UMass finale was good start
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/5/1996
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – They were determined to end the regular season on an encouraging note. But the second-ranked University of Massachusetts Minutemen knew it wouldn't be easy – not when they were coming off a few of their least-productive performances of the season and visiting a perennial power on Senior Day, before its largest home crowd in history and on its head coach's birthday.
But UMass upended Louisville Saturday in the season finale for both teams, once again playing some of its best basketball against one of its toughest opponents. That's why coach John Calipari says he can't understand all the talk of his team being in trouble.
“People question our team and I ask, 'Are you at your best every day of your life?' ” said Calipari. “We're not going to be on an emotional high every night out. But we have met every challenge we've faced.”
Now the regular season is over. The Minutemen, who compiled the best regular-season record in school history (28-1) en route to their fifth straight Atlantic 10 regular-season title, will try to become the second team in college basketball history to win five consecutive conference regular-season and tournament crowns.
(UMassHoops.com note: UMass was attempting to be the third team to do this. Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference from 1943-44 through 1949-50, and NC State in the Southern Conference from 1946-47 through 1950-51, were the others.)
UMass, after finishing first in the East Division (15-1), will receive a first-round bye in the tournament, which begins tomorrow in Philadelphia. UMass begins play Thursday, when it will meet the winner of the Dayton-St. Bonaventure game.
“I think we need to get back to how we played when we played Kentucky in the season opener,” said center Marcus Camby. “We had a bad couple of games in previous weeks, but the Louisville win is a nice start now. We need to have a nice week of practices to get ready for the A-10 tournament and after that let everything loose.”
UMass has not lost a conference tournament game since the first round in 1991, when it fell to George Washington in overtime.
This season, even though they lost just one game (to George Washington), the Minutemen needed dramatics down the stretch to beat Xavier, Duquesne, Rhode Island and St. Joseph's. They met the latter two twice, and didn't find the rematches any easier.
“We've had so many close games, overtime games, and we've pulled them out,” said Camby. “That will only help us in the NCAA tournament.”
Saturday's game against Louisville marked a return of the kind of play that helped the Minutemen to their No. 1 ranking and unblemished record through 26 games. UMass gained control of the tempo early, jumped to a 13-point lead and held off every rally.
“I still think we need to regroup a little bit but that was a good start,” said forward Dana Dingle.
Calipari said talk that his team peaked too soon was exaggerated.
“I have people back in Amherst, or back in our area, pushing the panic button because we played a little poorly for about a week,” he said. “I mean, it has been like, 'The demise of the program,' and I'm reading this and going, 'What's going on?' It's a long season. We have jumped every hurdle and we've learned.”
Calipari did say, however, that prior to the Louisville game he had gotten away from the routine of making practices more intense than games. He returned to that leading up to Louisville and will continue it leading up to the A-10 tourney.
“Poor practices lead to poor games,” said Calipari. “We're really going to get after it.”
UMass wants high five
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/6/1996
With all the talk about the NCAA tournament – from gaining a No. 1 seed, to reaching the Final Four, to winning the national championship – you wonder how motivated the University of Massachusetts will be for the Atlantic 10 tournament, which begins today at the Civic Center in Philadelphia.
Since the season began, the second-ranked Minutemen have made it clear that their primary goal is winning the national title. There has been little mention of the A-10 tourney, probably because (1) UMass already has won four consecutive tourney titles and (2) it doesn't need a fifth to make the NCAA field.
UMass, which won the A-10 East Division, is one of four teams that earned first-round byes in the conference tournament. Tomorrow at noon, the Minutemen will meet the winner of today's 2:30 p.m. game between Dayton (fourth-place finisher, West) and St. Bonaventure (fifth place, East).
Semifinals are slated for Friday, and the championship will be Saturday.
Not only does UMass not need the tournament title to qualify for the Big Dance, it probably doesn't need it to gain a No. 1 seed. So could the Minutemen take it lightly?
“I don't think so,” said Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Marcus Camby. “We've got George Washington and Virginia Tech, so we're not looking past them.”
Coach John Calipari said the Minutemen will be motivated by the chance to become only the second team in NCAA history to win five consecutive regular-season and tournament titles. (UMassHoops.com note: UMass was attempting to be the third team to do this. Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference from 1943-44 through 1949-50, and NC State in the Southern Conference from 1946-47 through 1950-51, were the others.)
“For us, the No. 1 thing is winning our fifth championship in a row,” he said.
Four Atlantic 10 teams – URI, St. Joseph's, Duquesne and Xavier – lost close games to the Minutemen this season, and George Washington beat them. “They're going to be tough opponents,” said Calipari.
Rough, ref stuff irk Calipari
He'd like to get official word on how games will be played
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/7/1996
PHILADELPHIA – He goes to the edge often, driven by an unquenchable urge to target anything, anyone he feels causes his best-laid plans to fall apart. During his early years as coach of the University of Massachusetts, John Calipari used to say that if he felt making a point was necessary, he'd make it, adding, “I'm not afraid to make you mad.”
Throughout his eight-year career, Calipari has often taken the same approach with game officials, and it has made him one of the most animated mentors in college basketball. Lately, however, the referees have shown they're not averse to giving him a technical foul; Calipari earned at least one in four of UMass' last six regular-season games. On Feb. 24 against George Washington, Calipari got two, prompting his first ejection ever.
Those who figured Calipari would tone down after that were wrong; he was his usual combative self in the following game, against St. Joseph's. He probably will take the same approach today in the Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinals when his second-ranked Minutemen (28-1) meet St. Bonaventure, which defeated Dayton, 72-60, yesterday.
Although he and his assistants objected to a few calls in UMass' regular-season finale against Louisville (prompting a technical to be called against the UMass bench), Calipari felt it was a well-officiated game, albeit physical. He wishes the NCAA would send coaches statements saying that is how the NCAA tournament will be called.
“If that's how the NCAA tournament is going be, please just tell us,” he said. “I'd like to be able to prepare my team for that. We'll practice with that in mind.”
Yesterday the Minutemen continued their quest for the brand of play that gained them success in the early season, staging a physical practice at St. Joseph's. Calipari believes that making practices more difficult than games led to UMass' success. But he also believes teams will try to play UMass physically during the NCAA tournament.
That's been the trend lately as teams realize the way to slow down the Minutemen's machine is to make the game physical and aggressive. In situations like that, how the game is called becomes key.
Because of his sideline antics, Calipari has grown accustomed to fueling emotions of both opposing crowds and Mullins Center patrons. Both groups often wonder how far he can go toward the edge, or beyond the coach's box, before an official gives him the “T” sign.
But Calipari shows no signs of letting up. In fact, his emotions boil even when he talks about how some games have been called in college basketball this season, reinforcing his contention that the game is moving toward more physical play.
“I'm very disappointed because I think the reason why our games rate so high on television is that we play basketball the way it's supposed to be played, which is ball movement and pressure defense, without pushing and shoving and beating anybody up, and people want to watch that,” he said.
Calipari felt the opposite hurt the Big East. “What happened in the Big East five years ago?” he said. “They started beating each other up and mugging, with six fouls, and what happened to their ratings? They're still recovering today. People don't want to watch that. James Naismith rolls over in his grave when he sees it. John Wooden says that's not basketball the way it's supposed to be played.
“Then I hear from the head of all the officials, 'We're going to let them be rough.' Why? That's not how basketball is supposed to be played. It's a finesse game. It's about being a good athlete. It's about playing together. It's about chemistry. It upsets me, and that's one of the reasons I get on officials. This is not football or lacrosse. If it's body contact, it's a foul.
“They say, 'Then you'd have to call 50 fouls.' I say call them all. Call 100. Then they won't foul, because you would foul out. You would figure it out. I love what the NBA did: No hand-checking, because it becomes sumo wrestling, and who wants to see it?”
Calipari believes observers shouldn't be aware of the officials' presence. “After a game is over, you should be able to say, 'Who refereed that game?' That's the way it should be, the way it's supposed to be.”
Calipari is not the only person at UMass who has experienced backlash from officials. Sources say athletic director Bob Marcum recently filed a complaint with the Atlantic 10 office in response to an official's comments to him during the Rhode Island game. The source said an official, apparently upset over Marcum's objections to the calls in the game, told the AD to refrain from making comments or he would “haul his ass out.”
Yesterday Marcum declined to discuss the incident, saying he would let the Atlantic 10 office handle it. Atlantic 10 commissioner Linda Bruno declined comment.
But Marcum said he isn't concerned about his coach's recent rash of technicals, joking that UMass went 26-0 before Calipari's ejection. “Every 26 wins,” said Marcum, “if he gets one, it's OK.”
UM starts postseason with twice-beaten Bonnies
By Mike Corey, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 7, 1996
PHILADELPHIA - Bring on the Bonnies.
UMass will play the first game of the Atlantic 10 Tournament against St. Bonaventure University at noon today. The Bonnies defeated the Flyers of Dayton University yesterday in opening round action of the tournament, 72-60.
Rashaan Palmer was the high man for the Bonnies leading the way with 18 points. Shandue McNeil chipped into the cause with 15 points and six boards. The Flyers shot a pathetic 30 percent from the field in the first half and they found themselves trailing 33-22 at halftime. The Bonnies shot 52 percent from the field at the half and 44 percent for the game.
“We stepped up and hit our shots today,” said St. Bonaventure head coach Jim Baron. “Hitting our shot really allowed us to take some chances defensively. We did a good job on defense and had fun playing defense and getting turnovers.”
The Bonnies forced Dayton to 14 turnovers which they turned into 20 points for themselves. Dayton never led in this contest as St. Bonaventure controlled the game from start to finish. The Dayton defeat marked the first A-10 Tournament win for the Bonnies since 1985 and gave them revenge on a 66-57 loss to the Flyers earlier this year.
“I definitely think they came out with intensity and played physically,” said Dayton head coach Oliver Purnell. “They let the calls go and we didn’t adjust.”
St. Bonaventure will take to the court tomorrow against UMass in a matchup that Baron acknowledges will be a tough one.
“Everybody knows how good that team is we’re playing tomorrow,” said Baron. “It’s a big game for us and we have to get ready. If we execute our game plan, we’ll be alright.”
UMass has faced the Bonnies twice this year in games they have won handily. However, their first meeting of the season in Olean, N.Y. the Minutemen played without Marcus Camby who collapsed in pregame warmups. Massachusetts went on to win by 13 (65-52) behind 17 points and seven boards by Dana Dingle and strong performances by Donta Bright (15 points, eight boards) and Tyrone Weeks (15 points, 12 rebounds) off the bench.
Camby would return in his first game back, ironically, against the Bonnies. UMass beat St. Bonaventure 72-47 behind 19 points, seven boards and nine blocks by Camby.
The Minutemen are in second place in the A-10 in holding opponent’s point totals down with an average of 61 ppg, and on shooting percentage with opponents shooting 38 percent against the Minutemen. St. Bonaventure is last in the A-10 in field goal percentage with 36 percent, something they must improve on if they want a shot at beating the Atlantic 10 regular season champs.
“We’ve overcome a lot of adversity this year, losing four starters and having a lot of injuries,” said Baron. “This year, one of our goals was to win a conference tournament game. We have to springboard off this game. UMass is a great team, one of the best to ever come through the A-10.”
Massachusetts (#2) 69, St. Bonaventure 56
From The Associated Press, 3/7/1996
Carmelo Travieso scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half as Massachusetts built a 14-point lead en route to a 69-56 victory over St. Bonaventure in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament in Philadelphia.
Massachusetts (29-1), the top-seed, moves on to the semifinals of the A-10 for the fifth straight year and sixth time in the last seven.
“I think this was a good first game for us,” said Massachusetts coach John Calipari. “It was a noon start, which is tough. We practiced at 7:00 a.m., and the guys have been up all day.
The Minutemen will face the winner of tonight's St. Joseph's-George Washington game. St. Joseph's took U-Mass to overtime twice this season and George Washington handed U-Mass their only loss of the season.
Travieso, a second team Atlantic 10 selection this season, scored 14 of Massachusetts' first 17 points in the first eight minutes, but U-Mass held a slim 19-18 lead. The Minutemen then went on a 20-7 run, capped by a three pointer by Travieso with 2:49 left, to give the four-time defending Atlantic 10 champions a 39-25 halftime lead. Travieso was 8-of-11 in the opening stanza, including 3-of-6 from three point territory.
“I took advantage of running the floor and spotting up for open jumpers,” said Travieso. “My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball in good spots. I worry more about playing aggressive defense than about my offense. I know I'll get my shots.”
Donta Bright scored 15 points in the second half after being shutout in the first half. He had a four-point play at the 16:29 mark to give the Minutemen a 47-31 lead.
St. Bonaventure pulled to 53-42 with 11:40 to play on a desperation three-pointer by James Singleton as the shot clock ran down, but Marcus Camby took over from that point on.
Camby, the Atlantic 10 player of the year, had a relatively quiet first 30 minutes of the game. But after the Singleton trey, Camby scored the next five points, grabbed a defensive rebound and drew an offensive foul as the Minutemen extended their lead to 58-42 with 8:29 left, and were never in danger the rest of the game.
“This is our tournament,” said Camby. “We have won it four straight years. We wanted to come down here and stake our claim.”
Camby finished with 12 points, nine below his average, on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, four rebounds and two blocks.
U-Mass played tenacious defense the entire game, limiting St. Bonaventure to 34 per cent shooting from the field and forcing 21 turnovers that led to 20 Massachusetts points. U-Mass came out with a full-court press, which surprised the Bonnies and led to some early easy baskets for the Minutemen.
“U-Mass' pressure is as tough as we've faced all year,” said St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron. “They can take more chances because they have Marcus Camby back there. U-Mass took us out of our timing and made us turn the ball over, especially in the first half when we turned it over 14 times.”
Massachusetts shot 52 per cent from the field, but St. Bonaventure was able to stay in range thanks to 21 U-Mass turnovers leading to 14 St. Bonaventure points.
“They did a good job doubling down on us,” said Calipari. “They also executed their half-court trap effectively, and we didn't always get the ball where we needed to.”
Edgar Padilla led the defensive pressure for U-Mass, recording four steals and two blocked shots. Padilla also dished out nine assists and played 35 minutes.
“Everybody did a good job today both defensively and offensively, we played unselfishly, and that was the key,” said Padilla. “When we play hard and play together as a team, we win.”
Rashaan Palmer led the Bonnies with 21 points while Shandue McNeill had 11 points.
“On the whole, we played hard but not well enough to win,” said McNeill. ”(U-Mass) can beat you from so many angles. That's why they are the number two team in the country.”
St. Bonaventure ends a disappointing 1995-96 campaign at 10-18.
“We've had ups and downs this year from the standpoint of injuries,” said Baron. “We overcame that at times. We have to work harder to give us a chance next year. We have to have more consistency.”
Minutemen feeling superior again
It's no contest as St. Bonaventure is ousted from Atlantic 10
By Joe Burris, Boston Globe Staff, 3/8/1996
PHILADELPHIA – The thought of an upset never materialized. There were moments when the underdog raised eyebrows with defensive stops and consecutive buckets. But for the most part, it spent the day struggling merely to keep the outcome respectable.
Poor St. Bonaventure. On Wednesday, the hapless Atlantic 10 member won its first tournament game in 10 years and earned the right to meet second- ranked Massachusetts – the regular-season champ and four-time tournament winner – in yesterday's second round. After two lopsided losses to UMass in the regular season, the best the Bonnies could hope for was that the Minutemen would return to the sluggish play that plagued them at the end of the season.
Instead, the Bonnies caught UMass on a day its biorhythms paralleled the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island. Aided by 52 percent shooting and aggressive pressure defense, the Minutemen jumped out to a double-digit lead early and coasted to a soporific 69-56 victory over the scrappy but overmatched Bonnies.
Guard Carmelo Travieso had 21 points to lead the Minutemen (29-1), who will meet George Washington, an 81-71 victor last night over St. Joseph's, in today's semifinal round. GWU is the only team to beat UMass this season, and did so in convincing fashion, 86-76, Feb. 24. The Minutemen have now won 13 straight A-10 tournament contests since a first-round loss to GWU in the 1991 tournament.
Travieso and point guard Edgar Padilla (9 assists, 4 steals) keyed a Minutemen attack that was dominant despite low numbers from much of its front line. Although UMass outscored St. Bonaventure (10-18) in the paint, 28-14, leading scorer Marcus Camby finished with 12 points, 9 below his average.
But big numbers weren't needed from Camby. The Minutemen stifled St. Bonaventure with a half-court pressure defense, denied any easy baskets down low and made it clear early that they could have turned the game into a rout.
“I think that was a good first game for us,” said coach John Calipari. ''I thought our effort was good and I liked the way we started the game. My biggest thing was looking at the effort, and it was there.”
With the game well in hand at the midway point of the second half, UMass got sloppy at times. That led to the only blemish on its statistics: 21 turnovers, including 12 in the second half. St. Bonaventure, which trailed, 47-31, with 16:28 left, capitalized on a few of the miscues, but not enough to get closer than 50-39 with 12:44 left.
Calipari said that with the game well in hand, he stopped applying the Minutemen press because he wanted to conserve energy for the upcoming games. Travieso said that when the team knew the game was well in hand, it worked on a few things for later use.
“I didn't see any need in tiring us out with the press. This is a long tournament, with games back-to-back-to-back,” said Calipari. “We said we could either go out and try to beat this team by 30 by pressing the whole game or let's just win the game and go on to the next one.”
The press led to three St. Bonaventure turnovers on its first six possessions. UMass scored off two and led, 10-7, with 16:57 left in the first half. Travieso was the first UMass player to find the range from outside, scoring 7 of its first 12 points. After St. Bonaventure rallied from a 5-point deficit to tie the game at 12-12, Travieso scored 5 straight points, including a trey.
As Xavier continued to turn the ball over, UMass continued to pull away. A trey by Travieso with 2:49 left in the half gave UMass a 39-25 lead.
Carmelo is capable of doing that,“ said Calipari. “All I said to him was, 'Keep shooting.' ”
“When we have noon starting games, Coach always says that the team starts well is the team that will win the game,” said Travieso. “I thought we were ready and I was ready, and I took advantage of that. My teammates, as they always do, did a good job of getting me the ball.”
The win also marked the fourth consecutive time the Minutemen have earned a tournament victory over a team they beat twice in the regular season. As difficult as that is for some teams to do, UMass made it look easy yesterday.
“Your team's mentality is, 'We're going to beat these guys; it doesn't matter how we play,'” said Calipari. “That's what I was guarding against early in the game.”
A Bonny day as UMass rolls, 69-56
By Bob Ryan, Boston Globe Staff, 3/8/1996
PHILADELPHIA – The coach is not the kind of guy who will plead the Fifth. He might embellish a bit, but he won't run around dodging questions.
“Sometimes,” replied John Calipari. “When they're real aggressive, and when their concentration level is at its peak, they can play with anybody in the country. But when they're not aggressive, it's a different story. You're talking about a couple of guys who weigh 165 with rocks in their pockets and who are playing 37 minutes a game.”
The University of Massachusetts guards are one of the great stories in college basketball. Born the same day (May 9, 1975) in the same small town (Toa Alta) in Puerto Rico, they find themselves in the middle of a fairy tale. These two kids are turning what most experts perceived to be a Minuteman weakness into one of the team's great strengths. The longer this season goes, the more people appreciate how good they are and what they mean to this 29-1 team.
They combined to destroy St. Bonaventure in yesterday's 69-56 Atlantic 10 quarterfinal victory. Travieso did it by scoring 14 of UMass' first 17 and 19 of UMass' halftime total of 39. Padilla did it with a game-high nine assists and a game-high four steals. Both did it with the kind of general poised backcourt play which has become the calling card of just about every UMass game.
You know what's great about this backcourt? Very simple. They're both pure, old-fashioned, well-rounded, category-resistant guards. As much as I hate to lapse into modern hoop terminology, let's put it this way: Padilla is a 1 with overtones of a 2, while Travieso is a 2 with overtones of a 1.
Translation: Padilla is a point guard, or floor leader, who can also shoot and take it to the hole. Travieso is a hired gun type of shooter who is not struck dumb when the coach asks him to bring the ball up.
Defensively, there are no qualifiers. They're both aggressive with quick hands, great anticipation and awesomely sound fundamentals.
Yesterday's game provided a box score much like many others this season. Travieso played 35 minutes and committed two personal fouls. Padilla played 33 minutes (a vacation for him) and committed one personal foul. For the season, Travieso has committed one foul for every 18 minutes of playing time. Padilla has committed one foul for every 14. They have one foul-out (Padilla) between them. Coach Cal knows he can wind these two up and forget about them. Foul trouble just isn't going to be an issue.
It's not accidental. “When we teach defense,” explained Calipari, “we don't teach mud-wrestling. We want them to stay close and use their hands, but we don't encourage reaching and they know how to move their feet.”
There are other ways to pick up killer personals, of course, and Calipari has also addressed the general topic of offensive fouls with his troops.
“We got together with them, and with Marcus Camby at the beginning of the season,” Calipari said, “and we said, 'Look, we can't have bad fouls.' For Marcus, that means no over-the-top, reach-in fouls. For all of them, it means no charging fouls if we can help it. So we start practice every day with jump-stop drills.”
Proof that Travieso, for one, is an apt pupil came during the first half. He had the ball on a fast break and appeared to be heading for the hoop. A St. Bonaventure player began to set up shop in the lane. In nine out of 10 college games, there would have been a collision, no question. This was the 10th. Travieso came hard off a dribble, pulled back and threw up a soft 10-footer in the middle of the lane. The ball didn't drop, but that wasn't the issue. Travieso had avoided a charging foul.
Both players realize the necessity of staying in the game. Though Calipari now throws freshman Charlton Clarke in there on occasion, the fact is that these two started off the season playing every meaningful moment and will continue to play every meaningful moment. No other guard duo in the country is asked to play as much.
“We started preparing for it last summer,” said Travieso. “And we practice very hard here. Our practices are harder than the games. But right now I'd say we're feeling pretty good, mentally and physically. Now there are only eight games left. We've played 30. Eight games will seem like nothing.”
The whole country is now catching on to the greatness of this backcourt, but what exactly was the coach expecting when the season began? Are they surprising even him?
“I knew how good they were,” maintained Calipari. “I tried to tell them. But what I did not know was how consistent they would be. They reflect what's going on with the whole team because 1. they know how to take care of their body; 2. they're not overwhelmed by what's said and written about them; and 3. they're truly unselfish.
“Here's an example. Carmelo started off the game very hot, but he came over to me and said, 'We've got to get the ball to Marcus.' I said, 'When you stop hitting the bottom of the net is when we'll start thinking about getting the ball in to Marcus.' ”
One more thing: The more you see them, the more you realize how much sheer athleticism they possess. Padilla has phenomenal hands, which are more than just quick. “You wouldn't believe this,” said Coach Cal, “but if he accidentally hits you in the face, you'll start bleeding. His hands are hard.”
Then there's Travieso, who gets tough rebounds in traffic, who wins far more than his share of loose ball battles and who, like his backcourt mate, is an effortless dunker at somewhere between 6 feet 1 inch and 6-2.
“Opponents don't realize how athletic they are by looking at them in the layup line,” theorized Calipari. “It's not like they're 6-3, 6-4 and built.”
Beyond the athleticism and beyond the native intelligence, there is a symbiosis. There is no competition, only cooperation. Padilla goes through games in which he gets hardly any shots (three yesterday). Travieso will uncomplainingly draw some tough, draining defensive assignments, the kind that require you to alter your offensive/defensive energy ratio in favor of the latter. Neither complains.
“We just want to win,” said Travieso.
So far, the wish has been granted 29 times.
Travieso leads UMass to win over St. Bonnie’s
By Mike Corey, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 8, 1996
PHILADELPHIA - St. Bonaventure had less than a day to revel in its first Atlantic 10 Tournament win since 1985, as the Massachusetts men’s basketball team put an end to any further hopes of post season play for the Bonnies. UMass extended its conference tournament streak to 13 straight wins, and took one step closer to their fifth A-10 title with a 69-56 victory over St. Bonaventure yesterday.
The UMass will play again tonight at 7 p.m., facing the winner of the George Washington - St. Joseph’s quarterfinal game, in the semifinals of the tournament. Should the Minutemen win, they will play for their fifth straight tournament title Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
In front of a somewhat scattered crowd at the Civic Center, UMass (30-1, 16-1 in the A-10) spotted the Bonnies (10-18, 4-12) only one lead, 2-0, as it was all Minutemen from start to finish as they shot 52 percent from the field and jumped out to a 39-25 halftime lead. This was something UMass knew it needed to do right from the start, instead of battling back from a halftime deficit which it has done 10 times this year.
“It’s tough to come back at a noon game and get your body going,” said Carmelo Travieso, who drained three 3-pointers en route to a team high 21 points. “I was happy that we came out, ran the floor, defended and got to them early.”
Within the first two minutes of the game Travieso had already found his range as he drained the first three buckets for UMass and scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half.
That was all UMass needed as it began to increase the lead midway through the first half as Marcus Camby’s turnaround jumper with eight minutes left until halftime keyed a 14-4 run by the Minutemen which ended with a 3-pointer by Travieso from the left corner to bring UMass to a 39-25 halftime advantage.
“I thought our effort was good, and I thought we played solid,” said UMass coach John Calipari. “The effort and intensity I thought was there today. That was the most important thing, so we understood how we have to play the rest of these games and the rest of the tournament.”
UMass out-rebounded the Bonnies 35-30, led by Dana Dingle with nine. The Minutemen recorded 16 assists, behind Edgar Padilla’s nine, to only four for the Bonnies.
“Everybody did their job today both defensively and offensively,” Padilla said. “Everybody played unselfish and that’s the key to our team. As long as we keep playing hard, with defense, rebounding and playing unselfish we’re going to keep winning.”
The Minutemen put the full-court pressure on right from the start, which St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron felt his team did not handle well.
“UMass took us out of our timing and made us turn the ball over, especially in the first half when we turned it over 14 times,” Baron said. “We had trouble getting the ball inside, and that presence was something we had last night [against Dayton].”
The Minutemen and the Bonnies both committed 21 turnovers on the afternoon, but UMass was more opportunistic, converting the Bonnies turnovers into 20 points. Padilla had a team-high four of UMass’ nine steals, while the Bonnies were able to tally 10 picks.
After Travieso, Donta Bright was the team’s second leading scorer with 15 points, while Camby chipped in 12. Tyrone Weeks was strong again off the bench, grabbing eight rebounds and racking up five points.
The closest St. Bonaventure would get in the second half was within 11 points with 12 minutes to go, when James Singleton hit a three pointer as the shot clock ran out. He finished with eight points on the day, behind teammates Shandue McNeill (11) and Rashan Palmer (21). UMass built up its lead to as many as 16, as the Minutemen were too much for the Bonnies.
“On the whole we played hard, but not well enough to win,” McNeill said. “UMass can beat you from so many angles. That’s why they’re the No. 2 team in the country.”
UMass controlled the points in the paint 28-14 over the Bonnies and nailed four 3-pointers on the afternoon. St. Bonaventure shot 34 percent from the field, but drained five treys to keep it close for a while.
“We came here on a mission,” Camby said. “This is our tournament. We’ve won it four years in a row, and we just want to come out here and try to stake a claim for what is ours.”
“I think we’re real good when we play together,” Travieso said. “If we can play helping each other the way we do, especially on defense, we can win this tournament and go on to win the whole thing.”
Philly Latino group salutes 4 Minutemen
By Justin C. Smith, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, March 8, 1996
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - A large part of yesterday’s 69-56 Atlantic 10 Tournament win for the Massachusetts men’s basketball team were Minutemen guards Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso. Although their actions on the court contribute mightily to UMass’ cause, it may be their actions off the court that speak greater volumes.
Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell joined with leaders of the city’s Latino community in a special assembly Wednesday to honor Padilla and Travieso, along with Rigoberto Nunez and Giddel Padilla, for their contributions to the Latino community.
“We are honoring these layers because they have served as outstanding role models to young Latino boys and girls throughout the community,” said Angel Medina, coordinator of the Latino Partnership Initiative. “For most of the year the University of Massachusetts was the No. 1 basketball team in the nation, and these players, particularly Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso, played a major role in their success.”
The assembly was held at the Roberto Clemente Middle School where the players spoke to the student body, mostly comprised of Latino students. They attempted to provide a strong role model for these young adults.
“It’s important to give back to the community,” Edgar Padilla said. “We have all come from the same background and same situation as those kids. It’s important for them to understand that. It makes us feel good that we can make them feel good.”
The players’ coach John Calipari emphasizes what the members of his team mean to society as both players and citizens.
“I think the one thing that makes this team special is that they understand,” Calipari said. “They go back to their communities and they help.”
“The saying goes, ‘Some people climb the ladder of success and turn around and pick up the ladder. Some people climb the ladder, turn around and pick up the next person, and the next person.’ They gave an unbelievable talk, telling the students do what you can do, take care of business, and stay in school. They told the kids, ‘I may not make it in basketball, but I’m going to get my degree.’
“What they did [Wednesday] was just as big what they did to win that game [yesterday].”
The Latino Partnership Initiative is made up of over 100 Latino organizations in and around Philadelphia. The group was brought together with the goal of developing a long term community agenda addressing every function of Latino life in the city of Philadelphia. The organization felt these four players exemplified what Latino members can be in the community and throughout the world.
“These players have carried themselves with dignity and class, and they are good students as well,” Medina added. “As Latinos we are proud of them and their accomplishments and see them as outstanding role models for our youth. So the purpose for this salute is to thank them for making us proud.”
ST BONAVENTURE (56) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Palmer 39 4-14 13-16 2-5 0 3 21 Mcfarland 29 3-10 0-0 1-4 0 3 7 Shelton 22 1-3 0-2 2-6 0 3 2 Mcneill 40 4-12 1-1 0-2 3 2 11 Singleton 25 2-4 2-2 0-1 0 3 8 Spellman 24 2-5 1-2 4-5 0 2 5 D Williams 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Blackwell 10 1-1 0-0 0-1 1 2 2 Schoone 6 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 17-50 17-23 9-25 4 20 56 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.340, FT-.739. 3-Point Goals: 5-14, .357 (Mcfarland 1-5, Mcneill 2-5, Singleton 2-3, D Williams 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 2 (Mcfarland, Spellman). Turnovers: 21 (Palmer 9, Mcfarland 3, Mcneill 3, Shelton 2, Spellman 2, Blackwell, Schoone). Steals: 10 (Palmer 3, Mcfarland 2, Mcneill 2, Shelton, Singleton, Spellman). MASSACHUSETTS (69) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Dingle 29 3-7 1-4 3-9 2 1 7 Bright 31 4-7 6-6 3-4 3 2 15 Camby 30 5-10 2-5 5-9 0 3 12 E Padilla 33 2-3 1-2 0-3 9 1 5 Travieso 35 9-16 0-0 0-3 1 2 21 Weeks 20 1-2 3-4 3-8 0 2 5 Nunez 5 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 3 0 Clarke 11 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 0 Norville 5 2-2 0-0 0-1 0 3 4 G Padilla 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 26-50 13-21 14-39 16 19 69 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.520, FT-.619. 3-Point Goals: 4-13, .308 (Bright 1-1, E Padilla 0-1, Travieso 3-8, Clarke 0-3). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 5 (Camby 2, E Padilla 2, Bright). Turnovers: 21 (Dingle 4, E Padilla 4, Camby 3, Travieso 3, Norville 2, Weeks 2, Bright, Clarke, Nunez). Steals: 9 (E Padilla 4, Bright, Clarke, Dingle, Travieso, Weeks). __________________________________ St Bonaventure 25 31 - 56 Massachusetts 39 30 - 69 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Officials: Michael Sanzere, David Day, Jerry Scott.