1990s Celebration Set for Sunday's UMass-St. Joe's Tilt
UMASS (8-12, 3-4) vs. SAINT JOSEPH'S (13-8, 6-1)
1990s Celebration Set for Sunday's UMass-St. Joe's Tilt
Players expected to attend are: Craig Berry, Donta Bright, Ronell Blizzard, Ross Burns, Charlton Clarke, Ted Cottrell, Darryl Denson, Dana Dingle, Francois Firmin, Jason Germain, Rafer Giles, Will Herndon, Derek Kellogg, Lari Ketner, Chris Kirkland, Andy Maclay, Jim McCoy, Rigo Nunez, Tommy Pace, Edgar and Giddel Padilla (who are flying in from Puerto Rico), Kennard Robinson, John Tate, Tyrone Weeks and Mike Williams. The 1996 team included: Bright, Burns, Clarke, Cottrell, Dingle, Maclay, Nunez, both Padillas and Weeks. The 1996 National Player of the Year, Marcus Camby, is with the Los Angeles Clippers as his team plays at Atlanta on Saturday and at Charlotte on Monday making it hard for him to come. Also, Coach John Calipari will be unable to attend as his Memphis Tigers are playing at Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington, late on Saturday night.
UMass is coming into the game after a solid 80-71 win over Richmond on Wednesday night. Ricky Harris and Tony Gaffney combined for 33 second-half points as the Minutemen pulled away after being tied 32-32 at half. Harris netted 21 of his 24 in the final 20 minutes and Gaffney had all 12 of his in the second half after being mired in first-half foul trouble. Senior point guard Chris Lowe became the 41st UMass player to score his 1,000th point as he finished with 13 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. He now has 1,012.
The A-10's leader in assists (6.3), Lowe became the seventh player in A-10 history and first at UMass to have 1,000 career points and 600 career assists as he now has 610, just 23 shy of the all-time UMass record held by Carl Smith (633 from 1985-88). Lowe also had his seventh 10-assist game of the season and 13th in his career, all in the last 33 gams, dating to last season.
The Richmond game was the second in a row where UMass has scored 80 points as they nearly knocked off then-No. 10 Xavier in Cincinnati last Saturday, falling 82-80. Four Minutemen scored in double-figures as UMass gave the Muskeeters all they could handle at home. Ricky Harris led the way with 17 points, Chris Lowe added 16. Tony Gaffney had nine points, 12 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
UMass is 8-12 overall and 3-4 in the Atlantic 10 with all four of its A-10 games by eight points or less and by a combined 20 points (4.0 average. Saint Joseph's has won eight of nine games and is 13-8 overall and 6-1 in the Atlantic 10 after beating George Washington its most recent game, 66-58 on Wednesday at the Palestra..
Live streaming video of Sunday's'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 Tim Kenney.
About The 1990s
Prior to the season, a panel of media members selected the all-time team from the 1990s which consists of Tony Barbee, Donta Bright, Marcus Camby, Dana Dingle, Will Herndon, Jim McCoy, Edgar Padilla, Lou Roe, Carmelo Travieso and Harper Williams. Half of them will be on hand on Sunday with the following exceptions: Barbee (head coach at UTEP, play at Tulsa on Saturday night), Camby (playing with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, playing at Atlanta Saturday, Charlotte on Monday), Roe (playing professionally in Spain), Travieso (unable to attend) and Williams (playing professionally in Mexico).
The Series With Saint Joseph's
The Minutemen won the previous two games to end the Hawks eight-game win streak in the season series. Three seasons ago UMass posted a 68-58 win on Jan. 11, 2006, at the Mullins Center. Two years ago, UMass captured the Atlantic 10 conference regular-season co-championship with a 71-67 win at Hawk Hill on March 3, 2007.
Saint Joseph's has won 11 of the last 14, but prior to that UMass ran off six consecutive victories in the series.
The Minutemen hold a 14-6 advantage against Saint Joseph's for games played in Amherst, including a 8-6 mark against the Hawks at the Mullins Center.
Saint Joseph's holds a 15-9 advantage against the Minutemen for regular-season games played in Philadelphia, including a 12-9 mark against UMass in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse.
This will be UMass head coach Derek Kellogg's first game against the Hawks, but he did play against Saint Joseph's when Phil Martelli was an assistant at SJU. Martelli took over as head coach in 1995-96, the year UMass made the Final Four. Martelli replaced John Griffin, who will be the CBS College Sports color analyst for the game. Martelli stands 13-11 all-time against the Minutemen in his career.
LAST MEETING (JAN. 23, 2008): Ahmad Nivins had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Pat Calathes added 16 points and 10 rebounds and Saint Joseph's held on to beat UMass 81-77. The Minutemen rallied from as many as 20 points in the second half to cut the lead to as little as two at 79-77 with 3.5 seconds left in regulation. Ricky Harris scored a career-high 30 points and Gary Forbes added 24 for Massachusetts (13-5, 2-2). Dante Milligan had 12 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. UMass put on a furoius rally in the final minutes. Harris scored 16 points in the final 2:23 as UMass scored 24 points in that time span with Forbes scoring the other eight. The Minutemen made 12 field goals in a row over the game's final 4:21 to cut a 64-48 deficit to 79-77. Forbes missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the game. UMass scored 61 points in the second half, the most by UMass since the Minutemen netted 65 against Harvard in the second half on Dec. 27, 1991. That came after 16 points in the field half, which was UMass fewest since just nine on Feb. 1, 2006.
LAST YEAR'S FIRST MEETING (JAN. 9, 2008): Ahmad Nivins poured in 31 points and 12 rebounds to lead Saint Joseph's highest scoring output of the season, as UMass (11-4, 0-1 A-10) fell to the Hawks (8-4, 1-0), 98-92, in the A-10 opener for both teams at the Mullins Center. The loss ended a 15-game home winning streak for the Minutemen and was their first conference loss at home since 2005-06. Ricky Harris led the UMass offense with 25 points and four 3-pointers, while Gary Forbes added 22 points and hit five 3-pointers. Etienne Brower chipped in with 14 points and Dante Milligan grabbed 10 rebounds. Pat Calathes added 21 points and 15 boards for the Hawks. Saint Joseph's shot 58.5% (38-65) for the game, while UMass shot 42.7% (32-75) from the field. The Minutemen were 13-33 (39.4%) from 3-point range and the Hawks were 6-14 (42.9%).
UMass Playing 32nd-Toughest Schedule
The A-10 has four teams playing schedules in the top 60 in difficulty: Xavier plays the 21st-toughest, UMass is playing the 32nd-toughest, Temple faces the 42nd-toughest and Saint Joseph's will battle the 58th-schedule.
Gaffney Among The NCAA Leaders
Gaffney is tied for 45th in steals per game with 2.1 per game, which also leads the Atlantic 10.
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 20 games and at least 11 in 12 of the 20 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 88 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 147 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 20 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 Nears Assists Mark, Nets 1000th
With his current average of 6.3, he would break the record in four games from now (Feb. 18 vs. Rhode Island.)
Lowe is tied for 12th (with Davidson's Stephen Curry) in the NCAA with 6.3 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 became the 41st player in UMass history to pass the 1,000-point plateau. Ricky Harris became the 40th earlier this year. Lowe has become the first UMass player with 1,000 points and 600 assists and just the seventh in Atlantic 10 history.
Lowe has seven 10-assist games this season and 13 in his career, all in the last two seasons (all in the last 33 games). He racked up 10 assists vs. Richmond (2/4)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). He also did it vs. Temple (1/17).
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
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 19.1 scoring average and led the team in scoring in 13 of the first 20 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 fifth in career made 3-pointers with 182 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. 4 is Rafer Giles (221).
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 13 games (10 starts), he is scoring 7.0 points per game along with 5.6 rebounds. He has also made 19-of-47 3-point field goals for a team-best 40.4 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 19 offensive fouls in just 13 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).
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