UMass Hosts Charlotte, The A-10's Last Undefeated Team, Saturday At 4 p.m.
Jan. 18, 2008
UMASS (12-4, 1-1) vs. CHARLOTTE (11-5, 2-0)
UMass Hosts Charlotte, The A-10's Last Undefeated Team
Charlotte comes to the Mullins Center as the last undefeated team in conference play at 2-0. That is an amazing fact and a testament to the parity of the league, as no team has played more than three games.
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 Collins.
The Minutemen come off their first win against ranked team in three years as UMass ended No. 14/18 Dayton's 13-game win streak at UD Arena on Wednesday night. The last time UMass beat a ranked team was on Jan. 15, 2005 at George Washington (76-74). It was also Travis Ford's first win against a ranked team. In the huge win five players scored in double-figures for the second time this season. Ricky Harris scored 22 points and added five rebounds as he tied his career-high with five made 3-pointers. Chris Lowe tallied 19 and handed out six assists while not turning the ball over. Leading scorer Gary Forbes had 16 points and seven rebounds.
UMass had 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, in its conference opener.
The Minutemen have averaged 89.3 points in their last four games to raise their scoring average to 85.4, fifth in the NCAA. UMass has scored more than 80 points in 11 of 16 games this season.
With a new high-energy system installed by Travis Ford this year, the Minutemen are led by Gary Forbes (20.6 points per game) and Ricky Harris (19.9) as UMass is one of three schools in the nation with a pair of NCAA Top 40 scorers as Forbes is 28th and Harris is 37th . The other schools on the list are Vanderbilt and North Dakota State.
The Minutemen stand 21st in the RPI and are one of six Atlantic 10 teams in the top 40 with Dayton (11th) leading the way. Xavier is 16th and Rhode Island stands 18th. Saint Joe's is 47th and Duquesne is 42nd. Charlotte is No. 97. Overall, the Atlantic 10 is seventh in the nation in league RPI.
The Series With Charlotte
Prior to that, the teams split two games played on neutral courts, both played in New England.
UMass won the meeting on Jan. 15, 1998 as part of the Atlantic 10/Conference USA Challenge held at the Providence Civic Center, winning 68-62 in overtime. In that game, Lari Ketner and Charlton Clarke scored 15 points each, Tyrone Weeks had 15 rebounds and 9 points. Monty Mack had 12 points. UMass won despite shooting 38 percent from the floor. UMass had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Mack's tough angle shot missed. In the extra session, the Minutemen were efficient. Mack finished a fast break on a pass from Charlton Clarke to give UMass a 54-52 lead that it would never relinquish. Future NBA first-rounder DeMarco Johnson was held to 10 points for the Charlotte. Kelvin Price led the 49ers with 16 points.
The first meeting came in 1974 at the Hall of Fame Tournament at the Springfield Civic Center with the 49ers beating UMass, 85-57. John Murphy led UMass with 30 points.
UMass head coach Travis Ford will be facing the 49ers for the third time in his coaching career, spliting the games each of the last two years. Charlotte's Bobby Lutz will be coaching against UMass for the third time as well, also standing at 1-1.
The Last Two Meetings
TWO YEARS AGO (Feb. 22, 2006): Leemire Goldwire, De'Angelo Alexander and Curtis Withers combined for 66 of Charlotte's points as the 49ers nipped UMass 72-71. Stephane Lasme led the Minutemen with 18 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting. Rashaun Freeman and Lawrence Carrier also reached double-figures for UMass who fell for just the second time in 14 games at the Mullins Center. The 49ers (17-9, 10-3 A-10) hit 12-of-18 from three-point range led by Alexander who was 6-for-9 and Goldwire who was 5-for-8 from behind the arc.
North Carolina Notes
Prior to last season's game at Charlotte, UMass last played in the Tar Heel state at Davidson on Nov. 22, 2006, which was Travis Ford's first road game as coach at UMass. The Wildcats beat the Minutemen, 66-63. Prior to that, UMass played in North Carolina at NC State on Dec. 1, 2001 a 69-62 UMass win.
UMass played in Charlotte in the Tournament of Champions at the Charlotte Coliseum in 2000 where UMass lost to North Carolina (91-60) and Richmond (63-59).
UMass Continues Home Dominance
Ford-Tough At Home
UMass Against Ranked Teams
This season the Minutemen also lost at then-No. 15 Vanderbilt on Jan. 5, 97-88, in Nashville.
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.
UMass head coach Travis Ford won his first-ever game as a head coach against a ranked team with the win at Dayton. He is 1-5 at UMass after going 0-9 while coaching at Eastern Kentucky from 2000-05.
All-time, UMass is 30-66 against ranked teams.
Rising In The RPI
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 occurrence 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.
Beating the ACC & Big East
Scoring, More and More
With the new offense, UMass is scoring at a high-pace. The Minutemen are averaging 85.4 points per game, up from 75.8 points (+9.6) through 16 games last season and 77.3 points (+8.1) for the entire season.
UMass is fifth in the NCAA in scoring through Jan. 18 with 85.4 per game. The Minutemen are also second in the Atlantic 10 scoring behind No. 3 Duquesne (86.6). VMI leads the nation with a 97.7. average.
UMass is one of three teams in the nation with two players in the Top 40 NCAA scoring leaders as of Jan. 18 with Gary Forbes standing 28th with a 20.6 average. Ricky Harris is tied for 37th with 19.7 per game. The other teams on the exclusive list are Vanderbilt and North Dakota State.
UMass is 30th in total 3-pointers made with 150. With 9.4 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 tied for fifth in 2007-08 with 7.3 per game. UConn (9.3), Mississippi State (9.0) and UNC Asheville (8.1) lead the way. Duquesne leads the A-10 with 8.1 per contest to rank fourth in the nation.
The Minutemen picked up 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 19.9 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 318 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 +15.4 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 the first 15 games after scoring just 2.7 points per game in 2006-07 when he was hindered by an ankle injury all season. Brower has 178 points in the first 16 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 five games this season -- more than his total from all of last year (in 16 games versus 32 games 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 7.8 points and 4.4 rebounds. An increase of 4.5 points and 1.9 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 4.5 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 is second in steals per game with 2.13, which is 50th in the NCAA. Harris is also fifth in the A-10 in scoring with a 19.9 average. He's sixth in 3-pointers per game with 2.69.
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 1.86 per game. Lowe has averaged 14.4 points and 6.0 assists over 12 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 fifth in steals with 1.9 per game.
Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass as he stands ninth with 347. 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 65.8 from the floor (50-of-76), but is shy of qualifying for the NCAA rankings (5.0 made field goals per game). If he were eligible, Milligan would rank seventh nationally and first in the A-10. Milligan has taken his field goal percentage from 49.4 to 65.8, an improvement of 16.4 percent. Milligan is tied with teammate Tony Gaffney in the league in blocks per game with 1.5.
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 Celebrates Ford's Birthday With BU Win
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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