UMASS RETURNS HOME TO HOST ST. BONAVENTURE
After playing four of its last five on the road, the UMass basketball team returns home to the friendly confines of the Mullins Center Wednesday where they will play host to St. Bonaventure. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. following the conclusion of the UMass-St. Bona women's tilt.
UMass will be facing a St. Bonaventure squad that hasn't played since last Wednesday when it suffered a 86-62 setback on the road to Saint Louis. That loss snapped the Bonnies' three-game winning streak which included home victories over Fordham and Richmond, and a road triumph over Rhode Island.
UMass is undefeated at home this season (11-0), notching 10 wins at the Mullins Center following its season-opening win at Curry Hicks Cage on campus. It is the second-longest current streak in the A-10, behind La Salle's 14.
The game can be heard on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM KIX in Western Mass. and 830 AM WCRN in Central Mass., 95.9 AM WATD on Boston's South Shore, and 1510 AM WWZN in Boston. "Voice of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer and Tim Collins will call the action. Live audio, video and Gametracker will be available on UMassAthletics.com.
SERIES WITH ST. BONAVENTURE
UMass leads the all-time series 39-19. That includes margins of 20-8 in Amherst, 14-12 in St. Bonaventure, 2-1 in three Atlantic 10 Tournament games in Philadelphia. UMass has won two of the three overtime games in the series - all of which have been played in New York.
The series dates back to the 1980-81 season when the Bonnies claimed both meetings - 97-79 in Amherst and 104-80 in St. Bonaventure.
SBU won nine of the first 16 meetings before UMass reeled off 17-consecutive wins from 1989-96. The Bonnies won seven of 10 from 97-01 and UMass has since owned an 11-3 edge dating back the 2001 A-10 Tournament.
UMass is 11-5 against SBU in the Mullins Center. Prior to dropping a 70-69 ballgame two years ago, the Minutemen had won four straight at home. Conversely, the road team has won eight of the past 14 regular-season games in the series.
A year ago, the Minutemen used 26 points from Anthony Gurley and a 46-22 edge in the paint to pull out a 78-69 win at the Reilly Center.
UMASS-GEORGE WASHINGTON LEFTOVERS
Team Notes: UMass improved to 6-0 this season following a loss ... UMass surpassed the 80-point plateau for the 10th time this season ... UMass improved to 10-1 on the year when four players score in double figures ... The Minutemen shot a season-best 55.4 pct. from the floor, surpassing their previous high of 55.3, set against Charlotte three weeks earlier ... UMass handed out 18 assists, its most in a league game this year ... UMass finished with eight dunks, tying its season-high set a game earlier at Rhode Island ... UMass snapped its two game losing streak to GW.
Individual Notes: Terrell Vinson tied his career high with 21 points (14 in the 2nd half) on 8-of-11 shooting, while becoming the fourth different Minuteman to reach 20 points in a game this year ... Jesse Morgan handed out four assists and pulled down a career-high seven rebounds ... Freddie Riley made three 3-pointers to bring his team-leading total to 42, including seven in the last three games ... Chaz Williams tied his season-high with three 3-pointers ... The UMass bench of Maxie Esho (5 pts), Javorn Farrell (11) and Riley (12) outscored their counterparts for GW 28-16, marking the highest for the Minutemen since five off the pine combined for 30 points against Central Conn. State on Dec. 30, 2011.
WILLIAMS IS GOOD AS ADVERTISED
Redshirt sophomore point guard Chaz Williams has been given the responsibility of quarterbacking the Minutemen's new up-tempo offense and the transfer from Hofstra lived up to the billing, averaging 15.8 points and 5.9 assists in 23 games. He is shooting 38.4 percent from 3-point range and has an assist-turnover ratio of nearly 2-1. Defensively, he ranks 36th nationally in steals with 2.1 per game and 20th nationally with 5.9 assists per game.
Through nine games in league play, he is posting averages of 17.3 points (4th in A-10), 6.1 assists (3rd), and 86.2 FT Pct (8th).
Prior to a first-half miss against Saint Louis, Williams hit 33 consecutive free throws over a six-game stretch which broke Donta Bright's (1996) single-season record for consecutive free throws made against conference opponents. The school record for the most consecutive made free throws is 40 which was also set by Bright in 1996.
In the loss at La Salle, Williams surpassed his previous career high with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting while adding five assists.
Williams scored a then-career-high 22 points in the 83-75 loss at Miami (12/3). He also dished out four assists, while raking in four rebounds. He tied that mark with another 22 points (20 in the second half) in the win over Siena (12/9).
Williams recorded the first double-double of his career in Nov. 14's win over Northeastern, tying career-highs with 20 points and 10 assists.
PUTNEY TAKING FLIGHT
One of the keys to UMass' success this season has been the play of redshirt-sophomore Raphiael Putney. The forward is UMass second leading scorer this year with 10.5 points per game and 5.8 rebounds. An athletic player, Putney's ability to elevate above the rim has gained him notoriety and popularity among the fans - his amazing dunk in transition against Saint Joseph's was a Sports Center Top-10 Play and a nominee for the GEICO Play of the Year.
Putney has three double-doubles this season including a career-best 22 points and 10 rebounds last Saturday against Saint Louis.
Putney isn't just an inside threat as he has the ability to score from beyond the arc. His 33 made triples are tied for second on the team, while his 14-for-34 and .412 pct. in nine league games are both team highs.
CARTER DEMANDING RESPECT INSIDE
While he may not be the stat sheet stuffer that some of his teammates have become, senior Sean Carter's play has remained consistent throughout the season. He ranks second in the Atlantic 10 in field goal pct. (.647) and 12th in rebounding (6.4), while leading the team in board work eight times, including three A-10 contests. His numbers through the first half of league play are even more impressive. In nine games, he is first in FG pct. (.776) and 12th in rebounds (6.9).
Over the past eight games he has posted some amazing numbers. In addition to being the second-leading scorer during that stretch at 13.1 ppg, he is shooting 44-for-55 (.800) from the floor. He scored a career-high 18 points at La Salle going 8-for-11 before a perfect 6-of-6 for 15 points in the win over Charlotte. He has also made 10 of his last 11 field goal attempts, eight of which have been slam dunks.
DUNK YOU VERY MUCH
Its no secret that dunks can play a big role in exciting the crowd and shifting a game's momentum, and UMass has a pair of players who can bring the house down on any given night. Senior Sean Carter and sophomore Raphiael Putney have combined for 58 of the team's 93 slams this season.
Carter leads the team with 37 thus far, including a season-best five at Rhode Island last Wednesday. In fact, of his 76 made buckets this season, 49 pct. have come from above the rim. In his three seasons since transferring from Oregon State he has led UMass in dunks each year and produced 87 dunks out of 198 field goals - good for 44 pct.
Conversely, Putney uses his long, athletic frame to find ways to reach the basket that most players can't manage. He has 21 dunks, with a good number of those on alley-oops and fast breaks. His soaring throwdown in transition against Saint Joseph's was named ESPN's No. 8 Play of the Day (Jan. 14, 2012), the No. 4 Play of the Week (Jan. 16, 2012) and is also a nominee for the GEICO Play of the Year.
BEST HOME START SINCE 1992-93 SEASON
With a 11-0 home record to start the season (10-0 at Mullins, 1-0 at The Cage), UMass is off to its best home start since 1992-93 when the Minutemen started 11-0 at home. In 1993-94 UMass was 14-0 at home.
UMASS ONE OF A-10'S TOP SCORING TEAMS
At an average clip of 77.2 points per game, UMass is the top ranked scoring team in the Atlantic 10 and 27th nationally. The Minutemen are one of eight teams in the league to average over 70 points per game.
UMass is also the third-ranked team in the league in terms of scoring margin at +7.6 over opponents. Saint Louis (+12.8) and La Salle (+9.9) are the only two teams to have margins higher than the Minutemen.
Through 23 games, UMass has shot .438 from the floor after posting a .401 shooting percentage a season ago. Much of the improvement can be attributed to the new up-tempo, fastbreaking offense that Derek Kellogg has implemented this season. Taking advantage of the long, athletic players on his roster, Kellogg's offense has resulted in higher percentage shots in transition.
Also over the last nine games, Chaz Williams (17.3 pts), Raphiael Putney (11.8), Jesse Morgan (11.6 pts), Sean Carter (12.1 pts) and Terrell Vinson (10.4) have averaged double-figures.
BALANCED SCORING AMONG ROTATION
While Chaz Williams and Raphiael Putney may be the only Minutemen averaging double-figures in the scoring column over all 23 games, the duo is joined by fellow starters Sean Carter, Jesse Morgan and Terrell Vinson with scoring averages of at least 10 ppg through all nine Atlantic 10 contests.
In 11 games this season, UMass has had four or more players reach double-figure point totals, translating into a 10-1 record. Against Utah, Davidson, Central Connecticut, and Fordham, five Minutemen reached double-figures in the scoring column. Against Siena, Williams and Freddie Riley each scored over 20 points in the comeback win.
BRINGING THE PRESSURE
To go with the new up-tempo offense, Derek Kellogg has the Minutemen pressing and trapping more on defense in 2011-12. The new attacking defensive style has worked extremely well thus far as the Minutemen have forced an average of 17.4 turnovers per game and scored 21.3 points per game off those takeaways.
UMass was the beneficiary of 21 turnovers at Rhode Island last Wednesday, marking the seventh time an opponent has lost the ball at least 20 times. The flip side to that is that the Minutemen recorded 25 points off those 21 URI TOs. UMass has scored at least 20 points off its opponents 12 times this season, topping 30 points four times.
In its 36-point win at Boston College on Nov. 21, UMass turned 23 Eagles turnovers into 28 points and outscored them 28-6 over the final 10:30 of the game.
In the win vs. Northeastern (11/14), UMass forced 21 turnovers and scored 26 points off turnovers. Sampson Carter led the defense with three steals.
The Minutemen held the Huskies to just 38 percent shooting in the game, including a 9.1 percent mark from behind the arc.
In the opener vs. Elon, UMass forced 25 Phoenix turnovers and scored 34 points off those turnovers, including 12 fast-break points. Jesse Morgan led the defensive charge with a career-high five steals in 17 minutes. UMass finished with 14 steals total.
CLEARING THE BOARDS
UMass has been solid on the boards this season averaging 40.5 rebounds per game - that places the Minutemen first in the Atlantic 10 and 7th nationally. The Minutemen have outrebounded their opponents 13 times this season and are 10-3 in those contests.
OUTSIDE SHOOTING+PROTECT THE BALL=WIN
It's a simple formula, but when UMass is able to shoot the ball from outside and keep turnovers to a minimum, chances are the Minutemen win. In 17 games won this year, UMass is 150-of-397 from three-point land and average 14.4 turnovers per game. In 6 games lost, UMass is just 30-of-132 from deep and average 19.8 turnovers.
Sharing the ball is also a key. The Minutemen average nearly 18 assists in wins this year, while that number drops to 11 in the six losses. Individually, Chaz Williams picks up 6.4 assists in wins, but just 4.5 in each of the six losses.
KEY IMPROVEMENTS OVER LAST SEASON
Through 23 games, a trio of players have made significant strides over their 2010-11 averages.
Jesse Morgan played in just 12 games last season averaging 4.4 points in almost 11 minutes per game. This year, the combo point guard/two guard is averaging 8.7 points in 24.7 minutes.
Raphiael Putney has increased his scoring from 4.4 points to 10.5 points and is averaging over two more rebounds per game (3.0-to-5.8).
After having a strong freshman campaign in 2009-10, Terrell Vinson saw his scoring dip from 9.6 points per game to 6.5 last season. This year he is back to form averaging 9.2 points in 25.0 minutes per game.
DEPTH OFF THE BENCH KEY
UMass has received quite a lift from its bench this season. A season-high 51 points were scored in the win over Towson thanks to the reserves. All told, the UMass bench has outscored every opponent this year except four (College of Charleston, La Salle, Saint Louis and Rhode Island).
34.2% (595-of-1,747 points) of UMass' scoring has come from the bench.
SEASON-OPENING WIN AT THE CAGE
Playing just its second game in 18 years at the historic Curry Hicks Cage, UMass (1-0) used a 21-4 run early in the second half to erase a four-point halftime deficit and cruise to a 85-67 victory over Elon (0-1) on Nov. 11. Sophomore transfer Chaz Williams led the way with 18 points and eight assists. Juniors Sampson Carter (17), Terrell Vinson (17) and Javorn Farrell (13) rounded out UMass' four double-digit scorers.
The Minutemen used a new running and pressing style and a raucous Cage crowd to force 25 Elon turnovers, scoring 32 points off those turnovers. Jesse Morgan led the charge on defense with a career-high five steals.
In his first game in a UMass uniform, was the catalyst all night for the Minutemen, grabbing six rebounds to go with his 18 points and eight assists.
Vinson recorded the fourth double-double of his career, leading all players with 11 rebounds.
LALANNE TAKES PRESEASON A-10 HONOR
The Atlantic 10 Conference announced its preseason awards at its annual men's basketball media day in Brooklyn on Oct. 13 with UMass freshman Cady Lalanne being named to the All-Rookie Team. The forward from Orlando, Fla. is the first Minuteman named All-Rookie since Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson in 2009.
Joining Lalanne on the All-Rookie Team are Dezmine Wells (Xavier), Jerrell Wright (La Salle), Justin Martin (Xavier), Alonzo Nelson-Odada (Richmond) and Anthony Lee (Temple).
Lalanne joins the Minutemen following becoming eligible per NCAA rules after attending UMass as a student in 2010-11. The 6-8 big man played his high school ball at Oak Ridge in Orlando, Fla. and his AAU basketball with the Florida Rams.
UMASS SIGNS FLORIDA CENTER BERGANTINO
UMass men's basketball head coach Derek Kellogg, on the eve of the Minutemen's season opener, announced on Thursday the signing of 6-9 center Tyler Bergantino of Springhill, Fla. to a National Letter of Intent. The talented big man, now a senior at Nature Coast Technical High School in Brooksville, Fla., will join the Minutemen for the 2012-13 season.
"Tyler exemplifies exactly the type of person and player we want at UMass," Kellogg said. "He is an extremely high-character young man and plays the game at a high level at both ends of the floor. My staff, the team, the UMass community and I are all very excited to have Tyler joining the UMass basketball family."
At 6-9, 240 lbs., Bergantino is a physical force inside and possesses rapidly improving skill and touch around the basket. He enters his senior year at Nature Coast the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,150 career points. Bergantino is coming off a junior campaign in which he led all of Hernando County with averages of 17.9 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.8 blocked shots. That followed up a sophomore season in 2009-10 in which he posted averages of 14.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 5.2 blocks.
UMASS LED BY ONE OF ITS OWN
Derek Kellogg, in his fourth 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 second year as the head coach at Auburn. In his first season with the Tigers, Barbee's squad went 11-20 overall and 4-12 in the SEC after taking UTEP to the NCAA Tournament the previous season. Alum Harper Williams was named to Barbee's staff this summer. The pair were at UMass' Nov. 17 win against NJIT in Amherst.
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 BASKETBALL AIRS IN BOSTON
Nelligan Sports Marketing has reached an agreement with WBIN-TV that will allow UMass fans in the greater Boston area to watch approximately a dozen live broadcasts of UMass games, including football, hockey, men's and women's basketball, and lacrosse throughout the 2011-12 season beginning in November. The games will be produced by the UMass Sports Network.
WBIN-TV, the only locally owned and operated TV station in the Boston/Manchester market, reaches all major cable and satellite outlets in the greater Boston area. The UMass schedule on WBIN began on November 5 when the UMass hockey team beat No. 1 Boston College at the Mullins Center. UMass basketball's Nov. 14 Northeastern game also aired on WBIN.
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.
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.