Men's Basketball

LIVE HOOPS BLOG: Minutemen Host La Salle

Senior Tony Gaffney is averaging 11.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 4.6 BPG.

Senior Tony Gaffney is averaging 11.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 4.6 BPG.

Jan. 24, 2009

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    UMass will look to stay perfect in home conference games this season as the Minutemen host La Salle on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will be the stage for the 1980s Celebration as UMass continues to celebrate the 100 Seasons of Basketball. UMass comes into the game with a 7-10 overall mark, 2-2 in the A-10 after another heartbreaking loss, 69-64 in overtime at Charlotte on Wednesday. The Explorers are off to a 10-7 start with a 1-2 record in the league. La Salle defeated Big 5 foe Penn on Wednesday night, 79-70.

    5:51 p.m.
    No miracle comeback this time. Tough home loss for the Minutemen, 62-54. The first five A-10 games has proved how unpredictable this conference will be. It isn't just UMass, look around the league...In UMass' case, they beat powers Dayton and Temple, but struggle against Saint Louis, Charlotte, and La Salle, who are very good teams, but nowhere near the caliber of Temple and Dayton.

    Final stats:

    FGs: La Salle (23-52, 44%), UMass (21-62, 34%)
    3 PT FGs: La Salle (4-16, 25%), UMass (3-21, 14%)
    Rebounds: La Salle (40), UMass (37)



    Ricky Harris struggled with four points, just an off-night shooting. It happens to the best. Tony Gaffney was superb again with his seventh double-double of the season (19 points, 11 rebounds). Chris Lowe had 10 and Anthony Gurley (sporting his new T-Mac shoes) had eight.

    Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the weekend. See you back here in a week and a half vs. Richmond and be sure to catch UMass' next game at Xavier on ESPNU! Hopefully the Mass Attack can pull off a win tonight against an excellent UVM squad. Until next week, enjoy the rest of your Saturday. GO UMASS!

    5:48 p.m.
    Things not looking so good...UMass has been struggling from the field these last few minutes and La Salle has hit some free throws to open up a seven point lead, 61-54.

    This place is silent. Looks like a lot of these fans weren't here for the BC game because this place is emptying out. Hopefully UMass can make a comeback like that game and force OT.

    5:40 p.m.
    We've reached the final media timeout and UMass has been unable to get over the hump, currently trailing 55-50. Unbelievably, the second leading scorer in the A-10 only has four points on 2-for-9 shooting. If it stands (let's hope it doesn't), it would be his lowest point total since last year vs. Fordham. Only once this year has he not reached double figures, and that game he had nine points.

    He is still very dangerous these last few minutes, so let's see what happens...

    La Salle 55, UMass 50, 3:31 2nd Half

    5:35 p.m.
    An errant pass just landed four or five people down from me, nearly hitting PA Announcer and Greenfield Recorder writer George Miller. You have to keep your "head in the game"!

    5:31 p.m.
    At the under-8 timeout, La Salle up by only three, 51-48...Stats are pretty similar to the first half on UMass' end. A key difference is La Salle, who is only 37% from the field this half and 0-for-6 from behind the 3-point arc. Eventually, shooting numbers are bound to even out and it's showing!

    La Salle 51, UMass 48, 7:48 2nd Half

    5:28 p.m.
    The action is heating up...Luke Bonner got a huge rebound and La Salle forced a jump ball. The two teams had a brief exchange as Luke though La Salle was overly physical.

    He channeled the energy with a key offensive rebound on the other end before hitting a three to cut La Salle's lead to only one, 49-48. You don't want to get Luke mad!

    5:20 p.m.
    Just like that, La Salle scores four in a row and is now up eight again. Three Minutemen have three fouls (Bonner, Harris, Lynch), so hopefully that won't hurt in the end. Still a LONG way to go in this crucial swing game.

    5:18 p.m.
    The game of mini runs has continued as the Explorers opened a nine point lead but UMass responded with two baskets in a row, including a 3-pointer from David Gibbs. Of course, these runs are nothing like the Charlotte game where the 49ers staged an 18-0 run and UMass responded with an 18-1 run. La Salle leads 43-39.

    5:15 p.m.
    After catching this sensational finish, be sure to tune to ESPN2 for a preview of UMass' next opponent Xavier! The Muskateers play LSU. Next week's UMass game at Xavier will be on ESPNU.

    5:11 p.m.
    At the first media timeout in the second half, we're about in the same position as halftime, only a four point La Salle lead, 38-34.

    Tony Gaffney was the first Minutemen to reach double figures in scoring (11) ... He was shaken up in the first half and looks much better in this half. He's definetely a warrior!

    La Salle 38, UMass 34, 15:43 2nd Half

    5:03 p.m.
    As the second half is almost set to begin, we have an out of town score to pass along. Memphis leads Tennessee 42-38 with 12 minutes remaining in the second half...

    Of course, UMass played the Tigers this year and there is a huge connection with Coach Calipari...There is also a connection with Tennessee (sort of)...UMass beat Temple who beat Tennessee and UMass beat Kansas who beat Tennessee. That is usually called the transative property. Well enough of that, time for some second half BASKETBALL!

    4:56 p.m.
    The 1980s returning players were just introduced and Horace Neysmith got the biggest ovation. Nice little tidbit on him: he is heavily involved in Georgia AAU. UMass alums always seem to make an impact in many different fields and programs.

    Also, be sure to tune to WRNX for his interview with Josh Maurer coming up!

    Back in a bit...

    4:54 p.m.
    Major League Baseball pitcher Chad Paronto is sitting courtside at Mullins! Great to see the UMass alum supporting his alma mater...He recently signed with the Houston Astros and has also pitched for Baltimore,Cleveland, and Atlanta.

    4:50 p.m.
    We've reached the half and a solid ending for the Minutemen to cut a 13 point La Salle lead down to six...Chris Lowe's floater as time expired made it 34-28.

    Some key stats:
    FGs: La Salle (12-25, 48%), UMass (12-28, 43%) 3 PT FGs: La Salle (4-9, 44%), UMass (1-11, 9%) Rebounds: La Salle (18), UMass (13)

    The teams hung onto the basketball a little better toward the latter part of the half. La Salle has nine and UMass has eight.

    How about UMass' one 3-pointer being a 4-point play? The Minutemen have been getting open looks, and if they get the same looks in the second half, they're bound to fall.

    4:46 p.m.
    In what has to be one of the latest under-4 timeouts, La Salle holds a 33-26 lead with 53 seconds remaining. Chris Lowe and Ricky Harris sung Allison Markowksi happy birthday on the video boards. Great singing (and dancing) by both!

    La Salle 33, UMass 26, 00:53, 1st Half

    4:43 p.m.
    What a strange sequence...La Salle scores nine straight to up a 24-20 lead to 33-20 forcing Coach Kellogg to call a timeout. Then UMass responds with six in a row forcing La Salle to call timeout. In that span, Tony Gaffney had his team-leading 31st dunk of the season and a layup. He's battling hard.

    4:35 p.m.
    4-point play, no big deal! Anthony Gurley hits another three and makes the free throw for his second four point play in as many home games. Plus, he had another 4-point opportunity last week, but missed the FT.

    4:34 p.m.
    Maybe Coach Kellogg is trying to make a statement or maybe it's pure coincidence, but no seniors were just on the court...

    4:31 p.m.
    This game has been unorganized to say the least. With 7:13 remaining, La Salle holds an 18-15 lead. A battle that neither team wants to win (turnovers) now favors the Minutemen (if you want to call it that). They have seven to La Salle's six...

    UMass has not hit ANY 3-pointers (0-for-7), so if it can get hot, this game can turn on a dime.

    La Salle 18, UMass 15, 7:13 1st Half

    On a separate note, Tony Gaffney still seems to be shaken up from the shot to his mouth he took. He's been in and out of the game, and is trying to tough it out.

    4:24 p.m.
    At the under-12 timeout, La Salle has taken a 9-8 lead...The Explorers were called for their first foul as we headed to the break.

    It has definetely been a sloppy game thus far unlike the Temple contest, where the Minutemen had a season-low eight turnovers. They're up to six already.

    La Salle 9, UMass 8, 11:46 1st Half

    In keeping with the 1980s theme, a snippet of a Tom McLaughlin interview was played over the jumbotron. He was at last week's 70's night because he was a guard from 1971-73, but he also coached the Minutemen from 1981-83.

    4:22 p.m.
    Today is a photo opp...just ask all the photographers at the game...The baseline is packed, shoulder to shoulder! Looks like the Minutemen are a big draw with fans, reporters, news stations, and photographers. UMass is the place to be!

    4:19 p.m.
    Who says this is a non-contact sport? Tony Gaffney proved otherwise...He was bloodied in the mouth, grabbed a towel to wipe the excess blood, and got right back into the game. After the next whistle, he seemed shaken up, so Coach Kellogg put Luke Bonner back in, even with two fouls.

    Amazingly, still no fouls called on La Salle (and six on UMass)...So much for the home court advantage.

    4:14 p.m.
    At the first media timeout, we're tied at 4-4...Tony Gaffney scored UMass' first basket on a nice feed from Chris Lowe...UMass 2-for-4 in the early going.

    UMass 4, La Salle 4, 15:52 1st Half

    4:11 p.m.
    Luke Bonner picks up his second foul and Coach Kellogg makes wholesale changes...One of the changes is David Gibbs, who is seeing more and more time at point guard. With Chris Lowe graduating after the season, it looks like Gibbs is his understudy at point guard along with Gary Correia.

    4:08 p.m.
    Both teams turned it over on the first possession before La Salle hit a 3-pointer. The Miutemen will be seeing a lot of the Explorers this year (at least more than most A-10 teams). UMass plays them twice (also on Mar. 1 in Philly) along with URI and Saint Joe's.

    4:05 p.m.
    Matt G got the crowd on its feet and we are underway! La Salle wins the tip...

    3:58 p.m.
    The UMass ROTC repelled from the ceiling. You don't see that every day! Great sight! Head Athletic trainer Dave Maclotsky was on the scene, just in case something went wrong, but luckily, everything went smoothly.

    The starters are in
    For La Salle
    #1, Vernon Goodridge
    #5, Kimmani Barrett
    #10, Rodney Green
    #12, Yves Mekongo Mbala
    #34, Ruben Guillandeaux

    And for UMass, the sixth straight game with the same starting lineup
    #5, Ricky Harris
    #12, Anthony Gurley
    #14, Chris Lowe
    #24, Tony Gaffney
    #31, Luke Bonner

    3:55 p.m.
    The Minutemen hit the floor! Nice crowd filling in...Doesn't seem to be as much as Temple, but still a great showing, especially with all the students not back until tomorrow...The Minutemen have the ingredients in place for a memorable conference season, so we need your help the rest of the way!

    3:50 p.m.
    Michelle Thompson, wife of former UMass All A-10 Offensive Lineman David Thompson, just sung a sensational national anthem at center court. Great job! The teams are off the courts and we are about 10 minutes until opening tipoff!

    3:45 p.m.
    Big news to report! (well, kind of) Luke Bonner has shaved his beard...He was being nicknamed the Geico Caveman down in Charlotte! Hopefully, it brings UMass a little luck!

    3:40 p.m.
    Less than a half hour until gametime! Here's some more info on the 1980s players:

    Kurt Funk was a walk-on on coach Ron Gerlufsen's first UMass team. He is now the Director of Marketing and Programs for the World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies!!

    Joining the voice of the Minutemen Josh Maurer at halftime will be Horace Neysmith. He was one of coach Tom McLaughlin's first recruits and would not disappoint. He scored 27 points and nine boards in his debut...Not too shabby!

    There's just a little sampling of who will be joining us at halftime.

    The teams are on the court for their final warmup. Crowd filling in nicely as well for this big A-10 contest.

    3:20 p.m.
    Good afternoon UMass fans and welcome to another live blog as the Minutemen are set to host A-10 rival La Salle on 1980s celebration. Justin Lafleur here to bring you all the action in what should be a good one!

    Some 1980s players who are set to attend today's game are: Matt Anderson, Bob Braun, Tony DePina, Kurt Funk, Bill Hampton, Casey Herer, Sean Nelson, Horace Neysmith, Hal Shaw, Jack Sheehan, Fitzhugh Tarry, Keith Whitt, and Ron Young. Back in a bit with some more!


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