UMass avenges loss to GW Bright Minutemen soar in tourney, 66-58

March 09, 1996|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA -- The fly in Massachusetts' clam chowder was finally disposed of last night.

The Minutemen have six losses over the past two seasons, and half have come against George Washington. The latest indignity occurred two weeks ago, when the Colonials ended UMass' bid for a perfect season, but Donta Bright and company restored the pecking order in the Atlantic 10 with a 66-58 win in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

No. 2 UMass (30-1) probably locked up a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament, but first there's the matter of some history to attend to. If the Minutemen can beat Temple in tonight's A-10 championship at the Philadelphia Civic Center, they'll become only the second Division I team to win a conference's regular-season title outright and tournament for five straight years.

Coach John Calipari said that the Minutemen won't be trying to make a statement today, nor were they trying to do so last night. A minute later, he did a flip-flop and acknowledged the importance of stopping a four-game losing streak to GW (21-7).

"I told our guys before, it's a game for us to break a barrier," Calipari said. "We've been breaking barriers all year long. GW plays us as well as any team in the country. They're the only guys who beat us, the only guys who give us trouble. I told them, 'Let's go into the [NCAA] tournament on a high, knowing that we can play with any team in the country.' "

Bright, the senior forward from Dunbar who earlier in the week was named a first team A-10 all-star, and Marcus Camby had 19 points apiece. Camby didn't look like the top candidate for national Player of the Year, however, as he was outplayed by GW's 7-foot-1 sophomore, Alexander Koul.

GW led 54-53 with 8: 23 to go, but the Colonials were at the start of a drought in which they would go nearly 10 minutes without a basket and nearly six without a point.

Setting the pace defensively were junior guard Carmelo Travieso and senior forward Dana Dingle, who shadowed GW's Baltimore backcourt of Kwame Evans and Shawnta Rogers into a combined 4-for-21 shooting.

Evans, a Southern High product who is a first-team A-10 all-star for the second straight year, didn't get his third basket until 20 seconds were left, chiefly because of Dingle.

Rogers, the 5-3 freshman from Lake Clifton, wowed the crowd here late Thursday night with 10 assists, a tournament record for a freshman, against St. Joseph's. Calipari had seen Rogers burn Edgar Padilla in GW's 86-76 win at UMass, and he wasn't about to let it happen again.

"We switched Carmelo on to Shawnta, and got Edgar off the ball," Calipari said. "We had to make the game hard for Shawnta. He had 15 points and eight assists up at our place, and was able to do whatever he wanted."

UMass had a 39-27 lead a few seconds into the second half, but Vaughn Jones' hustle and Koul's post play ignited a 16-2 run that got the Colonials a 45-44 lead with 13: 42 left. GW would lead once more, at 54-53 on a pair of Rogers free throws with 8: 23 remaining.

The Colonials were within 57-55 with 7: 24 left, but they didn't score again until there was 1: 49 to go. In the interim, UMass scored nine straight points, the clincher coming on a three-pointer by Bright from the left wing.

Bright, Camby and Dingle swore they got no extra pleasure from beating the Colonials, but GW coach Mike Jarvis knows better, and couldn't pass up a chance to tweak UMass.

"I guess the percentages favored UMass; they have to win one game against us," Jarvis said. "We scared their butts off, as we always do. It helps when key fouls are not called and travels are missed."

Pub Date: 3/09/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.