Men's Basketball

Leaman Legacy Game, 1960s Celebration Set for Saturday at 5 p.m.

Tony Gaffney is fourth in the NCAA in rebounding and second in blocked shots.

Tony Gaffney is fourth in the NCAA in rebounding and second in blocked shots.
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    UMASS (5-7) vs. VANDERBILT (10-3)
    Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 • 5 p.m. (ET)
    Mullins Center (9,493), Amherst, Mass.
    TV: CBS College Sports (Tom Hart, Pete Gillen)
    Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
    WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

    Leaman Legacy Game, `60s Celebration Set for Sat.
    • UMass hosts Vanderbilt in its final non-conference game of the season in a nationally-televised game on CBS College Sports this Saturday at 5 p.m. It will be a very special night as UMass will be hosting two ceremonies honoring the storied history of the program. Saturday's game is the annual Leaman Legacy Game, where proceeds of the ticket sales go to benefit the Jack Leaman Legacy Fund, in honor of UMass' late legendary coach, who passed away in March 2004. In UMass' continuing celebrations as part of the 100 Seasons Of UMass Basketball, the program will recognize the decade of the 1960s with a halftime ceremony.

    • Among the players expected to be in attendance as part of the 1960s celebration will be: Jim Babyak, Peter Bernard, Dennis Chapman, Chuck Demers (trainer), Joe DiSarcina, John Dreyer, Tim Edwards, Robert Eichorn, Ray Ellerbrook, Gary Gasperack, Jim Girotti, Paul Gullicksen, John Lisack, Bob Murphy, Richard Perkins, Ed Rubin (manager), Dick Samuelson, Rich Starsiak, Frank Stewart and Billy Tindall.

    • UMass (5-7 overall) returns home for its fifth game in a stretch of five of seven at the friendly confines of the Mullins Center. The Minutemen have won their last three home games beating Holy Cross (73-59) on Dec. 10, Hofstra (97-81) on Dec. 20, and IUPUI (64-57) last Saturday. The Vanderbilt game is the third of six consecutive Saturdays where UMass will host a game. The Minutemen saw their four-game overall win streak halted at Houston on Tuesday afternoon as the 8-2 Cougars downed the Minutemen, 80-54.

    • After the Vanderbilt game, UMass will play a "home game" at the MassMutual Center in Springfield against Dayton on Saturday, Jan. 10 to open the Atlantic 10 portion of its schedule. That game has been moved to a 1 p.m. start and will televised locally on CBS3 Springfield.

    • Saturday's game can be heard on the UMass Sports Network across the state. Flagship station WRNX 100.9 (Springfield) carried the game along with 830 AM WCRN in Worcester/Boston and 95.9 WATD in Marshfield/Boston. "Voice of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer, will call the action with former Minuteman Tim Collins.

    The Legend Of Jack Leaman
    • At UMass, Jack Leaman worked for more than 40 years. He coached the men's basketball team from 1966-79, the women's basketball team in 1986-87 and following that stint, he served the athletics department in a variety of roles as an assistant coach and radio broadcaster until his untimely death on March 6, 2004. He led the UMass basketball program for 13 seasons, compiling a career record of 217-126. The all-time winningest coach in school history, Leaman guided UMass to eight Yankee Conference titles in a nine-year span (1968-71, 1973-76), and six National Invitation Tournament appearances (1970-71, 1973-75, 1977). A two-time New England Coach of the Year, Leaman coached Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, Boston College head coach Al Skinner and UMass Athletic Hall of Famers Bill Tindall, Joe DiSarcina and Ray Ellerbrook. Leaman coached 22 All-Yankee Conference selections during his tenure at UMass.

    Looking at UMass In The 1960s
    As UMass honors the decade of the 1960s on Saturday, here is a quick overview of the historic 10 years at UMass. Overall, UMass was 138-106 for a 56.6 win percentage in the 1960s, marking the most wins in a decade in program history to date.

    • UMass qualified for its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 1962, as the then-Redmen won their first-ever Yankee Conference crown under coach Matt Zunic.

    • The Redmen tied for the Yankee Conference crown in both 1967-68 and 1968-69, but were not invited to postseason play. The 1968-69 season was the best in terms of record as UMass went 17-7 (70.8 win percentage).

    • In the 1960s, UMass had three high-level coaches starting with Zunic (1959-63), who led Boston University to the NCAA Tournament in coaching Jack Leaman as a player in 1959. Zunic was replaced by Johnny Orr (1963-66), who coached just three seasons at UMass before going to an illiustrious career as a coach at Michigan and Iowa State. Orr was replaced by assistant coach Leaman, who joined the staff under Zunic. Leaman coached the final three years of the 1960s to start a 13-year career leading the Redman/Minutemen.

    • On Dec. 2, 1969, a young sophomore from Long Island, named Julius Erving made his debut with 27 points and a then-school record 28 rebounds against Providence. Of course Dr. J went on to one of the mosts storied careers in basketball history. It started with eight games at UMass the wrap up the 1960s.

    100 Seasons Of Basketball All-1960s Team
    • As part of the 100 Seasons Of Basketball, a media committee selected all-decade teams. The team from the 1960s consists of Joe DiSarcina, Ray Ellerbrook, Doug Grutchfield, Clarence Hill, Billy Tindall, Rodger Twitchell.

    Minutemen During Their Four-game Win Streak
    • After a slow 1-6 start, UMass kicked it into gear winning four in a row from Dec. 10-27 before losing at Houston on Tuesday. There were some distinct statistics that showed UMass marked improvement from its rough start. These stats do not include the loss at Houston.

    • In scoring, UMass posted 73.8 points per game and allowed just 64.2 points per game. Prior to the win streak in the six-game losing run, UMass was scoring 68.2 and allowing 76.8 per game. UMass took its scoring margin from -8.6 to +9.6.

    • From the floor, UMass did the job on both offense and defense. In the four wins, UMass shot 47.9 from the floor overall and a sparkling 44.0 from new longer 3-point line. On defense, UMass held foes to 37.3 from the floor and a tremendous 26.8 from beyond the arc. Prior to the win streak in the losing run, UMass shot 41.1 from the floor and 34.5 from 3-point land. On defense, the Minutemen allowed foes to 46.6 overall and 36.0 from the trifecta circle.

    • Some other key stats. Turnovers were down from 19.7 in the 6-game skid to 14.5 in the four wins. UMass has also handed out 18.8 assists per game compared to 11.8 in the losing games. That was keyed by Chris Lowe who has 10 or more assists in three of the four wins. UMass took its assists-to-turnover ratio from -0.6 in the losing skid to +1.3 in the winning games.

    • Overall, the players scoring averages were similar for the most part with two major differences, Matt Glass, who was inserted into the starting line-up with the start of the win streak-- scored 7.3 per game after just 1.8 in the 6-game skid. Also, Luke Bonner returned with 10.0 additional points after being hurt during the 6-game losing run.

    Last Year's UMass-Vanderbilt Meeting
    • Vanderbilt's senior swingman Shan Foster scored 32 points and swished a 3-pointer that all but sealed the Commodores' 97-88 victory over the Minutemen at Memorial Gym on Jan. 5, 2008. Foster made eight of 12 3-pointers as No. 15 Vanderbilt (15-0) extended the best start in school history. Massachusetts made a final charge, chopping a 12-point deficit to 84-78 with 3:10 left on a layup and free throw by Ricky Harris. But Foster, the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, hit a 3 from the left corner with 2:29 remaining that made it 87-78.

    • Harris scored 25 points, and Chris Lowe and Gary Forbes each added 22 to lead Massachusetts. UMass had three players scored 20 or more points for the first time since Feb. 20, 1999 with Harris (25), Forbes (22) and Lowe (22). The last time was against Xavier with the trio of Chris Kirkland (25), Monty Mack (21) and Lari Ketner (20).

    • The Commodores trailed by 14 points in the first half and nine in the second before charging back on the strength of their 3-point shooting. Vanderbilt was 13-of-23 from beyond the arc while the Minutemen were 6-of-20. A.J. Ogilvy added 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Commodores.

    • UMass (11-3) led 50-41 with 16:52 remaining before Vanderbilt rallied. Foster's 3-pointer made it 66-64, and Keegan Bell followed with another to give the Commodores a 67-65 lead with 9:23 to go. They never trailed again.

    UMass Vs. SEC Schools
    • Against schools from the SEC, UMass is 7-10 but won two of its last three meetings with wins each of the last two years in the NIT. Last April, UMass downed 2007 NCAA Champion Florida, 79-66, in the NIT Semifinals. Two years ago, the last time an SEC team came to the Mullins Center, UMass knocked off Alabama at the Mullins Center, 89-87 in the NIT First Round on March 13, 2007. UMass is 2-0 against Arkansas, 2-1 vs. Florida, 1-0 vs. South Carolina, 1-1 vs. Alabama, 1-5 vs. Kentucky, 0-1 vs. Vanderbilt and 0-2 vs. Tennessee.

    • The last time a school from the state of Tennessee visited the Mullins Center was five years ago to the day as the Tennessee Volunteers downed UMass 74-66 on Jan. 3, 2004. That was the last time an SEC team played regular-season scheduled game at UMass.

    Gaffney Among The National Leaders
    • With his amazing start this season, UMass senior forward Tony Gaffney is ranked in the Top 5 in the NCAA in two major statistics. He is fourth in the country in rebounding with 12.3 per game. He is also second in blocked shots per game with 4.9. Gaffney is averaging a double-double with a 11.5 scoring average. Coming into the year, Gaffney's career averages were 3.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Gaffney is tied for 39th in steals per game with 2.4 per game.

    • Gaffney is having a breakout senior season averaging a double-double with six double-doubles this season after none in his career in 81 games entering the season. He also had grabbed at least eight rebounds in 11 of 12 games and at least 11 in nine of the 12 games. His most recent double-double came in the win over IUPUI (12/27).

    • Gaffney has three games with 15 or more rebounds, most recently at Houston (12/30) with 16. He also had 19 at Memphis (11/17) and 18 vs. Boston College (12/6).

    • Gaffney nearly had triple-doubles in back-to-back games on Dec. 6 and 10. In those contests he has a combined 32 points, 29 rebounds and 17 blocks. Against Holy Cross, (12/10), he had 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks. That followed a titanic effort vs. Boston College (12/6) with 15 points, 18 rebounds and a career-high nine blocked shots.

    • Some of Gaffney's best performances of 2008-09 have come against national powers. At #25/23 Kansas (12/13), he posted 13 rebounds and six blocks. Against Boston College when he had 15 points, 18 rebounds, and a career-high nine blocked shots, his put-back of a missed Chris Lowe free throw sent the game to overtime, giving UMass a chance for its second-straight win over BC. Another outstanding game came at Memphis (11/17), one which Memphis John Calipari called him the best player on the court. Against the No. 13 Tigers, Gaffney scored 16 points and grabbed 19 rebounds along with five blocks. It was his second career double-double. He opened the year with 16 points and 13 rebounds against Arkansas-Monticello (11/11).

    • Gaffney played 32 or more minutes in the first nine games, all more than any game he previously played at UMass, and that many in 11 of 12 games. He set a career-high in minutes, playing 43 of the 45 against BC. He played a then career-high 39 minutes when he had his third double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds along with eight blocked shots vs. Jacksonville State (11/24) in the home opener. The 20 points were also a UMass high. He scored 20 while at Boston University against Stony Brook in 2006.

    Lowe Moving Up Assists Chart
    Chris Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass as he stands third with 561, just 72 shy of the all-time record. His 11 assists against Boston College (12/6) propelled him past Alex Eldridge (518) and into third place. Next on the list is Edgar Padilla (597). Carl Smith (633) is the all-time leader. In the final 17 regular-season games, Lowe would need to average 4.2 assists to get the record before any possible postseason.

    • Lowe is tied 17th in the NCAA with 6.3 assists per game, leading the A-10. He has led the league in assists in each of the last two years and would become the first player to lead the A-10 in assists for three years in a row.

    • Lowe has five 10-assist games this season and 11 in his career, all in the last two seasons (all in the last 25 games). Lowe has 10 or more assists in four of the last six games, most recently with 10 each vs. Hofstra (12/20) and IUPUI (12/27). Lowe has 50 assists in the last six games (8.3 per game). In the last six games he also had 12 vs. Holy Cross (12/10) and 11 against Boston College (12/6). That total of 50 came after he had 15 total in the previous five games.

    • The Mount Vernon, N.Y. product became the fourth player with 500 career assists at UMass after he gained five against Jacksonville State (11/24). He passed his coach Derek Kellogg (453) most recently at the end of last year.

    • With a career-high 14 against La Salle (3/5/08) - part of the sixth triple-double in UMass history (14 pts, 10 reb), Lowe moved past UMass Hall of Famer Joe DiSarcina (431) into fifth. Last season, he also passed two illustrious coaches who played at UMass: BC Coach Al Skinner (320) and Louisville coach Rick Pitino (329).

    • With his 214 assists last season, Lowe had the third-best single-season in UMass history after passing Smith (212), Smith (191), Alex Eldridge (174) and Rick Pitino (168).

    Harris Hits 1,000th career point
    Ricky Harris became the 40th UMass player to score 1,000 career points on a free throw with 9:50 left in the first half against Hofstra (12/20). In 80 college games, Harris has 1,039 points to rank 35th is UMass history.

    • Next on the list for Harris to pass are No. 34 Charlton Clarke (1,041), No. 33 Dana Dingle (1,043), No. 32 Alex Eldridge (1,053), No. 31 Shannon Crooks (1,074) and No. 30 Jack Foley (1,081).

    • Harris has picked up where he left off last season, when he was named the A-10 Chris Daniels Most Improved player. Harris is leading UMass with a 19.8 scoring average and led the team in scoring in eight of the first 12 games with 20 or more in six games. Harris is 34th in the NCAA in scoring per game. He dropped a season and career-high 35 points on BC (12/6). The 35 points were good for the 13th most in school history and only six behind the school record of 41 held by Billy Tindall on Feb. 10, 1968 vs. Vermont. It was also Harris' second ever 30+ point scoring effort. Two games prior, he netted 27 at Green Bay (11/29) and had 24 points at Southern Illinois (11/12).

    Harris Rises on 3-Point Charts
    • Junior Ricky Harris has also continued to blister from 3-point range. He is shooting 42.1 from beyond the new extended-distance arc. He has made 40-of-95 from 3-point range.

    • Harris, who tied Carmelo Travieso for the single-season mark for made treys last year with 104, is rising on the career charts. Harris stands sixth in career made 3-pointers with 161 and fifth in career attempts with 440. With four treys at Green Bay, he passed Edgar Padilla (136) and his coach Derek Kellogg (138). Next on the list at No. 5 is Lorenzo Sutton (178). On the attempts list, Harris is fifth, passing Sutton(424), James Life (425) and Edgar Padilla (431) after passing Kellogg (362) earlier this season. Next on the attempts chart is Rafer Giles (592).

    UMass 5-1 Vs Defending NCAA Champs
    • With the 61-60 over #25/23 Kansas (12/13), UMass is now 5-1 all-time against defending national champions, as the Minutemen have won three in a row against the champs. With last year's win over Florida in the NIT Semifinals, UMass has beaten the last two NCAA champs in their title defense year.

    • UMass head coach Derek Kellogg has been a part of three of the wins over the champ as a player in 1993 and 1994 and the head coach in 2008 vs. Kansas.

    • On Dec. 9, 2004 as the Minutemen downed No. 7 UConn at the Mullins Center, 61-59 as Rashaun Freeman scored with seconds left to lift UMass to the historic win. The game marked the first time a defending champion visited the Mullins Center.

    • UMass knocked off North Carolina, 91-86, in overtime on Nov. 24, 1993 in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden.

    • One year later, UMass thumped Arkansas, 104-80, on Nov. 25, 1994 in the Tip-Off Classic at the Springfield Civic Center.

    • That win over No. 1 Arkansas is symbolic, as it vaulted UMass to the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll for the first time in school history. Last week was the 14-year anniversary of the school's first No. 1 ranking, as the Minutemen played their first game as the No. 1 team on Dec. 3, 1994.

    • UMass' only loss against a champ came on Nov. 22, 1999, as the Minutemen lost to UConn at Gampel Pavilion, 79-65, on Nov. 22, 1999.

    Notes On UMass' Win Over Kansas
    • UMass topped No. 25/23 Kansas, 61-60 on Dec. 13 in Kansas City. The UMass win was its first in 17 tries against a non-conference ranked team outside the state of Massachusetts. The win ended Kansas' 30-game home win streak (the game at KC was counted officially by the NCAA as a home game since it was part of the season-ticket package and was staffed by KU).

    • UMass won a non-conference game against a ranked team, away from Massachusetts for the first time since it beat Georgetown in the 1996 NCAA Elite Eight on March 23, 1996.

    • For head coach Derek Kellogg the win was sweet as his Minutemen picked up their first win over a ranked team under his watch in just his ninth game as a head coach. The previous fastest UMass coach to beat a ranked team was Bruiser Flint, who beat then-No. 19 Boston College in his 17th game as the head man on Jan. 18, 1997. Kellogg also gained a win against Kansas, the team which downed Memphis in the 2008 NCAA title game when Kellogg was an assistant for former UMass coach John Calipari.

    • UMass beat a non-conference ranked team on the road for the first time since win at #21 Louisville on March 2, 1996, 62-59.

    • UMass beat a non-conference ranked team for the first time since topping UConn, 61-59, on Dec. 9, 2004. Since that game, UMass is 4-7 against ranked teams (1-1 this season, losing at Memphis).

    • UMass last beat a ranked team at #14 Dayton on the road last season, 82-71 on Jan. 16, 2008.

    • The Minutemen have won the last two games against Kansas, winning at the Mullins Center in 1999. All-time Kansas leads the series, 3-2. All five games have been played in different states (New York, California, Kansas, Massachusetts and Missouri).

    100th Season Of UMass Basketball
    • UMass is celebrating the 100th season of UMass basketball in 2008-09. UMass will be honoring six eras/decades throughout the season by inviting back every living UMass player to attend his respective celebration. The first event was set at Boston College game on Dec. 6 which honored the Classic Era (1899-1959).

    • The following players were on hand for the BC game: Don Akerson, Frank Barous, George "Trigger" Burke, John Edgar, Dick Eid, Wray Gunn, Paul Kollios, Ned Larkin, John MacLeod, Condon McDonough, Ed McGrath, George Morin, Alex Norskey, Bill Prevey, Bill Stephens and William Walsh.

    • In looking back at UMass basketball, the program started with its first season in 1899-1900 with the first game played on Jan. 10, 1900, a 14-9 win over the Northampton YMCA.

    • The program had several hiatuses in its history as, this is the 100th season with the program starting 109 years ago. UMass did not field a team in 1900-01, 1909-10 to 1915-16 and during World War II in both 1943-44 and 1944-45.

    • Under the leadership of John Calipari, the Minutemen become A-10 Tournament Champs five consecutive times (1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96). Overall, UMass has appeared in the NCAA Tournament eight times, in addition to those five A-10 title years (1961-62, 1996-97 and 1997-98). They have two appearances in the Elite Eight (1995, 1996) and a Final Four appearance (1996). Last year UMass, went 25-11 in reaching the NIT Championship game. It was UMass' 10th NIT appearance including each of the last two season.

    UMass Alum Leading UMass
    Derek Kellogg is the first UMass alum to serve as the head coach of his alma mater since Tom McLaughlin, who coached the Minutemen from 1981-83. Kellogg graduated from UMass in 1995 where he was an All-Atlantic 10 selection in 1995. McLaughlin graduated from UMass in 1973 where he was one of three future head coaches on the team. He was joined by current Boston College head coach Al Skinner and Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Kellogg is not the current head coach from the UMass rosters in the mid-90s as Tony Barbee is in his fourth year as the head coach at Texas-El Paso.

    • Prior to McLaughlin, the last UMass alum to lead his alma mater was Lorin Ball (Class of 1921), who coached the team from 1945-52.

    Umass 6th; Harris & Lowe Honored
    • UMass was picked sixth in the preseason poll released by the Atlantic 10 coaches and media on Oct. 29 as part of the league's media day. Senior guard Chris Lowe was named the A-10 Preseason First Team while junior guard Ricky Harris has earned a spot on the Preseason Second Team. Lowe was also named to the Preseason All-Defensive Team.

    UMass Gets Preseason Honors
    • With UMass alum Derek Kellogg in town to lead the Minutemen attack, the program is getting considerable attention from national media as it hopes to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997-98. Lindy's and Athlon both predict UMass to finish in the top five in the Atlantic 10.

    • Lindy's predicts that the Minutemen will finish fourth behind St. Joseph's, Temple, and Xavier. It mentions the good news as "Derek Kellogg returns to his alma mater and has plenty of perimeter firepower." Lindy's includes Harris on the First Team All-Conference while recognizing Chris Lowe with "Top Playmaker" in its honor roll.

    • Athlon sports predict that the Minutemen will finish fifth, trailing Xavier, Temple, Charlotte, and Dayton, while earning their third-consecutive NIT berth. Like Lindy's, Athlon predicts Harris to be a First-Team All-Atlantic 10 performer. Replacing A-10 player of the Year Gary Forbes will be a challenge, but Athlon says "Wake Forest transfer Anthony Gurley should give Kellogg another wing scorer.

    • Sporting News wrote that with Gibbs on board (to go along Lowe, a senior), "the Minutemen should be able to play at breakneck speed." It predicts that the best shot-blocker in the conference will once again come from UMass (Tony Gaffney), while Lowe is deemed the "best passer." Sporting News identifies three-point shooting as a big asset as "Together, Harris and Gurley give UMass a pair of solid three-point threats."

    • has pegged Anthony Gurley as the No. 3 overall impact transfer in all of Division I.




      Event Calendar

      Wednesday, Dec 2
      vs Boston University 7:00 PM gametracker
      Saturday, Dec 5
      vs Ole Miss 4:00 PM gametracker
      Tuesday, Dec 8
      at UCF 7:00 PM gametracker
      Sunday, Dec 13
      at Florida Gulf Coast 1:30 PM
      Wednesday, Dec 16
      vs New Orleans 7:00 PM gametracker listen
      Monday, Dec 21
      vs Providence 7:00 PM gametracker listen
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