It’s Fordham At The Cage At 8
By Earle Barroll, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff Reporter, January 27, 1971
For the first half of this basketball season the surprise team in the East has been Fordham University which has taken a complete about face in its basketball program to go from a mediocre team last year to not only one of the best in the East, but also one of the best teams in the nation as the latest wire polls have indicated.
Tonight at Curry Hicks Cage this “new look'” Fordham team will be supplying the opposition for the UMass Redmen in the second semester home opener with tap-off set for 8.
After a 10-15 record last season Fordham went looking for a new coach and came up with Richard Phelps, the then chief assistant at the University of Pennsylvania and architect of the Quakers' surge to the top of the Ivy League and also to a position of national prominence.
It was said on a recent ECAC basketball game-of-the-week that “Phelps has brought excitement back to New York City basketball.“
And excitement is the word as his Rams have run up an impressive 12-1 record to date and a national ranking of 15th best in the nation in the UPI poll this week.
All of this has been done without the big man: the tallest starter for the Rams is 6’5”. What it has been done with is the defensive genius of its coach and a consistent offense led by its all-American candidate Charles Yelverton.
The Rams have been throwing many defenses at its opponents including its now vaunted press which has enabled Fordham to run up impressive victories this season over Yale, Columbia, Syracuse, Princeton and Holy Cross. Watch for this Fordham press.
Yelverton is the spark for Fordham. At 6'3” he can play either at guard or forward and uses his excellent jumping ability as the Ram's best rebounder. He's been averaging around 20 points per game with his finest effort coming in the Finals of the Kodak Classic where he scored 46 points in leading the Rams to the title.
Ken Charles and George Zambetti play the front court for the Rams. Charles is a 6'3“ sophomore and last year led the freshman team in scoring with a 27.8 point average. At 6’5” Zambetti is the tallest starter. Due to an injury he sat out last season, but this season he has been one of the mainstays in the Fordham hoop success.
In the backcourt will be Bill Mainor and John Burik. Both men are 6’1” and extremely good shooters from the outside. They are also tough defenders in the pressing defense.
On the UMass side, the Redmen are coming into this encounter with an 11-1 slate.
UM Bows To Fordham, 87-79
By John Sullivan, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Sports Editor, January 28, 1971
Falling behind too far too early the UMass basketball team lost to Fordham University, 87-79, although it kept coming back, never making it all the way due to its own costly errors before a large Cage contingent of 4500 last night.
It was the Redmen's first home loss in over a year, or since Dec. 16, 1969 when the culprit was the University of Connecticut by 88-71. UMass record is now 11-2. while the nationally-ranked Rams moved up a notch to 13-1.
The only lead the Redmen owned in this one was a 2-0 advantage 26 seconds into the action, their only two ties came at 2-2 and 3-3 in the very early going. Fordham was able to establish some strong first-half leads, and when UMass made its runs at the Rams late in that half and throughout the second half, it was Redman miscues that slowed the Redmen down.
UMass turned the ball over 19 times to the visitors’ nine. Much of the story of the game is told right there.
Approximately five and a half minutes into the game and the Redmen were down 13-6 as Fordham's Ken Charles already had nine points. He was to end up with 22. After about ten minutes of first-half play, the Ram advantage was 24-13 due to the hot hand of star Charles Yelverton, who had nine points up to this point and who would finish the game with 30.
Five and a half minutes later, with 5:34 showing on the clock, Fordham rode two Charles free throws to a 36-19 advantage, its biggest of the contest. That lead was duplicated a few seconds later when Yelverton matched a Redman hoop with one of his own and the score read 38-21.
At this point, UMass got down to the business at hand and cut the Ram lead to ten, 46-36, at the intermission break. Extremely poor shooting plagued UMass in that 20-minute stretch (the Redmen shot 38.1% from the floor), but improved shooting would be the key to the home team's comebacks in the second half.
Julius Erving had a low-scoring first half, seven points; the night, however, was only half over.
The Redmen let Fordham score four points in the first two and a half minutes of the second canto, but held the Rams to that total for another one and a half minutes, and the home team started to peck away at the lead.
Two John Betancourt points, three from Ken Mathias and six from Erving set the stage for an Erving-to-Chris Coffin breakaway that netted a key basket and brought UMass within one at 50-49.
In two minutes time the visiting squad built its edge up to five, 54-49, and for the next couple of minutes the Ram advantage fluctuated between three and five points. Over the next six minutes, from when there was 12:03 left in the tilt to when there was 6:01, Fordham built up another hefty lead, this one a 14-pointer, 77-63.
But the Redmen climbed back. Back-to-back three point plays by Erving and Rich Vogeley, two Erving foul hoops and a long-range jump shot by Betancourt brought UMass within four, 77-73, with 3:46 to go.
After Yelverton and Erving traded baskets, it was two fouls committed by the home guys that gave the Rams a golden opportunity to ice the affair. The first foul sent John Burik to the line for a one-add one; he canned them both for a 81-75 count with 3:02 remaining. The second foul saw Bill Mainor also hit both sides of a one-and-one for 83-75 with 1:54 showing on the clock.
UMass made up for the four points lost on fouls after Betancourt put in a shot from the floor, followed by two Erving hoops from the line, making it 83-79 with 1:18 left. A Fordham turnover just seconds later gave the Redmen a big break, but a quick Fordham steal resulted in a Charles lay-up, dashing UMass’ hopes of pulling its fine rallies through. The Rams were up 85-79 with one minute to go. One half minute later, Mainor ended the scoring for the night with a couple of more charity hoops, 87-79.
HOOP NOTES-Of the Redmen’s 19 turnovers, ten came in the second half when less mistakes were necessary if the comeback was to work… Vogeley played a strong game… The junior forward, in substitute roles for Coffin and a fouled-out Mathias, played some real smart ball, scoring 11 points… Erving really came through in the second half… The junior star, who was a mere two-for-seven from the floor in the first half, sunk six-of-12 in the second and all 11 of his attempts from the foul line… Betancourt was sub-par to his performance the other night against Providence… Although the junior guard scored well, 18 points, his floor play was off as his seven turnovers indicates… With his 30 points Erving raced 8th place in UMass career scoring, surpassing Peter Bernard, a ’64 graduate… His total is 1007, as last night’s performance made him the eighth Redman player ever to cross the 1,000-point threshold… Yelverton, at 6’2, showed some fine moves and sharp shooting… No one particular area or thing sticks out as the reason for UMass two losses in succession, the other coming last Saturday to PC, 73-72… If anything, the two defeats result from a confusing combination of little things, things that a young team and its hard-working coach can discover and correct in the days ahead.