Minutemen Host Richmond On Mullins' 16th Anniversary, Wednesday
UMASS (7-12, 2-4) vs. RICHMOND (11-10, 3-3)
Minutemen Host Richmond On Mullins' 16th Anniversary
Wednesday should be a milestone night for UMass' senior point guard Chris Lowe, who comes into the game with 999 career points, one shy of 1,000 for his career. Lowe will become the first player in UMass history with 1,000 points and 600 assists, as he stands second in career helpers after passing Edgar Padilla (597) at Xavier. Lowe is eying all-time leader Carl Smith (633), needing just 33 assists. At his A-10 leading (16th in NCAA) 6.1 assists per game, he should pass Smith at Saint Joseph's on Feb. 22.
In the near upset of Xavier, UMass got great efforts in many areas as four players scored in double-figures with Ricky Harris leading the way with 17 points, the 12th time this season he has led the Minutemen in scoring. Chris Lowe tallied 16 points and handed out seven assists while turning the ball over just twice. Luke Bonner played one of his best games -- in his 100th college game -- with 14 points and four drawn charges. Tony Gaffney -- also in his 100th college game -- has his typical all-around game with 12 rebounds, nine points, three steals and two blocks.
Live streaming video of Saturday's game will be available through UMass All-Access on UMassAthletics.com. The game can be heard on the UMass Sports Network across the state. Flagship station WRNX 100.9 (Springfield) carried the game along with 830 AM WCRN in Worcester/Boston, 95.9 WATD in Marshfield/Boston. "Voice of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer, will call the action with former Minuteman Tim Collins.
The Series With Richmond
Tremendous 3-point shooting by Etienne Brower and Ricky Harris lifted UMass to its first-ever win at Richmond on in last season's game, 78-74. The pair combined to make 10-of-13 from beyond the arc as Harris led all scorers with 24 points and Brower netted 17 as UMass won its fourth game in a row. The Minutemen (19-9 overall) moved to one-half game out of second place in the Atlantic 10 with an 8-6 conference mark. Eight times in the game's final eight minutes, Richmond cut UMass' lead to just four points, but was never able to come any closer after the Minutemen opened a lead as large as 10 early in the second half as Brower made four 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes. Gary Forbes, playing his first game back in the state of Virginia, where he began his college career at the University of Virginia, made four free throws late to finish with 17.
Two years ago in the last meeting in Amherst, UMass picked up its second win the series, 72-56, at the Mullins Center on Feb. 3, 2007. Gary Forbes had his first double-double as a Minuteman with 16 points and 16 rebounds. He became the only player in Division I in 2006-07 to single-handedly outrebound and entire opponent, 16-to-13. The Minutemen trailed by one at halftime, but used a 12-2 run to start the second half and iced the game as Forbes and Chris Lowe scored 15 of UMass' final 17 points of the game. Forbes finished the game with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Lowe's 19 points were on the strength of 11-for-12 free throw shooting. The Minutemen outrebounded the Spiders 39-to-13. David Gonzalvez led Richmond with 15 points
UMass' first win of the series was on Feb. 12, 2003 in the Mullins Center. The Minutemen held off the Spiders for a 54-53 victory.
Until the last three years, since Chris Mooney brought his Princeton-style system to Richmond, the two teams played very close games with the average winning margin being just 6.3 points from 2000-05. The largest winning margins have been the last three years, first when the Spiders won 81-66, a 15-point win on March 1, 2006. Then UMass' 16-point win in 2007. Last year was a close game, four points.
Over the last three years, UMass has outrebounded the Spiders by 45 including a plus-26 margin two seasons ago (39-13). Another statistical oddity for UMass was that in 2006 and 2007 the Minutemen made just one 3-pointer in two games, going 1-of-20. In 2006, UMass had its last game without a 3-pointers going, 0-of-12. Last season, UMass was an impressive 10-of-19 from trifecta land.
UMass Playing 27th-Toughest Schedule
The A-10 has four teams playing schedules in the top 50 in difficulty: Xavier plays the 18th-toughest, UMass is playing the 27th-toughest, Saint Joseph's will battle the 41st-schedule and Temple faces the 47th-toughest.
Gaffney Among The NCAA Leaders
Gaffney is tied for 39th in steals per game with 2.2 per game, which also leads the Atlantic 10. Gaffney is the only man to top the Atlantic 10 in more than one stat and was leading in three (rebounding) until recently.
He is having a breakout senior season averaging a double-double with seven double-doubles this season after none in his career in 81 games entering the season. He also had grabbed at least seven rebounds in 16 of 19 games and at least 11 in 12 of the 19 games. His most recent double-double came against La Salle (1/24) when he had 19 points and 11 rebounds along with four blocked shots.
Gaffney has three games with 15 or more rebounds, most recently at Houston (12/30) with 16. He also had 19 at Memphis (11/17) and 18 vs. Boston College (12/6).
Gaffney has five or more blocks in nine games this year including seven against Dayton (1/10). After that game, UD coach Brian Gregory called Gaffney "the best non-scoring player in the nation" for his all-around game. His career-high of nine came vs. Boston College (12/6).
Gaffney nearly had triple-doubles in back-to-back games on Dec. 6 and 10. In those contests he has a combined 32 points, 29 rebounds and 17 blocks. Against Holy Cross, (12/10), he had 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks. That followed a titanic effort vs. Boston College (12/6) with 15 points, 18 rebounds and a career-high nine blocked shots.
Gaffney's 85 blocked shots already rank as the sixth-best single-season in UMass history. At No. 5 is Marcus Camby with 103 in his sophomore season of 1994-95. Gaffney's 144 career blocks is seventh in a career at UMass. Kitwana Rhymer (184) is sixth all-time.
Many of Gaffney's best performances of 2008-09 have come against national powers. At #25/23 Kansas (12/13), he posted 13 rebounds and six blocks. Against Boston College when he had 15 points, 18 rebounds, and a career-high nine blocked shots, his put-back of a missed Chris Lowe free throw sent the game to overtime, giving UMass a chance for its second-straight win over BC. Another outstanding game came at Memphis (11/17), one which Memphis John Calipari called him the best player on the court. Against the No. 13 Tigers, Gaffney scored 16 points and grabbed 19 rebounds along with five blocks. It was his second career double-double. He opened the year with 16 points and 13 rebounds against Arkansas-Monticello (11/11).
Gaffney played 31 or more minutes in the first nine games, all more than any game he previously played at UMass, and that many in 18 of 19 games. He set a career-high in minutes, playing 43 of the 45 against BC. He played a then career-high 39 minutes when he had his third double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds along with eight blocked shots vs. Jacksonville State (11/24) in the home opener. The 20 points were also a UMass high. He scored 20 while at Boston University vs. Stony Brook in 2006.
Lowe Closing In On Assists Record, 1000 Points
With his current average of 6.1, he would break the record in six games from now (Feb. 22 at Saint Joseph's.)
Lowe is 16th in the NCAA with 6.1 assists per game, which also leads the Atlantic 10. He has led the league in assists in each of the last two years and would become the first player to lead the A-10 in assists for three years in a row.
Lowe needs just one point for 1,000 in his career. He will become the 41st player in UMass history to pass the plateau. Ricky Harris became the 40th earlier this year. Lowe will become the first UMass player with 1,000 points and 600 assists.
Lowe has six 10-assist games this season and 12 in his career, all in the last two seasons (all in the last 32 games). He racked up 11 assists against Temple (1/17) for his last double-figure game. Lowe had 10 or more assists in four of five games in December with 10 each vs. Hofstra (12/20) and IUPUI (12/27). Lowe had 12 vs. Holy Cross (12/10) and 11 against Boston College (12/6).
The Mount Vernon, N.Y. product became the fourth player with 500 career assists at UMass after he gained five against Jacksonville State (11/24). He passed his coach Derek Kellogg (453) most recently at the end of last year.
With a career-high 14 against La Salle (3/5/08) - part of the sixth triple-double in UMass history (14 pts, 10 reb), Lowe moved past UMass Hall of Famer Joe DiSarcina (431) into fifth. Last season, he also passed two illustrious coaches who played at UMass: BC Coach Al Skinner (320) and Louisville coach Rick Pitino (329).
With his 214 assists last season, Lowe had the third-best single-season in UMass history after passing Smith (212), Smith (191), Alex Eldridge (174) and Rick Pitino (168).
Harris Shoots Up 1,000-Point List
Next on the list for Harris to pass are No. 24 Rafer Giles (1,163) and No. 23 Johnny Murphy (1,184).
Harris has picked up where he left off last season, when he was named the A-10 Chris Daniels Most Improved player. Harris is leading UMass with a 18.8 scoring average and led the team in scoring in 12 of the first 19 games with 20 or more in eight games. Harris is 42nd in the NCAA in scoring per game and third in the Atlantic 10. He dropped a season and career-high 35 points on BC (12/6). 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. Two games prior, he netted 27 at Green Bay (11/29) and had 24 points at Southern Illinois (11/12).
Harris Rises on 3-Point Charts
Harris, who tied Carmelo Travieso for the single-season mark for made treys last year with 104, is rising on the career charts. Harris stands sixth in career made 3-pointers with 177 and fifth in career attempts with 484. With four treys at Green Bay, he passed Edgar Padilla (136) and his coach Derek Kellogg (138). Next on the list at No. 5 is Lorenzo Sutton (178).
On the attempts list, Harris is fifth, passing Sutton(424), James Life (425) and Edgar Padilla (431) after passing Kellogg (362) earlier this season. Next on the attempts chart is Rafer Giles (592).
Harris had his streak of 26 games in a row with at least one 3-pointer ended in the loss to Vanderbilt (1/3).
Gurley Going Great Guns
Gurley has scored in double-figures 12 times this season most recently with 10 at #10/10 Xavier (1/31). Gurley's best scoring game with UMass came against Hofstra (12/20) when he tallied 19.
He has been great in the second half of two of UMass' biggest wins of the season as he netted 13 of his 16 in the final 20 minutes of the win over Dayton (1/10), making four 3-pointers. A week later against Temple (1/17) on ESPN2, Gurley knocked down 13 of his 16 points in the second half including a 4-point play as he was a perfect 3-of-3 in the second half on 3-pointers. Gurley hit a second 4-point play against La Salle (1/24).
Big Nights For Bonner
Bonner, who was injured on Nov. 12 at Southern Illinois, returned to action on Dec. 20 against Hofstra with a career breakout game. He posted then-career bests 15 points and nine rebounds. That came in just 18 minutes off the bench.
In 12 games, he is scoring 7.0 points per game along with 5.4 rebounds. He has also made 18-of-44 3-point field goals for a team-best 41 percent.
He also had a huge game in an all-around sense with 14 points including three 3-pointers and four drawn charges at #10/10 Xavier (1/31).
On the defensive end, Bonner has been just amazing at drawing charges. He has taken 16 offensive fouls in just 12 games, more than one a game including a career high four on twice at #10/10 Xavier and vs. Hofstra (12/20).
Off To See The United States
UMass Against Ranked Teams
UMass has won four of its last 12 games against ranked teams dating to 2004. UMass lost at Memphis, 80-58 on Nov. 17, 2008. Last season the Minutemen were 1-2 against ranked teams with the win at Dayton, 82-71 on Jan. 16, 2008.
Last season, UMass broke a five-game losing streak against ranked teams with its 82-71 win at #14/18 Dayton on Jan. 16. The Minutemen's previous win over a ranked team came at #21 George Washington (76-74 in OT on Jan. 15, 2005). That was the second win a row over a ranked team that season as UMass also beat #7 UConn (61-59 on Dec. 9, 2004). In both those wins, three-time first-team All-Atlantic 10 honoree Rashaun Freeman hit the game-winning shot, beating UConn with 4.3 seconds left and topping the Colonials with a lay-up with 0.4 left in overtime.
UMass 5-1 Vs Defending NCAA Champs
UMass head coach Derek Kellogg has been a part of three of the wins over the champ as a player in 1993 and 1994 and the head coach in 2008 vs. Kansas.
On Dec. 9, 2004 as the Minutemen downed No. 7 UConn at the Mullins Center, 61-59 as Rashaun Freeman scored with seconds left to lift UMass to the historic win. The game marked the first time a defending champion visited the Mullins Center.
UMass knocked off North Carolina, 91-86, in overtime on Nov. 24, 1993 in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden.
One year later, UMass thumped Arkansas, 104-80, on Nov. 25, 1994 in the Tip-Off Classic at the Springfield Civic Center.
That win over No. 1 Arkansas is symbolic, as it vaulted UMass to the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll for the first time in school history. Last week was the 14-year anniversary of the school's first No. 1 ranking, as the Minutemen played their first game as the No. 1 team on Dec. 3, 1994.
UMass' only loss against a champ came on Nov. 22, 1999, as the Minutemen lost to UConn at Gampel Pavilion, 79-65, on Nov. 22, 1999.
Notes On UMass' Win Over Kansas
UMass won a non-conference game against a ranked team, away from Massachusetts for the first time since it beat Georgetown in the 1996 NCAA Elite Eight on March 23, 1996.
For head coach Derek Kellogg the win was sweet as his Minutemen picked up their first win over a ranked team under his watch in just his ninth game as a head coach. The previous fastest UMass coach to beat a ranked team was Bruiser Flint, who beat then-No. 19 Boston College in his 17th game as the head man on Jan. 18, 1997. Kellogg also gained a win against Kansas, the team which downed Memphis in the 2008 NCAA title game when Kellogg was an assistant for former UMass coach John Calipari.
UMass beat a non-conference ranked team on the road for the first time since win at #21 Louisville on March 2, 1996, 62-59.
UMass beat a non-conference ranked team for the first time since topping UConn, 61-59, on Dec. 9, 2004. Since that game, UMass is 4-7 against ranked teams (1-1 this season, losing at Memphis).
UMass last beat a ranked team at #14 Dayton on the road last season, 82-71 on Jan. 16, 2008.
The Minutemen have won the last two games against Kansas, winning at the Mullins Center in 1999. All-time Kansas leads the series, 3-2. All five games have been played in different states (New York, California, Kansas, Massachusetts and Missouri).
UMass' Big Win In Springfield
It marked the fourth game in a row, UMass has beaten the Flyers and third which ended a significant Dayton win streak. Last year, the Minutemen ended No. 14/18 Dayton's 13-game win streak at UD Arena, 82-71, last season on Jan. 16, 2008. It was UMass' first win over a ranked team in three years, since UMass won on Jan. 15, 2005 at George Washington (76-74). Two seasons ago, UMass ended Dayton's home dominance in 2006-07, handing the Flyers their first loss after a 14-0 start at UD Arena, winning 77-69 on Feb. 22, 2007. The win was also UMass' first at Dayton since 1999.
For UMass, the win was the first in Springfield since 2001 when the Minutemen downed Oregon, 62-58 on Nov. 27. Oregon had three players on that squad who turned pro: Luke Ridnour, Luke Jackson, and Chris Christoffersen. UMass is now 39-23 all-time at the MassMutual Center, formerly Springfield Civic Center.
100th Season Of UMass Basketball
The next event will be the 1990s Celebration on Feb. 8 against Saint Joseph's.
The following players were on hand for the BC game: Don Akerson, Frank Barous, George "Trigger" Burke, John Edgar, Dick Eid, Wray Gunn, Paul Kollios, Ned Larkin, John MacLeod, Condon McDonough, Ed McGrath, George Morin, Alex Norskey, Bill Prevey, Bill Stephens and William Walsh.
The 1960s Celebration was held at the Vanderbilt game on Jan. 3. Here are the players who attended: Jim Babyak, Peter Bernard, Dennis Chapman, Chuck Demers (trainer), Joe DiSarcina, John Dreyer, Robert Eichorn, Ray Ellerbrook, Gary Gasperack, Jim Girotti, Paul Gullicksen, John Lisack, Bob Murphy, Richard Perkins, Ed Rubin (manager), Dick Samuelson, Rich Starsiak, Frank Stewart and Billy Tindall.
The 1970s Celebration at the Temple game honored: Jim Burke, Bob Dempsey, David Dibble, Mark Donoghue, Billy Endicott, Michael Littman (manager), Tom McLaughlin, John Moynihan, Charles Olsen, Bob Powers (manager) Sam Provo, Mike Pyatt, Peter Trow, Rick Vogeley and Ray Witkos. The family of the late John Murphy was also recognized.
At the La Salle game on Jan. 24, the 1980s Celebration was held and the following players attended: Matt Anderson, Bob Braun, Tony DePina, Kurt Funk, Bill Hampton, Cary Herer, Dennis Jackson (assistant coach), Sean Nelen, Horace Neysmith, Hal Shaw, Jack Sheehan, Fitzhugh Tarry, Keith Whitt and Ron Young.
In looking back at UMass basketball, the program started with its first season in 1899-1900 with the first game played on Jan. 10, 1900, a 14-9 win over the Northampton YMCA.
The program had several hiatuses in its history as, this is the 100th season with the program starting 109 years ago. UMass did not field a team in 1900-01, 1909-10 to 1915-16 and during World War II in both 1943-44 and 1944-45.
Under the leadership of John Calipari, the Minutemen become A-10 Tournament Champs five consecutive times (1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96). Overall, UMass has appeared in the NCAA Tournament eight times, in addition to those five A-10 title years (1961-62, 1996-97 and 1997-98). They have two appearances in the Elite Eight (1995, 1996) and a Final Four appearance (1996). Last year UMass, went 25-11 in reaching the NIT Championship game. It was UMass' 10th NIT appearance including each of the last two season.
UMass Alum Leading UMass
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.
UMass 6th; Harris & Lowe Honored
UMass Gets Preseason Honors
Lindy's predicts that the Minutemen will finish fourth behind St. Joseph's, Temple, and Xavier. It mentions the good news as "Derek Kellogg returns to his alma mater and has plenty of perimeter firepower." Lindy's includes Harris on the First Team All-Conference while recognizing Chris Lowe with "Top Playmaker" in its honor roll.
Athlon sports predict that the Minutemen will finish fifth, trailing Xavier, Temple, Charlotte, and Dayton, while earning their third-consecutive NIT berth. Like Lindy's, Athlon predicts Harris to be a First-Team All-Atlantic 10 performer. Replacing A-10 player of the Year Gary Forbes will be a challenge, but Athlon says "Wake Forest transfer Anthony Gurley should give Kellogg another wing scorer.
Sporting News wrote that with Gibbs on board (to go along Lowe, a senior), "the Minutemen should be able to play at breakneck speed." It predicts that the best shot-blocker in the conference will once again come from UMass (Tony Gaffney), while Lowe is deemed the "best passer." Sporting News identifies three-point shooting as a big asset as "Together, Harris and Gurley give UMass a pair of solid three-point threats."
Rivals.com has pegged Anthony Gurley as the No. 3 overall impact transfer in all of Division I.
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