UMass Off To Charlotte For Midweek A-10 Clash
UMASS (7-9, 2-1) at CHARLOTTE (5-11, 0-3)
UMass Off To Charlotte For Midweek A-10 Clash
UMass comes off a thrilling 79-75 over Temple at the Mullins Center on Saturday night before a season-best 7,182 home crowd and national television audience on ESPN2. Ricky Harris tallied 24 points in a dual of the Atlantic 10's top scorers while Temple's Dionte Christmas hit for 26. UMass senior point guard Chris Lowe was tremendous with 13 points, 11 assists and six rebounds while turning the ball over just two times. Anthony Gurley scored 13 of his 16 points in the decisive second half including a four-point play. Tony Gaffney also chipped in with 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks. UMass shot 63 percent from the floor including 6-of-9 from 3-point land.
Live streaming video of Wednesday's game will be available through UMass All-Access on UMassAthletics.com. The 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 Tim Kenney.
UMass is on the road for the eighth time this season, playing in the eighth different state (Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Texas and North Carolina) along with home games in Massachusetts. This trip bring UMass' travel mileage to 11,111 this season according to basketballstate.com.
UMass Playing 36th-Toughest Schedule
The A-10 has four teams playing schedules in the top 50 in difficulty: Xavier plays the seventh-toughest, Temple faces the 24th-toughest, UMass is playing the 36th-toughest and Saint Joseph's will battle the 50th schedule.
The Series With Charlotte
Last season, they split two meetings with the 49ers dusting UMass in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, 69-65 in Atlantic City on March 13, 2008. UMass on the regular-season meeting at the Mullins Center, 86-79 on Jan. 19, 2008.
LAST SEASON'S A-10 TOURNAMENT: After blowing an 18-point lead early in the second half, No. 3 seed UMass rallied back but Leemire Goldwire's 3-point show in the final minutes gave No. 6 seed Charlotte a 69-65 win, stunning the Minutemen. Gary Forbes and Etienne Brower led the Minutemen in scoring tallying 14 points each. Leemire Goldwire led the 49ers with 24 points and Lamont Mack followed close behind with 23 (5-8 from the 3-point line, all in the second half). Charlie Coley led Charlotte with 17 rebounds as the Niners out-rebounded the Minutemen 52-to-29 (25-to-11 in the second half). For UMass, it was the seventh straight loss in Atlantic 10 Tournament play, dating to 2002. Goldwire sealed the win with a 30-foot 3-pointer with 17 seconds left in the game for the final of 69-65. Chris Lowe missed a free throw with 48.7 seconds left which would have tied the game.
LAST SEASON'S REGULAR-SEASON GAME: Behind a 24-point effort by Ricky Harris, UMass (13-4, 2-1 A-10) defeated Charlotte (11-6, 2-1 A-10), 86-79, at the Mullins Center. With the win, UMass knocked off the final unbeaten team in the Atlantic 10 and moves into a tie with several teams atop the balanced conference standings. Etienne Brower logged his third career double-double and first at UMass with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Gary Forbes and Dante Milligan each added 15 points, while the Minutemen made a season-high 29 free throws. The game featured a total of 13 lead changes and nine ties.
In the last game in Charlotte, UMass captured a 66-61 workman like win at Charlotte in the Minutemen's first game at the 49ers on Jan. 28, 2007. In the initial meeting as A-10 foes, Charlotte nipped UMass, 72-71 on Feb. 22, 2006 at the Mullins Center.
Prior to being conference foes, the teams split games played on neutral courts, both 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. The late John Murphy led UMass with 30 points. Murphy's family was honored as part of the 1970s celebration at UMass last Saturday.
UMass head coach Derek Kellogg will coach against Charlotte as the head man for the first time on Wednesday. But he faced the 49ers many times as an assistant at Memphis when the teams were Conference USA foes. In fact, Memphis was just 2-3 including 0-3 at Halton Arena while Kellogg assisted John Calipari in those games vs the 49ers from 2001-05.
Charlotte's Bobby Lutz will be coaching against UMass for the fifth time as well, standing at 2-2. Lutz was the coach of the 49ers in all five of those games which Kellogg was on the sidelines for Memphis.
North Carolina Notes
UMass last played in the Tar Heel state at Charlotte in 2007. Prior to that, the last game was at Davidson on Nov. 22, 2006. The Wildcats beat the Minutemen, 66-63. Before 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).
Gaffney Among The NCAA Leaders
Gaffney is tied for 37th in steals per game with 2.2 per game.
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 16 games and at least 11 in nine of the 16 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.
Gaffney's 77 blocked shots already rank as the sixth-best single-season in UMass history. At No. 5 is Marcus Camby with 103 in his sophomore season of 1994-95. Gaffney's 136 career blocks is seventh in a career at UMass. Kitwana Rhymer (184) is sixth all-time.
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 31 or more minutes in the first nine games, all more than any game he previously played at UMass, and that many in 15 of 16 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 6.3, he would break the record in eight games from now (Feb. 18 vs. Rhode Island.)
Lowe is tied 13th in the NCAA with 6.3 assists per game, which also leads the Atlantic 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 six 10-assist games this season and 12 in his career, all in the last two seasons (all in the last 29 games). He racked up 11 assists against Temple (1/17) for his last double-figure game. Lowe had 10 or more assists in four of five games in December with 10 each vs. Hofstra (12/20) and IUPUI (12/27). Lowe had 12 vs. Holy Cross (12/10) and 11 against Boston College (12/6).
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 1,000-Point List
Next on the list for Harris to pass are No. 29 Mike Williams (1,122) and No. 28 Gary Forbes (1,128).
Chris Lowe is also just 32 points from 1,000 in his career. He would be the 41st UMass player to reach the milestone.
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 19.7 scoring average and led the team in scoring in 10 of the first 16 games with 20 or more in eight games. Harris is 31st 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 172 and fifth in career attempts with 463. 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).
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.
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.
The 1970s Celebration at the Temple game honored: Jim Burke, Bob Dempsey, David Dibble, Mark Donoghue, Billy Endicott, Fan Gaudette (assistant coach) Michael Littman (manager), Tom McLaughlin, John Moynihan, Charles Olsen, Bob Powers (manager) Sam Provo, Mike Pyatt, Peter Trow, Rick Vogeley and Ray Witkos. The family of the late John Murphy was also recognized.
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.
UMass Back To National Prominence
The team would not disappoint as it used a magical postseason run to reach the NIT Finals, highlighted by topping the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome in the quarterfinals while beating defending National Champion Florida at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals. UMass eventually succumbed to Ohio State in a hard-fought finals game, 92-85.
The Minutemen had two six-game winning streaks (Dec. 18 through Jan. 2 and Feb. 17 through Mar. 8) along with the four-game streak in the NIT (Mar. 18 to April 1).
The Minutemen picked up their 20th win of the season on March 5 with the 100-63 win over La Salle. It marked the 14th time in history that UMass reached the mark and second year in a row after going 24-9 in 2006-07. The last time UMass won 20 in back to back seasons was 1994-95 (29-5) and 1995-96 (35-2).
With 25 wins, UMass reached the fifth-most wins in school history passing the 2006-07 team (24-9) and the 1992-93 squad (24-9). Fourth on the list is 28 wins set in 1993-94.
In 2006-07, UMass picked up its 20th win of the season on Feb. 21, 2007 beating St. Bonaventure, 83-44. The win gave the Minutemen their first 20-win season since 1997-98 when UMass went 21-11. Prior to that season, UMass last won 20 or more when they set the school record for wins with a 35-2 record during the Final Four season of 1995-96.
In the first round, UMass posted a solid 80-60 win over Southland Conference champion Stephen F. Austin on March 18 at the Mullins Center. Dante Milligan had a career game in UMass' NIT First Round win over SFA, as he had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots. A-10 Player of the Year Gary Forbes added 19 points and the league's Most Improved Player Ricky Harris had 16 points.
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