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Minutemen scuttle Pirates
By Laurie Erickson, Great Alaska Shootout Site, 11/29/97

ANCHORAGE - The Minutemen made the Pirates walk the plank in 73-60 victory Friday night, moving Massachusetts into third place for the Carrs Great Alaska Shootout.

UMass started out slow in the first period with both teams volleying between baskets for points. Both teams suffered a 3:20 run in the first period with no baskets scored for either side. Minutemen Center Ajmal Basit came out of nowhere in the last seconds to score a lay-up at the buzzer, leaving the Minutemen barely hanging on with a 5 point lead over Seton Hall.

In the second period Umass gained their speed due in large part to Tyrone Weeks and Shootout player of the game, Larri Ketner. Together Ketner and Weeks volleyed their way to 10 points in 5 minutes, helping the Minutemen secure a ten point lead heading into the locker room 36-25.

Ketner came out to wow the crowd again when he shot the first lay-up, 55 seconds into the last half. Monty Mack helped the minutemen with back to back lay ups and 4 points for the ever-growing lead of 14 points over Seton Hall. Freshman Guard Jonathan DePina came out of nowhere with a two point lay up at the buzzer, catapulting the score to 58-44.

Ketner again scored the first 2 points for UMass in the fourth quarter and continued the onslaught with a free throw, meanwhile the score gap continued to grow.

Pirates Guard Rimas Kaukenas threatened with 11 total free throw points during the game; but the Minutemen continued to roll ahead and Ketner continued to thrill the crowd. Ketner ended his fianl Shootout game with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The Minutemen left Alaska with a 73-60 victory under their belts.

Pirates Head Coach Tommy Amaker said fatigue had taken its toll on his team during the tournament, but overall the tournament was a good experience.

"I'm confident we can learn from it. I think our guys are matuing to realize the importance of this tournament to our future," Amaker said.

Umass Head Coach Bruiser Flint said he thought the key was his team kept Holloway and William down.

"We're playing some tough teams, we ain't playing no pansies," Bruiser said of their win.

UMass roars to third: Minutemen drub Seton Hall, 73-60
By Danny Martin, Anchorage Daily News reporter, 11/30/97

The University of Massachusetts men's basketball team won the battles under the rim to put itself over the top in the third-place game of the Carrs Great Alaska Shootout.

A dominating frontcourt of Lari Ketner and Tyrone Weeks propelled the Minutemen to a 73-60 win over the Seton Hall Pirates at Sullivan Arena.

UMass recovered in time from Friday's physical semifinal loss to Purdue to outrebound Seton Hall 37-25. Weeks and Ketner grabbed 10 boards each.

"We wanted to box out for the offensive and defensive boards, and we were able to get good position," said Ketner, a 6-foot-10 junior center.

With its maroon jerseys, UMass must have resembled a tight group of redwood trees to Seton Hall. The Minutemen did as well getting baskets low in the post as they did getting rebounds there.

"We tried to get a zone on them at times," Seton Hall coach Tommy Amaker said. "We hoped to slow them down around the boards. But they got past our zone. They hit some soft shots in the middle of the zone."

Jacky Kaba, the Pirates' 6-10 senior center, managed to haul in a game-high 11 rebounds despite still recovering from a bout of dehydration that sent him to the hospital late Friday night.

"He wasn't at full strength today," Amaker said of Kaba, who also scored 10 points.

Seton Hall, as a whole, hasn't really been at full strength in the four days of the tournament. Two players were injured in the first day of practice in Anchorage, leaving Seton Hall with eight players for the Shootout.

"I thought you could really tell that UMass's strength and physicalness wore us down and we're very limited with the bodies we have," Amaker said. "I think that took its toll on us, with our shooting percentage and plus playing three games in four days. Not having enough bodies to rotate in there to do some things really took its toll in this game."

Seton Hall (3-2) was held to 32.7-percent shooting (16 of 49) from the field. But sophomore guard Shaheen Holloway and Rimas Kaukenas were bright spots with 20 and 17 points, respectively. Eleven of Kaukenas' points came at the free-throw line.

"Maybe we won't foul as much once we get out of Alaska," said UMass coach Bruiser Flint, referring jokingly to Seton Hall's 25-for-32 night at the line.

UMass did enjoy a better night in field-goal percentage as compared to Friday, when it shot 32 percent in the 82-69 loss to the Boilermakers.

The Minutemen shot 52 percent (27 of 52) from the field Saturday, led by Ketner's 21 points.

"I think today guys took their time, and we were able to get good shots," Ketner said.

UMass (2-2) also got 13 points from sophomore guard Monty Mack and 12 from Weeks.

Seton Hall led only once in the game, a pair of Holloway free throws with 9:28 left in the first quarter for the game's first points.

After a short jumper by Ketner and Charlton Clarke's steal and layup put UMass ahead 4-2 at the 8:52 mark of the quarter, the Minutemen never relinquished the lead.

Seton Hall closed within one, 11-10, with 58 seconds left in the quarter on Reggie Garrett's three-point shot, but a Mack jumper with 31 seconds to go and a Mike Babul follow-up at the buzzer made it 15-10.

UMass built a 26-16 lead nearly midway through the second quarter and moved ahead 36-25 at halftime.

"The coach has told us that when we get a good lead, try to bury the other team," Weeks said.

UMass plays heavy
It leans on Seton Hall to claim third in Great Alaska Shootout
By William K. Wolfrum, The Boston Globe Correspondent, 11/30/97

ANCHORAGE - Massachusetts pushed its weight around in the third-place game of the Great Alaska Shootout last night, defeating a smaller Seton Hall squad, 73-60.

UMass starters held nearly a 100-pound combined advantage over the Pirates and used the extra weight to outrebound Seton Hall, 37-25.

Seton Hall, which shot a tepid 29 percent from the floor in the first half and 33 percent for the game, was without senior and leading scorer Levell Sanders. A sprained ankle caused Sanders to be held out of the entire tournament.

Two free throws by Monty Mack gave the Minutemen their biggest lead of the game at 50-34 as Seton Hall began to appear weary from its three Alaska games.

''The key was we kept running them down,'' said UMass coach Bruiser Flint. ''We gotta get inside and wear them out. What we have to do is quit fouling ... maybe we won't foul so much once we get out of Alaska.''

The Pirates were coming off a 67-57 overtime victory over host Alaska-Anchorage and a 95-65 drubbing at the hands of North Carolina.

''It really showed how much they wanted and needed this win,'' said Seton Hall coach Tommy Amaker. ''We've run into some very good teams who were very strong and powerful and just overpowered us. Their strength and physical-ness just wore us down.''

UMass (2-2) had taken an 80-64 victory over Southwest Louisiana and sustained a hard-fought 82-69 loss to sixth-ranked Purdue.

The Minutemen increased the lead to 58-44 after the third quarter, paced by Mack's 8 points. And Flint's team kept the Pirates away from second opportunities by continuing to dominate the boards.

Seton Hall (3-2) cut the lead to 68-58 with 2:44 left but never came closer.

UMass, which shot 52 percent from the floor, was led by Lari Ketner's 21 points and 10 rebounds. Mack pitched in 13 points and Tyrone Weeks had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Shaheen Halloway led Seton Hall with 20 points.

''Today guys took their time, which is something we have to work on,'' said Ketner. ''Sometimes we hurry too much.''

''Coach always schedules tough teams. I think this year was a little tough, though,'' added Ketner with a laugh. The Minutemen return home to host the College of Charleston Tuesday.

UMass used its bulk to power to a 36-25 halftime lead.

The schools were meeting for only the second time. The only previous meeting came in the 1977 NIT.

Nowhere was UMass' weight advantage more evident than in the battle on the boards. The Minutemen held a 19-14 rebounding edge at the half, and a 5-0 edge in blocks.

The first quarter was mostly even until late baskets by Mack and Ajmal Basit gave UMass a 15-10 lead after the opening 10 minutes.

The Minutemen continued their strong play in the second quarter as a thunderous rejection by Ketner ignited a 5-0 run and UMass had its biggest lead of the game, 20-10.

Still, the Pirates hung close behind sophomore point guard Halloway's 11 points and senior center Jacky Kaba's 4 points and six rebounds.

Baskets by Ketner and Weeks kept the lead in double figures at 30-20 with 3:30 left in the half.

A long 3-pointer by Halloway cut the lead to 30-25, but the Minutemen responded by hammering it inside to Weeks and Ketner, and the lead was back to 34-25. Mike Babul tipped in a Jonathan DePina shot to finish the scoring.

UMass was led by Ketner's 8 points, and Charlton Clarke pitched in with 7 points and 2 assists.

In the fifth-place game, No. 7 UCLA beat Alabama-Birmingham, 86-72, as Toby Bailey scored 14 of the Bruins' final 16 points in the last four minutes to lead a comeback.

In the seventh-place game, Southwest Louisiana rolled over Alaska-Anchorage, 101-80.

UMass recovers to finish third
By Michael Kelley, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff, 12/1/97

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA - Missing 50 shots from the field during a basketball game can be embarrassing, especially if it's against the sixth-ranked team in the country. It also can provide needed motivation for a team that has struggled with its shooting.

Following a horrible shooting night Friday, the University of Massachusetts Minutemen finally found their scoring touch Saturday and defeated Seton Hall, 73-60, to place third overall in the 20th annual Carrs Great Alaska Shootout at Sullivan Arena. UMass finished with a respectable 2-1 mark. The Minutemen also defeated Southwestern Louisiana (80-64) Wednesday, and dropped an 82-69 decision to sixth-ranked Purdue.

The Minutemen's shooting against the Boilermakers was almost as cold as the weather in Anchorage. UMass shot 32 percent from the field Friday as the temperature hovered around 25 degrees. Saturday night that all changed, however, as UMass connected on more than half its shots, shooting 52 percent from the floor (27-for-52). Leading the charge was its front court, Lari Ketner (7-11 from the field) and Tyrone Weeks (6-10).

Monty Mack dishes it off against the Seton Hall defense.
"Basically we took our time," Ketner said. "That's one of the main things we gotta work on because we hurry a lot. (Saturday) guys took their time and got good shots off."

That was a far cry from Friday, when UMass missed several gimme-type shots. Against Purdue, Ketner made just 3 of 14 shots while Weeks was 2-9. Against the smaller Pirates, however, Ketner forced his way into the lane while Weeks started hitting his foul-line jumper.

"Coach told me I was rushing my shots against guys that weren't going to block my shots," Ketner said. "I just wanted to slow down and be a little physical. That helped me get my shots and I was able to get closer."

There was just no way Seton Hall could play a physical game. The Pirates already were missing three players, and then 6-10 center Jacky Kaba, hospitalized the night before with stomach problems and suffering from dehydration, played anyway because the Pirates were without a backup big man.

"We've run into some teams that are strong and powerful and (UMass) just overpowered us," said Seton Hall coach Tommy Amaker. "I thought their strength and physicalness wore us down, and not having enough bodies really hurt us."

UMass, leading 36-25 at halftime, came out ready to shut the door in the second half, but never managed to close it completely. The Minutemen kept the lead in double digits (Seton Hall cut it to 10 three times), but they couldn't sink the Pirates, either. The highest lead UMass had was 16 (50-34) when sophomore Monty Mack connected on two free throws. UMass also had leads of 15 twice.

"We were focusing on putting that team away," Weeks said. "Coach stresses every day that, once we get a good lead on a team, we should try to bury them and keep them out of the game. That's what we were trying to do."

Even though the Minutemen never buried Seton Hall, they did come away with a respectable 2-2 record for the road swing.

Starting forward Mike Babul tied a career-high with six points on a 3-for-4 shooting night, as did backup center/forward Ajmal Basit. That meant that the UMass frontcourt, including Chris Kirkland's 0-for-3 night, still shot 59 percent from the field.

"We talked about taking our time, scoring around the basket and just grinding out the game," said UMass coach Bruiser Flint. "That's the type of team we are."

UMass now has won 9 of its last 11 games against Big East opponents with two more to play in the regular season. UMass will play Boston College Dec. 14 and Connecticut on Dec. 23. It also was the second victory for UMass over the Pirates in as many meetings. The last time the two teams played was March 10, 1977, in a National Invitation Tournament first round game at the Springfield Civic Center.

New Jersey standout Shaheen Holloway paced the Pirates with 20 points while Rimas Kaukenas scored 17, including 11-of-12 free throws. Despite feeling subpar, Kaba added 10 points.

Travel-weary UMass is finally home Tuesday at 7 p.m. for its home-opener against 3-0 College of Charleston.

Seton Hall Pirates 60
Massachusetts Minutemen 73
Great Alaska Shootout 3rd Place Game
at Anchorage AK

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Jordan          25   1-3   1-2   3-4  1  1    3
Williams        34  2-11   3-4   1-2  1  2    7
Kaba            34  3-10   4-4  6-11  2  3   10
Holloway        40  6-13  6-10   0-2  3  3   20
Kaukenas        30   3-8 11-12   1-2  0  2   17
Cespedes         4   0-1   0-0   1-2  0  1    0
Johnson         10   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Garrett         23   1-3   0-0   0-1  1  3    3
TOTALS         200 16-49 25-32 12-24  8 16   60

Percentages: FG-.327, FT-.781. 3-Point Goals:
3-12, .250 (Williams 0-2, Holloway 2-6, Kaukenas
0-3, Garrett 1-1). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked
shots: 1 (Jordan). Turnovers: 12 (Holloway 4,
Kaba 2, Williams 2, Garrett, Johnson, Jordan,
Kaukenas). Steals: 8 (Garrett 3, Kaukenas 3,
Jordan, Kaba).

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Babul           24   3-4   0-1   1-1  3  2    6
Weeks           34  6-10   0-0  1-10  2  2   12
Ketner          22  7-11   7-7  4-10  1  4   21
Clarke          28   2-6   4-4   0-2  5  4    9
Mack            33  5-12   2-2   3-3  2  2   13
Depina          19   1-2   2-4   0-1  2  2    4
Kirkland        16   0-3   2-2   1-3  2  3    2
Basit           24   3-4   0-0   1-3  1  3    6
TOTALS         200 27-52 17-20 11-33 18 22   73

Percentages: FG-.519, FT-.850. 3-Point Goals:
2-6, .333 (Clarke 1-3, Mack 1-2, Basit 0-1). Team
rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 6 (Babul 2, Ketner 2,
Basit, Weeks). Turnovers: 19 (Basit 4, Kirkland
3, Weeks 3, Babul 2, Clarke 2, Ketner 2, Mack 2,
Depina). Steals: 5 (Weeks 2, Basit, Clarke,
Seton Hall         25   35  -   60
Massachusetts      36   37  -   73
Technical fouls: None.  A: 8,700. Officials:
Bruce Corson, Richard Ball, Mike Saia.

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