• UMass heads back on the road for a two-game stretch at La Salle and Charlotte, beginning Wednesday night in Philadelphia at Tom Gola Arena - where the Minutemen have lost four-consecutive times.
• The trip will be a good barometer for the Minutemen who are 5-1 on the road this season, as La Salle is one of the most talked about teams in the nation following wins over Butler and at VCU last week, while Charlotte has 16 wins - second only to its 1977 Final Four team’s 17 at this point.
• 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 41.7 pct. from the field, 30.9 pct. from outside and 70.7 pct. from the free throw line, while averaging 72.8 points per game overall. In five A-10 games, those numbers are 43.9 pct., 29.5 pct., 70.9 pct. and 72.8 ppg.
• UMass averages 7.2 3-pointers made and 23.7 attempts per game. The Minutemen have 146 steals thus far for 8.1 spg, which ranks 71st in the nation. Last season, UMass collected a school-record 326 steals and 8.8 spg. UMass is also 55th in blocked shots with 4.7 bpg.
• Junior PG Chaz Williams leads the A-10 in assists (7.2, sixth in NCAA) and double-digit assist performances (3). He is also averaging 18.8 points (third in the A-10) and shooting 44 pct from outside in five A-10 games.
• UMass was listed at No. 53 in the latest edition of the NCAA RPI, following weeks of 45, 49 and 60 when public reporting began four weeks ago.
SERIES HISTORY WITH LA SALLE
• UMass is 14-14 all-time against La Salle, including a 7-4 mark in Amherst and 1-1 in Springfield, while the Explorers hold a 9-6 lead in Philadelphia. La Salle has won three straight and seven of the last eight. The first meeting was an 82-75 win for La Salle on Dec. 30, 1971 in Philadelphia.
• From 2006-08 UMass won three-consecutive games. That included the Minutemen’s last win in Tom Gola Arena and two games by large margins in 2007 and 2008 at the Mullins Center. UMass won those games by an average score of 101-63, a 38-point margin. On 2008’s Senior Night, UMass defeated La Salle, 100-63 on March 5, 2008. That came a year after a 102-63 triumph on Feb. 28, 2007 at the Mullins Center.
• UMass’ three-game win streak followed a run where La Salle won five of six from 2003-06. UMass won six in a row from 1991-98.
• UMass coach Derek Kellogg is 1-7 against La Salle as a coach. La Salle joined the Atlantic 10 in the 1994-95 season, Kellogg’s senior year and the Minutemen beat the Explorers, 87-64 in Atlantic City. La Salle coach John Giannini stands 10-7 against UMass (10-5 since moving to La Salle, as he lost twice at Maine).
• LAST SEASON IN PHILADELPHIA: Chaz Williams scored 24 points and Jesse Morgan added 20 as UMass suffered an 82-75 loss at Tom Gola Arena. After trailing by 26 points at halftime, UMass went on a 21-6 run to start the second half sparked by eight points from Morgan. Morgan led the Minutemen in the first with 11 points, but the Explorers hit 10-of-16 three-pointers. Morgan also finished the game with four steals, three rebounds and a block. Williams added five assists to his 24 point effort. Sean Carter rounded out UMass’ top scorers with a career-high 18 points along with six rebounds. La Salle was led by Earl Pettis and Ramon Galloway who scored 19 and 18 points, respectively. Tyreek Duren added 12 points, while Sam Mills scored 11.
• LAST SEASON IN AMHERST: Maxie Esho posted a career-high 18 points and Chaz Williams recorded his second-consecutive double-double with 11 points and 10 assists but UMass fell to La Salle 72-71 on a buzzer-beater in Amherst. UMass trailed by four with 21 seconds left and by three with the final possession but after an offenive rebound, Terrell Vinson’s basket as time expired from the left wing was reviewed and ruled a two-pointer. UMass shot 45 percent for the game but was just 9-of-18 from the free throw line. Esho finished with a career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while Williams recorded his second-consecutive double-double with 11 points and 10 assists. La Salle made eight 3-pointers and saw four players in double figures, led by Earl Pettis’ 18. Tyreek Duren, Ramon Galloway and Jerrell Wright each had 15. The Explorers were 12-of-17 from the line and 4-of-6 in the final minute. The second half went back-and-forth until the Explorers took their largest lead of the contest, 60-51, on a Ramon Galloway triple with 6:08 on the clock. UMass responded with a 12-2 run over the next 2:20 to grab a 63-62 advantage.
INSIDE PRODUCTION COMING ON STRONG IN A-10 PLAY
• UMass has seen an increase in the production of its interior players over the past few weeks. The quintet of Sampson Carter, Maxie Esho, Cady Lalanne, Raphiael Putney and Terrell Vinson have combined to average 46 points per game over the last six contests and 40.1 in five Atlantic 10 outings.
• As a team, UMass has scored at least 30 points in the paint in its last five games, with 38 in each of its last two contests.
• UMass is 9-0 this season when outscoring its opponent in the paint and 11-0 when the totals are identical or in the Minutemen’s favor.
UMASS TURNING INTO ROAD WARRIORS
• The Minutemen enter the La Salle/Charlotte week with a 5-1 record on the road this season, with a 1-1 mark in A-10 play. Prior to its loss at Saint Louis in the opening week of league play, the Minutemen had won seven-consecutive road games dating back to the postseason NIT run last year - a figure that ranked as the third-longest active streak in the country. The last time they won as many true road games was during the 1997-98 season when Bruiser Flint’s second team reeled-off seven-consecutive in opposing arenas.
• In UMass’ six road contests this season, Chaz Williams is shooting 50 pct. from outside (15-for-30), while averaging 10.2 ppg after halftime, compared to 6.3 in the opening 20 minutes.
• Last season UMass went 2-6 on the road in A-10 action, collecting wins at George Washington and Richmond. The eight road opponents this season - Charlotte, Fordham, La Salle, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis, VCU and Xavier - combined to go 44-21 at home in 11-12.
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 .309 (14th 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 FINDING HIS NICHE
• With the season-ending knee injury to Jesse Morgan, senior Freddie Riley has been inserted in to the starting lineup and made the most of his opportunity. Over the past six games he has averaged 11.5 points while shooting .414 from the floor and .415 from outside.
• He has also set career-highs for minutes played in four of the past five games with an all-time-best 40 on Sunday.
• He enters the week ranked sixth all-time at UMass with 190 3-pointers made.
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 FTerrell 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.