Men's Basketball

LIVE BLOG: UMass Basketball At #10 Xavier

Luke Bonner (and Tony Gaffney) play their 100th college games today.

Luke Bonner (and Tony Gaffney) play their 100th college games today.

Jan. 31, 2009

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    The Minutemen will take on their third ranked opponent this season as UMass faces No. 10/10 Xavier this afternoon at high noon. In the 100th Season of UMass Basketball, UMass is playing a ranked opponent (AP Poll) for the 100th time (31-68 in previous games). The game will air nationally on ESPNU with Jim Barbar and Dave Kaplan calling the action. Here on, Jason Yellin from media relations provides this live running blog from courtside at the Cintas Center.

    2:13 p.m. What can you say? You have to be proud of UMass' effort. It almost did something that only Duke and Butler have been able to accomplish this season. If nothing else, this proves that the Minutemen can compete with the elite in the conference (having beaten Dayton and Temple too), so they will have as good a shot as any to win the A-10 Tournament in March.

    What a shooting night for Xavier. Very strange stats, as follows:

    FGs: UMass (28-66, 42%), Xavier (31-52, 60%)

    3 PT FGs: UMass (9-22, 41%), Xavier (8-17, 47%)

    Rebounds: UMass (26), Xavier (37)

    Turnovers: UMass (11), Xavier (23)

    What's ironic is that Chris Lowe missed the final FT on purpose, but if he had made it, it would have given him his 1,000th career point.

    Four of UMass' five starters finished in double figures in scoring: Ricky Harris (17), Lowe (16), Luke Bonner (14), Anthony Gurley (10). Tony Gaffney also had nine with 11 boards.



    Such an intense and exciting game all around. Nearly two straight upsets over nationally ranked teams for UMass sports. Be sure to come out to the Mullins Center Wednesday night as the Minutemen host Richmond at 7 p.m. Remember, the Mass Attack has its turn on ESPNU tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Maine. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the Super Bowl Weekend. Be sure to come back next time! Until then, GO UMass!

    2:05 p.m. Lowe misses the second free throw on purpose and Tony Gaffney's tip attempt would not fall. It seemed eerily similar to the Boston College game, in which he made a tip to force OT. Unfortunately, it wasn't the same ending.

    What a ballgame. Xavier wins 82-80. With this effort, UMass would have probably beaten nearly every other team in the country, but that's why X is ranked #10.

    Back in a bit with some final stats.

    2:02 p.m. Xavier has been employing the fouling strategy and Chris Lowe fired up a heave well after being fouled and it went in! Too bad the foul was clearly before the shot, otherwise, Lowe would have had a free throw to potentially give UMass the lead.

    2:01 p.m. This game is getting huge national attention as both ESPN2 and ESPNews are showing the final seconds as bonus coverage.

    1:58 p.m. UMass does make the stop, and Ricky Harris has a wide open 3, great look, but wouldn't fall. The Minutemen fouled, so still plenty of time left (9.4 seconds). Even if Xavier hits both, UMass can tie with a 3.

    1:55 p.m. Xavier takes a quick hoop to open up a 4-point lead, but it may backfire as Ricky Harris QUICKLY nets a 3-pointer to pull UMass back within one. Still plenty of time left, so the Minutemen don't even need to foul with 48 seconds to go. A defensive stop and UMass will have plenty of time to try and win this game.

    1:52 p.m. Just as I talk about Bonner, he steps in to take another charge! Very gutsy play. Then he finishes a putback to put UMass back up once again, 74-73.

    1:49 p.m. Luke Bonner picks up his fourth personal foul, so hopefully the Minutemen don't lose a big body down low. He'll have to be careful to make sure he doesn't pick up a fifth.

    On another note, Xavier has won 29 straight games when scoring 70 or more points. Let's hope that streak ends this afternoon (along with its 9-game win streak).

    1:45 p.m. Final media timeout (3:56) and UMass is down one, 71-70. Incredibly, Xavier is still shooting over 60 percent (29-48), but only up one. Its 21 turnovers have continued to be the issue. You have to love the resiliency of the Minutemen to fight back from a double digit first half deficit to make this a ball game!

    1:43 p.m. Chris Lowe with another spectacular drive to the basket and he finishes (and gets fouled!). The 3-point play makes it 70-69 UMass. The Minutemen won't go away! He becomes the fourth player in double figures for UMass.

    1:41 p.m. Derrick Brown hits a 3-point to tie the score at 67...It's getting really intense here, seems like a postseason atmosphere. This game is bound to go back and forth down the stretch. Let's see if the Minutemen can pull off another road upset like Kansas!

    1:35 p.m. David Gibbs cans a 3FG and UMASS LEADS, 65-64! What a comeback, UMass last led at 27-25 midway in the first half.

    1:32 p.m. We are tied ... fourth time in the game as Chris Lowe steals the ball and lays it in 58 all. Lowe is playing a very solid game.

    1:29 p.m. UMass down two after a trey by Ricky Harris with 11:30 left ... Xavier is getting nervous. Media timeout and its 58-56 with 11:19 left.

    Bonner is up to 12 points, his third double-figure game this season and six of his career. Ricky Harris and Anthony Gurley each have 10 points, in double-figures for the 18th and 12th times, respectively this season. Tony Gaffney is at nine rebounds along with seven points, three steals and two blocks.

    1:25 p.m. UMass is playing tough basketball today doing the little things that make a difference. If you get a chance check out Jay Bilas great article on about playing TOUGH basketball. Derek Kellogg calls a TO and its leads to a Bonner trey, his third of the game and UMass is down just five, 56-51 with 13 minutes left.

    1:21 p.m. Steals for UMass are keeping the Minutemen in the game, they now have seven after another TO, the 16th by Xavier as leads 54-48 with 14:40 left. Great defensive pressure by UMass. Ref Steratore has called a third foul this half on UMass as the Minutemen pick up the intensity.

    1:18 p.m. Huge lost sequence for UMass, the Minutemen steal the ball but miss 3 chances then Xavier comes down and yet again Derrick Brown lays the ball and is fouled by Gary Correia, UMass down 53-46 with 15:30 left. Still plenty of time, but it just kills the Minutemen that they can't hit some easy shots. What could have been a three point game just seconds ago could be back to eight, just like that!

    1:15 p.m. UMass subs in three with 16:45 left in the second half, Lynch, Gibbs and Correia into the game. Xavier has built it lead to 51-42 as Derrick Brown can't miss, he's 7-7 from the floor and 3-3 from 3FGs... 18 points.

    1:11 p.m. UMass draws another offensive foul but can't convert as Ricky Harris steps out of bounds. Then Tony Gaffney steals the ball and breakawy dunks it home with a tomahawk. That draws the ire of the Xavier fans as the lead is cut to four 46-42.

    B.J. Raymond answers with a jumper and immediately Sean Miller calls his third TO, leaving him just two, to set up a defense for XU.

    Back to Gaffney he now has 32 dunks this season, by far the most for UMass, as only Gurley and Gibbs have dunked besides him, just one each. Gaffney also has two steals as he leads the A-10 in thefts with 2.3 per game, 38th in the NCAA.

    1:08 p.m. UMass ball to begin the second half. The Minutemen need to get a run going early to stay in this game. They have showed they can bounce back from deficits but this is the best team they have faced this season according to Coach Kellogg, better than both Kansas and Memphis, last season's two NCAA Finalists.

    1:04 p.m. Sorry for the delay with this week's UMass Hoops Insider on the web, but it is now in the front page video player for you to watch if you missed it on CBS3 this morning at 11:30 a.m. The show has an awesome feature on Luke Bonner as CBS3 spent the day with his earlier this week.

    1:00 p.m. Back at halftime, UMass trails 44-37.

    Xavier has been redhot from the floor, 68 percent, Derrick Brown with 15 points on 6-6 from the floor. B.J. Raymond has 10 points.

    UMass is led by Anthony Gurley with 8, Luke Bonner and Chris Lowe with 6 points each. Lowe also has five assists and just one TO.

    A big reason UMass is down just seven despite being outrebounded (16-10) and outshot in all percentages: FGs (68-45), 3FGs (63-39) and FTs (100-50) is turnovers, UMass has just five and Xavier has 10.

    12:50 p.m. Gurley nails a trey and its back to a seven-point game, 42-35 with under a minute left. UMass getting hurt on the boards by the much larger Muskies, 16-11 advantage. Gaffney has four for UMass.

    12:45 p.m. Lowe has reentered after a little love from trainer Dave Maclutsky drives again and is fouled and again goes 1-2 at the line. UMass down 41-32. Lowe steals the ball, trips and loses it out of bounds.

    Xavier has been called for its fifth foul on the offensive end, this one an illegal screen. The Muskies are up to 10 team fouls, so UMass will have the double bonus if they get a chance with 1:32 left.

    12:42 p.m. Chris Lowe heads to the line after being fouled on a drive and hits 1-of-2, but comes out with what looks like an ankle sprain.

    Tyrell Lynch called for his third foul and goes to the bench replaced by Matt Glass.

    Xavier calls its second TO, the 30-second TO to save possession. XU continues to lead 38-31 with exactly 3:00 left. Let's see if UMass can cut the lead before halftime.

    12:38 p.m. Kenny Frease called for his second foul on an elbow leads to the under 4-TO with 3:25 left, Xavier leads 38-30. Chris Lowe has entered back in the game. Lowe has four assists and is now tied with Edgar Padilla with 597 assists for second all-time at UMass. The all-time leader is Carl Smith (633) who he should pass in five games or so with his 6.0 average.

    12:31 p.m. Xavier hits two clutch shots off balance as the Muskies take a 32-27 lead forcing Derek Kellogg to call timeout.

    Muskies hit another shot, boy are they sweet shooting, X leads 34-28 after a Ricky Harris free throw. Xavier is shooting 67 percent from the floor.

    Harris adds a bucket and Sean Miller calls his one and only full timeout with 4:53 left in the first half and UMass down 34-30. Its odd since now Miller has to still use a 30 second TO in the first half so he will lose it. I guess he really wants his Musketeers to buckle down and stop UMass who have impresses early on here in Cincy.

    12:26 p.m. Matt Glass replaces Gaffney who has two blocks as he still stands second in the NCAA with 4.6 per game. Xavier has subbed in Brad Redford, who averaged an amazing 36.7 per game in high school in Michigan.

    Glass cans a trey, his first points in seven games. He had scored all 40 of his points in a seven game span earlier in the season.

    UMass leads 27-25 with 7:38 left in the first half.

    12:22 p.m. Bonner gets tripped and ends up tripping Holloway, who looks ailing, but guts it out. Xavier gets the ball as Bonner called for the foul. Then a push out called on Frease against Lynch gets UMass the ball back. The fans are irrate with boos.

    Derrick Brown cans a trey and Xavier retakes the lead at 23-22 with 9:40 left.

    12:19 p.m. Bonner hits a trey and B.J. Raymond answers the 3FG with his own as UMass leads 22-20 at the media timeout with 11:33 left. UMass is 9-13 from the floor 69 percent. Xavier is 8-12 for 67 percent. Great shooting with the early start.

    It has been relatively quiet in here as UMass has shutdown some of the supporters and the early start has held back some students... They section is nearly full but you can tell some of the students are just waking up and a little groggy.

    12:14 p.m. Xavier's 5-0 run caused Derek Kellogg to sub back in four starters and only David Gibbs is on the court with Lowe, Harris, Bonner and Gaffney. Also interesting Gibbs brings the ball up the court as the point with Lowe on the wing.

    Bonner draws an offensive foul on Jason Love. UMass now up 17-15 after a Chris Lowe driving layup which spins around and round the rim and falls in.

    12:09 p.m. Subs all around as Gary Correia and Matt Glass enter the game so UMass has four subs on the court with Ricky Harris. Xavier has brought in C.J. Anderson and Jamel McLean.

    At the first media timeout, UMass leads 13-10 with 15:51 left in the first.

    Xavier's Sean Miller is yelling loud at his team. angry with their defensive start. UMass has started 5-of-7 (71.4 percent). Only one team one team has shot over 50 percent vs. Xavier this year, Duke and they won by 82-64 back in December. Only six opponents of 20 have shot over 40 percent vs. Xavier this year.

    12:05 p.m. The first four shots go down in the game including a trey by Luke Bonner, which suprised some of the fans.

    David Gibbs and Tyrell Lynch sub in at 17:42. Xavier counters with sub freshman Kenny Frease, who has been hot of late.

    UMass leadd 11-10 after a trey by Gaffney. Hot shooting all around.

    12:02 p.m. We are ready to tip off and the Blue Blob of Xavier is dancing on the court. UMass is meeting and ready to go.

    Special get well wishes to coach Vance Walberg, who is not on the trip after recovering back in Amherst.

    12:00 p.m. The lights are out and the Power of X is on display with a video showing highlights from the NCAA Tournament last year when the Muskies made the NCAA Elite Eight. Pretty chilling and emotion with great shots and celebrations.

    Another sign of Coaches Vs. Cancer is the officials wearing pink whistles for breast cancer awareness.

    11:53 a.m. It sure is a late arriving crowd, right now the student section which is in the end zone near UMass' bench, is less than half full. The Minutemen have hit the court ready for the game. Chris Lowe led the Minutemen out. The coaching staff followed behind, wearing their suits and sneakers.

    Derek Kellogg has made his way out and embraces Xavier coach Sean Miller, who is very close to due to the connection for both with John Calipari. Coach Cal is "related" to Miller and obviously Cal has been with Kellogg for close to two decades at UMass and Memphis.

    Here is a description from the Memphis Commercial Appeal when Memphis and Xavier played earlier this season:

    Sean's father, John Miller, is a legendary high school coach in the Pittsburgh area, and their families became intertwined in ways that would take Calipari several minutes to fully explain. That he ultimately recruited Miller to the University of Pittsburgh was almost incidental to their relationship.

    "His uncle and I were teammates, and I spent as much time in his grandmother's house as I did my own house," Calipari said. "My high school coach and (John Miller) were teammates, and he coached me in the summer. We're family."

    11:50 a.m. Also in the house tonight is a huge section for UMass director of operations Andy Allison, who is from nearby Columbus, Ohio. He has friends and family in attendance making the 90-mile drive. Allison went to Youngstown State.

    Yesterday Allison took the UMass staff to his favorite food stop: Skyline Chili. It was an awesome meal with the legendary chili. Allison or "Butchie" as he is known, walks around in a Skyline Chili ski hat often and now he had the chance to show everyone why he wears it proudly.

    11:40 a.m. Here are today's starters

    For UMass
    At forward, #24 Tony Gaffney - Playing his 100th college game today
    At center, #31 Luke Bonner - Also playing his 100th college game
    At wing, #12 Anthony Gurley - Has two four-point plays in last three games
    At guard, #5 Ricky Harris - Coming off season-low 6 points vs. La Salle
    At point, #14 Chris Lowe - Needs 17 points for 1,000 career points

    For Xavier
    At forward, #5 Derrick Brown - 11 rebounds vs. Charlotte on Wednesday
    At forward, #20 C.J. Anderson - Manhattan transfer scoring 10.6 PPG
    At center, #31 Jason Love - Over last 9 games, averaging 9.2 PPG and 6.7 RPG
    At guard, #11 B.J. Raymond - Has a team-best 42 3FGs
    At guard, #52 Terrell Holloway - Freshman is third in the A-10 in FT Pct.

    11:30 a.m. Its a big weekend for ESPNU and UMass this weekend. The hoop team is on the "U" today at Noon and the hockey team on Sunday at 4 p.m.

    Today's refs are Gene Steratore, Mark Schnur and Ron Tyburski. Steratore is the NFL ref and NCAA hoop ref. He was the head of the crew that finished the NFL season at Buffalo when the Patriots topped the Bills, 13-0 in the super windy Ralph Wilson Stadium.

    21:00 on the clock until tip and its very empty in here which of course helps UMas if there is actually anything less than a sellout which is expected (10,250).

    11:20 p.m. The legendary Xavier students are late arriving with the early 12 Noon start which will benefit the Minutemen. Right now their are just a handful of blue-painted bodies screaming at the Minutemen. They are riding Tony Gaffney and Luke Bonner pretty hard.

    They are saying that the conference should be named the Atlantic 1 ... not Atlantic 10 as Xavier is the only team that matters in the league standing in first place.

    At halftime today, listen to Josh Maurer's interview with Jim Satalin, the Coordinator of Official in the Atlantic 10, who also heads up the Coaches Vs. Canver effort.

    11:00 a.m. UMass has hit the court in its maroon jerseys.

    This weekend is Coaches Vs. Cancer Awareness Weekend as coaches across the nation will be wearing sneakers to draw attention and raise awareness in their communities. UMass' staff is outfitted in white Adidas kicks, while Xavier will be in Nike sneaks.

    Looking around Cintas Center, the student section seats have been covered in newspapers so the fans can block out UMass as the Minutemen are introduced.

    In the stands behind the UMass bench look for Tony Gaffney, Sr., is making the grand tour with the Minutemen this season as he makes another stop in his senior son's final college season. Today is Tony's 100th career college game, 54th at UMass after 46 at Boston University. Mr. Gaffney is wearing a grey sweatshirt with UM on it.

    Also here in Cincinnati making the drive from Western Mass are the Collins couple. They most recently met the team in Charlotte for the game on Jan. 21. This week it was a 1,000 mile trek through Pennsylvania to Ohio for the game.

    10:15 a.m. The team has boarded the bus from our hotel, located on the University of Cincinnati campus to head to the Cintas Center for today's clash with the Musketeers.

    UC and Xavier are located just four miles apart, the fourth-closest rivalry of any two colleges in Division I basketballl. The closest if you were wondering is Drexel and Penn, just blocks from each other in Philadelphia.

    The Minutemen arrived in the Queen City yesterday around 2 p.m. After checking in at the hotel, it was off to Cintas for a spirited practice. The Minutemen worked on various ways to shut down the Muskies' offense and ways to create against their vaunted defensem which has kept opponents to just 37 percent from the floor on the year.

    We finished up around 7:30 p.m. at the arena and headed back for a great dinner at the hotel which concluded with ice cream for the players and staff.

    We had a 7:45 a.m. wakeup all in preparation for the game today which is the only 12 Noon start of the season. UMass has picked up huge wins in a pair of other early starts this year as the Minutemen won at #25 Kansas (in Kansas City) in a 1 p.m. local start and beat Dayton also in a 1 p.m. tip is Springfield. Hopefully that's a good omen.


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