Men's Basketball

 
Surging Minutemen Host St. Bonaventure, Sunday At 2 p.m.

Tony Gaffney and Chris Lowe have played great defense of late.

Tony Gaffney and Chris Lowe have played great defense of late.

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    UMASS (17-9, 6-6) vs. ST. BONAVENTURE (7-18, 1-10)
    Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008 • 2 p.m. (ET)
    Mullins Center (9,493) • Amherst, Mass.
    Streaming Video: UMassAthletics.com
    Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
    WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

    Surging Minutemen Host St. Bonaventure, Sunday At 2 p.m.
    • Riding their first two-game win streak in a month, UMass seeks its third win a row as the Minutemen host St. Bonaventure on Sunday at 2 p.m. UMass is looking to win three in a row for the first time since taking six in a row in Dec. 2007-Jan. 2008. The Minutemen (17-9, 6-6 A-10) come into the game after a thrilling 98-91 win at Rhode Island last Thursday night in Kingston. Three players scored more than 20 points led by Etienne Brower's career-high 26 including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Chris Lowe had 21 points and handed out 10 assists for the third game in a row. Gary Forbes, the A-10's leading scorer added 23 points for the Minutemen.

    • The Minutemen have been clicking over the last two games starting with an 88-77 win at the Mullins Center last Sunday against Saint Louis. In that win, Dante Milligan poured in a career-high 21 points while Lowe had 13 points and 13 assists.

    • Over the last eight games, Etienne Brower has been red-hot. He is averaging 18.1 points pert game along with 6.8 rebounds per game. Even more impressive, he is shooting 54 percent from 3-point range in that span, making 30-of-58 treys.

    Chris Lowe is showing why he is one of the top point guards in the nation, averaging 11.0 dishes over the last three games with at least 10 in each game. He has double-doubles in the last two games, the first two of his career.

    • St. Bonavneture is 7-18 overall and 1-10 in the A-10, standing in 14th place. The Bonnies have dropped four in a row and 10 of their last 11.

    • Live streaming video will be available on UMass All-Access on UMassAthletics.com The game will be carried on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM WRNX in Western Massachusetts and on 830 AM (WCRN) in Central Mass and 95.9 FM (WATD) in Eastern Mass. Bob Behler calls the action alongside color analyst Tim Collins.

    Happy Birthday Dr. J
    • Friday, February 22, was the birthday of all-time UMass great and Hall of Famer Julius Erving. He turned 58 as he was born on Feb. 22, 1950. Back on Feb. 22, 1971, to celebrate his 21st birthday, Erving snared school record 32 rebounds to go with 36 points leading UMass to a 86-71 victory over Syracuse at Curry Hicks Cage. That game turned out to be Erving's last game in the Cage.

    The Series With St. Bonaventure
    • This will be the 54th meeting between UMass and St. Bonaventure, with the Minutemen holding a 36-17 lead in the all-time series.

    • UMass has won the last five meetings and eight of the last 10, but prior to that St. Bona won four games in a row.

    • Last year, UMass posted a 39-point win over St. Bonaventure at the Mullins Center, 83-44 on Feb. 21, 2007. That 39-point win equalled the largest margin of victory all-time at Mullins.

    • The Minutemen won the only meeting two seasons ago, 72-64 on Feb. 19, 2006. Two years ago, UMass beat St. Bonaventure both times they played: in Olean, 82-78 in double-overtime on Jan. 26, 2005 and at the Mullins Center 10 days later, 74-58. The teams split the meetings in 2003-04 with each team winning on its homecourt.

    • The Minutemen stand 19-6 all-time against St. Bonaventure in Amherst, including a 10-3 mark at the Mullins Center. The teams have split the last six at the Mullins Center.

    • For games played at the Reilly Center, UMass holds a 14-11 advantage with four wins in the last five games including last season.

    • UMass head coach Travis Ford is 2-0 against the Bonnies, winning last season. St. Bonaventure's new coach Mark Schmidt will coach against the Minutemen for the first time.

    The Last Meeting
    LAST SEASON AT THE MULLINS CENTER (FEB. 21, 2007): UMass used a 15-0 early first-half run and cruised the rest of the way to an 83-44 win over St. Bonaventure to earn the Minutemen's 20th victory of the season. The senior duo of Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme proved too much in the post scoring a combined 33 points in the game. UMass improved to 20-7 overall and 10-3 in the Atlantic 10 marking the 13th time in school history that the Minutemen have won 20-or-more games in one season. The last time UMass won 20 games was in 1997-98, when they went 21-11.

    • The 39-point win equaled the largest at the Mullins Center, as UMass beat Rhode Island, 89-50 in 2000. The Minutemen again received a spark from its bench as Ricky Harris and Luke Bonner chipped in 14 and 11 points, respectively. Bonner scored all of his career-high point total in the second half highlighted by a pair of three-pointers. He also had a career-high three blocks and five rebounds while drawing two charges. Harris scored seven points in each half. The Minutemen were extremely efficient shooting from the floor for the game hitting 53 percent thanks in part to Freeman and Lasme in the paint. Freeman hit 8-of-9 shots for 16 points, while Lasme also went 8-of-9 from the floor for 17 points. As a team, UMass outscored St. Bonaventure (6-20, 3-10) 60-to-36 in the paint. The Bonnies were led by A.J. Hawkins who scored 12 points and Paul Williams who added 11 points.

    Forbes Nears 1,000 UMass Points
    Gary Forbes already surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career, but he has a great chance to reach 1,000 points in his two seasons at UMass. Forbes has 959 in his 59 games at UMass in two years since transferring from Virginia. Forbes is in line to become the 39th player in UMass history to score 1,000 points for the Minutemen/Redmen. Overall, Forbes has 1470 points including 511 at Virginia. The Last UMass player to reach 1,000 career points was Stephane Lasme, who did it in his last UMass game at West Virginia in the 2007 NIT. He is 38th all-time with 1,011 points.

    Lowe Moving Up Assists Chart
    Chris Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass as he stands seventh with 411. After passing Anthony Anderson (367) at Saint Louis (2/2), next on the list is Anton Brown (417). With five helpers against Charlotte (1/19), he passed Charlton Clarke (350). With five assists against CCSU (12/22), he passed BC Coach Al Skinner (320) and then with five more against Houston (1/2), he passed Louisville coach Rick Pitino (329).

    • Lowe had a career-high 13 against Saint Louis (2/17). That was the highest total since all-time leader Carl Smith tied the school record with 15 on Jan. 23, 1986.

    • Lowe is averaging 11.0 assists in his last three games with his first three career games with 10 or more assists with double-doubles in the last two games.

    Updating The RPI
    • With big wins at Syracuse, Boston College and Dayton, UMass is at No. 31 in the RPI rankings based on RealtimeRPI.com as of noon on Feb. 22. The Minutemen have been as high as No. 9 this season following their win over Toledo on Dec. 15. UMass had been in the top 30 all season until the loss to Fordham at home on Feb. 14. The Minutemen are one of eight Atlantic 10 teams in the top 100 with Xavier at the top coming in at No. 7. After UMass, Dayton follows at No. 33 and Rhode Island is No. 43. Saint Joseph's is 54th, Temple is 65th, Duquesne is 89th and Richmond is No. 94. Overall, the Atlantic 10 is seventh in the nation in league RPI.

    • UMass plays the 22nd-toughest schedule in the nation and the Minutemen have been sensational with a 7-6 record against top 100 teams. UMass has beaten No. 33 Dayton, No. 43 Rhode Island (twice), No. 47 Syracuse, No. 51 Houston, No. 89 Duquesne and No. 98 Boston College.

    Scoring, More and More
    Travis Ford has installed an up-tempo offense in 2007-08 after two years of low-post dominance with Stephane Lasme and Rashaun Freeman leading the way. 2007 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Lasme was a second-round draft pick by the Golden State Warriors. Freeman is leading the French B Division in scoring and rebounding after being a three-time A-10 First-Team selection. Heading into 2007-08, UMass returned just 40 percent of its scoring and just 35 percent of its rebounding.

    • With the new offense, UMass is scoring at a high-pace. The Minutemen are averaging 82.8 points per game, up from 77.1 points (+5.7) through 26 games last season and 77.3 points (+5.5) for the entire season.

    • UMass is seventh in the NCAA in scoring through Feb. 22 with 82.8 per game. The Minutemen are also first in the Atlantic 10 scoring moving ahead of No. 8 Duquesne (82.7). VMI leads the nation with a 92.4 average.

    • UMass has scored 80 or more points 14 times with a 12-2 record in those games. The Minutemen have reached 90 points eight times, standing, 7-1.

    • UMass has been one of two squads with two players in the in the Top 50 NCAA scoring leaders for nearly the entire season (until Feb. 11) with Gary Forbes, who is now 33rd with a 20.3 average and Ricky Harris, who was as high as 28th, but is now in the top 75 at 17.8.

    • UMass is 28th in total 3-pointers made with 230. With 8.9 treys per game, UMass leads the A-10 and is 29th in the NCAA in 3s per game.

    Showing Major Improvement
    • With only two players returning with significant playing time (Gary Forbes and Chris Lowe), many UMass players are seeing the most playing time of their careers. With that they have made major strides in all areas. Forbes, who started most of last year has increased his average 7.3 points per game from 13.0 to 20.3 to stand first on the Minutemen. Lowe has also taken his average from 7.0 to 12.6, a +5.6 mark.

    • UMass has the three biggest scoring improvements from last season in the entire Atlantic 10 in Ricky Harris (+13.3), Etienne Brower (+10.2) and Forbes.

    • Sophomore Ricky Harris has emerged as a major weapon on offense, scoring 17.8 points per game after just 4.5 last season as a freshman. He played in 32 games, all off the bench, but has started every game this season. Harris has 464 points this year after 145 all of last year. He passed his entire scoring total in the eighth game of the season against Marist with 18 points. He leads all Minutemen and all players in the Atlantic 10 in scoring improvement at +13.3 points per game. Harris scored in double-figures in the first 18 games this season and in 23 of 26 overall with a career-high 30 at Saint Joseph's (1/23). He also scored 25 on four occasions (at Syracuse, at Boston College, at Vanderbilt and Saint Joseph's). He scored more than 15 in each of the first four games, surpassing his freshman-season high of 14 each time.

    • Senior Etienne Brower has become the force UMass thought he would be after transferring from Boston University. Brower is averaging 12.9 points, starting 20 games after scoring just 2.7 points per game in 2006-07 when he was hindered by an ankle injury all season. Brower has 336 points in the first 26 games after just 59 all of last year in 22 games. He passed his entire total in the fifth game of the season with 75 after the Wis.-Green Bay (11/17) game which he scored a career-high 25 points. Brower is averaging 18.1 points in his last eight games including 20 or more in four of those eight games. He set a new career-high with 26 points at Rhode Island (2/21) including 8-of-10 from the floor and 5-7 from 3-point range. He had 22 vs. Xavier (1/27) and 21 against both Temple (2/10) and Duquesne (1/30).

    • Senior Danté Milligan has tallied 10 or more points in nine games this season. He had just four double-figure games in 32 contests last season. He netted a career-best 21 against Saint Louis (2/17) in front of more than 40 friends and family. He had his previous career-high of 17 in two of three games at Syracuse (11/28) and against Yale (11/14). Milligan's season-high last year was 10 points which he accomplished twice. Milligan has taken his averages from 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds to 8.0 points and 4.8 rebounds. An increase of 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds.

    • Junior Luke Bonner is also seeing more time and making his signature 3-pointers. Bonner, who averaged just 1.6 points in 06-07 is up to 3.7 per game and has made 18-of-48 from 3-point land. Last year he made seven treys all season in 31 games.

    Block Party
    • Even after losing the nation's top shot blocker in Golden State Warriors draft pick Stephane Lasme, UMass has risen to the top of the nation in blocked shots once against in 2007-08.

    • After finishing third in the nation (7.45) in blocked shots with the nation's top shot blocker in Lasme, UMass is fourth in 2007-08 with 7.0 per game with A-10 foe Duquesne ahead at 7.6. UConn (8.9) and Mississippi State (8.4) and lead the nation.

    • UMass has six games with 10 or more blocks most recently its outing vs. Rhode Island (2/7) with 10.

    • The Minutemen picked up 41 blocks in three games (13.7 per game) from Dec. 22-Jan. 2. The Minutemen had 18 swats against Central Connecticut on Dec. 22 for the second-most prolific shot blocking game in school history. The only game with more came with a school-record of 20 on Jan. 3, 1995 in a win over West Virginia at the Springfield Civic Center. UMass followed that up with 14 blocks vs. Boston University.

    • The Minutemen hold the top four shot blocking days in Atlantic 10 history led by the 1995 showing and this year's party against CCSU. UMass also had 16 against St. Francis (N.Y.) last year and St. Peter's in 2005.

    • The 18 blocked shots ties for the ninth most in a game in NCAA history, dating to 1985 when blocked shots became an official statistic.

    Among The A-10 Leaders
    • UMass has players standing in the top five in seven individual categories in the Atlantic 10 as of Feb. 22. Gary Forbes (20.3) is just ahead of Temple's Dionte Christmas (20.2) for lead in the league in scoring race with Ricky Harris (17.8) standing seventh. Forbes is 33rd and Harris is in the top 70 in the NCAA in scoring. Forbes is second in the league in defensive rebounding with 5.8 per game with a season-best 11 against Boston University (12/29) and 10 against Rhode Island (2/7). Forbes is fifth in the league in rebounds with 7.6 per game. He has seven double-doubles on the year.

    • After an early season ankle injury, Chris Lowe has returned to his usual form and place amongst the leaders when it comes to point guards. He is second in the league in assists with 5.8 per game. With 33 assists in his last three games, he is now 30th in the NCAA in assist average. He had a career-high 13 assists against Saint Louis (2/17) on the heels of his first-career game in double-figure assists against Fordham (2/14) with 10. He is also fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.03. Lowe tied his career-high with 23 points against Rhode Island (2/7). When Lowe has five or more assists this season, UMass is 13-3. The Minutemen are 2-6, when he has less than five.

    Tony Gaffney is fourth with 1.6 blocks per game including a career-high six at Duquesne (1/30).

    • Danté Milligan is shooting 62.5 from the floor (80-of-128), but is shy of qualifying for the NCAA rankings (5.0 made field goals per game). If he were eligible, Milligan would rank ninth nationally and first in the A-10. Milligan has taken his field goal percentage from 49.4 to 62.5, an improvement of 13.1 percent. Milligan is seventh in the Atlantic 10 in blocked shots per game with 1.5.

    • Harris is seventh in steals per game with 1.7 and sixth in 3-pointers per game with 2.50.

    UMass Continues Home Dominance
    • UMass has won 18 of its last 21 games at home (85.7) with the lone losses coming to Saint Joseph's (1/9), 98-92, Xavier (1/27), 77-65 and Fordham (2/14, 76-72. The Minutemen are 9-3 at home this season. Prior to the loss to Saint Joseph's, UMass wrapped up a four-game homestand with the 95-89 win over Houston on Jan. 2 for its 15th win in a row at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen are 31-7 (81.6) in their last 38 games at the Mullins Center spanning the last three seasons spanning Travis Ford's tenure in Amherst. UMass went 12-2 at home last year and 10-2 in 2005-06. Last season playing before an average of nearly than 6,000 fans per game at the Mullins Center, UMass had its first sellout in six years, with 9,493 for the Boston College game on Dec. 2. UMass had its second crowd of more than 9,000 last year with 9,088 against Saint Louis on Feb. 24.

    Ford-Tough At Home
    • UMass head coach Travis Ford has been strong at home over the last four years with a 43-8 (84.3) record as the home-team coach. He is 31-7 at UMass. In 2004-05, Ford posted a 12-1 record at Eastern Kentucky's McBrayer Arena prior to this year's perfect start at the Mullins Center. Staff members Tim Maloney, Steve Middleton, and James Altman were all with EKU as well.

    UMass Against Ranked Teams
    • 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.

    • This season the Minutemen are 1-2 against ranked teams, losing at then-No. 15 Vanderbilt on Jan. 5, 97-88, in Nashville and falling to #23/22 Xavier on Jan. 27, 77-65, at the Mullins Center.

    • Last season, UMass played just one ranked team when they lost at No. 4 Pittsburgh, 85-68 on Nov. 18, 2006. Two seasons ago, UMass lost to No. 3 UConn, 78-60 on Dec. 8, 2005, to No. 11 Boston College, 91-62 on Jan. 3, 2006 and to No. 7 to George Washington, 69-66 on Feb. 15, 2006.

    • UMass head coach Travis Ford won his first-ever game as a head coach against a ranked team with the win at Dayton. He is 1-6 at UMass after going 0-9 while coaching at Eastern Kentucky from 2000-05.

    • All-time, UMass is 30-67 against ranked teams.

    Vote UMass!
    • With its strong season, UMass has been in "Others Receiving Votes" five weeks this season, coming in a six-week span from Dec. 17 through Jan. 21.

    • For the week of Jan. 21, UMass received 47 votes in the AP Poll to effectively rank the Minutemen No. 31. It was the most points UMass received since the 1998-99 season. UMass was part of "Others Receiving Votes" from Dec. 17-Jan. 7 polls. In the Jan. 7 poll, UMass had five points, UMass would have been ranked 34th. UMass had eight points on Dec. 31. UMass received six points in the Associated Press media poll on Dec. 17 and 24. UMass has received votes in a week for the 10th time in the last two seasons with the votes on Jan. 7. Last season, the Minutemen received a season-best 11 votes in the March 3, 2007 poll to "rank" them 37th that week.

    • The last time UMass was ranked in the AP Poll was in the Nov. 18, 1998 poll, when the Minutemen came in at No. 23.

    • Three Atlantic 10 teams have been ranked this season with highs of Dayton at No. 14, Rhode Island at No. 22 and Xavier at No. 20. When all three were ranked in the same weeks of Jan. 7 and Jan. 14, it was the first time since the 2003 season, the A-10 had three ranked teams.

    • This week, Xavier is No. 15. Dayton, Rhode Island and Saint Joseph's are including in "Others Receiving Votes".

    • UMass also played No. 14 Vanderbilt (17-3), one of the final five undefeated teams in the nation, in a 97-88 loss on January 5.

    • For the Jan. 21 week, UMass received votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll for the first time this season with nine points. Effectively, UMass was 33rd in the nation according to that poll. Last season, UMass received one vote in March for its only other time with points in the last two seasons.

     

     

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