UMass Hoops Returns Home To Host Duquesne On Wednesday Night
UMASS (10-15, 5-7) vs. DUQUESNE (16-9, 7-5)
UMass Returns Home To Host Duquesne On Wednesday Night
The Minutemen come into the Duquesne game with a 10-15 overall record and 5-7 in the Atlantic 10. UMass has wins over the two teams tied for second place in the Atlantic 10 in Temple and Dayton. The Dukes are 16-9 overall, 7-5 in the Atlantic 10. Its the first time since 1979-80 and 1980-81 that Duquesne has secured consecutive winning campaigns.
In the win at The Palestra on Sunday, senior point guard Chris Lowe set the UMass career record for assists with seven to give him 640 in his career. With his seven helpers, Lowe broke a tie with Carl Smith (633) for all-time UMass record. Lowe is now also sixth in career assists in Atlantic 10 history. Next on the list is St. Bonaventure's Marques Green (657). Lowe ranks 13th in the NCAA in assists per game at 6.2, second in the A-10 to Charlotte's DiJuan Harris (7.0). He has led the league in two of the last three years and is seeking to become the first three-time league leader in history.
Senior forward Tony Gaffney is just one steal from becoming the first player in the NCAA to have 100 blocks (which he reached against Rhode Island last Wednesday) and 50 steals (enters Duquesne game with 49) since Duke's Shelden Williams achieved it in 2005-06. Since 1996-97, only four players have reached that combination in a single season. Gaffney is third in the NCAA in blocks per game (4.2), which leads the A-10. He is also 14th in rebounding (10.4) and tied for 50th in steals per game (2.0). Both of those marks are second in the Atlantic 10.
Wednesday's game will be available through UMass All-Access on UMassAthletics.com as well as the UMass Sports Network with Josh Maurer and former Minuteman Tim Collins on the call. Listen on 100.9 FM WRNX, the flagship station along with 830 AM WCRN and 95.9 FM WATD in Eastern Mass.
UMass is 7-0 against Duquesne at the Mullins Center, winning in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Prior to the recent winning stretch, Duquesne won three of four games in 2004 and 2005. Before that, the Minutemen reeled off 16 straight wins. Duquesne beat UMass in the first round of the A-10 Tournament in 2004, 79-76, for the Dukes' last win.
UMass stands 11-14 against Duquesne in road games, but had won six straight before the Dukes' victory in 2001-02. At the Palumbo Center, the Minutemen have a 7-5 all-time mark. Prior to the win in 2006, UMass' last win over Duquesne in Pittsburgh came on Jan. 27, 2000, an 84-75 win. Monty Mack led UMass with 22 points.
For games played in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, UMass holds a 4-3 advantage with four straight victories. The Minutemen also lead the series 4-2 in neutral site games (all coming in the Atlantic 10 Tournament), winning the last four.
The Last Two Games Vs. Duquesne
LAST MEETING AT MULLINS CENTER VS. DUQUESNE (JAN. 21, 2007): James Life scored a game-high 24 points and Gary Forbes added 19 as UMass defeated scrappy Duquesne, 101-87, in the Mullins Center. Life hit two free throws with 32 seconds remaining to push the score over the century mark for the first time in Mullins Center history. Life scored his 24 points on the strength of six three-pointers. Forbes was a perfect 8-for-8 on the day from the free throw line as part of his 19 and added nine rebounds. Stephane Lasme posted a double-double with 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds - just one shy of the Mullins Center record. Chris Lowe and Ricky Harris had nice games as well for UMass scoring 14 and 13 points, respectively. Lowe added six assists in the game, while Harris tied his career-high and snapped a five-game scoreless streak. Duquesne was led by Robert Mitchell and Reggie Jackson who each scored 22 points. Kieron Achara scored 17, while Aaron Jackson tallied 11 points. Achara, Jackson, and Mitchell each had seven rebounds.
Connections With Duquesne
Duquesne has four players who went to prep school in Massachusetts as Damian Saunders and Melquan Bolding attended Notre Dame Prep. Also, Bill Clark and Aaron Jackson went to Worcester Academy.
Chris Lowe will be one of two Mount Vernon, N.Y., natives in the game as Duquesne's Melquan Bolding is also a native of the Westchester-area town. He did not attend Mount Vernon High School as Lowe did, but instead Bishop Stepinac.
UMass Playing 58th-Toughest Schedule
The A-10 has three teams playing schedules in the top 60 in difficulty: Xavier plays the 43rd-toughest, Temple faces the 48th-toughest and UMass is playing the 58th-toughest.
Gaffney Among The NCAA Leaders
With 104 blocks and 49 steals, Gaffney is closing in on becoming the fifth player since 1996-97 to have 100 blocks and 50 steals in a season. The last to achieve the mark was Duke's Shelden Williams in 2005-06 with 137 blocks and 60 steals.
Gaffney is tied for 50th in steals per game with 2.0 per game, which is second in the Atlantic 10 to Duquesne's Damian Saunders (2.2).
He is having a breakout senior season averaging a double-double with 10 double-doubles this season after none in his career in 81 games entering the season. He also had grabbed at least seven rebounds in 20 of 25 games and at least 10 in 16 of the 25 games. He has double-doubles in three of his last four games starting with a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds at St. Bonaventure (2/14). He also had 19 points and 10 rebounds at Fordham (2/11) last Wednesday and 17 points and 10 rebounds at Saint Joseph's (2/22).
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 104 blocked shots already rank as the sixth-best single-season in UMass history. At No. 4 is Marcus Camby with 105 in his freshman season of 1993-94. Stpehane Lasme is No. 3 with 108 in 2005-06. Gaffney's 163 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. He opened with 16 points and 13 rebounds vs. Arkansas-Monticello (11/11).
Lowe Sets Career Assists Mark, Nets 1000th
Lowe is 13th in the NCAA in the NCAA with 6.2 assists per game, which also is second in the Atlantic 10 lead to Charlotte's DiJuan Harris (7.0). He has led the league in assists in two of the last three years and would become the first player to lead the A-10 in assists for three years in a career.
Lowe became the 41st player in UMass history to pass the 1,000-point plateau. Ricky Harris became the 40th earlier this year. Lowe is the first UMass player with 1,000 points and 600 assists and just the seventh in Atlantic 10 history.
Lowe stands sixth in career assists in the Atlantic 10 with his 640. Next on the list is St. Bonaventure's Marques Green (657).
Lowe is up to 33rd in career scoring at UMass with 1,070. Next on the list are No. 32 Shannon Crooks (1,074), No. 31 Jack Foley (1,081) and No. 30 Mike Williams (1,122).
Lowe has seven 10-assist games this season and 13 in his career, all in the last two seasons (all in the last 38 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).
Harris Shoots Up 1,000-Point List
Next on the list for Harris to pass are No. 15 Billy Tindall (1,277) and No. 14 Clarence Hill (1,369). Julius Erving is 13th with 1,370 points in two years.
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 18.5 scoring average and led the team in scoring in 16 of the first 25 games with 20 or more in eight games. Harris is 49th 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 193 and fifth in career attempts with 526. 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).
Big Nights For Bonner
Bonner posted his first-career double-double at Charlotte (1/21) with a career-high tying 15 points and a career-best 11 rebounds. That performance came in a career-high 39 minutes, shattering his former length of 26 minutes by 13. Bonner also set or tied career highs for field goals attempted (11), made 3-pointers (3), 3-pointers attempted (8) and assists (3).
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 18 games (15 starts), he is scoring 7.6 points per game along with 5.6 rebounds. He has made 30-of-72 3-point field goals for a team-best 41.7.
Over his last 11 games -- which he has made a 3-pointer in each game -- Bonner is shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc with 21-of-46.
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).
Bonner made a career-high four 3-pointers, hitting all four of his attempts, at Fordham (2/11).
On the defensive end, Bonner has been just amazing at drawing charges. He has taken 23 offensive fouls in just 16 games, more than one a game including a career high four on twice at #10/10 Xavier and vs. Hofstra (12/20). Bonner has 23 of UMass' 32 drawn charges as a team this season.
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).
100th Season Of UMass Basketball
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.
The 1990s night was the biggest of the celebrations with the following players in attendance: Craig Berry, Ronell Blizzard, Ross Burns, Charlton Clarke, Ted Cottrell, Darryl Denson, Dana Dingle, Francois Firmin, Jason Germain, Will Herndon, Derek Kellogg, Lari Ketner, Chris Kirkland, Andy Maclay, Rigo Nunez, Tommy Pace, Edgar and Giddel Padilla (flew in from Puerto Rico), Kennard Robinson, John Tate, Tyrone Weeks and Mike Williams.
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 with each of the last two years.
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.
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