Home Streak On The Line As 49ers Visit Mullins Center
• The UMass men’s basketball team returns to the Mullins Center for a pair of Atlantic 10 games this week starting with Charlotte on Wendesday night (7 PM). The Minutemen had their six-game win streak snapped on Sunday at La Salle dropping UMass to 1-1 in the A-10. Charlotte is off to a 2-0 start in league play after a win on the road at Saint Joseph’s last Saturday.
• The Minutemen enter the game unbeaten home games with an 8-0 record - seven of those wins have come in the friendly confines of the Mullins Center.
• Charlotte has won five-of-eight road games with two of those loses coming at Arkansas and Memphis.
• The game can be heard on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM KIX in Western Mass. and 830 AM WCRN in Central Mass., and 95.9 AM WATD on Boston’s South Shore. “Voice of the Minutemen” Josh Maurer and Tim Kenney will call the action. Live audio and Gameracker will be available on UMassAthletics.com.
SERIES WITH CHARLOTTE
• UMass and Charlotte will meet for the 11th time in the history of the two programs with the series being tied at 5-5 after last year’s win for the Minutemen in the Queen City snapping a three-game win streak for the 49ers.
• Wednesday night will be the fourth all-time meeting in the Mullins Center between the two squads with UMass holding a 2-1 record on the home court.
• All-time UMass is 7-3 in Amherst and 5-6 at La Salle. The first meeting was an 82-75 win for La Salle on Dec. 30, 1971 in Philadelphia.
Up Next: Saint Joseph’s
• This will be the 60th meeting between UMass and Saint Joseph’s, with UMass holding a 31-28 lead all-time. UMass has won three of the last four games including both games last season. The Hawks ended a three-game skid in the series with a 67-64 win over UMass earlier this year on Feb. 5.
• Last season, Anthony Gurley scored 22 points and the Minutemen turned in an impressive defensive perofrmance holding the Hawks to just 30.8 percent shooting from the floor in a 69-51 win in the Mullins Center. The Hawks won the first meeting of the year in Philadelphia 67-64 thanks to 25 points from then-freshman Langston Galloway. UMass was able to cut that lead to one with 18 seconds left thanks to a Gurley three-pointer, but the Minutemen were unable to complete the comeback.
• UMass has won three of the last four meetings with Saint Joseph’s.
• UMass ended SJU’s three-game win streak in the series with a 70-69 win in Philly on Feb. 22, 2009. Saint Joe’s won three games in a row finishing with a 68-64 win on Feb. 8, 2009. The Hawks won twice in 2007-08. The Hawks pulled off a 98-92 win at the Mullins Center on Jan. 9, 2008 while UMass made an amazing comeback but lost at Hawk Hill, 81-77 on Jan. 23.
• The Minutemen hold a 16-7 advantage against Saint Joseph’s for games played in Amherst, including a 10-7 mark against the Hawks at the Mullins Center.
• Saint Joseph’s holds a 17-12 advantage against the Minutemen for regular-season games played in Philadelphia. Saint Joe’s holds a 13-11 mark against UMass in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. At The Palestra vs. SJU, UMass is 3-4 overall with two wins in the A-10 Tournament and last season. UMass is 1-3 in regular-season games against the Hawks at The Palestra, losing in 1983, 84 and 88.
• This will be UMass head coach Derek Kellogg’s seventh game against the Hawks with a record of 4-2. Kellogg did play against Saint Joseph’s when Phil Martelli was an assistant with the Hawks. Martelli took over as head coach in 1995-96, the year UMass made the Final Four. Martelli stands 15-15 all-time against the Minutemen in his career.
GOOD AS ADVERTISED
• Redshirt sophomore point guard Chaz Williams has been given the reponsibility of quarterbacking the Minutemen’s new up-tempo offense and the tranfer from Hofstra lived up to the billing, averaging 15.7 points and 5.9 assists in 16 games. He is shooting 40.6 percent from 3-point range and has an assist-turnover ratio of nearly 2-1. Defensively, he ranks 16th nationally in steals with 2.5 per game and 26th nationally with 5.6 assists per game.
• In the loss at La Salle, Williams surpassed his previous career high with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting while adding five assists.
• Williams scored a then-career-high 22 points in the 83-75 loss at Miami (12/3). He also dished out four assists, while raking in four rebounds. He tied that mark with another 22 points (20 in the second half) in the win over Siena (12/9).
• Williams recorded the first double-double of his career in Nov. 14’s win over Northeastern, tying career-highs with 20 points and 10 assists.
• Williams, in his first game in a UMass uniform in the win over Elon, led all scorers with 18 points to go with a game-high eight assists, six rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes.
BRINGING THE PRESSURE
• To go with the new up-tempo offense, Derek Kellogg has the Minutemen pressing and trapping more on defense in 2011-12. The new attacking defensive style has worked extremely well thus far as the Minutemen have forced an average of 18.9 turnovers per game and scored 25.0 points per game off those take-aways.
• At East Carolina (12/6), UMass had nearly one point per ECU turnover, scoring 15 off 16 Pirates’ miscues.
• In the 83-75 loss at Miami (12/3), the Minutemen forced 11 turnovers, while scoring as many points off them.
• The Minutemen forced 19 turnovers and turned it into 31 points in their lone win at the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 25.
• In its 36-point win at Boston College on Nov. 21, UMass turned 23 Eagles turnovers into 28 points and outscored them 28-6 over the final 10:30 of the game.
• In the win vs. Northeastern (11/14), UMass forced 21 turnovers and scored 26 points off turnovers. Sampson Carter led the defense with three steals.
• The Minutemen held the Huskies to just 38 percent shooting in the game, including a 9.1 percent mark from behind the arc.
• In the opener vs. Elon, UMass forced 25 Phoenix turnovers and scoring 34 points off those turnovers, including 12 fast-break points. Jesse Morgan led the defensive charge with a career-high five steals in 17 minutes. UMass finished with 14 steals total.
• Through 16 games, UMass has shot .421 from the floor after posting a .401 shooting percentage a season ago. Much of the improvement can be attributed to the new up-tempo, fastbreaking offense that Derek Kellogg has implemented this season. Taking advantage of the long athletic players on his roster, Kellogg’s offense has resulted in higher percentage shots in transition.
• UMass has received strong shooting performances from the bench in the past few games. Freddie Riley has given the Minutemen lifts as a sixth-man over the last seven games. The shooting guard is averaging 10.4 points per game in that stretch shooting 19-of-41 (.460) from beyond the arc.
• Also over the last five games, three Minutemen are averaging double-figures led by Chaz Williams’ 17.2 points per game. Jesse Morgan (11.8) and Raphiael Putney (10.6) have both had big games in that stretch, while Terrell Vinson has averaged 9 points.
• Morgan scored a career-high 22 points in the loss at La Salle in his hometown Philadelphia going 6-for-13 from the floor while hitting 8-of-11 free throws.
• Senior bigman Sean Carter also scored a career-high 18 points at La Salle going 8-for-11 from the floor.
CLEARING THE BOARDS
• UMass has been solid on the boards this season averaging nearly 42 rebounds per game - that places the Minutemen first in the Atlantic 10 with 41.2 and 7th nationally.
UMASS ONE OF A-10’S TOP SCORING TEAMS
• At an average clip of 77.2 points per game, UMass is the second ranked scoring team in the Atlantic 10. The Minutemen are one of nine teams in the league to average over 70 points per game.
• UMass is also the third-ranked team in the league in terms of scoring margin at +8.4 over opponents. Saint Louis and La Salle are the only two teams to have margins higher than 10 points.
BEST HOME START SINCE 2007-08 SEASON
• With a 8-0 home record to start the season (7-0 at Mullins, 1-0 at The Cage), since starting 6-0 in 2007-08. That season, UMass finished with an 11-3 home record during the regular season en route to the NIT Championship Game.
OUTSIDE SHOOTING+PROTECT THE BALL=WIN
• It’s a simple formula, but when UMass is able to shoot the ball from outside and keep turnovers to a minimum, chances are the Minutemen win. In 12 games won this year, UMass is 115-of-304 from three-point land and average 14.3 turnovers per game. In 4 games lost, UMass is just 18-of-90 from deep and average 17.5 turnovers.
• Sharing the ball is also a key. The Minutemen average over 18 assists in wins this year, while that number drops to 9 in the four losses. Individually, Chaz Williams picks up nearly 6.6 assists in wins, but just 3.8 in each of the four losses.
BALANCED SCORING AMONG UMASS ROTATION
• While Chaz Williams may be the only Minuteman averaging double-figures in the scoring column this season, UMass is a well balanced scoring team. In nine games this season, UMass has had four or more players reach double-figure point totals.
• Against Utah, Davidson, Central Connecticut, and Fordham, five Minutemen reached double-figures in the scoring column. Against Siena, Williams and Freddie each scored over 20 points in the comeback win.
• Raphiael Putney and Freddie Riley are near double-figure averages as Putney scores 9.1 points per game, while Riley averages 8.8 points per game.
KEY IMPROVEMENTS OVER LAST SEASON
• Through 16 games, a trio of players have made significant strides over their 2010-11 averages.
• Jesse Morgan played in just 12 games last season averaging 4.4 points in almost 11 minutes per game. This year, the combo point guard/two guard is averaging 8.2 points in 22.2 minutes.
• Raphiael Putney has increased his scoring from 4.4 points to 9.1 points and is averaging just over one more rebound per game (3.0-to-4.6)
• After having a strong freshman campaign in 2009-10, Terrell Vinson saw his scoring dip from 9.6 poings per game to 6.5 last season. This year he is back to form averaging 8.4 points in just over 25 minutes per game.
DEPTH OFF THE BENCH KEY
• UMass has received quite a lift from its bench early in the season. A season-high 51 points were scored in the win over Towson thanks to the reserves. All told, the UMass bench has outscored every opponent this year except two (College of Charleston & La Salle).
• 40.0% (494-of-1235 points) of UMass’ scoring this year has come from the bench.