• UMass closes out a three-game homestand on Sunday when it plays host to Richmond, playing its first game since falling to George Washington 79-76 nine days ago.
• The game will be part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Weekend, with more than 4,000 college and high school coaches wearing sneakers with their dress suits to raise awareness for cancer treatments and fundraising efforts.
UMASS WITH A NUMBER OF ACTIVITIES FOR COACHES VS. CANCER EVENT
• The UMass men’s basketball team and head coach Derek Kellogg have teamed up with the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. Fans will have an opportunity to take part in activities that will benefit the life-saving work of the American Cancer Society and its Coaches vs. Cancer initiative.
• Promotional materials and giveaways will be set-up on the Mullins Center concourse. Additionally, raffle tickets will be on sale for autographed UMass basketball items, tickets to future games and other special prizes, including a weekend get-away to Atlantic City.
• The game is played in conjunction with the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ (NABC) 10th Annual Suits and Sneakers Weekend. From January 25-27 more than 4,000 college and high school basketball coaches across the United States will be making much more than just a fashion statement when they sport tennis shoes with their suits.
• The 2012-13 season marks the fifth for head coach Derek Kellogg ... Kellogg starred as a point guard for the Minutemen from 1992-95, playing for coach John Calipari ... Kellogg spent a year as a graduate assistant with Bruiser Flint at UMass, two years at George Mason with Jim Larranaga and eight at Memphis with Calipari, culminating with the 2008 NCAA Runner-up season ... UMass’ win totals under Kellogg have gone 12, 12, 15 and 25 last season with an NIT FInal Four appearance.
• The Minutemen are shooting 41.3 pct. from the field, 31.3 pct. from outside and 70.2 pct. from the free throw line, while averaging 73.0 points per game overall. In four A-10 games, those numbers are 42.4 pct., 31.3 pct., 68.7 pct. and 73.5 ppg.
• UMass averages 7.4 3-pointers made and 23.7 attempts per game. The Minutemen have 143 steals thus far for 8.4 spg, which ranks 60th in the nation. Last season, UMass collected a school-record 326 steals and 8.8 spg. UMass is also 60th in blocked shots with 4.6 bpg.
• Junior PG Chaz Williams leads the A-10 in assists (7.4, sixth in NCAA) and double-digit assist performances (3). He is also averaging 19.0 points and shooting 46 pct from outside in four A-10 games.
• UMass was listed at No. 60 in the third edition of the NCAA RPI, following weeks of 45 and 49 at the start of the public reporting.
SERIES HISTORY WITH RICHMOND
• This will be the 14th meeting between the two programs in a series which began during the 2000-01 campaign. Richmond leads the series 8-5, with UMass holding a 3-2 edge in games payed in Amherst. Last season’s victory at UR’s Robins Center snapped a three-game losing skid for the Minutemen.
• The home team has won seven of the 11 games played on campus.
• Prior to UMass’ 79-68 win last season, the teams had exchanged three-game winning streaks over the previous nine match-ups.
• At UMass, the Minutemen have won three of the five games, winning the in 2007 and 2009. In games played at the Robins Center, UMass is 2-4, claiming scoreboard bragging rights twice in the last three visits.
• UMass’ last win at the Mullins Center came on Feb. 4, 2009 when Ricky Harris led the way with 24 points, 21 in the second half as the Minutemen outscored the Spiders 49-38 after the intermission. 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.
• UMass’ first win of the series was on Feb. 12, 2003 in the Mullins Center. The Minutemen held off the Spiders for a 54-53 victory.
• The first meeting was in Charlotte at the Tournament of Champions in 2000, a 63-59 Richmond win.
• LAST SEASON IN RICHMOND: A 16-6 run late in the second half propelled UMass to a 79-68 win at Richmond. Jesse Morgan led the way with 20 points including a key three-pointer to spark the run after the Spiders had pulled within four points with 6:53 left in the game. Along with Morgan’s 20 points, Chaz Williams netted 17 points and was just shy of a triple-double with nine rebounds and seven assists. Sean Carter scored 15 points going 7-of-9 from the floor, while Maxie Esho scored 12 points in 20 minutes. Richmond was led by Darien Brothers and Kendall Anthony who each scored 12 points. Derrick Williams and Cedrick Lindsay added 11 points apiece to round out the leading scorers. After the Minutemen went up by 12 points at the 15:45 mark, the Spiders put together an 13-3 run over the next four minutes, 30 seconds to pull within two points, 49-47. UMass extended that lead to seven points before UR hit a three-pointer to keep the Spiders within three. Morgan answered with his three-pointer from the corner with 6:53 to spark the Minutemen’s run closing out the game. The Minutemen finished the game shooting 28-of-58 (48.3%) and hit 19-of-22 free throws. Included in the impressive shooting from the charity stripe was a 10-for-10 effort from Williams. Richmond shot just 32.3% (20-of-62) for the game, but hit 24-of-32 free throws. UMass held the Spiders to just 4-of-24 shooting from behind the arc and out-rebounded Richmond 43-to-33 for the game.
MINUTEMEN TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
• UMass is averaging 11.3 turnovers per game in A-10 play. Granted that’s just a sample size of four games with 12 at Saint Louis, 7 at Fordham, 10 against Duquesne and 16 versus George Washington, but a closer look at the most recent quintet of games shows steady improvement.
• Prior to the 10 miscues in the win over Duquesne, UMass had decreased its turnovers in each of its previous four games following 19 at Northern Illinois (one shy of the season-high of 20 two games earlier). UMass’ total of 72 in the last five games (11.8 tpg) is its lowest 6-game total this season.
• The team’s primary ball handlers of Chaz Williams, Jesse Morgan and Trey Davis have a combined assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.9 in the last six games.
• In non-conference play, UMass averaged 14.7 per game and has a current season mark of 13.9 per game.
3-POINT SHOTS STARTING TO FALL
• While UMass’ season 3-point shooting pct. is a less-than-desirable .313 (13th in the A-10), the squad has shot very well over its last nine games, making .355 (71-for-200) of its shots. That stretch also includes its five highest single-game totals this season, along with a per game average of 8.2.
• One of the primary reasons those numbers have increased is the play of senior Freddie Riley. He has made 21 3-pointers in the past eight games (23-of-54, .426) while averaging 11.2 ppg, compared to five treys and 2.4 ppg in the opening nine games.
• Chaz Williams has shot .436 from outside (17-of-39) over the past eight games as well.
• Last season, UMass averaged 8.1 3-point field goals per game, which ranked first in the Atlantic 10 and 31st nationally. The Minutemen made 288 triples to place second all-time in school history.
• UMass was one of just four schools in Division I with four players who made at least 50 treys. The others were Florida, Iowa State and Youngstown State.
RILEY LOVIN’ THE MULLINS CENTER
• We touched on it a bit in the previous note, but senior Freddie Riley has been shooting lights out in the Mullins Center this year. In those seven games, he has shot 18-of-39 for .462 pct. from outside.
• Not convinced yet... how about we take away his first three games when he was struggling to find his shot and was a combined 2-for-10. That puts him at 16-for-29 (.552 pct) in the last four contests in Amherst and 6-for-13 (.462) in a pair of A-10 games.
2-POINT FIELD GOALS AND FREE THROW SHOOTING CARRYING MINUTEMEN OF LATE
• While its no secret UMass has struggled to shoot the ball consistently from outside, the Minutemen have made great strides over the past nine games in their 2-point field goal and free throw shooting.
• Following a season-low 28.6 pct. shooting game against Miami (Fla.), UMass has compiled eight games over 40 percent and nine-straight of 39 pct. or higher. Included in that is a sizzling 50.3 pct effort from inside the arc during the streak.
• From the charity stripe, UMass has shot 70.0 pct. and has averaged 18-of-25 per contest, compared to 14-of-20 for its opponents - outscoring the opposition 171-135 at the line during the streak.
UMASS GETTING THE TRANSITION GAME GOING
} One of the primary factors during its strong play of late has been UMass’ ability to put together some momentum-building scoring runs, while limiting its opponent’s opportunities. The Minutemen collected their third-most lopsided scoring stretch last Thursday when they outscored Duquesne 32-15 over much of the latter part of the first half, turning a 3-point deficit into a 17-point lead with five seconds to play in the period. They also rode a 14-2 run over the final seven minutes to pull away after the Dukes had trimmed the margin to 65-52.
} This season the Minutemen have compiled 19 scoring runs where the margin was at least nine points, compared to 10 by their opponents and just four over its last 12 games but two by George Washington last Saturday.
MINUTEMEN CUTTING DOWN ON THE FOULS
• Over the course of the first eight games this season, UMass averaged 22.1 fouls per game with 20 or more six times. Over the past nine games, the Minutemen have averaged just 17.5 violations - including a season-low 10 fouls last Thursday vs. Duquesne - and just three 20-plus games (2 of those were in losses to SLU and GW when the team was forced to foul late in the game).
WE LOVE THE MULLINS CENTER
• That’s probably a pretty accurate statement from the men’s basketball program over the past couple of years as the squad is 19-3 at the Mullins Center since the start of last season and 21-3 in home games.
• UMass was dominant at home last season, posting a 15-1 record in Amherst, which included a 14-1 record at the Mullins Center (1-0 at historic Curry Hicks Cage) and a renewed home-court advantage with the student-based Mullins Militia. UMass averaged 4,359 fans in 15 dates last season. Those numbers got increasingly higher as the season evolved to 5,411 for eight A-10 home games and 6,614 for the last five regular-season home dates. The Minutemen saw four crowds of more than 6,200 in the final six games, with a season-high 8,399 in the victory over Saint Louis.
• UMass is in its 20th season of play at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center and has posted an all-time record of 186-77 (.710) following the George Washington game. The Minutemen also own a 103-49 (.682) all-time record in regular-season Atlantic 10 Conference games at the Mullins Center, and a 4-2 mark in Atlantic 10 Tournament contests. The first game was played on Feb. 4, 1993 as UMass defeated West Virginia 64-59 in overtime.
UMASS NEVER OUT OF A GAME
• With the style of play and mentality that Derek Kellogg has implemented at UMass, just about any deficit can be overcome. UMass erased a 12-point deficit in defeating Ohio last month, marking the second time this season and the sixth time in the last two seasons it has overcome a double-digit hole to win a game.
• Three weeks earlier at Siena, the Minutemen trailed by 17 points (33-16) before outscoring the Saints 45-12 over a period of 13:02 for a 51-45 lead at the midway point of the second half, eventually getting a running jumper by Chaz Williams with 3.3 seconds left to win the game. It was the third time in the last 11 months that UMass has erased a 17-point deficit and won - at home against Saint Joseph’s and at Drexel in the NIT Quarterfinals.
• The Minutemen trailed by as many as 16 in the second half last Saturday against George Washington before climbing back to within one twice in the final 15 seconds. Despite running out of time against the Colonials, it’s another example of the comeback abilities of UMass.
1,000-POINT CLUB GAINS NEW MEMBERS
• Junior PG Chaz Williams scored his 1,000 career point last month in the win over Siena and was joined last Saturday by senior F Terrell Vinson. Vinson finished with 10 points against Northern Illinois to become the 44th member of the 1,000-Point Club at UMass. He now ranks 35th at UMass with 1,070 points.
Jesse Morgan OUT FOR SEASON WITH ACL INJURY
• Junior guard Jesse Morgan was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee two weeks ago. He suffered the injury early in the second half of UMass’ loss at Saint Louis in the A-10 opener. He will undergo surgery in February.
• At the time of the injury, he was UMass’ second leading scorer at 14.5 ppg and leading 3-point shooter with 37-of-104 for .356. He ranked 37th in the NCAA in 3-pointers per game and 81st in 3-point FG pct. His .808 free throw pct. was also first on the team.
• The injury was his second this season, following a broken right wrist he sustained in July that saw him miss three months.
WILLIAMS NAMED TO BOB COUSY AWARD WATCH LIST
• After posting a banner season in 2011-12 in his first season playing for UMass, junior point guard Chaz Williams has garnered national attention for running the fast-paced Minuteman offense. Last Thursday, the Brooklyn native received yet another accolade as he was named to the 2013 Bob Cousy Award Watch List.
• The award is given annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation’s top point guard in college basketball and is named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy.
• In 2011-12, Williams earned NABC First Team All-District 4 honors in addition to being named to the All-Atlantic 10 First-Team and the Atlantic 10 All-Tournament Team. He averaged 16.9 points per game and 6.3 assists. The addition of the transfer from Hofstra helped guide UMass to the NIT Final Four last year before a lose to Stanford in the Semifinals.
• Through 12 games in 2012-13, Williams leads the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game and leads the A-10 with 7.3 assists - which ranks seventh nationally.
FOUR STARTERS, 9 LETTERMEN BACK FROM 25-WIN SQUAD
• UMass welcomes back four starters, including its top four scorers and nine of its top 10 rebounders from last season's team that went 25-12 and reached the NIT Final Four. Led by All-America candidate Chaz Williams at the point guard spot, the Minutemen will look to continue their up-tempo offensive style and full-court pressure defense in head coach Derek Kellogg's (64-65) fifth year at his alma mater.
• UMass returns the following percentages in 2012-13: Scoring 89.3 pct.; Rebounding 83.2 pct.; Assists 94.7 pct.; Steals 91.7 pct.; Blocks 76.7 pct.; Minutes 85.4 pct.
• Williams (16.9 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.4 rpg), a first team NABC all-district and all-conference selection, was one of just three players in Division I last year to average at least 16.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. The others were Tim Frazier of Penn State and Nate Wolters of South Dakota State.
• UMass recorded a school-record 326 steals last season (8.8 spg, 7th in NCAA) which aided in its 76.6 possessions per game, ranking the Minutemen second nationally behind Seattle's 77.2.
UMASS TO RETIRE MARCUS CAMBY'S NO. 21 JERSEY
• The Massachusetts athletic department announced Tuesday that it will retire the jersey of 1996 Naismith National Player of the Year Marcus Camby on Jan. 19, 2013 when the Minutemen host George Washington at the Mullins Center.
• One of the most decorated athletes UMass has ever produced, Camby lettered from 1993-96 and led the Minutemen to the 1996 NCAA Final Four and a 35-2 record, the most successful season in program history. He was named a consensus first-team All-American that season as he averaged 20.5 points to lead the Atlantic 10. In his three seasons at UMass, he was a two-time NABC All-District selection, an Atlantic 10 First-Team pick twice and the league's Freshman of the Year in 1994.
• He left UMass as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots in a career (336) and single-season (128). Camby scored 1,387 points in his career to rank in the top 10 after his final season for the Maroon & White.
• This will be the fifth men's basketball jersey retired at UMass and ninth in school history. Previous hoops numbers to be hung at the South end of the Mullins Center include George "Trigger" Burke (#32), Julius Erving (#32), Lou Roe (#15) and Al Skinner (#30). Additionally, Dick Bergquist in baseball (#26), Danielle Henderson in softball (#44), Greg Minton in water polo (#6) and Eric Sopracasa (#43) in men's lacrosse have had their jerseys retired in their respective sports.
UMASS SELECTED FIFTH IN A-10 PRESEASON POLL
• UMass was selected fifth in the preseason Atlantic 10 Poll in a vote by media and coaches. Saint Joseph's was picked to win the league followed by Saint Louis, VCU, Temple and UMass. The Hawks had 11 first place votes, while the Billikens had 10 votes. Temple, UMass and Butler all had two first place votes in the poll.
• Junior Chaz Williams was named to the preseason First Team. Williams had a banner campaign in 2011-12 in leading UMass to the NIT Semifinals. The Brooklyn native was named to the All-Atlantic 10 First Team, the A-10 All-Championship Team and the NABC All-District 4 First Team.
• Among national publications, Athlon picked the Minutemen to finish fourth and make a return trip to the NIT. They also tabbed Chaz Williams as the Preseason Player of the Year and one of the top 10 Floor Leaders in the nation. Lindy's had UMass seventh but listed it as a team folks may want as an A-10 sleeper team. Williams was bestowed the honor of being the Most Entertaining player in the league.
UMASS AMONG TOP 3-POINT SHOOTING TEAMS IN 2011-12
• UMass averaged 8.1 3-point field goals per game a year ago, which ranked first in the Atlantic 10 and 31st nationally. The Minutemen made 288 triples to rank second all-time in school history.
UMass was one of just four schools in Division I with four players who made at least 50 treys. The others were Florida, Iowa State and Youngstown State.
UMASS A POPULAR TV CHOICE IN 2012-13
• UMass is scheduled to appear on television 11 times this season with nine current match-ups slated for national broadcasts. That marks the most regular-season showings since the 1997-98 year.
UMASS POSTSEASON HISTORY
• UMass has an all-time postseason record of 24-21 in 18 combined appearances in both the NCAA and NIT tournaments. The Minutemen have made eight NCAA Tourney showings, with the last in 1998. The first came in 1962 before a string of seven-consecutive from 1992-98 in which it ran its all-time record to 11-8 with an Elite Eight showing in 1995 and the only Final Four appearance in A-10 history in 1996. Last season the Minutemen collected their 11th NIT appearance and ran their record to 13-13, which included Final Fours in 1991 (fourth), 2008 (runner-up) and 2012 (tied-third).
ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
• The A-10 ranked seventh among all conferences in the final RPI in 2011-12. The league boasted eight Top 100 teams, third among all leagues behind only the Big East and Big 10. The eight teams matched the SEC and was more than the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Mountain West.
A-10 IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• For the fifth year in a row, the Atlantic 10 Conference earned at least three bids into the NCAA Tournament while it marked the 27th time in the league's 35-year history that the conference received multiple bids to participate in the national tournament. The A-10 also received multiple at-large bids for the fifth year in a row and 18th time overall. Over the last six years, the league has had 12 at-large selections - the seventh most among Division I conferences - behind only the Big East (42), Big Ten (29), ACC (26), Big 12 (26), SEC (23) and the Pac-10 (22). In fact, the A-10 is one of eight conferences to receive at least one at-large selection over each of the last six seasons.