Top-ranked Massachusetts wasn’t in the mood to cut down the nets Saturday night. Sure, the Minutemen are excited about their first trip to the Final Four, but that’s not the ultimate goal.
“This team expects more and wants more,” coach John Calipari said after the Minutemen routed Georgetown 86-62 to win the NCAA East Regional.
“Sure, we’ll celebrate some tonight, but we want everyone to know this is just one step toward the final goal.”
UMass (35-1), which has the logo “Refuse to Lose” on its warmup suits, got 22 points from All-American Marcus Camby and an in-your-face defensive effort from Carmelo Travieso, who shut down Georgetown All-American Allen Iverson.
The Minutemen advanced to play Kentucky in the national semifinals on Saturday at the Meadowlands.
UMass, after being upset by Oklahoma State in the East Regional final last season, appears unwilling to accept anything less than a national title this year. After the win, the Minutemen skipped the traditional net-cutting ceremony.
Once the players left the court wearing Final Four T-shirts, the cheerleaders removed the nets, which undoubtedly will take a place in the school archives.
Iverson scored 23 points for Georgetown (29-8), but was largely ineffective except for a 5-minute spurt at the end of the first half that accounted for 11 of his points. Iverson shot 6 of 21 from the field, though he did hit four 3-pointers.
“I gave it all I had and left everything I had on the court, and that’s all I can ask for,” Iverson said. It was a virtuoso effort by Travieso against one of the quickest players in the country. Travieso was equally quick to credit his teammates for their help in shutting down Iverson.
“I just tried to make the game real hard for him,” Travieso said. “I take pride in my defense.”
His offense wasn’t too bad, either. Travieso scored 20 and loosened up the inside for Camby with six 3-pointers.
Camby broke open the game after UMass led 38-34 at halftime. He scored the first three baskets of the second half and also contributed a block on Georgetown center Othella Harrington.
“I took it upon myself to make things happen,” said Camby, who had seven rebounds and three blocks despite shuffling in and out of the lineup much of the second half after picking up his fourth foul.
Iverson, meanwhile, was having a terrible time against Travieso, who showed no ill effects from a sore back suffered when he fell from a podium at a Wednesday news conference.
Iverson, who came in as the tournament’s leading scorer at 29.1 points a game, missed his first seven shots of the second half before finally hitting a 3-pointer with 8:46 left in the game after Travieso went to the bench for a brief rest.
“I tried to play him honest,” Travieso said. “I didn’t try to go for steals and I wanted to contest every shot. Sometimes I would take chances, but not the whole game, because he’s so quick.”
Camby, who picked up his fourth foul with 12:34 left in the game, managed to avoid another infraction and punctuated the rout with a thunderous dunk with 3 minutes to go.
Georgetown, trying to return to the Final Four for the first time since 1985, had no one to fill in when Iverson went cold. Harrington, who scored 23 in a regional semifinal victory over Texas Tech, was held to 13.
After UMass built a 31-17 lead, Georgetown went on a 17-7 run to close out the first half. During that spurt, Iverson hit two 3-pointers and converted a three-point play. When Iverson’s hot hand didn’t carry over to the second half, the Hoyas went 5:46 before they finally scored a basket. By then, UMass led 53-38 and, with Georgetown on its way to a 35-percent shooting performance, the result was no longer in doubt.
Massachusetts 86, Georgetown 62
Georgetown (29-8) - Aw 1-2 0-0 2, Williams 4-7 1-2 9, Harrington 4-9 5-8 13, Iverson 6-21 7-10 23, Page 0-5 0-0 0, White 0-1 2-4 2, Touomou 2-4 1-1 5, Dia 1-3 0-0 2, Nichols 0-2 0-1 0, Jackson 2-2 2-2 6, Owinje 0-0 0-0 0, Berry 0-1 0-0 0, Reed 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-57 18-28 62.
Massachusetts (35-1) - Dingle 2-4 6-10 10, Bright 5-14 7-9 17, Camby 9-19 4-5 22, E.Padilla 1-4 5-6 8, Travieso 6-14 2-2 20, Weeks 2-5 0-1 4, Clarke 0-0 1-2 1, Norville 0-1 0-0 0, Nunez 0-1 0-0 0, Cottrell 0-0 0-0 0, Maclay 0-0 0-0 0, G.Padilla 1-2 0-0 2, Burns 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 27-65 25-35 86.
Halftime-Massachusetts 38, Georgetown 34. 3-Point goals- Georgetown 4-15 (Iverson 4-9, Williams 0-1, Page 0-1, Touomou 0-1, Berry 0-1, Nichols 0-2), Massachusetts 7-16 (Travieso 6-13, E.Padilla 1-2, G.Padilla 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Georgetown 51 (Williams 8), Massachusetts 43 (Weeks 8). Assists-Georgetown 8 (Williams, Harrington, Touomou 2), Massachusetts 18 (Travieso 6). Total fouls-Georgetown 24, Massachusetts 22. A-32,328.