UMass Hosts La Salle On 1980s Celebration Day, Saturday At 4 p.m.
UMASS (7-10, 2-2) vs. LA SALLE (10-7, 1-2)
UMass Hosts La Salle On 1980s Celebration Day
Saturday will be the fourth celebration of the decades/eras this season. Here is the initial list of attendees for that game which honors the decade of the 1980s: Matt Anderson, Bob Braun, Tony DePina, Kurt Funk, Bill Hampton, Cary Herer, Dennis Jackson (assistant coach), Sean Nelen, Horace Neysmith, Hal Shaw, Jack Sheehan, Fitzhugh Tarry, Keith Whitt and Ron Young. The next celebration for the most storied decade in UMass history, the 1990s, will take place on Feb. 8 against Saint Joseph's.
Live streaming video of Saturday'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, 95.9 WATD in Marshfield/Boston and 980 AM WCAP in Lowell/Boston. "Voice of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer, will call the action with former Minuteman Tim Collins.
It has been a season of ups and downs for UMass. The Minutemen have win over top 40 RPI teams: Dayton (38), Kansas (39) and Temple (40). The last home game, last Saturday was a thrilling 79-75 over Temple at the Mullins Center 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 Playing 41st-Toughest Schedule
The A-10 has four teams playing schedules in the top 50 in difficulty: Xavier plays the eighth-toughest, Temple faces the 22nd-toughest, UMass is playing the 41st-toughest and Saint Joseph's will battle the 45th schedule.
Off To See The United States
Looking Back At The 1980s
Despite the tough times, the 1980s was filled with many great stars in UMass history. As part of the 100 Seasons Of UMass Basketball, a panel of media members selected the All-Time 1980s Team of: Edwin Green, Horace Neysmith, Donald Russell, Carl Smith and Lorenzo Sutton.
Edwin Green (1981-84) left as the second leading scorer (1,393) in school history, trailing only Mike Pyatt. Green also earned the distinction of becoming the first player in school history to average double figures in points in each of his four seasons. As a senior, Green (12.9 points, 6.6 rebounds per game) was named second-team All Atlantic 10 and was drafted in the ninth round of the NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was the Eastern 8 Co-Rookie of the Year in 1981 averaging 14.3 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Donald Russell (1982-85) lists seventh in career scoring at UMass with 1,558, which was a school record when he graduated. He was named to the Eastern Eight All-Rookie Team in 1982 after scoring 16.4 points per game.
Horace Neysmith (1982-85) was a member of the All-Atlantic 10 Conference Second Team in 1985 after he averaged 14.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He also earned NABC All-District accolades in 1985, the only UMass player to earn that honor in the decade of the 1980s. He was also on the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team in 1982 as he scored 11.7 points per game along with 8.9 rebounds per contest. In his junior year of 1983-84, he shot 59.5% from the floor to rank among the top 10 in UMass single-season history. He still ranks 10th in career scoring with 1428 points at UMass, which was third at the time of graduation. His 935 rebounds was second at the time and is now fourth.
Lorenzo Sutton (1985-88) was named to three consecutive All-Atlantic 10 Conference Second Teams in 1986, 1987 and 1988. Sutton became UMass career scorer leader in his senior year and still ranks fifth all-time with 1,558 points. He set the school record for 3-point field goals in a game with eight, which still stands today. He averaged 15.7 points per game in his career including a season-best 19.4 points in 1988.
Carl Smith (1983-87) holds or shares virtually every UMass assist record to date. When he graduated in 1987, he held them all. Smith is still the all-time leader with 633 and is tied for the single-game mark of 15, a mark that he originally set.
The Series With La Salle
This will be the third straight game between the teams at UMass. They will play later this season at the Tom Gola Arena on March 1 at 5 p.m. in a nationally-televised game on CBS College Sports.
UMass has won three in a row in the series following a run where La Salle won five of six from 2003 to 2006. UMass won six straight meetings from 1991-98.
All-time UMass is 7-2 in Amherst and 5-3 at La Salle. The first meeting was an 82-75 win for La Salle on Dec. 30, 1971 in Philadelphia.
UMass coach Derek Kellogg will face La Salle for the first time. La Salle joined the Atlantic 10 in 1994-95, Kellogg's senior season and the Minutemen beat the Explorers, 87-64 in Atlantic City. That was a homecoming for AC native Lou Roe. La Salle coach John Giannini stands 3-6 against UMass (3-4 since moving to La Salle, as he lost twice at Maine).
LAST YEAR'S LA SALLE GAME: UMass put together one of its most complete performances of the season in a rousing 100-63 win over a hot La Salle team on Senior Night at the Mullins Center. The A-10's leading scorer Gary Forbes scored his 1,000th point at UMass as he racked up 26 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Lowe posted a triple-double with 14 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. Three other Minutemen reached double-figures as Ricky Harris scored 21, Dante Milligan tallied 18 points, six rebounds and blocked five shots. Etienne Brower started slow, but finished with 13 points.
TWO YEARS AGO VS. LA SALLE: UMass seniors came out on fire and continued to click on all cylinders as the Minutemen pounded La Salle, 102-63. The Minutemen jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the first five minutes and proceeded to dominate the game. The Minutemen have won five games in a row and eight of their last nine with the win. Stephane Lasme made NCAA history with his fourth triple-double of the season, becoming just the third player to accomplish the feat. He had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots to join Jason Kidd (1994 at California) and Michael Anderson (1986 at Drexel) as the extraordinary trio. Rashaun Freeman tallied 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his Mullins Center regular-season finale.
Gaffney Among The NCAA Leaders
Gaffney is tied for 44th in steals per game with 2.1 per game, which also leads the Atlantic 10. Gaffney is the only man to top the Atlantic 10 in more than one stat and was leading in three (rebounding) until recently.
He 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 14 of 17 games and at least 11 in 10 of the 17 games. His most recent double-double came in the win over IUPUI (12/27) with 11 points and 11 rebounds. His most recent double-figure rebound game came at Charlotte (1/21) with 13 boards.
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 his all-around game. His career-high of nine came vs. Boston College (12/6).
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 79 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 138 career blocks is seventh in a career at UMass. Kitwana Rhymer (184) is sixth all-time.
Many 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 16 of 17 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 Closing In On Assists Record
With his current average of 6.2, he would break the record in seven games from now (Feb. 18 vs. Rhode Island.)
Lowe is 13th in the NCAA with 6.2 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 30 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 a pair of players tied at No. 26 in Will Herndon (1989-92) and Lari Ketner (1996-99), both with 1,148. At No. 25 is Rodger Twitchell (1,151) and No. 24 Rafer Giles (1,163).
Chris Lowe is also just 27 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 175 and fifth in career attempts with 471. 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).
Gurley Going Great Guns
Gurley has scored in double-figures 11 times this season most recently with 10 on his 21st birthday at Charlotte (1/21). Gurley's best scoring game with UMass came against Hofstra (12/20) when he tallied 19.
He has been great in the second half of two of UMass' biggest wins of the season as he netted 13 of his 16 in the final 20 minutes of the win over Dayton (1/10), making four 3-pointers. A week later against Temple (1/17) on ESPN2, Gurley knocked down 13 of his 16 points in the second half including a 4-point play as he was a perfect 3-of-3 in the second half on 3-pointers.
Big Nights For Bonner
Bonner, who was injured on Nov. 12 at Southern Illinois, returned to action on Dec. 20 against Hofstra with a career breakout game. He posted then-career bests 15 points and nine rebounds. That came in just 18 minutes off the bench.
In 10 games, he is scoring 6.6 points per game along with 5.4 rebounds. He has also made 14-of-37 3-point field goals.
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
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