On The Road Again ... UMass Travels To #25 Baylor
UMASS (7-11) at #25 BAYLOR (14-3)
On The Road Again ... UMass Travels To #25 Baylor
Saturday's game pits the last two runners-up in the NIT. UMass lost the NIT Championship game in 2008, falling to Ohio State, 92-85 at Madison Square Garden. Last season, the Bears lost to Penn State, 69-63, in the final.
Saturday's game is UMass' 100th all-time against a ranked team (based on the AP Poll). All-time UMass is 30-69 vs. ranked teams with four wins since 2004. This season, UMass has lost to then-No. 2 Michigan State on Nov. 28 and then-No. 19 Temple on Jan. 16.
UMass will be seeking its first win against a ranked team since knocking off then-No. 25 Kansas, 61-60 in Kansas City last season on Dec. 13, 2008. That game was technically a KU home game, but is not counted in the streak of 53 "home" wins in a row at Allen Fieldhouse.
The UMass Sports Network with Josh Maurer and Tim Kenney will cover the game on WRNX 100.9 FM in Western Mass as well as WCRN 830 AM in Central Mass. The pregame begin 30 minutes prior to tip-off.
UMass Against The Big 12
UMass' win over Kansas was the program's last game against a Big 12 team.
UMass has played games against eight of the current teams in the Big 12. The Minutemen are a combined 9-9 against the league with Kansas being the most common foe. UMass has played: Colorado (2-1), Iowa State (1-0), Kansas (2-3), Missouri (1-0), Oklahoma (2-1), Oklahoma State (0-1), Texas (1-2), and Texas Tech (0-1). UMass has never played Baylor, Kansas State, Nebraska or Texas A&M 0-0.
Connections With Baylor
Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw previously served the same post at UMass in 2002-03. He left Amherst for Waco in 2003. He was instrumental in setting up the game.
Baylor Director of Basketball Operations Tim Maloney served as the Associate Head Coach of the UMass basketball program from 2005-08 under then-head coach Travis Ford. Maloney was on the staff at UMass while the Minutemen made two NITs including the 2008 Championship game.
The head of Baylor's media relations office Nick Joos served the same position at UMass for three years prior to arriving at Baylor in 2003.
UMass and Texas
UMass played in Texas last season, falling at Houston on Dec. 30, 2008 by the score of 80-54.
Prior to the trip to Houston, UMass last played in Texas at Texas Tech in 2003.
UMass Pounds The Boards
Between Dec. 11 and Jan. 6, UMass outrebounded its opponents 48.3 to 31.3 (193-125).
UMass has been one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the Atlantic 10 all season. The Minutemen currently lead the A-10 in offensive boards (14.8).
UMass ranks third in overall rebounds per game with 40.2. The rebounding margin is +3.1.
The Minutemen have used a rebounding by committee strategy. Sean Carter leads the way with 6.3 per game. Hashim Bailey is second with 5.4 per game in just 13.1 minutes per game. Prorated over 40 minutes, Bailey would grab 16.4 boards.
Shooting Tells The Story
In UMass' seven wins, the Minutemen are shooting 47.2 from the floor overall and 32.7 from 3-point range. In the 11 losses UMass is 37.0 on all field goals and 29.1 from beyond the arc.
On defense, in the seven victories, UMass is holding foes to 40.1 overall and 30.8 from 3-point land. In the defeats, opponents are shooting 46.7 percent overall and a strong 40.0 from trifecta land.
It has translated to a scoring margin of 79.3 to 65.7 in the wins and a mark of 79.2 to 67.0 in the losses.
UMass is 6-2 when shooting above 40 percent this year and 1-9 when shooting below 40 percent in 2009-10. The win over Fordham (1/6) marked the first time UMass won a game when shooting less than 40 percent this season (38 percent).
UMass is 6-0 when shooting a better percentage than its opponents and 1-10 when being outshot. Again, the Fordham game was the first time UMass was outshot (44-38 percent) and still won the game.
Win Over Memphis Gets Attention
Harris & Gurley Leading The Way
Harris continues to move up the UMass career scoring charts with his 17.4 average this season. He is seventh all-time with 1,641 points and closing in on No. 6 Tony Barbee (1,643). He has scored in double-figures in 28 games in a row, in 81 of his 115 career games and in 78 of his last 83 games dating to his sophomore season. Harris passed the two legends of UMass basketball on the career scoring list this season. Harris moved by Julius Erving (1,370) and Marcus Camby (1,387) in the game against Cornell.
Harris was named the A-10 Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 7 after he led UMass to a 2-0 week (Dec. 2-5). Harris had exactly 19 points, six assists and three rebounds in each UMass win that week (vs. Quinnipiac and at Holy Cross. The Baltimore native shot a blistering 68 percent from the floor (13-of-19) and made a stellar 7-of-13 3-point field goals.
Gurley scored in double-figures in 15 of 18 games this season, with the first five off the bench and the last 13 as a starter. He is second on UMass in scoring with a 15.4 points per game average. He had at least 13 points in 15 of 18 games this season. He had his first career double-double at Boston College (12/23) with 23 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Against No. 2 Michigan State (11/28), he tied his career-high with 24 points. That came on the heels of 19 vs. Rutgers (11/27). He had 21 points vs. Arkansas-Fort Smith (11/21). At No. 19 Temple (1/16), he had 20 points.
Freshman Showing Strong In Debuts
Riley returned vs. Fordham (1/6) and had a career-game against La Salle (1/10). Riley canned six 3-pointers and netted a career-high 22 points in Springfield. Those six treys, were two shy of the UMass single-game record. Over his last four games, Riley is averaging 15.5 ppg making 15-of-36 3-point field goals (42 percent). He ranks second in the Atlantic 10 in 3-pointers made per game with 2.9.
Vinson has seven games overall in double-figures with the last coming against La Salle (1/10) with 13 points. He scored 20-plus 21 vs. Memphis (12/19) and 20 points vs. Grambling State (12/11). He also had double-figures in three in a row from Nov. 18-24. Vinson became the first UMass freshman to post a double-double and a 20-point, 10-rebound game since Rashaun Freeman in 2003-04, when he had 20 points and 11 boards vs. Grambling.
Vinson earned national attention with his game-winning basket with 0:00.7 to upset Memphis (12/19), 73-72. He scored a career-high 21 points along with nine rebounds in the stunning win over the Tigers. He was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week and UMass Athlete of the Week. His game-winner was the ESPN SportsCenter No. 1 Play of the Day on Dec. 19 and No. 6 Play of the Week for that week as well.
Riley has seven games in double-figures including 20-plus ine ach of his last two games with 22 vs. La Salle (1/10) and 20 at Richmond (1/13).
Sampson Carter is averaging 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds with double-figures in three games. Javorn Farrell is averaging 4.0 points and 3.7 rebounds including a career-best 10 rebounds vs. Grambling State (12/11) in just 11 minutes of action. He returned to action at Richmond (1/13) and had seven points and five rebounds after missing the Fordham (1/6) and La Salle (1/10) games with a groin/hip injury.
Harris Shoots Up 1,000-Point List
In the Cornell (11/18) game he passed three players on the all-time list including the two greatest stars in UMass history in Julius Erving (1,370) and Marcus Camby (1,387). He also went by Clarence Hill (1,369).
Harris passed Edwin Green (1,393) vs. Arkansas-Fort Smith (11/21); Horace Neysmith with his 22 points vs. Rutgers (11/27) in the Legends Classic; Mike Pyatt (1,503) with 15 at Seton Hall (12/7); Harper Williams (1,534) at Davidson (12/30) and Donald Russell (1,558) with 21 vs. Fordham (1/6).
He is the 40th UMass player to score 1,000 points in his career.
Harris has scored in double-figures in 81 of his 115 career games including 78 of the last 83 dating to his sophomore year with the last 28 in a row.
With a similar season to his previous two, when he averaged 18.2 points per game, Harris would finish with right around 2,000 points. That would place him third behind Jim McCoy (2,374) and Monty Mack (2,183). Among the players he could pass are No. 6 Tony Barbee (1,643), No. 4 Rashaun Freeman (1,744) and No. 3 Lou Roe (1,905).
Harris has continued to be prolific scorer in his career at UMass. In 2009, he was named a Third-Team All-Conference selection. In 2008, he was named the A-10 Chris Daniels Most Improved player.
Harris is leading returning scorer in the Atlantic 10 with a 18.2 scoring average and led the team in scoring in 18 of 30 games in 2008-09. He scored 20 or more in 10 games. Harris was fourth in the Atlantic 10. He dropped a season and career-high 35 points on BC (12/6/08). 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.
Harris Rises on 3-Point, FT Lists
He stands fourth in career made 3-pointers (240) and third in attempts (682).
Among the players he passed last season was his current head coach Derek Kellogg (138 makes and 362 attempts). Next on the makes list is Carmelo Travieso (245 of 666). Harris passed Travieso at Richmond (1/13). Next on the attempts list is Anthony Anderson (705).
Harris is eighth in made free throws with 335 in history. He has moved past Julius Erving (322) and Marcus Camby (308) this season.
Harris has also risen to No. 5 on the career field goals attempted list with 1,286. Next on the list is No. 4 Mike Pyatt (1,318).
This season, Harris 32-of-112 from 3-point range this season and 50-of-68 from the foul line.
He shot 38.7 from beyond the new extended-distance arc last season, making 87-of-225 from 3-point range in 2008-09.
Harris, who is tied Carmelo Travieso for the single-season mark for made treys with 104 (in 2007-08), is rising on the career charts.
Harris' 87 made 3-pointers last season finished tied with James Life for sixth-most in a single-season.
Harris also 11th on the career 3-point field goal percentage list (35.4).
Success At Home
UMass is 6-3 overall on its home courts, losing just the home opener vs. Cornell (74-61) on Nov. 18, which took No. 1 Kansas to the brink on Jan. 6 and the La Salle game.
In its nine home games, UMass is outscoring opponents 75.0-69.0 and outrebouning them 39.2-35.9.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts this season, UMass is 7-3 also winning in Worcester against Holy Cross on Dec. 5 and falling at Boston College on Dec. 23.
Visiting The Commonwealth
UMass is now 4-0 all-time at the TD Garden with the win on Dec. 19. It was UMass first game at the building since 1997, when the Minutemen took on Boston College in the Commonwealth Classic.
UMass Quick Hits For 2009-10
UMass has one of the youngest teams in the country as UMass features the top recruiting class in the Atlantic 10 with five freshmen. The Minutemen also welcomed two transfers who will be eligible this season in Sean Carter from Oregon State and Hashim "Big City" Bailey from Memphis. Sophomore Trey Lang also returned to the team after not playing in 2008-09, giving UMass eight newcomers for this season's roster
UMass returned just 36.1 average points. In looking at it by percentages, UMass returned 49.1 percent of its scoring with Harris leading the way. UMass lost nearly all of its rebounding with the graduation of 2009 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year Tony Gaffney, the final cut of the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. UMass has just 24.3 percent of its rebounding returning as Gaffney grabbed 10.2 per game.
Maxie Esho Signs NLI With UMass
The 6-8, 200-pound native of Upper Marlboro, Maryland is currently playing at Lee Academy in Maine. He played his AAU basketball with DC Assault, the same team UMass' Javorn Farrell played for.
"We are thrilled to have Maxie joining the UMass basketball family. Maxie is a player we have known for a long time," said Kellogg, who brought in what is widely-regarded as the top freshman class in the Atlantic 10 this season. "He is another very long and athletic player with great upside. He have watched him grow as a person and a player for the last couple of year and I know the UMass fans will be excited to get to know him on and off the court. We are looking forward to him having a great senior year at Lee Academy and then coming to UMass. He has the length and athleticism that is necessary for the type of players I want to coach here at UMass."
In playing with DC Assault, run by Curtis Malone, Esho has been a part of the one of the top AAU programs in the nation. He averaged 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds along with two blocks per game. He played along side Duke signees Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton, Notre Dame signee Eric Atkins and Richmond newcomer Cedrick Lindsay.
Coach Zach Suber has been an integral part of Esho's life and worked with him as a mentor while he played with DC Assault.
Esho was named to numerous All-Tournament Teams during his AAU career as well as being named to MVP of the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions at Chapel Hill, N.C., in 2008. Over the last four years, Esho has been part of more than 120 wins on the AAU circuit.
In 2009, he helped his squad capture the adidas Take 5 championship and the Teak Breakdown Tournament title, while also making the final four at the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas after winning the crown in 2008. In addition to winning the adidas Super 64 title in '08, DC Assault also captured crowns at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest, the Bob Gibbons Memorial Day Tournament in Raleigh, N.C., the Harley Davidson Tournament in Morgantown, W. Va., and the Playaz Spring Fling in Piscataway, N.J.
Esho played at Henry Wise High School in Upper Marlboro where he averaged 14 points and seven rebounds per game before moving to Lee Academy.
Maxie Esho was born on Feb. 28, 1991 and is the son of Tina Marie Esho.
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