UMass backcourt bails out Camby against C. Florida No. 1 seed Minutemen will face Stanford next; East Regional


PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Central Florida knocked Marcus Camby down. They stepped on his midsection and scratched his face, but top-ranked Massachusetts overcame the woes of the leading candidate for Player of the Year and a first-half lapse, and pulled away to victory, 92-70.

Camby had 17 rebounds and 14 points, but he missed 15 shots and needed four stitches on his forehead midway through the second half, courtesy of a misplaced swipe at the ball by Knights forward Reid Ketteler. Camby missed five minutes for the cut job and to change his bloody jersey, and his start wasn't so hot either, as he collapsed with just 2: 30 elapsed and writhed in pain for a minute.

His legs looked fine. Did he get the wind knocked out of him?

"Somebody stepped on me, you know, on my groin area," said Camby, who did not attempt a free throw. "I got into a funk a little bit."

So did most of the Minutemen (32-1), who had a 29-16 lead after 10 minutes, then let up. Central Florida (11-19), a 31-point underdog from the Trans America Athletic Conference, which began the season 3-12, was within 43-39 at the half.

The Knights protected the ball in the first half, when they had just six turnovers, but Edgar Padilla squashed their dream of becoming the first No. 16 seed to win in the NCAA tournament. The junior point guard got UMass going with five steals in the first two minutes of the second half. He had 15 points, and shooting guard Carmelo Travieso had 21.

"Everyone talks about Camby, but Padilla and Travieso are as good as any guard combination in the country," Central Florida coach Kirk Speraw said.

For all its defensive prowess in the backcourt, UMass saw Central Florida's Eric Riggs and Harry Kennedy combine for 10 three-pointers and 41 points.

The Minutemen will have to defend the perimeter better in the second round tomorrow, when they play Stanford.

Stanford 66, Bradley 58

The ninth-seeded Cardinal (20-8) has two great guards and the eighth-seeded Braves (22-8) one, so Stanford advanced.

Bradley junior Anthony Parker has been touted as a first-round NBA pick if he comes out early, and he looked more like a lottery selection as the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year had a career-high 34 points. He had five of his eight three-pointers in the second half, but the Braves could get no closer than five after trailing by as many as 14.

Stanford point guard Brevin Knight had 26 points, and shooting guard Dion Cross had 16 on four three-pointers, two in the last seven minutes to stop a Bradley run. Knight made all 10 of his free throws, as the Cardinal was 21-of-23 at the line.

Stanford, one of the most physical teams in the Pac 10 Conference, limited Bradley to one offensive rebound in the first half. Except for Parker, the rest of the Braves made 11 of 28 shots.

Pub Date: 3/15/96

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