Hoops In St. Louis To Face Billikens On CSN
Hoops At Saint Louis For A-10 Battle On CSN NE
Riding a two-game winning streak the UMass basketball team beat the winter storm with a Monday arrival in St Louis and will face the Billikens on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET. The game will broadcast by CBS College Sports Regional and will air on Comcast SportsNet New England. Jason Knapp and Vince Curran will call the action.
The Minutemen (13-7, 5-2) stand tied for third in the Atlantic 10 after back-to-back solid wins at St. Bonaventure (78-69) and Rhode Island (64-54) on Sunday. UMass is off to its best start in Atlantic 10 play since the 2006-07 season, when the Minutemen began 7-2 on the way to a 13-3 finish and the Atlantic 10 regular-season crown.
UMass has won consecutive road conference games and seeks its first three-game road A-10 winning streak since the 2007-08 season. The Minutemen have had a tough travel month with four straight Wednesday night road games via airplane travel. UMass is 2-1 in the previous four with wins at Charlotte (73-54) and St. Bonaventure.
At 13-7 overall, UMass has surpassed its win total from each of the last two season as the Minutemen won 12 games in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
UMass trails 6-3 in the all-time series and has not won at Saint Louis since they joined the A-10. UMass has lost games at the Chaifetz Arena, Scottrade Center and St. Charles Family Arena since 2006. UMass, 1-3 at SLU, beat the Billikens in 1995 in the Gret Midwest/Atlantic 10 Challenge at the Kiel Center. UMass' last win in the state of Missouri, came in an epic 61-60 upset of No. 25 Kansas in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 13, 2008.
The game can be heard on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM WRNX in Western Mass, 1510 AM The Zone and 95.9 FM WATD in Eastern Mass along with 830 AM WCRN in Central Mass. "Voice of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer will call the action with Tim Kenney. Streaming video, audio and Gametracker will be available on UMassAthletics.com.
Quick Hits From the 5-2 A-10 Start
UMass has limited its opponents just 38.7 from the floor in A-10 play. That includes holding foes to less than 40 percent on field goals in all five wins with dominating defense vs. Dayton (28.6 percent), at Charlotte (32.1), at St. Bonaventure (35.6) and vs. Rhode Island (37.0).
UMass has won back-to-back road games in conference play for the first time under Derek Kellogg and seeks its first three-game road win streak since the 2007-08 season.
Against Rhode Island (1/30), Anthony Gurley led UMass in scoring for the 18th time in 20 games with 21 points to go along with seven rebounds. Gurley is averaging 23.2 in his last five games, with 20 in four of the five contests.
Javorn Farrell has scored in double-figures in four of the last games with a 12.4 average in the quintet of games. He had 16 against Richmond (1/22) and at St. Bonaventure (1/26).
UMass had more than two players in double-figures in two of its last four wins -- for the first time since Nov. 27. Against LaSalle (1/15) Anthony Gurley (20), Sean Carter (15), Javorn Farrell (13) and Terrell Vinson (11) all met the mark. For Carter and Vinson, the point totals were season highs. At Charlotte, Freddie Riley had 18, Gurley 17 and Farrell added 11.
Shooting Tells The Story
How the shooting from the floor goes is how the Minutemen go. UMass is 10-0 this season when shooting a better percentage from the floor than its opponents.
UMass is 4-0 when shooting above 50 percent on field goals and 10-2 when making more than 40 percent of its shots.
On defense, when UMass holds opponents to less than 40 percent from the floor, UMass is 10-1. When foes shoot less than 50 percent, UMass is 13-3.
Conversly, UMass is 3-7 when shooting a worse field goal percentage and 0-4 when opponents shot better than 50 percent.
Series History With Saint Louis
This will be just the 10th meeting between the two teams and eighth since the Billikens joined the Atlantic 10 in 2005-06. Saint Louis leads the all-time series, 6-3. Saint Louis won the last two games, 69-54 at UMass on Feb. 21, 2010 and two year's ago, the last game at SLU, 69-64 in Missouri.
The teams have played nine games at six different facilities: Scottrade/Kiel Center (1995, 2008), Georgia Dome (1998), St. Charles Family Arena (2006), Mullins Center (2007, 2008, 2010), Boardwalk Hall (2007), Chaifetz Center (2009).
UMass has won just one game in St. Louis, posting a 1-3 mark with losses at Chaifetz in 2009, Scottrade in 2008 and in St. Charles in 2006. UMass is 2-1 in games at the Mullins Center vs. Saint Louis, winning in 2007 and 2008.
The teams split the two meetings in in 2007 and 2008 with UMass winning twice at the Mullins Center including the last match-up at home, 88-77 on Feb. 17, 2008. That game was the Leaman Legacy Game in Amherst and UMass had five players score in double-figures led by Danté Milligan (21). Ricky Harris also had 14 points.
Saint Louis won the first meeting, as UMass had its lowest offensive output of the season as the Minutemen lost at Saint Louis, 71-59 on Feb. 2, 2008. The Minutemen shot a season-low 30.3 percent from the floor and made just 2-of-21 3-point attempts, missing all 13 in the second half. The Billikens led from wire-to-wire as juniors Tommie Liddell and Kevin Lisch each scored 16 points.Gary Forbes led UMass with 20 points. Ricky Harris, who came into the game with a 20.0 average was held to six points.
The teams split the two engagements as non-conference foes.
UMass and Saint Louis met in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament with the Billikens winning 51-46. That game was the last time the Minutemen made the NCAA Tournament. Larry Hughes scored 18 points, Matt Baniak tallied 12 and Virgil Cobbin added 11 in the win. Monty Mack was the sole double-figure scorer for UMass with 10 points. SLU dropped the next game in the Regional to Kentucky, 88-61.
UMass won the first meeting between the two teams 80-74 on Jan. 5, 1995 in the A-10/Great Midwest Challenge. That game was UMass' first game at the Scottrade Center, which was known as the Kiel Center at the time.
UMass head coach Derek Kellogg will coach against the Billikens for the third time as the headman.
Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus is 4-1 against UMass. He faced the Minutemen once, while he was at Utah. The Utes downed UMass, 69-53 in the 2002 Maui Invitational.
Last Season's Game
Feb. 21, 2010: Saint Louis 69, UMass 56
AMHERST, Mass. - Key runs by the visiting team midway through each half were the difference at the Mullins Center as UMass fell to Saint Louis, 69-56. The Billikens used a 13-0 run in the first half and a 12-2 run in the second as they improved to 18-8 overall and 9-3 in the A-10. Ricky Harris led all scorers with 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting. Terrell Vinson had his highest scoring game since a career-high 21 vs. Memphis on Dc. 19, with 19 while also grabbing eight rebounds. Saint Louis put four scorers in double figures, led by Kyle Cassity with 16 and Cody Ellis with 14.
UMass shot 39 percent for the game, including 18 percent from 3-point range. SLU was 48 percent overall and 39 percent from long range. The Minutemen held a 33-30 edge on the boards.
Best Starts In UMass History
The 7-0 start this season was the best since the 1995-96 team. UMass started with a school-record 26 consecutive wins on to the way to a 35-2 season and an NCAA Final Four appearance. UMass also had a 7-0 mark in 1968-69.
Here are the best starts at UMass: 1995-96 (26-0); 1933-34 (12-0 undefeated season); 1970-71 (11-0); 1973-74 (9-0); 1925-26 (9-0); 1977-78 (8-0); 2010-11 (7-0); 1968-69 (7-0); 1975-76 (6-0); 1971-72 (6-0); 1956-57 (6-0).
The program started 5-0 in 1991-92 (Derek Kellogg's freshman season) and 1930-31.
One Of The Final 22
Prior to the loss to Boston College at the TD Garden on Dec. 4, 2009, at 7-0 UMass was one of the final 22 undefeated teams in NCAA Division I. The Minutemen were also the last unbeaten team in the Atlantic 10.
The loss to BC also saw the end the longest win streak for UMass since 1998. The seven-game run was the longest since the Minutemen won 10 games in a row from Jan. 3-Feb. 1, 1998.
Gurley, A Big Man On Campus
Anthony Gurley has led UMass in scoring for 18 time of 20 games this season. He has 79 points in his last three games with 21 vs. Rhode Island (1/30), 28 at St. Bonaventure (1/26), 30 points vs. Richmond (1/22). He is averaging 23.2 over his last five games with 20 on four occasions.
Gurley has at least 12 points in every game this season and ranks second in the Atlantic 10 and 19th in the NCAA in scoring (20.4).
Gurley enters the game with 1,179 points at UMass and 1,378 in his college career with 199 coming at Wake Forest. He stands 25th all-time in points. Next on the list are No. 24 John Murphy (1,184) and No. 23 Carmelo Travieso (1,186). He passed former teammate point guard Chris Lowe (1,152) in the win at the Bonnies.
Gurley scored his 1,000th career point with his final field goal against Rider (11/12) and passed the milestone at UMass with a free throw vs. hometown team Boston University (12/31) at Mullins Center
At his current rate of 20.4 points per game with at least 10 more games, Gurley would finish with about 1,350 points at UMass. No. 14 on the UMass scoring list is NBA Hall of Fame legend Julius Erving, who scored 1,370 in two seasons at UMass from 1969-71.
He led UMass in scoring in the first six games this season including 24 vs. Holy Cross (11/27), 22 points vs. AIC (11/24) and 18 points in the win over Sacred Heart (11/17).
He now has scored in double-figures 68 times in his career and has reached 20 points 21 times, 11 times this year including each of the last three games.
Gurley scored a career-high 31 points to serve a part of the two-headed offensive attack in the big rally against Rider (11/12) With 31 points in the opener, Gurley tallied the most points by a UMass player in a season debut since Marcus Camby netted 32 against Kentucky in the 1995-96 season opener. Gurley was named to the Atlantic 10 Weekly Honor Roll on Nov. 15 for his performance.
Gurley has reached 10th on the career 3-pointers made list at UMass with 135 (on 385 attempts). Guley can pass his head coach Derek Kellogg with four made treys as the former Minuteman point guard was 138-362 in his career as a player from 1991-95.
Junkyard Dog Farrell Makes Major Impact
Sophomore swingman Javorn Farrell has been a spark to the team's success. Farrell has scored in double-figures four of the last five games and has eight games this season in double-figures. UMass is 7-1 when Farrell scores 10 or more points.
After missing the first two games of the season with an ankle injury, Farrell returned to the lineup and been an instant impact player. He is averaging 9.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 18 games. He notched a career-high 25 points in leading UMass to the win at Quinnipiac (12/1). He had scored 15 points in his first game of the year, vs. New Mexico State (11/20) and followed that up with 10 points vs. TCU (11/22). Most recently, he scored in double-figures with 13 vs. La Salle (1/15), 11 at Charlotte (1/19) and 16 in each of the last two games vs. Richmond (1/22) and at St. Bonaventure (1/26).
Ready Freddie Filling It Up
Sophomore Freddie Riley is third on the team in scoring with a 8.8 points per game average. He tallied a career-high 28 with 23 coming in the second half alone in the season-opening win over Rider (11/12). He passed his former high of 22 vs. La Salle (1/10/10). Riley scored in double-figures for the 13th time in his career with 28. Riley also scored more than 20 points for the third time.
He added 10 points vs. TCU for his second game this season in double-figures and added 17 in 17 minutes vs. Holy Cross (11/27). He netted 14 in his last contest vs. Seton Hall (12/11).
Riley had his best game since the season opener on Jan. 19 at Charlotte as he scored 18 points (15 in the first half). Riley was playing the game with a heavy heart as his friend T.J. Gordon had been killed the night before the game. Riley played the game in his dedication.
UMass Calls Upon Sampson
Sophomore Sampson Carter had the best game of his two-year career with a 17-point, 8-rebound effort vs. Sacred Heart (11/17). The Baton Rouge native is averaging 8.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 15 starts. He was in double-figures for three games in a row with 14 vs. Holy Cross (11/27). Carter set a career-high with 10 rebounds vs. Seton Hall (12/11). Last season, Carter averaged 4.3 points and 3.4 rebounds.
Dynamic Scorer Morgan Joins Team
Jesse Morgan joined the Minutemen on Dec. 19 and played in his first game just days later vs. No. 24 UCF (12/22). The former Seton Hall NLI signee became eligible after the end of the first semester after meeting NCAA eligibility requirements. Morgan can play all three guard positions. Nicknamed, "Takeover," Morgan averaged 28 points per game as a senior at Olney High School in Philadelphia, the third most among all players in the city.
First Undefeated Tournament Since 1995
With a 4-0 mark in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off, UMass captured undefeated regular-season tournament since the 1995 Rainbow Classic. That year, the Minutemen took the crown in Honolulu with wins over NC State, USC and NC State with a 3-0 mark.
This year, UMass swept the Hall of Fame Tip-Off with wins over Rider (77-67), New Mexico State (71-57), TCU (67-48) and AIC (83-56). It marked the first four-game sweep in a tournament in school history.
Return To The Cage, a Huge Success
UMass played its first regular-season game at the Curry Hicks in 6,511 games, dating to the Final "Rage In The Cage" on Jan. 29, 1993 with an 83-76 win on Nov, 27, 2010. UMass is now 360-212 in 572 all-time games at the Cage from 1932-93 and the game this season.
UMass "extended" its winning streak at the Curry Hicks Cage to 15 games with a 17-year gap. The streak spans back to the 1991-92 season as the Minutemen won their final 14 games before moving to the Mullins Center in Feb. 1993.
34-Point Swing In Win Over Rider
UMass rallied for its largest comeback since the 2008 NIT Quarterfinals vs. Syracuse when the Minutemen also rallied from down 22 points in the second half. UMass was down by 22 with 16:24 left in the second half (46-24) and rallied to win by 10. The game included a 34-point swing in a 15-minute span as the Minutemen led by 12 75-63 with just over a minute left. The last time UMass rallied from as large a margin was on March 28, 2008 in the NIT Quarterfinals as the Minutemen came back from a 54-32 with 14:37 left in the second half to post an 81-77 victory on the way to the NIT Finals.
LAGUERRE SIGNS NLI WITH UMASS
Explosive guard Jordan Laguerre (pronounced LUH-garry) has signed his National Letter Of Intent to join the UMass Basketball program for the 2011-12 season. The 6-2, 175-pounder is currently in his second season at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire. Laguerre is a lefthander with an explosive first step, incredible leaping ability, and a scorer's mentality. The Manchester, N.H., native averaged 14 points per game as a junior and is expected to take an even more dominant role in the offense this season.
UMass Alum Leading UMass
Derek Kellogg, in his third season, is the first UMass alum to serve as the head coach of his alma mater since Tom McLaughlin, who coached the Minutemen from 1981-83. Kellogg graduated from UMass in 1995 where he was an All-Atlantic 10 selection in 1995. McLaughlin graduated from UMass in 1973 where he was one of three future head coaches on the team. He was joined by former Boston College head coach Al Skinner and current Louisville coach Rick Pitino.
Kellogg is not the only current head coach from the UMass rosters in the mid-90s as Tony Barbee is in his first year as the head coach at Auburn. Coaching at Texas-El Paso last season, Barbee led the Miners to the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to McLaughlin, the last UMass alum to lead his alma mater was Lorin Ball (Class of 1921), who coached the team from 1945-52.
Forbes Makes NBA With Denver Nuggets
Former UMass star basketball player Gary Forbes made the opening day roster of the Denver Nuggets and drew his first NBA start on Nov. 3 vs. Dallas, where he guarded All-Star Dirk Nowitzki. He scored a pro-best 19 points vs. his hometown New York Knicks on Nov. 16 to go along with a career-high nine rebounds. The 2008 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year became the seventh UMass player to play in the NBA joining current Portland Trailblazer Marcus Camby in the league. Forbes averaged 10.1 ppg in the preseason to earn a spot with the Nuggets. In 41 games this season (through Jan. 28), he is averaging 5.1 points and 1.6 rebounds.
"He's an NBA player," Denver forward Carmelo Anthony said. "He's got an NBA body, a guy who's willing to learn. He's just a good addition to the team."
At UMass, Forbes was named the 2007-08 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection. Forbes had a sensational senior season in 2007-08, finishing as the A-10's co-scoring champion with 610 points (20.3 ppg) along with Temple's Dionte Christmas. The New York native led the Minutemen to the NIT Championship game at Madison Square Garden, averaging 14.8 points in five NIT games, 17.5 in NIT Final Four, and was named to the NIT All-Tournament Team.
FOLLOW THE TEAM ONLINE
Looking for all the latest news on the Minutemen and Coach Kellogg? There are several ways to keep tabs on all of the updates on the squad.
Your first and Number 1 source is UMassAthletics.com. The official website of the UMass teams features news, stats, profiles, videos, photos, auctions, live audio, live video and so much more. Visit every day when you get home for a complete recap story, box score, video highlights, photo gallery and postgame press conference from every game.
Our daily blog "Just Take A Minute" has all the latest news from the media along with special information. Its updated several times each day.
Follow the teams and Coach Kellogg on Twitter. Get the news instantly for all Minuteman and Minutewoman teams by following @UMassAthletics. For the latest on the basketball team and Coach, follow him at @CoachKellogg.
The UMass Facebook page is very active, become a fan today at Facebook.com/UMassAthletics. You can also follow Coach Kellogg on his Facebook.com/CoachKellogg account.
Also, UMass has a very comprehensive YouTube page with video highlights, features, interviews and press conferences. Visit today at YouTube.com/UMassAthletics.
KELLOGG'S MISSION 1000
UMass head coach Derek Kellogg has made it his personal mission to get more interest in the UMass basketball program. Along with the athletic department, MISSION 1000 was launched in September to garner more attention. Close to a dozen events have been held throughout the state of Massachusetts to spread the word of UMass basketball with an emphasis of being more involved in the community.
As part of MISSION 1000, UMass head coach Derek Kellogg, his staff and players hand-delivered season tickets to patrons throughout Western Massachusetts. They were greeted with excitement of fans from Amherst to Springfield.
UMass' exhibition game vs. Brandeis on Nov. 4 was a benefit for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Fans brought 2 cans of nonperishable food to the Mullins Center to gain admission in place of a ticket price. More than 1,000 cans were donated.
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