UMass to play Tennessee in Tip-Off third-place game
UMass head basketball coach Derek Kellogg yells out to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo) Purchase photo reprints »
BAYAMÓN, Puerto Rico — The University of Massachusetts vs. former coach Travis Ford won’t happen after all.
The Minutemen’s 94-76 loss to North Carolina State Friday dropped them into the third-place game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, while Ford’s Oklahoma State Cowboys throttled Tennessee, 62-45, to earn a spot in the championship.
The Minutemen (2-1) will take on the Volunteers (2-1) at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Tennessee made just 13 field goals against the Cowboys and shot 13 for 50 from the floor. OSU clogged the middle, negating Tennessee’s inside play and forcing the Volunteers to shoot jump shots.
UMass coach Derek Kellogg is familiar with the Volunteers.
“I know Tennessee, I watched them play a bunch on TV last year,” Kellogg said. “I haven’t watched them to this point this year, but their big guy, their best player (Jarnell Stokes), is a Memphis kid so I’ve seen him kind of come up through the ranks and have talked and heard a lot about him.
“It’s an SEC team, that really says enough about it, and they’re picked pretty high in the SEC,” Kellogg continued. “It’s one of those things that it’s going to be a tough matchup for us. When Stokes got eligible halfway though the year last year, they were kind of the team everybody was talking about on a national level.”
FRESHMEN IN ACTION — All three Minuteman freshman saw time for the first time this season.
Trey Davis had five points, including a 3-pointer, in 10 minutes of action. Tyler Bergantino had two rebounds and two fouls in four minutes, while Izzy Freeman missed the only shot he took in three minutes.
“At some point we’re going to need Trey and one or two of the big guys, so if we can get them some minutes and we can play well and have some confidence, that will bode well for us in the future,” Kellogg said. “Chaz (Williams) can’t play 40 minutes a game, so Trey’s going to have to come and help us. I thought he grew up some tonight, made some good plays, some good baskets, was playing some good defense. He forced a few shots, but I think that’s kind of something our team is doing, shooting the ball quick and forcing it some.”
TRAVIESO IN ATTENDANCE — Former Minuteman Carmelo Travieso, who grew up in Puerto Rico, was in attendance.
After watching UMass’ buzzer-beating win against Providence Thursday on TV at home in Boston, Travieso made a spur of the moment decision to fly down.
“I had to come down,” said Travieso, who moved back to Massachusetts after finishing his playing career in Puerto Rico in 2006. “I never got to see UMass play in Puerto Rico. It was a moment I wanted to be part of.”
Travieso, who works in real estate, planned on attending UMass’ Dec. 4 game at Northeastern and hoped to be in Amherst to see Marcus Camby’s number retired on Jan. 19.
FUTURE TOURNAMENTS — After back-to-back years in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico, UMass’ next two tournaments will be considerably closer to home, and likely more than a little bit colder.
The Minutemen are set to return to the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic in 2014. UMass was in the inaugural event in Springfield in 2010. The event has since been moved to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Multiple UMass sources confirmed the Minutemen’s participation in the event that will also include Creighton, Florida State and Notre Dame.
And it’s not official yet, but UMass is also expected to be part of a new tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., next year.
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.