Saturday, March 10, 2001

UMass, Temple play for A-10 title




By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer

        PHILADELPHIA — Massachusetts and Temple weren't headed for the NCAA Tournament at the beginning of the week. But now one of them will get an invitation to the Dance.

        UMass' 75-70 upset of No. 21 St. Joe's and Temple's 77-76 win over George Washington Friday night put them in today's finals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.

        UMass (15-14) let a 16-point lead with nine minutes left in the first half turn into a five-point halftime deficit. But the Minutemen opened the second half strong and never trailed by more than six to hang on for the victory against the Hawks (25-6).

        Monty Mack scored 27 points to lead UMass.

        “We never lost our cool,” UMass coach Bruiser Flint said.

        In the teams' only other meeting this season, the Minutemen squandered a 19-point first-half lead before losing 84-69 on Feb. 27.

        “Last time, they hit us with a knockout blow and we didn't get up,” Mack said. “This time, we got up and hit them back. We just calmed down a little and tried to be patient.”

        Marvin O'Connor scored 26 points, including 15 in an impressive offensive display late in the first half, to lead top-seeded St. Joseph's. The Hawks, who have lost two of their last three, made just one field goal in the final 4:40.

        Jameer Nelson, who scored a career-high 23 points in Thursday's quarterfinal win over La Salle, was held to six on 1-of-5 shooting.

        “We have a sense of disappointment in that we didn't get done what we wanted to do tonight,” Hawks coach Phil Martelli said. “We just couldn't get that one play. We just have to be big boys.”

        Mack shot 10-of-16 from the field, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range, as the Minutemen reached the conference championship game for the first time since winning the last of their five consecutive titles in 1996.

        Kitwana Rhymer added 15 points and 13 rebounds for fourth-seeded Massachusetts.

        “We knew it was do-or-die time for us,” UMass guard Shannon Crooks said. “We knew coming in we'd have to play hard. They had their big run and we got down a little, then came out in the second half and really played hard. We'll be disappointed if we don't win the whole thing.”

        MASSACHUSETTS (15-14) — Crooks 4-9 3-4 11, Brand 1-3 0-0 2, Rhymer 6-11 3-7 15, DePina 2-5 6-6 11, Mack 10-16 2-2 27, Rogers 3-4 0-0 6, Blizzard 0-0 0-2 0, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 27-51 15-23 75.

        ST. JOSEPH'S (25-6) — Wilkins 1-4 2-2 4, Phillips 7-10 1-2 16, Reid 1-2 0-0 2, O'Connor 9-23 2-2 26, Nelson 1-5 4-4 6, Barley 0-0 0-0 0, Crenshaw 4-12 1-2 11, Woods 0-1 1-2 1, Sazonov 0-3 4-4 4. Totals 23-60 15-18 70.

        Halftime—St. Joseph's 37, Massachusetts 32. 3-Point goals—Massachusetts 6-13 (Mack 5-10, DePina 1-1, Crooks 0-1, Williams 0-1), St. Joseph's 9-29 (O'Connor 6-16, Crenshaw 2-6, Phillips 1-3, Wilkins 0-1, Woods 0-1, Nelson 0-2). Fouled out—Brand. Rebounds—Massachusetts 37 (Rhymer 13), St. Joseph's 30 (Phillips 9). Assists—Massachusetts 19 (DePina 6), St. Joseph's 15 (Nelson 8). Total fouls—Massachusetts 16, St. Joseph's 18. Technicals—Smith, Brand, Crenshaw, Phillips. A—NA.

        • Temple 77, George Washington 76 — Lynn Greer made three free throws after getting fouled on a 3-point attempt with 2.9 seconds left to rally Temple.

        Greerwho scored 24 points and had seven assists to send Temple (20-12) to its third straight tournament final.

        George Washington coach Tom Penders was irate after the call, claiming Greer jumped into Patrick Ngongba to draw the foul.

        Quincy Wadley added 19 points and Kevin Lyde 17 for the Owls, who won their sixth straight game.

        SirValiant Brown scored 24 points and Mike King 19 for George Washington (14-18).

        Trailing 70-60 with 3:15 left, Greer singlehandedly got the Owls back in it. Greer hit a 3-pointer and made a driving layup, and David Hawkins scored on a fastbreak off a pass from Greer to make it 70-67 with 1:49 left.

        Brown hit a 3 at 1:21 to give the Colonials a six-point lead, but Greer answered with a 3-pointer of his own 12 seconds later. Wadley then made a layup off Greer's pass with 48 seconds left to make it 73-72.

        Brown's 16-footer with 24.8 seconds left gave the Colonials a three-point lead. Lyde was fouled by Darnell Miller, and made both free throws making the score 75-74 with 14.1 seconds left.

        King was fouled without any time coming off the clock and made the first free throw, but missed the second. Lyde grabbed the rebound, and Temple called a timeout to set up a final play with 9.3 seconds left and trailing 76-74.

        Greer, who scored 11 points in the last 3:02, took the ball in front of the Temple bench and tossed up his 3-point attempt.

        George Washington blew an 11-point lead it held midway through the first half, before going into the break leading 40-37.

        Colonials point guard Bernard Barrow, who sat out two games and played just 13 minutes against Xavier because of a sprained right ankle, sat out.

        GEORGE WASHINGTON (14-18) — Monroe 4-8 3-4 15, Iturbe 0-1 2-2 2, Cosby 1-3 0-0 2, King 6-10 5-6 19, Brown 8-19 4-5 24, Roma 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 1-2 6-6 8, Collucci 2-6 0-1 6, Ngongba 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-50 20-24 76.

        TEMPLE (20-12) — Wesby 0-4 0-0 0, Hawkins 3-8 1-2 8, Lyde 7-14 3-6 17, Greer 7-18 8-8 24, Wadley 6-11 3-3 19, Jefferson 3-6 1-4 7, Rollerson 0-1 2-2 2, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-62 18-25 77.

        Halftime—George Washington 40, Temple 37. 3-Point goals—George Washington 12-24 (Monroe 4-6, Brown 4-9, King 2-3, Collucci 2-6), Temple 7-17 (Wadley 4-6, Greer 2-7, Hawkins 1-1, Wesby 0-3). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—George Washington 32 (King 8), Temple 31 (Jefferson 9). Assists—George Washington 16 (Monroe, Brown 5), Temple 10 (Greer 7). Total fouls—George Washington 18, Temple 19. A—13,796.

       



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