Minutemen host UNC-Wilmington, look to go 6-0
By Justin C. Smith, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, December 12, 1995
After opening the season with four out of five games that were contested until the final minutes, the 5-0 Massachusetts men's basketball team will take on what should be its easiest opponent of the season so far. North Carolina-Wilmington arrives at the William D. Mullins Center tonight for a 9:30 p.m. tip-off
The Seahawks (2-4) out of the Colonial Athletic Association, are not as talented on paper as the Kentucky and Wake Forest opposition that the Minutemen have already faced early in the 1995-96 campaign.
UNC-Wilmington is led by 6-foot-4 sophomore guard Mark Byington who averages 12 points a game along with 2.5 assists. His backcourt mate Lamont Franklin has dished out 3.5 assists per game.
The Seahawks also boast a 6-foot-11 250 pound center to match up against Marcus Camby, in the form of Preston McGriff. The senior big man averages 8.5 rebounds per contest to go along with nearly 12 points while hitting more than 50 percent of his shots from the floor.
The Minutemen are holding their opposition to a 39.5 shooting percentage, while knocking down baskets from the floor at a 42 8 percent clip.
UMass is also doing the little things on the court to help win ball games. Coach John Calipari's squad is shooting better than 80 percent from the charity stripe, including Donta Bright who is shooting a remarkable 91.4 percent from the free throw line. The co-captain has also hit 54.4 of his attempts from the field.
The Minutemen are also outrebounding the competition by nearly 10 boards a game. When outrebounding its opponent over the last four years UMass is 66-4.
Dana Dingle is the leading the team pulling down nine boards a contest. Taking care of the ball is also a strong suit for UMass, as it has turned the ball over just 12 times a game.
Although there are many other positives to go along with the ones stated above, answers to lingering questions are still being sought out by the Minuteman coaching staff.
Through five games, the five UMass starters have scored 93 percent of the teams points. Only junior forward Tyrone Weeks has contributed points off the bench in more than one game. Also with Rigoberto Nunez filling in when Carmelo Travieso takes a breather, the offense seems to stagger a bit. With the Seahawks in Amherst, the Minutemen will attempt to iron those wrinkles out.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two universities men's basketball teams however, they do share something in common. Current UMass coach John Calipari was a scholarship player for the Seahawks in his freshman and sophomore years of college before moving on to finish his collegiate career at Clarion State (Pa).
Minutemen shoot down Seahawks
By Justin C. Smith, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, December 13, 1995
The fear of a letdown always surrounds a team that has played so well against tough competition and then has to play what Massachusetts coach John Calipari would call “Popcorn State ”
Five minutes and three seconds into the contest, North Carolina-Wilmington center Preston McGriff hit a layup to boost the Seahawk lead to six, an 8-2 lead. Then the Minutemen got down to business on the defensive end and ran off 17 straight points, and they would never look back with a 77-51 win last night at the William D. Mullins Center.
“This is not what you would call a letdown,” Calipari said. “They came out and played the way they needed to against us.”
UMass was led by the guard play of juniors Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso. In the 17-0 run that broke the game open, they combined for three three-pointers as well as grabbing three rebounds and a steal.
“The whole reason for our success has been the play of our guards,” Bright said “If it weren't for our guards, we wouldn't be 6-0. They've been great.”
“They work really hard,” UNC Wilmington coach Jerry Wainwright said “I am just absolutely amazed at Carmelo’s and Edgar's ability to dog and defend kids for 37-plus minutes a game is a true tribute to the character of those young men.”
Dana Dingle and Marcus Camby started the run with a beautiful give and go play which Dingle finished with 14:20 left in the first half. “Travieso then knocked down his first three of the night to cut the lead to one, before a Camby drive through the lane for an easy bunny gave the Minutemen a lead it would never relinquish.
When Tyrone Weeks put home a lefty hook off the glass with 8:52 remaining in the first half, UMass had finished its run and was up 19-8.
UMass closed out the final two minutes of the first half with a 10-0 run that was highlighted by Donta Bright. First the senior co-captain blocked Lamont Franklin's attempted three pointer and headed down the court as Rigoberto Nunez grabbed the loose ball. Nunez found Bright in the comer with a football like pass, who then drilled a trey as the buzzer sounded.
Calipari’s squad went to the locker room with a 43-23 lead, but when they returned they would be without their superstar.
Minuteman center Marcus Camby played all of his 18 minutes in the first half, accumulating six points, four assists, three blocks and two rebounds before having to sit out with a groin injury.
“He said it was a groin and I said 'Fine.' He said he didn't want to test it,” Calipari said. “Obviously, we didn't feel like we needed him.”
Asked if Camby could have returned if the game had gotten close once again, the UMass coach would have tried to persuade his big man to return to the court.
“If the game had gotten close, I may have gotten down on my knees and begged him.” Calipari said.
In the second half without Camby playing. Weeks and Inus Norville saw extended playing time. Weeks scored the most points for a Minuteman coming off the bench in one game contributing nine with six boards. Norville dropped in six points and grabbed two rebounds along with two blocks.
Senior Ted Cotrell also got on the scoreboard with a resounding follow-up slam on a Weeks miss in the final minute which brought the UMass bench, as well as the sellout crowd, to their feet.
Padilla was the leading scorer on the night for UMass with 17 points on five-of-eight shooting from the floor, and six-for-eight from the free-throw line. Along with his six assists and five rebounds, the Minuteman point guard did not make a single turnover. As a team, the UMass assist-to-turnover ratio was 2-to-1.
“I thought Edgar had an unbelievable line,” Calipari said. “Points, assists, turnovers, steals and rebounding. He was like our leading rebounder.”
Overall, the team shot a red-hot 16-for-28 from the field in the first half (57 percent) including six-of-nine from downtown.
UNC-Wilmington was led by reserve guard Stan Simmons with 11 points while Preston McGriff hit for 11 points and three boards.
The Minutemen will take more than a week off before they return to action on Dec. 22 when UMass will take on Stephon Marbury and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Meadowlands.
Padilla and Travieso guard UMass to victory
By Candice Flemming, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, December 13, 1995
In the first five games of the season, they've pretty much been overlooked — mainly because of the three big names on the Massachusetts roster: Marcus Camby, Dana Dingle and Donta Bright — although the two shouldn't be overshadowed.
But in last night's game against North Carolina-Wilmington, UMass guards Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso finally got the recognition that they deserved.
The two guards were the story of the game, combining for 52 points and 11 rebounds, and leading the Minutemen to a 77-51 win.
“The whole reason for our success has been the play of our guards,” Bright said. “If it weren't for our guards, we wouldn't be 6-0. They've been great.”
Travieso's shooting was the story of the first half. He had been struggling in the previous two games, scoring just seven against Wake Forest (Dec. 6) and two against Boston College last Saturday. Against Maryland on Dec. 2, he finished with zero points but did grab six boards.
But Travieso lit up the William D. Mullins Center last night for 12 first half points, on the strength of 4-for-5 shooting from the field, all three-point attempts.
“I don't really worry about making shots,” Travieso said. “I worry about my defense and rebounding, the rest of the game comes from that. When I get open looks, I shoot them and if they go in, they go in. If they don't. I just keep on playing. Eventually, they're going to fall, and tonight they did.”
Padilla had a lot of success finding an open Travieso behind the arc, and he finished the half with five assists.
After the Minutemen's slow start that saw them down 8-2 after a little over five minutes of play, Travieso caught fire. He followed baskets by Bright and Dingle with his first trey of the night to pull UMass to within one, 8-7. UMass took the lead shortly after and never trailed again.
Travieso sank his second three of the night immediately following the first television time out, and then Padilla added a trey on the very next possession after the stingy UMass defense caused one of UNC-Wilmington's 18 turnovers.
The treys by Travieso and Padilla helped spark the Minutemen to a 17-0 run that effectively put the game out of reach.
“Carmelo and Edgar made the open shots,” UNC-Wilmington coach Jerry Wainwright said. “They are very confident in shooting the ball.”
After Travieso dropped two more three-pointers in the half, it was Padilla's turn to shine. The 6-foot-2-inch sparkplug scored four of the Minutemen's last 10 points of the half, all from the charity stripe.
Padilla continued things in the second half, starting it off with a jumper to give the Minutemen a 45-23 lead, and then sinking a layup with 14:15 remaining to give UMass a 48-27 edge.
Padilla finished the game scoring a game-high 17 points with five rebounds, six assists, two steals and no turnovers in 35 minutes of action.
“I thought Edgar had an unbelievable line,” Massachusetts coach John Calipari said.
Travieso finished with 14 points and six rebounds in 35 minutes of action as well.
“Everybody's been counting [Carmelo and Edgar] out, [but] they've played real good,” Bright said. “They're one of the top backcourts [in the country] right now.”
With the blowout in effect, Calipari was able to get Travieso time at the point, which in turn gave Padilla, who has been averaging 39 minutes per game, a much-needed break.
Travieso's been working overtime as well in the backcourt, averaging 36.8 minutes a game.
“I was amazed at Carmelo Travieso and Edgar [Padilla's] ability to dog and defend our kids for 37-plus minutes a game,” Wainwright said “It's a tribute to the conditioning program and a tribute to the character of those two men.”
The two will now welcome 10 days of rest, before they head to the Meadowlands on Dec. 22 to face Georgia Tech and freshman sensation Stephon Marbury.
UMass rises up, avoids letdown
Camby pulls groin as mates pull away
By Joe Burris, The Boston Globe Staff, 12/13/1995
AMHERST – With an opponent like North Carolina-Wilmington, there were just two questions facing the University of Massachusetts last night. First, would the third-ranked Minutemen play well enough to put away the lowly opponent early? Second, would the Minutemen walk away from a sure win injury-free?
Yes on Question No. 1. UMass shook off early sluggishness and a 6-0 deficit, jumped out to a 20-point halftime lead and went on to rout the Seahawks, 77-51.
No on Question No. 2. Well, sort of. Center Marcus Camby pulled a groin in the first half and sat out the second. The injury wasn't serious, however, and later coach John Calipari said Camby could have played if necessary – which tells you everything you need to know about the game.
The Minutemen (6-0) shot 57 percent in the first half, built a 52-28 lead with 12:57 left in the game and denied their scrappy opponents any serious rally. Junior guard Edgar Padilla had a game-high 17 points and 6 assists, and guard Carmelo Travieso added 14 points (12 in the first half) for the Minutemen.
UMass' start is the best in Calipari's eight-year tenure, but the coach was hardly elated with the win. After victories over No. 1 Kentucky and No. 10 Wake Forest, Coach Cal feared his team would have a letdown against the Seahawks (2-5), and when the Minutemen fell behind, 6-0, he gave his players an earful. The verbiage would last all evening.
“There wasn't a letdown – UNC-Wilmington just got off to a great start and we didn't,” said Calipari. “I screamed so much I've got a headache. I got into it because I wanted the kids to play hard. I wanted them to play like this was a Temple game.”
The Seahawks made it 8-2 as center Preston McGriff scored on a short hook over Camby. Then UMass began its first run. Forward Dana Dingle scored on a feed from Camby, and after a turnover, Travieso hit a 3-point basket. Camby gave the Minutemen their first lead on a baseline layup.
The Minutemen began to frustrate the Seahawks with their defensive pressure, and they got turnovers. UMass made it 12-8 on another trey by Travieso. After another turnover, the Minutemen went ahead, 15-8, on a trey by Padilla. After yet another turnover, UMass went ahead, 17-8, on a put-back by Donta Bright. With 8:32 to go, Tyrone Weeks scored inside to put the Minutemen up, 19-8.
“I think UMass has one of the most underrated defensive teams in the country,” said N.C.-Wilmington coach Jerry Wainwright. “They work very hard. I am amazed with Carmelo and Padilla. Their ability to dog and defend players for 37-plus minutes is a tribute not only to the conditioning up here but to the character of those young men.”
N.C.-Wilmington gave UMass another mild scare when guard Mark Byington hit a trey with 4:01 left in the half to pull to 26-19, but the Minutemen surged again. A bucket by Camby, a trey by Travieso and another basket by Camby made it 33-21.
On the Seahawks' last possession of the first half, Bright rejected guard Billy Donlon, and teammate Rigo Nunez got the steal. Nunez passed to Bright, who pulled up and hit a trey at the buzzer, giving UMass a 43-23 halftime lead.
The second half was much like the latter 15 minutes of the first, with the Minutemen scoring at will and the Seahawks scrapping to stay close. This without the services of Camby.
“He said it was a groin injury and I said, 'Don't test it,' ” said Calipari. “But it was a good time to give Tyrone Weeks and Inus Norville time, and that was good.”
NC WILMINGTON (51) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Moore 17 1-4 1-2 3-5 1 5 3 Donlon 36 4-8 1-2 0-2 3 2 9 Mcgriff 24 5-10 0-0 1-3 0 4 10 Franklin 24 1-2 0-1 0-1 3 0 2 Byington 33 4-10 0-0 0-4 0 4 9 Simmons 17 2-5 5-6 0-3 1 1 11 Wainwright 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Pucket 3 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 0 1 Hackworth 4 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 Mayew 30 2-6 2-2 2-3 1 2 6 Tommer 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 0 Avent 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Gibbs 7 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 3 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 19-48 10-15 6-23 9 24 51 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.396, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals: 3-11, .273 (Donlon 0-3, Byington 1-5, Simmons 2-3). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: None. Turnovers: 18 (Donlon 4, Franklin 4, Byington 3, Mayew 2, Hackworth, Mcgriff, Moore, Simmons, Wainwright). Steals: 4 (Mayew 2, Franklin, Simmons). MASSACHUSETTS (77) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Dingle 32 3-9 1-2 3-5 1 1 7 Bright 29 7-10 1-3 4-4 0 1 16 Camby 18 3-6 0-0 0-2 4 1 6 E Padilla 33 5-8 6-8 0-5 6 4 17 Travieso 33 5-8 0-0 0-6 1 1 14 Burns 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 G Padilla 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Maclay 2 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Weeks 22 2-6 5-9 1-6 1 2 9 Cottrell 5 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 0 2 Nunez 8 0-1 0-0 0-1 1 0 0 Norville 14 0-2 6-7 0-1 0 2 6 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 26-52 19-29 8-32 16 14 77 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.655. 3-Point Goals: 6-13, .462 (Dingle 0-1, Bright 1-1, E Padilla 1-4, Travieso 4-7). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 7 (Camby 3, Bright 2, Norville 2). Turnovers: 8 (Bright 2, Norville 2, Camby, Dingle, Travieso, Weeks). Steals: 8 (E Padilla 2, Bright, Burns, Dingle, G Padilla, Norville, Travieso). __________________________________ Nc Wilmington 23 28 - 51 Massachusetts 43 34 - 77 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 9,493. Officials: J Mcdaniel, Murph Shapiro, Jerry Donaghy.