UMass Heads To Richmond In Nationally Televised A-10 Game
• Looking to snap a two-game road losing streak in league play, the UMass men’s basketball team heads to Richmond on Saturday. The 13th installment of the series will be televised live nationally on the CBS Sports Network. Both teams are coming off Atlantic 10 road losses with UMass falling at Duquesne and Richmond losing at George Washington on Wednesday night.
• The Minutemen are looking to end a three-game losing streak to the Spiders including an 84-68 win for Richmond last season. Saturday’s meeting pits a pair of balanced scoring teams as Richmond has four players averaging double-figures in the scoring column and UMass has a starting five unit averaging double-figures over the last seven games.
• The game can be heard on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM KIX in Western Mass. and 830 AM WCRN in Central Mass., 95.9 AM WATD on Boston’s South Shore, and 1510 AM WWZN in Boston. “Voice of the Minutemen” Josh Maurer and Tim Kenney will call the action. Live audio and Gameracker will be available on UMassAthletics.com.
SERIES WITH RICHMOND
• This will be the 13th meeting between the two programs in a series which began during the 2000-01 campaign. Richmond holds an 8-4 advantage in the 12 previous meetings. The Spiders have won the last three games, including last year in Amherst (84-68) and both in 2009-10 taking a 70-63 regular-season game on Jan. 13 and a 77-72 tilt in the Atlantic 10 Tournament in Atlantic City on March 12. That season was the first time the teams played twice in a year.
More On The Richmond Series
• At UMass, the Minutemen have won three of the five games, winning the last two in 2009 and 2007. In games played at the Robins Center, UMass is 1-4, winning for the first time in 2008.
• Over the last five years, UMass has outrebounded the Spiders by 66 rebounds and average of plus 10.8 per game. That includes a plus-26 margin in 2007 (39-13).
• In the last meeting at the Mullins Center, UMass capturd a 80-71 victory on Feb. 4, 2009. Ricky Harris led the way with 24 points, 21 in the second half as UMass outscored the Spiders 49-38 in the second half. Chris Lowe scored his 1,000th career point as he posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. Richmond’s David Gonzalvez also scored his 1,000th point in the game as he and Kevin Anderson each tallied a team-best 18 points for Richmond.
• The first meeting was in Charlotte at the Tournament of Champions in 2000, a 63-59 Richmond win.
Up Next: Saint Louis
• This will be just the 11th meeting between the two teams and ninth since the Billikens joined the Atlantic 10 in 2005-06. Saint Louis leads the all-time series, 7-3, after having won the last three games: 69-53 at SLU (2/2/11), 69-54 at UMass on Feb. 21, 2010 and three year’s ago, 69-64 in Missouri.
• The teams have played 10 games at six different facilities: Scottrade/Kiel Center (1995, 2008), Georgia Dome (1998), St. Charles Family Arena (2006), Mullins Center (2007, 2008, 2010), Boardwalk Hall (2007), Chaifetz Center (2009, 2011).
• UMass has won just one game in St. Louis, posting a 1-4 mark with losses at Chaifetz in 2009, Scottrade in 2008 and in St. Charles in 2006. UMass is 2-1 in games at the Mullins Center vs. Saint Louis, winning in 2007 and 2008.
• The teams split the two meetings in in 2007 and 2008 with UMass winning twice at the Mullins Center including the last match-up at home, 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). Ricky Harris also had 14 points.
• 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’ first 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 fourth time as the headman.
• Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus is 5-1 against UMass. He faced the Minutemen once, while he was at Utah. The Utes downed UMass, 69-53 in the 2002 Maui Invitational.
GOOD AS ADVERTISED
• Redshirt sophomore point guard Chaz Williams has been given the reponsibility of quarterbacking the Minutemen’s new up-tempo offense and the tranfer from Hofstra lived up to the billing, averaging 15.8 points and 5.8 assists in 19 games. He is shooting 39.7 percent from 3-point range and has an assist-turnover ratio of nearly 2-1. Defensively, he ranks 22nd nationally in steals with 2.3 per game and 23rd nationally with 5.8 assists per game.
• In the loss at La Salle, Williams surpassed his previous career high with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting while adding five assists.
• Williams scored a then-career-high 22 points in the 83-75 loss at Miami (12/3). He also dished out four assists, while raking in four rebounds. He tied that mark with another 22 points (20 in the second half) in the win over Siena (12/9).
• Williams recorded the first double-double of his career in Nov. 14’s win over Northeastern, tying career-highs with 20 points and 10 assists.
• Williams, in his first game in a UMass uniform in the win over Elon, led all scorers with 18 points to go with a game-high eight assists, six rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes.
BEST HOME START SINCE 1992-93 SEASON
• With a 10-0 home record to start the season (9-0 at Mullins, 1-0 at The Cage), UMass is off to its best home start since 1992-93 when the Minutemen started 11-0 at home. In 1993-94 UMass was 14-0 at home.
UMASS ONE OF A-10’S TOP SCORING TEAMS
• At an average clip of 77.3 points per game, UMass is the top ranked scoring team in the Atlantic 10. The Minutemen are one of nine teams in the league to average over 70 points per game.
• UMass is also the third-ranked team in the league in terms of scoring margin at +8.5 over opponents. Saint Louis and La Salle are the only two teams to have margins higher than 10 points.
BRINGING THE PRESSURE
• To go with the new up-tempo offense, Derek Kellogg has the Minutemen pressing and trapping more on defense in 2011-12. The new attacking defensive style has worked extremely well thus far as the Minutemen have forced an average of 18.0 turnovers per game and scored 21.0 points per game off those take-aways.
• At East Carolina (12/6), UMass had nearly one point per ECU turnover, scoring 15 off 16 Pirates’ miscues.
• In the 83-75 loss at Miami (12/3), the Minutemen forced 11 turnovers, while scoring as many points off them.
• The Minutemen forced 19 turnovers and turned it into 31 points in their lone win at the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 25.
• In its 36-point win at Boston College on Nov. 21, UMass turned 23 Eagles turnovers into 28 points and outscored them 28-6 over the final 10:30 of the game.
• In the win vs. Northeastern (11/14), UMass forced 21 turnovers and scored 26 points off turnovers. Sampson Carter led the defense with three steals.
• The Minutemen held the Huskies to just 38 percent shooting in the game, including a 9.1 percent mark from behind the arc.
• In the opener vs. Elon, UMass forced 25 Phoenix turnovers and scoring 34 points off those turnovers, including 12 fast-break points. Jesse Morgan led the defensive charge with a career-high five steals in 17 minutes. UMass finished with 14 steals total.
• Through 19 games, UMass has shot .427 from the floor after posting a .401 shooting percentage a season ago. Much of the improvement can be attributed to the new up-tempo, fastbreaking offense that Derek Kellogg has implemented this season. Taking advantage of the long athletic players on his roster, Kellogg’s offense has resulted in higher percentage shots in transition.
• Senior bigman Sean Carter has been on fire over the last four games shooting 23-of-29 from the floor to average 13.3 points per game. He scored a career-high 18 points at La Salle going 8-for-11 from the floor before going 6-of-6 from the floor for 15 points in the win over Charlotte.
• Also over the last five games, UMass’ starting line-up of Chaz Williams (18.6 pts), Raphiael Putney (10.4), Terrell Vinson (11.2), Jesse Morgan (12.6), and Sean Carter (11.4) have averaged double-figures.
• Free throw shooting has also improved over the last five games with UMass hitting 71.2 percent compared to 66.0 percent overall for the season.
CLEARING THE BOARDS
• UMass has been solid on the boards this season averaging just over 41 rebounds per game - that places the Minutemen first in the Atlantic 10 with 41.3 and 7th nationally.
OUTSIDE SHOOTING+PROTECT THE BALL=WIN
• It’s a simple formula, but when UMass is able to shoot the ball from outside and keep turnovers to a minimum, chances are the Minutemen win. In 14 games won this year, UMass is 133-of-350 from three-point land and average 14.4 turnovers per game. In 5 games lost, UMass is just 23-of-110 from deep and average 19.8 turnovers.
• Sharing the ball is also a key. The Minutemen average nearly 18 assists in wins this year, while that number drops to 10.4 in the five losses. Individually, Chaz Williams picks up nearly 6.6 assists in wins, but just 3.8 in each of the four losses.
BALANCED SCORING AMONG UMASS ROTATION
• While Chaz Williams may be the only Minuteman averaging double-figures in the scoring column this season, however, UMass is a well-balanced scoring team. In 10 games this season, UMass has had four or more players reach double-figure point totals.
• Against Utah, Davidson, Central Connecticut, and Fordham, five Minutemen reached double-figures in the scoring column. Against Siena, Williams and Freddie each scored over 20 points in the comeback win.
• Terrell Vinson and Raphiael Putney are close to a double-figure scoring average at 9.1 and 9.8 points per game, respectively. Jesse Morgan (8.4 pts) and Freddie Riley (8.1 pts) are each close as well.
KEY IMPROVEMENTS OVER LAST SEASON
• Through 19 games, a trio of players have made significant strides over their 2010-11 averages.
• Jesse Morgan played in just 12 games last season averaging 4.4 points in almost 11 minutes per game. This year, the combo point guard/two guard is averaging 8.4 points in 23.0 minutes.
• Raphiael Putney has increased his scoring from 4.4 points to 9.8 points and is averaging over two more rebounds per game (3.0-to-5.2)
• After having a strong freshman campaign in 2009-10, Terrell Vinson saw his scoring dip from 9.6 poings per game to 6.5 last season. This year he is back to form averaging 9.1 points in just under 25 minutes per game.
DEPTH OFF THE BENCH KEY
• UMass has received quite a lift from its bench early in the season. A season-high 51 points were scored in the win over Towson thanks to the reserves. All told, the UMass bench has outscored every opponent this year except two (College of Charleston & La Salle).
• 36.2% (528-of-1460 points) of UMass’ scoring has come from the bench.