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Some Big Games In Store For UMass: Tourney, BU And PC
By Fred Rosenthal, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff Reporter, December 23, 1970
Although most UMass intercollegiate teams will be inactive for the next five weeks or so, the Redman basketball squad will play either four or five games, one of which looms very important.
The UMass cagers will be one of the eight entrees in the First Annual Hall of Fame Holiday Basketball Tournament to be held in Springfield next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Dec. 28th, 29th and 30th).
In the first round, or day, they will face Fairfield University. Should UMass defeat the Stags, it will play at least two more games in the tourney, moving into the semi-final round on day two, and the championship round or the consolation round (to decide the third and fourth place teams) on the 30th., or third day.
If the Redmen lose to Fairfield, they'll play again, against one of the other three first-round losers. Should they lose again here, they will be eliminated. However, should they win, they will be given a shot at fifth place in the final tourney standings.
This is a double elimination tourney. The champion will have to have won all three of its games, the runnerup will be 2-1, the third place team will also be 2-1, the fourth place team will be 1-2, the fifth place team 2-1, the sixth place team 1-2, and the seventh and eighth place teams both 0-2. The latter two teams will be the only ones to play just two games. A tourney table on how the winners can progress to the title game can be found elsewhere on this page.
After the Hall of Fame affair, the Redmen take time off for exams, but during intercession they have a tough contest against Boston University away on Jan. 21 and what could be a super game (the one that looms very important) versus Providence College at Providence on Jan. 23.
The following is a round-up of the teams UMass will have to encounter in the next few weeks, including Fairfield, BU and PC.
FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY: The Redmen's opening round opponent in the Springfield classic, the Stags have a 1-3 record which they will take with them when they face UMass. The three Fairfield losses have been to strong opponents Boston College 59-56, Providence 84-54, and St. Joseph's College 89-67. Top Stags include 6'6 senior Mark Frazer, the captain, and 6'2 sophomore George Groom. The coach of Fairfield is Fred Barakat, in his first year.
THE OTHER SEVEN TEAMS IN THE HALL OF FAME TOURNEY: Colgate University, Long Island University, Springfield College (which UMass defeated last year 82-76, and one which the Redmen play on Feb. 16), St. Michael's College, Valparaiso University and American International College (which UMass has already beaten this season, 93-40, on Dec. 18).
BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Here is a team the Redmen really outpointed last winter, 103-68, at the Cage. BU's record is presently 1-3 as it has really missed the play of graduates Jim Hayes and Marty Schoepfer. All of the Terrier returnees are non-double-figure scorers, they being Bob McNamara, Rich Taylor and Tom Taylor. BU has a couple of fine sophs in Jim Garvin, a 6’7 guy who averaged 20 rebounds as a freshman, and Vic Gathers, a 5'10 guard. Boston U. was expected to get off to a slow start, but its talent should push it towards improvement over the second half. The Terriers will be tough on their home floor. BU is coached by Charles Luce, in his fifth year.
PROVIDENCE COLLEGE: Here's the big game, against the team that may hold the number one ranking in New England when the Redmen arrive at Alumni Hall to face these potent Friars. Still the number one basketball name in N.E., PC hit bad times for a couple of years, but the Friars appear to be back to their old form, one that saw them consistently win over 20 games a year and receive invitations to post-season tournaments. Back from last campaign's 14-11 PC unit are these names, Jim Larranaga, Ray Johnson, Vic Collucci, Don Lewis and Gary Wilkins. Each of these five averaged in double figures a year ago, with Larranaga’s 16.3 leading the pack. Add to these veterans a group of promising sophomores up from a 21-3 frosh squad. They are Ernie DiGregorio, Fran Costello, Nehru King and Charlie Crawford. Currently PC's mark is 5-1. DiGregorio is currently the top Friar scorer with a 16.8 average. Providence is coached by Dave Gavitt, in his second year.
To say the least, these four or five games represent an important segment of the season for the 7-0 Redmen as they look to repeat last year's rise to the top of the N.E. college basketball circle. Out of all the games though, that Providence tilt should be really something.
Redmen Take Eleventh Straight
UMass Sluggish In BU Win, 77-63
By Barry Rubenstein, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Assistant Sports Editor, January 27, 1971 (first publication after winter break)
After a 22 day lay-off, the UMass basketball team dumped the Terriers of Boston University despite a sluggish performance before a turn-away crowd of over 1500 fans at Sargent Gym on January 21, 77-63. It was the Redmen’s eleventh straight victory of the season without a defeat while the Boston club slumped to 2-8.
The last UMass game before the BU affair was way back on December 30th when the Redmen downed Colgate in the finale of the Hall of Fame Tournament. The break adversely affected the hoopsters who were sloppy throughout and only the outstanding performance of junior guard Mike Pagliara saved the Redmen in this one.
Pagliara had a career high 24 points as he netted eight of nine from the floor and eight of ten from the charity stripe. He connected for seven crucial points early in the second half as the Redmen ran off 11 straight points to ice the contest.
Also outstanding for UMass was senior co-captain Ken Mathias who was the game’s leading rebounder with 17 caroms. It was his board play along with Pagliara’s bombing which eventually led the Redmen past the upset-minded Terriers.
The first half was surprisingly close all of the way. UMass got a break before the contest even started as BU was charged with a technical foul for dunking during warm-up drills. The free throw was missed but UMass got the ball and Julius Erving, who had a rare off night, connected on a 20-footer to put the Redmen on top.
UMass jumped ahead, 10-4, at 16:13 on a three-point lay by Chris Coffin from an Erving feed. It looked at this point as if the Redmen would romp after all. But less than three minutes later, the Terriers had knotted the count at 11 and their tight defense was giving UMass problems.
When UMass saw a 31-23 lead shrink to a 35-31 halftime margin, it was obvious that this was not one of UMass’ better efforts. But as poorly as the Amherst boys played, the Terriers played well. Senior James Garvin was the main BU weapon as he ended the evening with 23 points, 16 in the first half.
The turning point of the contest came with about 18 minutes left to go. Coffin pulled down a defensive rebound but his pass was intercepted by a Terrier. The BU player drove for the hoop and put the ball in but was called for a charging foul in the process. When the referees disallowed the basket, a Terrier assistant coach vociferously objected and BU was hit with a technical foul.
From that point, the Redmen ran off eleven straight points. When the spree was over the score had the Terriers behind, 52-35, and this cushion was enough to last the Redmen who needed everything they could get in this one. The lead fluctuated between ten points and the final margin of 14.
With the way UMass played, it was lucky for the Redmen that the opposition was Boston U. rather than some of the clubs UMass must face in the coming weeks. The Redmen were still, for one more game anyway, the only undefeated team in New England.
LAYUP LINES – Erving, on his “off night” only had 22 points and 16 rebounds. In his only Boston appearance of the season, the junior star only netted nine of 25 field goal attempts and seemed to be bothered by the lay-off more than some of the other players… At least 400 fans were turned away at the door and reportedly about 40 of them had tickets. Campus police had a hard time clearing the entrances… Coach Jack Leaman once again was victorious over his alma mater. Leaman, it was revealed in the game program, has the most points for a Terrier backcourtman in a season and a career in BU history. He also ranks as the fifth leading all-time scorer with 961 career points.