UMass edges Temple, 51-50, in rematch

PHILADELPHIA — PHILADELPHIA -- John Chaney and John Calipari got along just fine last night. They shook hands before and after the game, and hugged for the minicams before the tip-off.

Things weren't quite as cordial on the court at McGonigle Hall, where No. 8 Temple and No. 11 Massachusetts, the cream of the Atlantic 10 Conference, spent two hours trying to take off each other's heads.


Calipari's Minutemen needed Mike Williams' 22-foot three-pointer off the glass with eight seconds left to escape with a 51-50 victory over Chaney's Owls.

UMass (23-5, 13-1) clinched its third straight regular-season title in the Atlantic 10. Temple (20-5, 12-4) finishes the regular season at Duke Sunday, and the majority opinion is that the Owls will get one more crack at the Minutemen in the A-10 title game March 10.


Other than a technical foul on Williams in the first half, the game was played aggressively and without incident. One of the half-dozen T-shirts for sale hyped "The Brawl at The Hall," but those among the nearly 4,000 who crammed into McGonigle and a national television audience who expected a recurrence of the anger that followed their last meeting, a similar one-point win by the Minutemen, saw none.

In the post-game news conference in Amherst, Mass., Feb. 13, Chaney uttered obscenities and threatened Calipari's life. Chaney, 61, served a one-game suspension and apologized to Calipari. He wants to forget the incident.

"I don't carry things like that around," Chaney said. "What was important was what you saw on the floor, 10 kids who really made it happen. That's where the story is."

Calipari wasn't completely convincing when he said he too wanted to forget the feud.

"This has been a tough situation for me and my family," Calipari said. "I have a daughter, 7, and she asked me 'Are you going to get hurt in Philadelphia?' That's not fair, but at the same time I feel empathy for what Coach Chaney has gone through."

The loudest noise on an emotional night came when the Temple seniors, playing their last scheduled home game, were recognized. All were limp two hours later, when one of the Owls veterans, swingman Eddie Jones, had a short shot roll out at the buzzer.

Jones, who led everyone with 22 points, did figure in the game-winning basket.

His free throws with 1:11 gave Temple a 50-48 advantage. After swapping turnovers, Massachusetts got the ball with 23 seconds remaining. With eight seconds left, the 6-foot-2 Williams moved to the right of the key and launched a shot over the 6-7 Jones. It banked in for his fifth three-pointer.


Temple guard Ricky Brunson missed a hurried attempt at the other end, but the Owls retained possession and inbounded with two seconds left. Jones got good position in the lane but couldn't connect. Derrick Battie's follow-up attempt was unsuccessful and apparently after the buzzer as the Owls' ferocious comeback fell short.

Donta Bright, the sophomore forward from Dunbar High who has been on a tear recently, sparked the Minutemen early, when the Owls missed eight straight shots. After 12 minutes, Temple had only three baskets, but it made amends after intermission.

Temple began the second half with an 8-2 run, and got its first lead since the opening minute on Jones' three-pointer from the right wing with 8:38 left. That made it 44-42. UMass forced three ties in the next five minutes, the last with 3:50 left on a basket by Bright, who finished with 11 points.

In a rugged, defensive-oriented game in which the winners shot 38.5 percent and the losers 31.6, nothing came easy, and there wasn't a point to be had over the next 2:39.