Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uconn Upstages Umass

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uconn Upstages Umass

Article excerpt

It took the renewal of an intense border rivalry for the University of Massachusetts basketball team to dredge up the kind of effort reminiscent of its "Refuse to Lose" dream season of a year ago.

Just when everyone thought the roof of the Hartford Civic Center was going to collapse upon UMass, the Minutemen responded with a furious second-half effort that helped raise the roof off the joint.

After trailing by as many as 15 points, 51-36, the Minutemen climbed back into the game playing scrappy defense and pounding the boards relentlessly to get one last shot at redemption. Problem was, Carmelo Travieso's game-tying 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left never found its mark, enabling UConn to exhale and walk off the floor with a 64-61 victory Friday night before a crowd of 14,389. "It felt good and I got a real good look, I thought," said Travieso, the healthy half of UMass's senior backcourt who was held to 11 points on 3-for-19 shooting. "I think I did everything possible to get the shot off, but it just didn't go in. We had a chance to win, but I guess it just wasn't going to go our way." Friday night, the marquee value of this game was not diminished in the least by the fact UMass no longer had coach John Calipari prowling the sideline or Marcus Camby patrolling the paint. Even though UConn was in the midst of its own identity search after the departures of Ray Allen and Doron Sheffer, the Minutemen seemed to discover themselves in this 99th meeting between the two schools and first since Jan. 30, 1990. "I hope so," said UMass first-year coach Bruiser Flint, whose team dropped to 4-7 overall. "I told my team that we made giant strides today - giant strides - because the last 10 minutes of the game, we got it to where we wanted to get it and we had the shot we wanted to take and we just didn't knock it down." After Edgar Padilla aggravated a lower right leg contusion he suffered Dec. 12 against Drexel, Travieso and sophomore guard Charlton Clarke, who led the Minutemen with 15 points, were left to share the backcourt burden. …

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