Minutemen Return Home, Host Charlotte On ESPNU
UMASS (8-12, 2-4) vs. CHARLOTTE (15-5, 5-1)
Minutemen Return Home, Host Charlotte On ESPNU
Saturday's game marks the first of five consecutive televised games for the Minutemen. Wednesday, the Minutemen host Xavier, at 7 p.m. That game will air on CBS College Sports Regional Networks. The game serves as the backdrop for the Leaman Legacy Game. A portion of ticket sales go to benefit the Leaman Legacy Fund, which benefits student-athlete scholarships at UMass. Jack Leaman, who passed away in 2004, is the man most synonymous with UMass Basketball and the court at the Mullins Center was named for him in 2005. He coached the program from 1966 from 1979 and the likes of Julius Erving.
UMass enters the game at 8-12 overall and 2-4 in the A-10 after posting its first road conference win of the season. The 49ers are coming off a huge 74-64 win over No. 15 Temple on Wednesday, and stand at 15-5 overall, 5-1 in the A-10.
The UMass Sports Network with Josh Maurer, Tim Collins and Glenn Wong will cover the game on WRNX 100.9 FM in Western Mass as well as WCRN 830 AM in Central Mass and 1060 AM WBIX in Boston. The pregame begins 30 minutes prior to tip.
In Wednesday's win at Saint Joseph's, UMass ended a five game losing streak as the Baltimore connection of senior Ricky Harris (23 points, 8 rebounds) and freshman Terrell Vinson (16 points, 9 rebounds) combined for 39 points and 17 rebounds. Freddie Riley hit four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. UMass outebounded the Hawks, 44-31.
The Series With Charlotte
UMass won the last meeting at the Mullins Center, 86-79 on Jan. 19, 2008. Charlotte won the only other meeting in Amherst, 72-71 in 2006.
UMass is 1-1 at Halton Arena, winning in 2007 and losing last season. Since the 49ers joined the Atlantic 10 from Conference USA in 2005-06, Charlotte has won three of five games.
Two years ago, they split two meetings with the 49ers dusting UMass in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, 69-65 in Atlantic City on March 13, 2008. UMass on the regular-season meeting at the Mullins Center, 86-79 on Jan. 19, 2008.
Prior to being conference foes, the teams split games played on neutral courts, both in New England.
UMass won the meeting on Jan. 15, 1998 as part of the Atlantic 10/Conference USA Challenge held at the Providence Civic Center, winning 68-62 in overtime. In that game, Lari Ketner and Charlton Clarke scored 15 points each, Tyrone Weeks had 15 rebounds and 9 points. Monty Mack had 12 points. Future NBA first-rounder DeMarco Johnson was held to 10 points for the Charlotte.
The first meeting came in 1974 at the Hall of Fame Tournament at the Springfield Civic Center with the 49ers beating UMass, 85-57. The late John Murphy led UMass with 30 points. Murphy's family was honored as part of the 1970s celebration at UMass last Saturday.
UMass head coach Derek Kellogg will coach against Charlotte as the head man for the second time. But he faced the 49ers many times as an assistant at Memphis when the teams were Conference USA foes. In fact, Memphis was just 2-3 including 0-3 at Halton Arena while Kellogg assisted John Calipari in those games vs the 49ers from 2001-05.
Charlotte's Bobby Lutz will be coaching against UMass for the sixth time, standing at 3-2. Lutz was the coach of the 49ers in all five of those games which Kellogg was on the sidelines for Memphis.
Last Season's Meeting
The 49ers scored nine of the final 12 points in regulation to erase a 52-46 UMass lead. It was capped off by two consecutive 3-pointers from Ian Anderson. Charlotte kept the momentum going with an 8-2 run to begin the overtime period, a margin that proved too much for the Minutemen to overcome.
Luke Bonner tied his career-high with 15 points and set a new career-high with 11 rebounds. Ricky Harris finished with 19 points, Anthony Gurley netted 10, and Tony Gaffney had nine points to go along with 13 boards.
Charlotte was led by Lamont Mack with 23 points, 15 of which came after halftime. Anderson was the only other 49er in double figures, netting 13. Each team shot 36 percent from the field. The Minutemen shot 32 percent from behind the 3-point arc (10-31) while the 49ers were 39 percent (10-26). Charlotte won the battle of the boards, 44-38.
The 49ers rode the momentum from a 10-0 run to end the first half, scoring the first eight points of the second to break a 29-29 tie. Harris made it 37-31 with 17:17 remaining in regulation to snap UMass' 6:13 scoreless drought.
UMass was in Charlotte earlier this season, losing at Davidson, 63-61.
UMass has one Carolina native in sophomore center Sean Carter,who is from Fayetteville. He played high school basketball at the 71st High School before attended the Laurinburg Institute.
UMass freshman Freddie Riley and Charlotte freshman Chris Braswell played together last season at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. Braswell is from Capitol Heights, Md., and played his AAU basketball with DC Triple Threat where he competed against many UMass foes such as freshmen Javorn Farrell and Raphiael Putney.
UMass Pounds The Boards
UMass has outrebounded 13 opponents, by an average of 3.9 rebounds per game. That includes margins of 25 vs. Grambling (55-30), 20 vs. Memphis (44-24), 17 at Boston College (50-33) and 9 at Baylor (42-33).
The Baylor margin was remarkable as the Bears were leading the NCAA in rebounding margin at the time (+11.0) and had outrebounded all 17 opponents until that game. Baylor starts a front line of players standing 7-0, 6-11 and 6-10.
Between Dec. 11 and Jan. 6, UMass outrebounded its opponents 48.3 to 31.3 (193-125).
The Minutemen have used a rebounding by committee strategy. Three players average more than five per game. Sean Carter leads the way with 6.3 per game. Terrell Vinson is up to 5.5 boards per game. Hashim Bailey is second with 5.4 per game in just 13.2 minutes per game. Prorated over 40 minutes, Bailey would grab 16.4 boards.
Shooting Tells The Story
In UMass' eight wins, the Minutemen are shooting 47.2 from the floor overall and 33.3 from 3-point range. In the losses UMass is 36.0 on all field goals and 27.9 from beyond the arc.
On defense, in the victories, UMass is holding foes to 40.9 overall and 30.9 from 3-point land. In the defeats, opponents are shooting 46.6 percent overall and a strong 39.8 from trifecta land.
It has translated to a scoring margin of 80.2 to 67.5 in the wins and a mark of 78.5 to 65.2 in the losses.
UMass is 7-2 when shooting above 40 percent this year and 1-10 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 7-0 when shooting a better percentage than its opponents and 1-11 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 17.5 average this season. He is sixth all-time with 1,679 points after passing Tony Barbee (1,643) with 15 points at Baylor (1/23). Next on the list is Lorenzo Sutton (1,731). He has scored in double-figures in 30 games in a row, in 83 of his 117 career games and in 80 of his last 85 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 16 of 20 games this season. He is second on UMass in scoring with a 14.9 points per game average. He had at least 13 points in 15 of 20 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 from minor knee surgery for the game 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 four games (from Jan. 10-20), Riley averaged 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 2.7.
Vinson has nine games overall in double-figures with the last coming at Saint Joseph's (1/27). Also, at Baylor (1/23) he had his second-career double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. He scored 20-plus with 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 eight games in double-figures including 20-plus twice, with 22 vs. La Salle (1/10) and 20 at Richmond (1/13).
Sampson Carter is averaging 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds with double-figures in three games. Javorn Farrell is averaging 3.7 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).
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), Donald Russell (1,558) with 21 vs. Fordham (1/6) and current UTEP Head Coach Tony Barbee (1,643).
Harris is the 40th UMass player to score 1,000 points in his career.
Harris has scored in double-figures in 83 of his 117 career games including 80 of the last 85 dating to his sophomore year with the last 30 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 (243) and third in attempts (693).
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 344 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 1,314. Next on the list is No. 4 Mike Pyatt (1,318).
This season, Harris 35-of-123 from 3-point range this season and 59-of-79 from the foul line.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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