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Big East Notes : Evans, Massimino Call Truce--Well, Sort Of

February 05, 1989|SANDY KEENAN | Newsday

Have they or haven't they? Rollie Massimino and Paul Evans haven't always been the dearest of friends. Last year they started screaming at each other at midcourt after Pitt beat the Wildcats at Villanova, and both men refused to shake hands.

The cold war may be thawing. "Rollie and I talked (at the coaches' meeting in May) and I told him I didn't think that incident helped either of us, or the league," Evans said. "I wanted him to know I respected him and where he was coming from. And I wanted him to know he was wrong about how he felt about us."

The bad blood dates to the recruiting of Pitt center Bobby Martin, who gave a verbal commitment to Massimino, then later signed with Pitt.

In a jovial mood after his team's 79-78 win over Pitt Saturday night, Massimino said, "This game was the way it was supposed to be between the two teams. There wasn't any of that separation of church and state stuff."

But earlier Saturday, on his television show, Massimino ran a clip of Evans, and said, "There's Paul Evans. He's been quiet this year -- for a change."

Some peace agreement.

If Jim Calhoun's Connecticut Huskies beat Pittsburgh this season, Calhoun will become the first coach ever to have defeated all nine Big East teams. At Northeastern in 1985, his team beat UConn, 90-73. "That's not a distinction; that's kind of an oddity," he said. "You want to be known for more than an oddity."

Foul-shot doctor Ernie Hobbie, the junior high principal from New Jersey, made a second house call to Syracuse recently, where he treated the 58.8-percent foul-shooting Orangemen. He gave special attention to chronic patients Stephen Thompson (47.6 percent) and Herman Harried (40 percent).

Hobbie had them talking out their foul-shooting routine into a tape recorder. He videotaped them and even went so far as to recruit stand-in fans for game simulation at Manley Field House.

"I leave a prescription for every player. If they take it, it works, but the players are like most people," the Shot Doctor said. "They go to the pharmacist and as soon as they start feeling better, they stop taking the medicine."

The fever may be breaking. Syracuse hit 17 of 24 against Providence Saturday, including 13 of 16 in the second half. Thompson made 3 of 4 down the stretch, and Harried hit both ends of a late one-and-one.

Last year, after Pitt lost in overtime to Vanderbilt during the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Evans was criticized by his own players for not instructing them to foul before a three-point shot could be attempted. The Panthers had been up by three with seconds to play.

The same circumstances popped up last week against Seton Hall. "I was so anxious in that situation," Pitt guard Sean Miller said. "I kept seeing (Vanderbilt guard) Barry Goheen coming at me. I didn't want to let that happen again."

Up three with 13 seconds to play, Pitt fouled not once, but twice, against the Pirates and won, 82-79.

"We got burned by the three-point shot in the past so we've been fouling a little bit more in that situation," Evans said.

In that same game, Pitt's Miller, instead of inbounding the ball to a teammate, dribbled it right onto the court. "In 31 years in the business, I've never seen that happen," said referee Mickey Crowley, the man who caught him.

"Geez, do you have to mention that?" Miller said. "I was concentrating so much on starting the play that I forgot to throw the ball into Darelle (Porter)."

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