UMass Heads To SLU For First A-10 Road Game, Wednesday Night
UMASS (6-8, 1-0) at SAINT LOUIS (9-6, 0-1)
UMass Heads To SLU For First A-10 Road Game
The Minutemen have done a ton of travelling early in the 2008-09 season. According to basketballstate.com, with this trip to St. Louis, UMass will have travelled 9,453 miles including six different trips to the Central time zone. This game at Saint Louis will be UMass' seventh game in the CT this season.
Along the lines of travelling and facilities, this will be the eighth game in the short series (SLU leads, 4-3) between UMass and Saint Louis, but it will be the sixth different facility the teams have played in. Notably, UMass played its last NCAA Tournament game against SLU, on March 13, 1998, a 51-46 Billiken win in at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The teams played twice at the Mullins Center (both UMass wins) and at the Kiel/Scottrade Center (splitting the games). They have also played at the St. Charles Family Arena in Missouri in 2006 and in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall in the 2007 A-10 Tournament.
Live streaming video through UMass All Access will be available on Wednesday for a $9.95 monthly charge. Wednesday'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 Associate Athletic Director Jason Yellin.
UMass' Big Win In Springfield
It marked the fourth game in a row, UMass has beaten the Flyers and third which ended a significant Dayton win streak. Last year, the Minutemen ended No. 14/18 Dayton's 13-game win streak at UD Arena, 82-71, last season on Jan. 16, 2008. It was UMass' first win over a ranked team in three years, since UMass won on Jan. 15, 2005 at George Washington (76-74). Two seasons ago, UMass ended Dayton's home dominance in 2006-07, handing the Flyers their first loss after a 14-0 start at UD Arena, winning 77-69 on Feb. 22, 2007. The win was also UMass' first at Dayton since 1999.
For UMass, the win was the first in Springfield since 2001 when the Minutemen downed Oregon, 62-58 on Nov. 27. Oregon had three players on that squad who turned pro: Luke Ridnour, Luke Jackson, and Chris Christoffersen. UMass is now 39-23 all-time at the MassMutual Center, formerly Springfield Civic Center.
UMass Playing 33rd-Toughest Schedule
The A-10 has four teams playing schedules in the top 50 (all in the top 33) in difficulty: Xavier plays the 11th-toughest, Temple faces the 16th-toughest, Saint Joseph's will battle the 29th schedule and UMass is playing the 33rd-toughest.
UMass-Saint Louis Series Notes
The teams have split the two meetings in each of the last two seasons with UMass winning twice at the Mullins Center including the second match-up last season, 88-77 on Feb. 17, 2008. That game was the Leaman Legacy Game in Amherst and UMass had five players score in double-figures led by Danté Milligan (21). Also with 10 or more were Gary Forbes (17), Etienne Brower (15), Ricky Harris (14) and Chris Lowe (13). Lowe had then-career-high 13 assists in the win, with just two turnovers.
Saint Louis won the first meeting last season, as UMass had its lowest offensive output of the season as the Minutemen lost at Saint Louis, 71-59 on Feb. 2, 2008. The Minutemen shot a season-low 30.3 percent from the floor and made just 2-of-21 3-point attempts, missing all 13 in the second half. The Billikens led from wire-to-wire as juniors Tommie Liddell and Kevin Lisch each scored 16 points.Gary Forbes led UMass with 20 points. Chris Lowe added 14 points and Etienne Brower had 12 points. Ricky Harris, who came into the game with a 20.0 scoring average was held to a season-low six points.
Two years ago, the Billikens knocked UMass, the 2007 co-regular-season champions out of the A-10 Tournament in Atlantic City. On March 8, UMass fell to the Billikens 74-71 in overtime as the Minutemen were playing with virtually and entire roster of players suffering from the flu.
The 2007 regular-season game was a thriller at the Mullins Center with UMass posting a 53-50 win on Feb. 24, 2007. With Saint Louis joining the Atlantic 10 in 2005-06, the teams played in Missouri for the second time on Jan. 14, 2006, when the Billikens pulled out a 50-48 win in St. Charles.
The teams split the two engagements as non-conference foes.
UMass and Saint Louis met in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament with the Billikens winning 51-46. That game was the last time the Minutemen made the NCAA Tournament. Larry Hughes scored 18 points, Matt Baniak tallied 12 and Virgil Cobbin added 11 in the win. Monty Mack was the sole double-figure scorer for UMass with 10 points. SLU dropped the next game in the Regional to Kentucky, 88-61.
UMass won the first meeting between the two teams 80-74 on Jan. 5, 1995 in the A-10/Great Midwest Challenge. That game was UMass' only other game at the Scottrade Center, which was known as the Kiel Center at the time.
UMass head coach Derek Kellogg will coach against the Billikens for the first time as the headman. Last season, when he was at Memphis, the Tigers scrimmages SLU in the preseason.
Second-year Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus is 2-1 against UMass with last season's split. He faced the Minutemen once, while he was at Utah. The Utes downed UMass, 69-53 in the 2002 Maui Invitational.
Gaffney Among The National Leaders
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 seven rebounds in 13 of 14 games and at least 11 in nine of the 14 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 has five or more blocks in nine games this year including seven against Dayton (1/10). After that game, UD coach Brian Gregory called Gaffney "the best non-scoring player in the nation" for all-around game.
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 13 of 14 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
With his current average of 6.1, he would break the record in 10 games from now (Feb. 18 vs. Rhode Island.)
Lowe is tied 18th in the NCAA with 6.1 assists per game, and just 0.1 behind with Duquesne's Aaron Jackson in 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 27 games). Lowe has 10 or more assists in four of the last seven games, most recently with 10 each vs. Hofstra (12/20) and IUPUI (12/27). Lowe has 56 assists in the last eight games (7.3 per game). In the last eight games he also had 12 vs. Holy Cross (12/10) and 11 against Boston College (12/6). That total of 59 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
Next on the list for Harris to pass are No. 30 Jack Foley (1,081), No. 29 Mike Williams (1,122) and No. 28 Gary Forbes (1,128).
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 19.5 scoring average and led the team in scoring in nine of the first 14 games with 20 or more in seven games. Harris is 35th 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
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 164 and fifth in career attempts with 449. 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).
Harris had his streak of 26 games in a row with at least one 3-pointer ended in the loss to Vanderbilt (1/3).
UMass 5-1 Vs Defending NCAA Champs
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 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
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.
The 1960s Celebration was held at the Vanderbilt game on Jan. 3. Here are the players who attended: Jim Babyak, Peter Bernard, Dennis Chapman, Chuck Demers (trainer), Joe DiSarcina, John Dreyer, 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.
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
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 Gets Preseason Honors
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."
Rivals.com has pegged Anthony Gurley as the No. 3 overall impact transfer in all of Division I.
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