Men's Basketball

LIVE BLOG: Men's Basketball Hosts Temple

Tony Gaffney and the Minutemen look to rebound from Wednesday's loss at Saint Louis.

Tony Gaffney and the Minutemen look to rebound from Wednesday's loss at Saint Louis.

Jan. 17, 2009

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    The next chapter in the storied UMass-Temple basketball rivalry will be written on Saturday night at the Mullins Center in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. Saturday will be a very special night at the Mullins Center as UMass will honor the decade of the 1970s as part of the 100 Seasons of Basketball celebration in 2008-09. It is also Youth Basketball Night, where local players and their families will be admitted for just $6.

    Tonight's live blog is brought to you by Jason Yellin from the Media Relations office.

    9:01 p.m.
    UMass is about to knock off the No. 36 team in the RPI, the Temple Owls, and end Temple's four-game win streak. The Minutemen will go to 2-1 in the A-10 and 7-9 overall. Temple falls to 9-7.

    FINAL: UMass 79, Temple 75.

    8:59 p.m.
    Harris makes two free throws and UMass goes up eight, 78-70 with 33.9 left.

    8:55 p.m.
    Harris made two free throws and we are under a minute, UMass up six, 76-70.

    Its Harris' 26th career 20-point game and eighth this season.

    The attendance which is great all night, is a season-best 7,148.

    Matty G has all the fans on their feet rocking this joint ... I can't hear you! What a homecourt advantage.



    8:52 p.m.
    Harris hits the trey, UMass up by two possessions, then Lowe grabs the rebound and UMass has the ball with 1:10 left, up 74-70.

    8:50 p.m.
    Lavoy Allen, who killed UMass last season, gives the Owls a lead 70-69 with a baby hook over Luke Bonner.

    Chris Lowe has 10 assists, his 12th career game with 10 or more assists, all coming in the last 29 games.

    Gaffney with a putback lay-in, is hit by Allen and goes to the line and misses it, UMass leads 71-70 with 2:30 left.

    8:45 p.m.
    3:47 left ... UMass leads 69-68 as this is the final media tiemout ... UMass does have 4 TOs left, Temple has 3 TOs.

    Gurley turns the ball over and Temple will have the ball when we come back.

    In honoring the 1970s, UMass alum Rick Pitino and his Louisville Cardinals beat the No. 1 Pitt Panthers, 69-63.

    8:41 p.m.
    Temple's Michael Eric, nice two first names, scores for the second time this half in just five minutes of action.

    Tony Gaffney on a fast break from Ricky Harris matches it, UMass down 66-65 with less than six to play.

    Gurley nails a trey and UMass is up 68-66 with 5:30 left. Gurley's fourth 3FG of the game.

    8:35 p.m.
    Anthony Gurley has a chance for a 4-point play for the second possession in a row, but misses the free throw.

    Christmas answers with a 3FG and its still a 2-point game, 63-61 with under 8:00 left.

    Gurley now has 11 points and UMass has four players in double-figures.

    Gaffney turns the ball over, just the fifth turnover for the Minutemen in the game.

    8:30 p.m.
    UMass has three players in double-figures with Ricky Harris leading the way with 17, Chris Lowe has 12 points and nine assists AND only one turnover. Tony Gaffney has 10 points.

    Christmas leads Temple with 20 points. Ryan Brooks has 15.

    Anthony Gurley connects on a 4-point play, UMass' second of the second. Other was by Matt Glass at Kansas.

    Inge counters with a 3FG ... UMass leads 60-58, 9:00 left.

    8:25 p.m.
    With 12:05 left in the second half, UMass up 53-50....

    UMass hockey leads UMass Lowell, 2-1, late in the second period.

    In the A-10, Richmond leads the Bonnies, 53-45 with 11 left in the second half.

    Dayton is up on Duquesne, 50-43 with 13 left in the second.

    Harris cans a trey UMass up 56-50, for the Minutemen was the largest lead of the game.

    8:22 p.m.
    Derek Kellogg is irrate after Fernandez could have been called for a carry, a push off ... something. But UMass is whistled for the rebound and coverts on the break as Harris lays it in, UMass leads 53-50 as Christmas cans a long jumper.

    8:20 p.m.
    Speaking of shooting, UMass is 52 percent (14-28) since starting 3-9 (33 percent).

    We are tied at 48-48 all, 13:00 left in the second.

    8:15 p.m.
    Since Temple was 7-9 from the floor to start the game, te Owls are just 10-32 (31 percent) since 5 minutes went by in the game.

    UMass leads 46-44, Tyrell Lynch with a hoop, 15 minutes left in the second half.

    Lynch looking for position next time down the court and Lavoy Allen is muscling him up.

    8:11 p.m.
    I think I called Fernandez, Rudy earlier in the blog, but its Juan of course... Rudy plays for the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA ... back to the Mullins Center, its nip-and-tuck.

    C-Lowe back in along with Tyrell Lynch for the first time this half.

    Ricky Harris ties the game at 44-44.

    In A-10 action, Richmond leads St. Bona, 35-34 at the half.

    In UMass hockey its tied at 1-1, 10:31 left in the second half.

    8:08 p.m.
    Harris with great defense on Christmas. UMass leads 41-39 as Lowe makes two free throws... Gibbs is the first sub of the half as he takes Lowe's spot.

    8:06 p.m.
    What a great halftime ceremony for the 1970s players ... Close to 20 on hand. Huge ovation for the late Johnny Murphy. Also a big one for Mike Pyatt.

    We are underway in the second half and Harris scores early to reach double-figures for the 15th time in 16 games this season. Gurley's buckey brings UMass to within 2 at 39-37, 18:40 left.

    7:54 p.m.
    Key stats:

    Leading scorers: Temple - Ryan Brooks (12) and Dionte Christmas (10), UMass - Ricky Harris (9) and Chris Lowe (8)

    Top rebounders: Temple - Ryan Brooks (6) and Craig Williams (5), UMass - Luke Bonner (5)

    FG Pct: Temple 40, UMass 38
    3FG Pct: Temple 33, UMass 36
    FTs: Temple 3-5, UMass 4-6
    Rebounds: Temple 24, UMass 19
    Turnovers: Temple 4, UMass 4

    7:48 p.m.
    We have hit the half, Temple leads, 37-33 at intermission.

    7:44 p.m.
    Ricky Harris called for a travel, just the fourth turnover for UMass, in fact Temple also only has three turnovers.... It has been an uptempo game, very well played on both sides of the ball.

    Lowe, who was an 85percent free throw shooting in the first 35 minutes of games, misses two free throws. UMass misses another gimmie, but Gaffney steals the ball and Harris cans a 3FG ... Fran Dunphy calls timeout, UMass down 34-33 with 39.0 seconds left in the half. That gives Harris nine points to top the Minutemen.

    7:40 p.m.
    Media TO, UMass trails 34-30 with 2:01 left in the first half ... quick note ... wondering about Semaj, an interesting name ... its JAMES reversed SEMAJ. Named after his dad.

    Offensive rebounds a huge part of tonight's game ... the Owls have 8, five in the last two minutes. Christmas up to 10 points to lead all scorers.

    7:37 p.m.
    UMass takes its first lead since 5-4 at 30-29 with 3:52 left in the first half ... the fans are on their feet.

    Temple trying to retake the lead and they do on their fourth offensive rebound of the sequence... 32-30 on a 3FG by Semaj Inge.

    7:34 p.m.
    The largest deficit UMass has rallied from in a win this season is eight (29-21) in the win over Holy Cross on Dec. 10... Tonight's largest margin was 11 at 24-13 with 12:38 left in the first half. So we will see if UMass can make their biggest comeback since the epic 22-point second-half comeback at Syracuse in the NIT Quarterfinals last year.

    7:30 p.m.
    Very, very physical action under the baskets... Luke Bonner and Sergio Olmos battling tooth and nail.... UMass on a 12-3 run as Anthony Gurley scores for the first time on a 3-pointer.

    Gary Correia enters for the first time tonight.

    Great defense by David Gibbs, who forces fellow freshman Rudy Fernandez to turn the ball over.... Media TO, 7:54 left in the first half, UMass down 27-25.

    7:28 p.m.
    UMass to within six points on a tip-in by Luke Bonner on a long miss by Harris, 26-20.

    Also in the house as part of the UMass ESPN crew is recent UMass alum Jenny Dell, who worked in the Minuteman's advancement office with Tim Kenney and Garrett Waller for a few years.

    7:25 p.m.
    UMass hockey is at UMass Lowell and 0-0 mdiway in the first period. The women's basketball team lost by 23 at St. Bonaventure this afternoon. The team just entered the building as they took a charter flight back from Olean.

    UMass down 26-18, 10:00 left.

    7:22 p.m.
    Funny sign in the student section ... Channukah is better than Christmas ... nice shot at Temple's top player, has to make you laugh.

    Temple has subbed for the first time with a pair of players from the international scene Juan Fernandez from Argentina and Sergio Olmos from Spain.

    Fernandez is in just his fourth game with the Owls and they are undefeated since he has joined them.

    UMass trails 24-18 with 11:00 left.

    7:20 p.m.
    The Owls are doubling UMass at 22-11. The difference is a 10-0 run by Temple early on.

    Tyrell Lynch with a bucket but Temple is on the prowl. Many of the Owls are sporting mohawks including Lavoy Allen, Craig Williams.

    7:17 p.m.
    Matt Glass into the game for UMass ... Tony Gaffney will guard Christmas as part of the new UMass line-up. Gibbs is at point guard in place of Lowe, who is getting a blow.

    Temple can't miss as Lavoy Allen dunks home two points and Owls are up 20-11. 13:20 left.

    7:14 p.m.
    Temple is red hot making 7-10 from the floor and 4-6 from 3-pointers, amazing numbers early on as they lead 18-8 at the first media TO, 14:33 left in the first half.

    UMass is 3-9 from the floor and 2-4 from 3s.

    7:11 p.m.
    UMass crowd trying to get into it, Dionte Christmas nails consecutive treys and Temple leads 15-5 forcing Kellogg to call TO.

    UMass will sub David Gibbs and Tyrell Lynch, the first two off the bench, both freshmen.

    7:08 p.m.
    Great defense by Chris Lowe as he forces Christmas into a 5-second violation... the fourth UMass has drawn this season and first by Lowe ... That's what Coach Derek Kellogg wants to see GREAT DEFENSE.

    Temple leads 7-5 after matching 3s by Luke Bonner and Craig Williams ... 17:20 left.

    7:05 p.m.
    Opening tip goes to Temple as Lavoy Allen outjumps Tony Gaffney ... You can here the student section yelling defense.

    Dionte Christmas with a jumper to start ... He was 5-5 from 3FGs the other night vs. Penn. A probably NBA draft pick. The Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics are in the house tonight to watch him along with Chris Lowe and Tony Gaffney, who just dunked on an alley oop.

    Third game in a row UMass starts with an alley oop to Tony to open the scoring.

    7:03 p.m.
    Matty G is belting out the UMass starting line-ups. The crowd is on its feet ... the East West Shrine has ended and no one will miss the start of the UMass-Temple game on ESPN2 ... East beat West 24-19 in case you were wondering.

    There are lines out the doors with fans wanting in to the Mullins Center, maybe they also want out the cold ... my oh my, its about 0 degrees outside!

    7:00 p.m.
    Prior to tonight's game there is a special ceremony honoring the opening of the UMass Hall of History. Check the picture on the front page of George DiTomasi and his daughter Alexis presented the gameball to the refs.

    Temple is being introduced to some boos.

    6:57 p.m.
    The teams have hit the floor and the energy is electric. This is by far the biggest crowd the season season and they just keep filing in.

    The game on ESPN2 will be slightly delayed by the East West Shrine Game which has 1:51 left in regulation.

    6:54 p.m.
    Softball star shortstop Whitney Williams just finished a stirring rendition of the National Anthem.

    6:50 p.m.
    Here are tonight's starting line-ups

    For Temple
    At forward, #24 Lavoy Allen, who leads Temple in rebounding (7.1 per game)
    At forward, #30 Craig Williams, who comes off a career-high 17 vs. Penn
    At guard, #2 Ryan Brooks who is Temple's second-leading scorer 10.6 PPG
    At guard, #15 Semaj Inge, who leads the Owls in assists with 3.9 per game
    At guard, #22 Dionte Christmas, the A-10's top scorer 21.3 per game.

    For UMass
    At forward, #24 Tony Gaffney, the NCAA's No. 2 in blocked shots at 4.9
    At center, #31 Luke Bonner, leads UMass in charges drawn with 12
    At guard, #5 Ricky Harris, second to Christmas in scoring 19.3 per game
    At guard, #12 Anthony Gurley, expected to play defense on Christmas
    At guard, #14 Chris Lowe, the A-10 No. 2 in assists (5.9).

    6:40 p.m. As part of the 1970s celebration, the late Johnny Murphy will be recognized. More than 40 members of Murphy's family and friends will be on hand from eastern Massachusetts. Murphy was named the Yankee Conference Player of the Year in his senior season os 1974-75 and went on to be drafted by the Chicago Bulls.

    Murphy was part of the first class of UMass players to play in three consecutive postseasons. Also from that senior class of 1975 here tonight are Jim Burke and Bill Endicott.

    Also notable, Tom Witkos, who still lives in Hadley will be on hand. Witkos is a neighbor of UMass Associate AD for Operations Dan Markowski.

    6:30 p.m.

    Tonight's group of 1970s players including Mike Pyatt, who has made his way to Amherst from Reno, Nevada, where he lives now. Pyatt is UMass' ninth all-time leading scorer. He left UMass as the record holder in points with his 1,503, but has been passed eight times.

    Speaking of the all-time list, tonight Ricky Harris has a chance to move to 29th in career scoring with a 30-point game. Next on the list is Mike Williams at No. 29 with 1,122. Harris has 1,092.

    Also, of note, Chris Lowe needs 45 points for 1,000 in his career. He would be the 41st players to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

    Bus driver and clean shaving Guy Racine has shown up to support the Minutemen. He has become a cult hero of the team, giving all the players high fives.

    6:20 p.m. The crowd is filing in here at the Mullins Center. A large crowd is expected of close to 7,000 fans, which would be a season-high for UMass at home. The end zones are already mostly full with 40 minutes of the clock til tip-off.

    A special for Youth Basketball teams has helped boost the crowd.

    ESPN's Bob Wenzel was just on ESPNEWS with an update live from the Mullins Center talking about tonight's game.

    Speaking of Wenzel, in talking to him before the game he was looking at a picture of Julius Erving as part of 1970s night. Wenzel recalled a game when he played for the Carolina Cougars in the ABA and Erving was with the Virginia Squires. Wenzel went to take a charge and Erving literally jumped over him with his legs splitting Wenzel's head.... Amazing!

    Wenzel went on to coach at Rutgers and Jacksonville after his playing career.

    5:30 p.m.
    Welcome to the UMass Basketball Blog! The Minutemen are set to host the Temple Owls in a nationally televised ESPN2 game. Jason Yellin will bring you all the action, so if you can't make it, be sure to turn on ESPN2, tune into Josh Maurer and Tim Collins, while checking out the blog for all the tidbits you need to know and more!

    The UMass Athletic Department just had a special ceremony at 5 p.m. as the Hall of History was dedicated to George and Michele Ditomassi, who have given generous donations to the athletic program.

    The hall displays murals from men's basketball, women's basketball, and hockey, right outside the locker rooms in the connector between the Mullins Center and the practice rink. For MBB, it includes a display "Minutemen in the Pros" featuring Marcus Camby, Julius Erving, Lou Roe, Al Skinner, and Stephane Lasme. Then there are displays from the Classic Era (1899-1959) all the way through the 2000's.

    As Athletic Director John McCutcheon said he "wants to recognize George and Michele for a great contribution to the Athletic Department."

    Men's Basketball Head Coach Derek Kellogg raved about how it will help in recruiting. "Projects like these catapult us from where we are today to where I envision it in the future," he said.

    George said, "Giving back to UMass was easy because of what it means to us. UMass is probably one of the best kept secrets in the country."


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