Two Of The Highest Scoring Offenses Meet At Duquesne
UMASS (13-6, 2-3) at DUQUESNE (13-5, 3-2)
Two Of The Highest Scoring Offenses Meet In Pittsburgh
Live streaming video will be available through CSTV's All-Access package with links to UMassAthletics.com. The game will be carried on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM WRNX in Western Massachusetts and on 830 AM (WCRN) in Central Mass and 95.9 FM (WATD) in Eastern Mass. Bob Behler calls the action alongside color analyst and Tim Kenney.
The Minutemen departed Tuesday for a five-day road trip as they will continue on to St. Louis for a Saturday afternoon game against the Billikens at the Scottrade Center at 1 p.m. (CT)/2 p.m. (ET). That game will be aired on the CSTV Regional Networks including CN8 up and down the east coast.
UMass has dropped two games in a row following its lowest offensive output of the season in a 77-65 loss to #23/22 Xavier last Sunday at the Mullins Center. Etienne Brower led UMass with 22 points, the second-most points of his career. Gary Forbes added 16 to keep his streak of double-figure scoring games in tact at 22. Ricky Harris saw his streak of games with 10 or more end at 18, as he was limited to seven points.
Rising In The RPI
Prior to the recent winning stretch, Duquesne won three of four games in 2004 and 2005. Before that, the Minutemen reeled off 16 straight wins. Duquesne beat UMass in the first round of the A-10 Tournament in 2004, 79-76, for the Dukes' last win.
UMass is 7-5 against Duquesne at the Mullins Center.
UMass stands 10-14 against Duquesne in road games, but had won six straight before the Dukes' victory in 2001-02. At the Palumbo Center, the Minutemen have a 6-5 all-time mark. Prior to the win in 2006, UMass' last win over Duquesne in Pittsburgh came on Jan. 27, 2000, an 84-75 win. Monty Mack led UMass with 22 points.
For games played in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, UMass holds a 4-3 advantage with four straight victories. The Minutemen also lead the series 4-2 in neutral site games (all coming in the Atlantic 10 Tournament), winning the last four.
LAST YEAR'S GAME VS. DUQUESNE (JAN. 21, 2007): James Life scored a game-high 24 points and Gary Forbes added 19 as UMass defeated scrappy Duquesne, 101-87, in the Mullins Center. Life hit two free throws with 32 seconds remaining to push the score over the century mark for the first time in Mullins Center history. Life scored his 24 points on the strength of six three-pointers. Forbes was a perfect 8-for-8 on the day from the free throw line as part of his 19 and added nine rebounds. Stephane Lasme posted a double-double with 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds - just one shy of the Mullins Center record. Chris Lowe and Ricky Harris had nice games as well for UMass scoring 14 and 13 points, respectively. Lowe added six assists in the game, while Harris tied his career-high and snapped a five-game scoreless streak. Duquesne was led by Robert Mitchell and Reggie Jackson who each scored 22 points. Kieron Achara scored 17, while Aaron Jackson tallied 11 points. Achara, Jackson, and Mitchell each had seven rebounds.
LAST GAME AT DUQUESNE (JAN. 7, 2006): Travis Ford won his first conference game at UMass with an 82-63 victory at Duquesne. After taking a 42-31 halftime lead, UMass opened the second half with a 15-to-4 run en route to an 82-63 win at Duquesne in the Palumbo Center. UMass' size in the paint proved too much for the Dukes as the Minutemen scored 46 points in the paint compared to just 30 for Duquesne. Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme led the way with 20 and 19 points, respectively. That inside duo helped UMass shoot 55.4 percent from the floor going 31-of-56 for the game. The Minutemen also heled a 38-to-28 rebounding advantage. UMass won its first A-10 conference opener since 2000-01.
Connections With Duquesne/Pittsburgh
Ginsburg was an assistant coach on the staff while Duquesne's Shawn James played his freshman season in 2004-05 as part of the Northeastern team that beat UMass. James had five points and six rebounds.
The Dukes have one Massachusetts native is sophomore guard Jimmy Sherwood, who is from Sharon, Mass., south of Boston. He went to Thayer Academy and Cushing Academy in Mass.
Duquesne has three players who went to Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass in freshman Damian Saunders and junior transfers Shawn James and Kojo Mensah. Saunders played his prep year with UMass freshman Sedale Jones.
UMass senior Danté Milligan returns to the city where he began his college career, Pittsburgh. After one and a half seasons with the Panthers, Milligan transferred to UMass in January 2005. He played in just five games with Pitt, all in the 2004-05 season. He redshirted the 2003-04 season at Pitt, but practiced with the Panthers team which reached the NCAA Sweet 16. It is the third time Milligan will play in the Steel City since leaving Pitt. Once at Duquesne in 2006, when he had a very productive game with nine points and six rebounds in 22 minutes. Last year, he played three games (including one against Pitt) as part of the Colonial Classic, hosted by the Panthers.
Scoring, More and More
With the new offense, UMass is scoring at a high-pace. The Minutemen are averaging 83.9 points per game, up from 77.8 points (+6.1) through 19 games last season and 77.3 points (+6.6) for the entire season.
UMass is eighth in the NCAA in scoring through Jan. 29 with 83.9 per game. The Minutemen are also second in the Atlantic 10 scoring behind No. 3 Duquesne (86.0). VMI leads the nation with a 93.3 average.
UMass is the only squad with two players in the in the Top 40 NCAA scoring leaders as of Jan. 29 with Gary Forbes 31st with a 20.3 average and Ricky Harris at 36th with 19.9 per game. UMass is 30th in total 3-pointers made with 175. With 9.2 treys per game, UMass leads the A-10 and is 21st in the NCAA in 3s per game.
After finishing third in the nation (7.45) in blocked shots with the nation's top shot blocker in Lasme, UMass is tied for fourth in 2007-08 with 7.5 per game. UConn (8.7) and Mississippi State (8.6) and lead the nation. Duquesne (7.63) leads the A-10 and is third nationally.
The Minutemen picked up 41 blocks in three games (13.7 per game) from Dec. 22-Jan. 2. The Minutemen had 18 swats against Central Connecticut on Dec. 22 for the second-most prolific shot blocking game in school history. The only game with more came with a school-record of 20 on Jan. 3, 1995 in a win over West Virginia at the Springfield Civic Center. UMass followed that up with 14 blocks vs. Boston University.
The Minutemen hold the top four shot blocking days in Atlantic 10 history led by the 1995 showing and this year's party against CCSU. UMass also had 16 against St. Francis (N.Y.) last year and St. Peter's in 2005.
The 18 blocked shots ties for the ninth most in a game in NCAA history, dating to 1985 when blocked shots became an official statistic.
Showing Major Improvement
Sophomore Ricky Harris has emerged as a major weapon on offense, scoring 19.9 points per game after just 4.5 last season as a freshman. He played in 32 games, all off the bench, but has started every game this season. Harris has 379 points this year after 145 all of last year. He passed his entire scoring total in the eighth game of the season against Marist with 18 points. He leads all Minutemen in scoring improvement at +15.4 points per game. Harris scored in double-figures in the first 18 games this season with a career-high 30 at Saint Joseph's (1/23). He also scored 25 on four occasions (at Syracuse, at Boston College, at Vanderbilt and Saint Joseph's). He scored more than 15 in each of the first four games, surpassing his freshman-season high of 14 each time.
Senior Etienne Brower has become the force UMass thought he would be after transferring from Boston University. Brower is averaging 11.3 points, starting the first 15 games after scoring just 2.7 points per game in 2006-07 when he was hindered by an ankle injury all season. Brower has 214 points in the first 17 games after just 59 all of last year in 22 games. He passed his entire total in the fifth game of the season with 75 after the Wis.-Green Bay (11/17) game which he scored a career-high 25 points. Brower has more than 12 points in six of eight games in 07-08 after his season high was just eight last year. His +8.6 improvement was aided by his career-high 25 points against Wis.-Green Bay (11/17), 22 points against #23/22 Xavier (1/27) and 18 points against Houston (1/2).
Senior Danté Milligan has tallied 10 or more points in seven games this season. he had just four double-figure games in 32 contests last season. He had his career-high of 17 in two of three games at Syracuse (11/28) and against Yale (11/14). Milligan's season-high last year was 10 points which he accomplished twice. Milligan has taken his averages from 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds to 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds. An increase of 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds.
Junior Luke Bonner is also seeing more time and making his signature 3-pointers. Bonner, who averaged just 1.6 points in 06-07 is up to 4.4 per game and has made 16-of-39 from 3-point land. Last year he made seven treys all season in 31 games.
Among The A-10 Leaders
Harris is second in steals per game with 2.11, which is 45th in the NCAA. He's sixth in 3-pointers per game with 2.74.
After an early season ankle injury, Chris Lowe has returned to his usual form and place amongst the leaders when it comes to point guards. He is second in the league in assists with 5.12 per game. He is also seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio with 1.85. Lowe has averaged 13.5 points and 5.5 assists over 14 games since returning from an ankle injury on Nov. 28. Over three games (Dec. 29-Jan. 5), Lowe averaged 18.0 points per game and shot 62 percent from the floor along with 4.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Lowe is also 11th in the league in steals with 1.59 per game.
Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass as he stands eighth with 358. With five helpers against Charlotte (1/19), he passed Charlton Clarke (350). Next is Anthony Anderson, who had 367. With five assists against CCSU (12/22), he passed BC Coach Al Skinner (320) and then with five more against Houston (1/2), he passed Louisville coach Rick Pitino (329).
Danté Milligan is shooting 63.0 from the floor (58-of-92), but is shy of qualifying for the NCAA rankings (5.0 made field goals per game). If he were eligible, Milligan would rank ninth nationally and second in the A-10. Milligan has taken his field goal percentage from 49.4 to 63.0, an improvement of 13.6 percent. Milligan is fourth fourth in the Atlantic 10 in blocked shots per game with 1.63. Tony Gaffney stands seventh with 1.53.
UMass Against Ranked Teams
This season the Minutemen also lost at then-No. 15 Vanderbilt on Jan. 5, 97-88, in Nashville. UMass fell to #23/22 Xavier on Jan. 27, 77-65, at the Mullins Center.
Last season, UMass played just one ranked team when they lost at No. 4 Pittsburgh, 85-68 on Nov. 18, 2006. Two seasons ago, UMass lost to No. 3 UConn, 78-60 on Dec. 8, 2005, to No. 11 Boston College, 91-62 on Jan. 3, 2006 and to No. 7 to George Washington, 69-66 on Feb. 15, 2006.
UMass head coach Travis Ford won his first-ever game as a head coach against a ranked team with the win at Dayton. He is 1-6 at UMass after going 0-9 while coaching at Eastern Kentucky from 2000-05.
All-time, UMass is 30-67 against ranked teams.
The last time UMass was ranked in the AP Poll was in the Nov. 18, 1998 poll, when the Minutemen came in at No. 23.
Three Atlantic 10 teams have been ranked this season with highs of Dayton at No. 14, Rhode Island at No. 22 and Xavier at No. 20. When all three were ranked, it was the first since the 2003 season, the A-10 had three ranked teams.
This week, Xavier is No. 15. Dayton, Rhode Island and Saint Joseph's are including in "Others Receiving Votes".
UMass also played No. 14 Vanderbilt (17-3), one of the final five undefeated teams in the nation, in a 97-88 loss on January 5.
Last week, UMass receivedvotes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll for the first time this season with nine points. Effectively, UMass was 33rd in the nation according to that poll. Last season, UMass received one vote in March for its only other time with points in the last two seasons.
Beating the ACC & Big East
UMass Continues Home Dominance
Ford-Tough At Home
Harris Earns A-10, National Honors
Forbes Earns National, A-10 Honors
In the win at BC, Forbes also pulled down seven rebounds. For the week, he shot 13-of-28 from the field and 18-for-19 from the line on the week. He was also named A-10 Player of the Week after the second week of the season on Nov. 18.
Forbes was honored by the A-10 for the first time after his outstanding play on Nov. 18 as he was named the Atlantic 10's co-player of the week along with Rhode Island's Will Daniels. Forbes averaged 24.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in three contests between Nov. 11-17. He scored a season-best 29 points, including the 1,000th of his career, on Nov. 11 at Northern Iowa. He added 19 points and nine boards in the Minutemen's 89-80 win over Yale on Nov. 14. Finally, he scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists on Nov. 17 as UMass downed Wisconsin-Green Bay, 93-78. That game was special to Forbes as he played before his father Roberto for the first time in his collegiate career. Roberto was visiting from his home in Jonesboro, Georgia.
UMass Wins Commonwealth Classic
UMass' athletic teams have had great success against Boston College athletic teams in the 2007 calendar year. The Minutemen and Minutewomen have posted a 10-2-1 record against BC in 10 different sports. Most notably, UMass' men's soccer team, which played in the NCAA College Cup on Dec. 7, knocked off No. 1-seeded Boston College on Nov. 28, by the score of 2-1. Additionally, UMass' softball team beat BC twice last spring, while the Minuteman hockey team has a 2-0-1 record against the Eagles, who won the 2007 Hockey East title. One of UMass' losses came in football, where the FBS Eagles were challenged by UMass' FCS team on Sept. 29, in a 24-14 BC win at Alumni Stadium. The Minutemen, who play with only 63 scholarships in the former Division I-AA, were within 17-14 in the fourth quarter.
The win also marked the first win vs. an ACC opponent since the Minutemen defeated Florida State, 78-68 on Feb. 15, 2005.
UMass also defeated alumnus Al Skinner for the first time since 1999, after Skinner had won eight in a row. Skinner is one of four former UMass players to have his number retired. Skinner had his No. 30 retired on Feb. 18, 2004. All-time against his alma mater, Skinner is 11-21
Bits From The 107-Point Outburst
The 107 points were the most UMass has scored in a regulation game since a 110-97 win over Duquesne on Jan. 6, 1977. It tied for the 11th-most points in a game for UMass as it also scored 107 in a win over Colgate in 1966.
The 207 combined points tied for the third-most points in a game in UMass annals. The record is 233, when UMass lost at Rutgers in triple overtime, 119-114 on Feb. 27, 1988.
The other game with more total points (214) marked the last time UMass played in a game where both teams scored 100 points in a regulation when North Texas beat the Minutemen, 110-104 on Dec. 29, 1982.
UMass continues to be the personal bug-a-boo for Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim. Of schools the legend has faced two or more times, UMass is the ONLY school which Boeheim has never beaten. The Minutemen are 3-0, winning in 1992, 1995 and 2007 against the Orange.
In the epic win, UMass rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to come away with the win. Ricky Harris led the Minutemen with a career-high 25 points while Gary Forbes added 23 points. Forbes also had seven assists and six rebounds in what Travis Ford called his best game at UMass.
Point guard Chris Lowe returned to action after sitting for 14 days of game-action and had 13 points and a career-high tying nine assists.
UMass shot 52 percent from the floor including 14-of-31 from 3-point range. Etienne Brower made 4-of-6 from trey-range.
25 Is Twice As Nice
UMass Goes 2-1 At BTI Tip-Off
2006-07 A Season To Remember
The Minutemen captured a share of the league title on March 3 with a 71-67 win at Saint Joseph's. It marked UMass' first regular-season league title since 1996 and sixth A-10 regular-season crown overall. The Minutemen won five straight regular-season titles from 1992-96 and proceeded to win the A-10 Tournament each time.
The Minutemen went 24-9 overall and had the best season since the 1995-96 Final Four year when they went 35-2 in finishing as a national semifinalist. UMass finished with a 13-3 record in the Atlantic 10. UMass had its best conference record since going a school-record 15-1 in 1995-96. Prior to the loss to Saint Louis in the A-10s, the Minutemen had won six games in a row overall, their longest win streak since capturing 10 games in a row in Jan.-Feb. 1998.
UMass senior Stephane Lasme was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-07. Lasme is the first UMass player to be named the league's top player since Marcus Camby in 1996 and fourth overall joining Camby, Lou Roe (1995) and Harper Williams (1992). Lasme was named an AP Honorable Mention All-American following the season. He was UMass' first All-American honoree since Camby in 1996.
Lasme was joined by senior Rashaun Freeman on the A-10 First Team. Freeman is the first player since Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson (2001-04) to be a three-time first-team selection.
Lasme is the second player to be named the league's Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same campaign joining Pepe Sanchez of Temple in 1999 and David West of Xavier in 2002. Lasme joined Tony Dobbins of Richmond (2002-04) as the only players in league history to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in successive seasons. Lasme was also named to the All-Defensive Team for the second year in row.
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