Boston Stories On Tip-Off Classic At Garden - UMass Athletics

Boston Stories On Tip-Off Classic At Garden

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Even with what was at stake, UMass men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg never had to think twice. Stay home while Boston College makes the 80-minute journey to Amherst for an early-season game, or brave the Mass Pike to play their in-state rival at the Celtics' pad.

The 2010 Boston Tip-Off Classic was announced yesterday at TD Garden, which will host the Dec. 4 doubleheader featuring three local teams. Northeastern will face Drexel, followed by UMass going up against BC. A portion of the event's proceeds will benefit Children's Hospital Boston.

Here are the stories from the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Tip-Off set for Garden

UMass, BC, NU in Dec. 4 event

Even with what was at stake, UMass men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg never had to think twice. Stay home while Boston College makes the 80-minute journey to Amherst for an early-season game, or brave the Mass Pike to play their in-state rival at the Celtics' pad.

It was a no-brainer.

The 2010 Boston Tip-Off Classic was announced yesterday at TD Garden, which will host the Dec. 4 doubleheader featuring three local teams. Northeastern will face Drexel, followed by UMass going up against BC. A portion of the event's proceeds will benefit Children's Hospital Boston.

"To give up a home game is tough for college coaches,'' said Kellogg, a point guard on UMass's four Atlantic 10 championship teams from 1991-95. "But in the same token, to be able to come and play in this event, to have the venue and to have a little nostalgia of a BC/UMass game in the Garden . . . it's something that as a coach I don't think you can turn down.''

The Minutemen are 4-0 all-time at the Garden, upsetting Memphis last season, 73-72.

"To me, it's the top arena in the country, maybe the world,'' he said. "The kind of euphoria we had last year when we played here was something we hadn't seen in a long time in UMass basketball.''

For the three other teams, it will also be one of the first opportunities to test themselves in the regular season.

"I think every day is important for a program, but especially in the early going,'' said new BC coach Steve Donahue. "I'm excited about getting going because I think we have a chance to be good.''

Skip Connors, the event's executive director, hopes that a college doubleheader involving three local teams will boost awareness throughout a region that is largely focused on professional sports.

"It's been a long time coming,'' said Connors. "There is no better venue to showcase college basketball in Boston than the Garden.''

Northeastern will be trying to build off the recent success it has had under coach Bill Coen.

The former Boston College assistant put the Huskies back on the radar with last year's 20-win season that ended in their second NIT berth. Coen signed a contract extension through 2016.

"I think last year set the foundation for future Northeastern teams,'' said Coen. "And it's really exciting to play a game at the TD Garden, where banners hang and the kids can play on the same floor as some of the greats of the Celtics.''

It'll be a homecoming of sorts for Drexel coach James "Bruiser'' Flint, who succeeded John Calipari as head coach of UMass, even recruiting Kellogg.

"I enjoy coming back,'' said Flint. "In Philadelphia we have tripleheaders like this, so it's cool to do something like this up here.''

Connors said he'd like to make it an annual event, and said he's working with the TD Garden and teams both locally and across the nation, such as Rhode Island, Connecticut, Southern California, Maryland, and Purdue.

"The last few years we haven't had much attention here, so I'm hoping we have the opportunity to do this for the next few years,'' he said. "There is so much rich history and nostalgia here.'' 



Coaches love Hub hoopla

By Dan Duggan  |   Thursday, October 7, 2010  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  College Basketball
Photo
Photo by Patrick Whittemore

Local college basketball coaches fully understand that Boston is primarily a professional sports town. But the coaches also believe their sport is capable of attracting attention in the city.

With that in mind, the inaugural Boston Tip-Off Classic was unveiled yesterday. The Dec. 4 doubleheader at the Garden will pit Northeastern vs. Drexel at 4 p.m. and UMass vs. Boston College at 6:30.

"I can't tell you how important I think it is to expose the whole city to a bigger event than just a typical game at Conte (Forum)," BC coach Steve Donahue said at yesterday's press conference at the Garden. "We support anything that goes on in the Garden. It gives people an opportunity to see how great college basketball is and then continue to grow so you attract more people that are excited about what college basketball is all about."

Boston College and UMass have played in the Commonwealth Classic every season since 1995, but haven't met at the Garden since 1997.

UMass coach Derek Kellogg wanted to return the rivalry to the Garden so much that he sacrificed this season's scheduled home meeting to make it happen. Kellogg is hoping to build off last season's positive experience on the parquet, when the Minutemen pulled off a thrilling 73-72 upset of Memphis in front of 8,096 fans.

"After the experience our guys and our fanbase had of playing Memphis here last year, and the whole aura of being in the Garden, I think it's something that to give up a home game is worth it for our fans," Kellogg said. "We want to be known as the state school."

With UMass and BC on board, Tip-Off Classic executive director Skip Connors extended invitations to Colonial Athletic Association rivals Northeastern and Drexel, which is led by former Minutemen coach Bruiser Flint.

The games will be broadcast by Comcast SportsNet and proceeds will benefit Children's Hospital and Al's Angels, an organization that helps local families and children.

"The opportunity to play at the Garden and getting the opportunity to celebrate college basketball with the other college teams in the area, and to get an opportunity to contribute to the Children's Hospital - all those things just were a home run when we evaluated the opportunity," NU coach Bill Coen said. "We're just grateful for the chance to come down and be a part of it."

All of the coaches involved would like to see the event grow in the future and attract even more attention. Donahue, who is entering his first season at BC, already has learned the one main ingredient for getting recognized on the Boston sports scene: winning.

"I think it's important that all of our programs do as good a job as they can to get good and really nationally recognized so the people here get behind it," Donahue said.

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