UMass Heads To No. 14/18 Dayton For Huge A-10 Clash
UMASS (11-4, 0-1) at #14/18 DAYTON (14-1, 2-0)
UMass Heads To No. 14/18 Dayton For Huge A-10 Clash
Live streaming video will be available on UMassAthletics.com as part of UMass All-Access. The game will be carried on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM WRNX in Western Massachusetts and on 830 AM (WCRN) in Central Mass and 95.9 FM (WATD) in Eastern Mass. Bob Behler calls the action alongside color analyst and Tim Kenney.
Wednesday's game pits two of the top performers in the Atlantic 10 in UMass' Gary Forbes and Dayton's Brian Roberts. Forbes leads the A-10 in scoring with 20.9 points per game while Roberts has risen to third with a 20.1 average on the heels of a 30-point outburst in Dayton's last win, 68-57 at Saint Louis in overtime on Saturday.
UMass is coming off its best non-conference season since the Final Four year of 1995-96, as the Minutemen went 11-3 prior to the loss to Saint Joseph's.
The Minutemen have averaged 91.7 points in their last three games to raise their scoring average to 85.6, sixth in the NCAA. UMass has scored more than 80 points in 10 of 15 games this season.
With a new high-energy system installed by Travis Ford this year, the Minutemen are led by Gary Forbes (20.9 points per game) and Ricky Harris (19.7) as UMass is one of three schools in the nation with a pair of NCAA Top 50 scorers as Forbes is 19th and Harris is 39th . The other schools on the list are Vanderbilt and North Dakota State.
The Minutemen stand 28th in the RPI and are one of six Atlantic 10 teams in the top 40 with Dayton (4th) leading the way. Xavier is 12th and Rhode Island stands 14th. Saint Joe's is 42nd and Duquesne is 45th. Overall, the Atlantic 10 is seventh in the nation in league RPI.
UMass Against Ranked Teams
Last season, UMass played just one ranked team when they lost at No. 4 Pittsburgh, 85-68 on Nov. 18, 2006. Two seasons ago, UMass lost to No. 3 UConn, 78-60 on Dec. 8, 2005, to No. 11 Boston College, 91-62 on Jan. 3, 2006 and to No. 7 to George Washington, 69-66 on Feb. 15, 2006.
Prior to the two wins in 2004-05, UMass had lost seven in a row against ranked teams. In both wins over ranked teams three-time first-team All-Atlantic 10 honoree Rashaun Freeman hit the game-winning shot, beating UConn with 4.3 seconds left and topping the Colonials with a lay-up with 0.4 left in overtime.
UMass head coach Travis Ford is seeking his first-ever win against a ranked team. He is 0-5 at UMass against Top 25 teams and was 0-9 while coaching at Eastern Kentucky from 2000-05.
All-time, UMass is 29-66 against ranked teams. UMass has never played a ranked Dayton team. The only time a raked team played in the series was the first-ever meeting when then-No. 1 UMass beat Dayton, 78-58 on Jan. 6, 1996.
The Series With Dayton
Two seasons ago, UMass ended a five-game losing streak in the series with a 66-47 victory on Feb. 25, 2006 at the Mullins Center. That day was an emotional one as the court at the facility was named in honor of Jack Leaman. Prior to that win, Dayton had won five straight in the series. The previous victory for the Minutemen came at the Mullins Center on Jan. 18, 2001 (62-57).
Prior to the Flyers' five-game win streak, UMass had won three out of four meetings between the schools.
For games in Dayton, UMass is 2-4 with that only wins coming in 1999 in overtime, 59-57, on Jan. 28 and last season.
For all games played at the Mullins Center, UMass leads the series, 4-3. Dayton had won two in a row before the UMass win in 2006. Dayton won those two trips to Amherst on Jan. 29, 2002 (83-68) and Feb. 8, 2004 (66-59).
Last Season's Match-up
UMass was able to withstand the 3-point shooting barrage by Brian Roberts, the A-10's second leading scorer, who made six 3-pointers. The Minutemen sealed the game with 1:26 as Lasme dunked in a Chris Lowe free throw miss to give them a nine-point lead, 68-59.
Roberts finished with 25 points and Charles Little tied his career-high with 21 points for Dayton (16-9, 6-6 A-10).
Travis Ford Against Dayton
Dayton's Brian Gregory is 2-2 against UMass winning in 2004 and 2005. He is 0-3 against Ford, losing to him once at EKU and twice at UMass.
The last time UMass was ranked in the AP Poll was in the Nov. 18, 1998 poll, when the Minutemen came in at No. 23.
Three Atlantic 10 teams are in the poll for the second week in a row. Last week marked the first occurance since March 2003. Dayton is at No. 14, Xavier is at No. 20 and Rhode Island ranks No. 23. The ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, Dayton is No. 18, Xavier is 20th and URI is 22nd.
UMass also played No. 16 Vanderbilt (16-1), one of the final five undefeated teams in the nation, in a 97-88 loss on January 5.
Rising In The RPI
Beating the ACC & Big East
UMass Continues Home Dominance
Ford-Tough At Home
Scoring, More and More
With the new offense, UMass is scoring at a high-pace. The Minutemen are averaging 85.6 points per game, up from 74.7 points (+8.9) through 15 games last season and 77.3 points (+8.3) for the entire season.
UMass is sixth in the NCAA in scoring through Jan. 14 with 85.6 per game. The Minutemen are also second in the Atlantic 10 scoring behind No. 3 Duquesne (86.6). VMI leads the nation with a 97.1. average.
UMass is one of three teams in the nation with two players in the Top 50 NCAA scoring leaders as of Jan. 7 with Gary Forbes standing 19th with a 20.9 average. Ricky Harris is tied for 39th with 19.7 per game. The other teams on the exclusive list are Vanderbilt and North Dakota State.
UMass is 36th in total 3-pointers made with 137. With 9.13 treys per game, UMass leads the A-10 and is 21st in the NCAA in 3s per game.
After finishing third in the nation (7.45) in blocked shots with the nation's top shot blocker in Lasme, UMass is fifth in 2007-08 with 7.3 per game. UConn (9.3), Mississippi State (8.6) and UNC Asheville (8.3) lead the way. Duquesne leads the A-10 with 8.1 per contest to rank fourth in the nation.
The Minutemen picked 41 blocks in three games (13.7 per game) from Dec. 22-Jan. 2. The Minutemen had 18 swats against Central Connecticut on Dec. 22 for the second-most prolific shot blocking game in school history. The only game with more came with a school-record of 20 on Jan. 3, 1995 in a win over West Virginia at the Springfield Civic Center. UMass followed that up with 14 blocks vs. Boston University.
The Minutemen hold the top four shot blocking days in Atlantic 10 history led by the 1995 showing and this year's party against CCSU. UMass also had 16 against St. Francis (N.Y.) last year and St. Peter's in 2005.
The 18 blocked shots ties for the ninth most in a game in NCAA history, dating to 1985 when blocked shots became an official statistic.
Showing Major Improvement
Sophomore Ricky Harris has emerged as a major weapon on offense, scoring 19.7 points per game after just 4.5 last season as a freshman. He played in 32 games, all off the bench, but has started every game this season. Harris has 296 points this year after 145 all of last year. He passed his entire scoring total in the eighth game of the season against Marist with 18 points. He leads all Minutemen in scoring improvement at +15.2 points per game. Harris has scored in double-figures in every game this season with a career-high 25 on four occasions (at Syracuse, at Boston College, at Vanderbilt and Saint Joseph's). He scored more than 15 in each of the first four games, surpassing his freshman-season high of 14 each time.
Senior Etienne Brower has become the force UMass thought he would be after transferring from Boston University. Brower is averaging 11.1 points, starting every game after scoring just 2.7 points per game in 2006-07 when he was hindered by an ankle injury all season. Brower has 167 points in the first 15 games after just 59 all of last year in 22 games. He passed his entire total in the fifth game of the season with 75 after the Wis.-Green Bay (11/17) game which he scored a career-high 25 points. Brower has more than 12 points in six of eight games in 07-08 after his season high was just eight last year. His +8.4 improvement was aided by his career-high 25 points against Wis.-Green Bay (11/17) and a breakout game with 18 points against Houston (1/2).
Senior Danté Milligan has tallied 10 or more points in four games this season -- equalling his total from all of last year. He had his career-high of 17 in two of three games at Syracuse (11/28) and against Yale (11/14). Milligan's season-high last year was 10 points which he accomplished twice. Milligan has taken his averages from 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds to 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. An increase of 4.2 points and 2.0 rebounds.
Junior Luke Bonner is also seeing more time and making his signature 3-pointers. Bonner, who averaged just 1.6 points in 06-07 is up to 4.7 per game and has made 14-of-35 from 3-point land. Last year he made seven treys all season in 31 games.
Among The A-10 Leaders
Ricky Harris leads in steals per game with 2.2, which is 50th in the NCAA. Harris is also fourth in the A-10 in scoring with a 19.7 average. He's seventh in 3-pointers per game with 2.53.
Chris Lowe is now healthy and has returned to his usual form and place amongst the leaders when it comes to point guards. He is second in the league in assists with 5.4 per game. He is also seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio with 1.71 per game. Lowe has averaged 13.9 points and 6.0 assists over 10 games since returning from an ankle injury on Nov. 28. Over three games (Dec. 29-Jan. 5), Lowe averaged 18.0 points per game and shot 62 percent from the floor along with 4.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Lowe is also tied for third in steals to leader Harris with 2.0 per game.
Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass as he stands ninth with 341. Next on the list to Charlton Clarke with 350. With five assists against CCSU (12/22), he passed BC Coach Al Skinner (320) and then with five more against Houston (1/2), he passed Louisville coach Rick Pitino (329).
Danté Milligan is shooting 64.7 from the floor (44-of-68), but is shy of qualifying for the NCAA rankings (5.0 made field goals per game). If he were eligible, Milligan would rank eighth nationally and first in the A-10. Milligan has taken his field goal percentage from 49.4 to 64.7, an improvement of 15.3 percent. Milligan is seventh in the league in blocks per game with 1.6.
UMass Celebrates Ford's Birthday With BU Win
Forbes Earns National, A-10 Honors
In the win at BC, Forbes also pulled down seven rebounds. For the week, he shot 13-of-28 from the field and 18-for-19 from the line on the week. He was also named A-10 Player of the Week after the second week of the season on Nov. 18.
Forbes was honored by the A-10 for the first time after his outstanding play on Nov. 18 as he was named the Atlantic 10's co-player of the week along with Rhode Island's Will Daniels. Forbes averaged 24.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in three contests between Nov. 11-17. He scored a season-best 29 points, including the 1,000th of his career, on Nov. 11 at Northern Iowa. He added 19 points and nine boards in the Minutemen's 89-80 win over Yale on Nov. 14. Finally, he scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists on Nov. 17 as UMass downed Wisconsin-Green Bay, 93-78. That game was special to Forbes as he played before his father Roberto for the first time in his collegiate career. Roberto was visiting from his home in Jonesboro, Georgia.
UMass Wins Comm. Classic For First Time Since `99
UMass' athletic teams have had great success against Boston College athletic teams in the 2007 calendar year. The Minutemen and Minutewomen have posted a 10-2-1 record against BC in 10 different sports. Most notably, UMass' men's soccer team, which played in the NCAA College Cup on Dec. 7, knocked off No. 1-seeded Boston College on Nov. 28, by the score of 2-1. Additionally, UMass' softball team beat BC twice last spring, while the Minuteman hockey team has a 2-0-1 record against the Eagles, who won the 2007 Hockey East title. One of UMass' losses came in football, where the FBS Eagles were challenged by UMass' FCS team on Sept. 29, in a 24-14 BC win at Alumni Stadium. The Minutemen, who play with only 63 scholarships in the former Division I-AA, were within 17-14 in the fourth quarter.
The win also marked the first win vs. an ACC opponent since the Minutemen defeated Florida State, 78-68 on Feb. 15, 2005.
UMass also defeated alumnus Al Skinner for the first time since 1999, after Skinner had won eight in a row. Skinner is one of four former UMass players to have his number retired. Skinner had his No. 30 retired on Feb. 18, 2004. All-time against his alma mater, Skinner is 11-21
Juicy Bits From The 107-Point Outburst
The 107 points were the most UMass has scored in a regulation game since a 110-97 win over Duquesne on Jan. 6, 1977. It tied for the 11th-most points in a game for UMass as it also scored 107 in a win over Colgate in 1966.
The 207 combined points tied for the third-most points in a game in UMass annals. The record is 233, when UMass lost at Rutgers in triple overtime, 119-114 on Feb. 27, 1988.
The other game with more total points (214) marked the last time UMass played in a game where both teams scored 100 points in a regulation when North Texas beat the Minutemen, 110-104 on Dec. 29, 1982.
UMass continues to be the personal bug-a-boo for Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim. Of schools the legend has faced two or more times, UMass is the ONLY school which Boeheim has never beaten. The Minutemen are 3-0, winning in 1992, 1995 and 2007 against the Orange.
In the epic win, UMass rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to come away with the win. Ricky Harris led the Minutemen with a career-high 25 points while Gary Forbes added 23 points. Forbes also had seven assists and six rebounds in what Travis Ford called his best game at UMass.
Point guard Chris Lowe returned to action after sitting for 14 days of game-action and had 13 points and a career-high tying nine assists.
UMass shot 52 percent from the floor including 14-of-31 from 3-point range. Etienne Brower made 4-of-6 from trey-range.
Danté Milligan continued to show he can be a force with his second career-high 17-point game in the last three games. Milligan also equalled his Yale game, two weeks prior, with an 8-of-9 showing from the floor.
25 Is Twice As Nice
UMass Goes 2-1 At BTI Tip-Off
2006-07 A Season To Remember
The Minutemen captured a share of the league title on March 3 with a 71-67 win at Saint Joseph's. It marked UMass' first regular-season league title since 1996 and sixth A-10 regular-season crown overall. The Minutemen won five straight regular-season titles from 1992-96 and proceeded to win the A-10 Tournament each time.
The Minutemen went 24-9 overall and had the best season since the 1995-96 Final Four year when they went 35-2 in finishing as a national semifinalist. UMass finished with a 13-3 record in the Atlantic 10. UMass had its best conference record since going a school-record 15-1 in 1995-96. Prior to the loss to Saint Louis in the A-10s, the Minutemen had won six games in a row overall, their longest win streak since capturing 10 games in a row in Jan.-Feb. 1998.
UMass senior Stephane Lasme was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-07. Lasme is the first UMass player to be named the league's top player since Marcus Camby in 1996 and fourth overall joining Camby, Lou Roe (1995) and Harper Williams (1992). Lasme was named an AP Honorable Mention All-American following the season. He was UMass' first All-American honoree since Camby in 1996.
Lasme was joined by senior Rashaun Freeman on the A-10 First Team. Freeman is the first player since Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson (2001-04) to be a three-time first-team selection.
Lasme is the second player to be named the league's Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same campaign joining Pepe Sanchez of Temple in 1999 and David West of Xavier in 2002. Lasme joined Tony Dobbins of Richmond (2002-04) as the only players in league history to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in successive seasons. Lasme was also named to the All-Defensive Team for the second year in row.
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