errors.
This tilt featured a very tight first half, one in which UMass managed a two point, 37-35 lead. The Redmen controlled the game for the first 12 and a half minutes of the second half, as they stood on top of a 62-52 edge with 7:34 showing on the clock. However, no team was to run away on this night.
The Rams came roaring back and knotted the affair, 66-66, with 2:20 left in regulation time. Here is where the action was at its best.
Julius Erving popped in a 15 foot jumper and pulled down an ensuing rebound to make things excellent looking for the visitors. After his rebound, he fed a breaking Mike Pagliara who missed a tough lay-up but who stole the ball right back. The Redmen were still in control and had a two point lead, 68-66, in this late stage of play.
In fact, two consecutive Rhody fouls sent UMass' Erving and Chris Coffin to the foul line for one-and-one charity tosses. Both players failed to connect on their first shots, and the Redmen started to really hurt themselves.
After Coffin's miss, UMass got the basketball back and tried to run out the clock. Another URI foul was committed. Pagliara answered the situation with two foul hoops. UMass was up, 70-66, there were 29 seconds left and the visiting guys looked home free.
But Dwight Tolliver raced the ball up court and threw in a two pointer just six seconds later. Rhody needed a UMass mistake and got it when Pagliara committed an offensive foul with 11 seconds to go. URI called time out. With the fans going crazy, the team worked the ball to one Steve Rowell in seven quick seconds, and this guy aimed a 22 foot archer that broke the nets as he was falling away to make it 70 all. A great shot. The next play came in the overtime period.
At the outset of this five minute span UMass won the tap but missed its first goal attempt. The Rams ran back but their first shot missed and Erving grabbed one of his many rebounds that would be very big in these tense moments.
Off of this rebound Erving flipped a floor length pass to John Betancourt who hit the lay-up and was fouled. His two shots from the line gave the Redmen a four point, 74-70, lead. The Rams answered with a Nate Adger lay-in, but Erving came back with a ten foot base line quickie and the advantage was still four, 76-72.
Ed Malloy of URI brought his team within two on a tough 15 footer. Here UMass turned the ball over, only to get it back on a fine defensive effort by Coffin, only to turn it back over on a Betancourt walk.
Things were tight, but a big rebound by No. 32 drew a Rhody foul. Erving went to the stripe and sank both ends of a one-and-one situation, to put the Redmen up by four, 78-74, with only 50 seconds to go.
Molloy brought Rhody back again. He hit a very difficult shot in heavy traffic. Now the Redmen had the ball, a two point lead and 36 seconds. They successfully forced Rowell to commit a foul sending Coffin to the line for another one-and-one, with the clock reading 0:07.
Not to go against the pattern of the game, Coffin missed and UMass still had its heart in its mouth. Betancourt, however, settled things for good when he stole a hurried Rhody pass under the URI basket and was fouled.
Only one second remained, Betancourt hit two shots, 80-76 count. A wild URI attempt failed and the game was finally over. What a great game!
HOOP NOTES - UMass had 27 turnovers, but placed well enough in spite of these to come out on top… This was the second overtime game in a row for the Redmen… Last Saturday they defeated Vermont in overtime, 79-68… Erving led all scorers with 29 points… Betancourt had 19… Erving also led all rebounders with 24… Adger was the leading Rhody scorer with 21 points. He also had 9 rebounds and played a great ball game.