UMass clears Hokies hurdle No. 10 Virginia Tech no match for Camby, 25-0 Minutemen, 74-58

4 games left in perfect bid

Tech coach calls center college equal of Jordan

February 18, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- If there was going to be a snow-filled pothole along the road to an undefeated regular season for the University of Massachusetts, this was going to be the time and place.

Virginia Tech had been waiting for yesterday afternoon since it decided to move to the Atlantic 10 this season from the Metro Conference. The storm had forced the UMass itinerary to Plan B, a detour to Greensboro, N.C., late Thursday that disrupted the Minutemen's plans. A hostile crowd, a 10th-ranked opponent, a stressful trip.

None of those factors made any difference. With Marcus Camby playing a dominant role at both ends of the floor and his teammates adjusting to their imperfections, the top-ranked Minutemen defeated the Hokies, 74-58, to win their 25th straight game this season.

Virginia Tech (19-3, 10-2 A-10) had won its previous 17 games at noisy Cassell Coliseum. But by the end, the 10,052 fans were quiet, except for a smattering of applause when Camby left the game in the final seconds.

UMass, 13-0 in league play, moved within four games of becoming the first Division I team to complete an undefeated regular season since Nevada-Las Vegas in 1991.

Games with Rhode Island, George Washington, St. Joseph's and a finale at No. 24 Louisville remain.

"Our goal at the beginning of the season was not to go undefeated," Camby said, "but to go undefeated in the months of March and April."

Camby scored 31 points, 15 of which came during a remarkable yet puzzling 10-minute stretch at the start when the 6-foot-11 junior faced single coverage.

"I didn't get single-teamed since the Kentucky game," Camby said, smiling.

"I was surprised," said Donta Bright, the Dunbar alum who scored 19 points, 13 in the first half to help UMass to a 33-28 lead at the intermission. "He's the best player in the country. He ++ can do things guards do. Playing him one-on-one, I don't think anyone can do that."

Camby took control of 10 rebounds, all at the defensive end, and blocked five shots.

His imposing presence became the biggest problem for a

Virginia Tech team that shot just 36 percent from the field -- including 29 percent in the second half.

"I don't know if I've played against an individual that does all the things Marcus Camby does," said Virginia Tech coach Bill Foster, who coached in the Atlantic Coast Conference, at Clemson, for nine seasons.

Foster would list the names: Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins of North Carolina, Buck Williams of Maryland and Danny Ferry of Duke. He said that Camby, at this point, is the equal of all of them.

"I said all week, he's a point guard in a 6-11 body," Foster said.

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