• Playing its final midweek home game of the season, UMass welcomes Rhode Island to Western Mass. for the second contest of the year between the rivals. UMass won the first matchup 17 days prior (4 games ago), 73-68, at URI.
• UMass ranks in the top 75 in the following categories: scoring offense (44th, 77.1 ppg), scoring margin (64th, 6.8 ppg), FG pct. (50th, 47.1), 3-point FG pct. defense (29th, 30.3%), assists (19th, 15.9 apg) and blocked shots (20th, 5.8 bpg).
• This is the 105th season of UMass Basketball. UMass has an all-time record of 1,228-1,076 (.533) in 2,304 games. UMass is 458-312 (.593) in conference games, including a 292-292 in Atlantic 10 play. The Minutemen have claimed 15 regular-season conference championships and five tournament titles.
• The 2013-14 season marks the sixth for head coach Derek Kellogg ... Kellogg starred as a point guard for the Minutemen from 1992-95, playing for coach John Calipari ... Kellogg spent a year as a graduate assistant with Bruiser Flint at UMass, two years at George Mason with Jim Larranaga and eight at Memphis with Calipari, culminating with the 2008 NCAA Runner-up season ... UMass' win totals under Kellogg have gone 12, 12, 15, 25 and 21 last season with a second-consecutive NIT appearance.
The Last Meeting
February 9, 2014
• Sunday's game against Rhode Island will be the 142nd between the schools, the most played series in UMass' history. UMass has faced UConn 108 times, the only other series with more than 100 meetings. The Minutemen also have more wins over Rhode Island than any other program, holding an 83-58 advantage dating to the first game on Jan. 11, 1908, a 32-14 UMass win in Amherst. The teams have met six times in conference tournament play, with the Minutemen owning a 4-2 edge dating back to the 1981 Eastern 8 Tournament.
• UMass has won 39 of the last 53 games in the series. That includes season sweeps by UMass in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2013; and URI in 1999 and 2003. The Minutemen's two longest win streaks also came during the stretch, collecting eight-straight from 1990-93 and 10-straight form 1993-98.
• Overall, for games played in Amherst, the Minutemen lead the series 51-20, with a 14-4 mark at the Mullins Center. UMass is 31-36 in the Ocean State and has won seven of the 12 meetings in the Ryan Center.
• UMass coach Derek Kellogg is 7-3 as a coach against the Rams. As a player at UMass from 1992-95, the Minutemen were 9-1 vs. Rhode Island, losing once in 1993 in Providence.
UMASS SECURES THIRD-CONSECUTIVE 20-WIN SEASON
• With its win at George Washington 11 days ago, the 2013-14 team earned its 20th victory, becoming the 17th 20-win team in school history. All 17 have come in the past 43 seasons dating back to Jack Leaman's 1970-71 team that went 23-4 and participated in its second-straight NIT.
• It also marks the third-consecutive 20-win season for the Minutemen, marking the first time that has happened in Amherst since the end of John Calipari's eight-year run in Western Mass. which concluded with six 20-plus win campaigns and the 1996 NCAA Final Four.
UMASS EARNS 200TH MULLINS CENTER VICTORY
• UMass has been very strong in the Mullins Center this year with an 10-1 record (11-1 in home games since the BYU game in Springfield is counted as such by the NCAA). Over the past three seasons, the Minutemen are 28-6 in regular-season games and 17-5 in Atlantic 10 contests in the facility.
• UMass finished its regular-season non-conference home slate on Jan. 4 with a win over Miami (Ohio) and has compiled a 15-1 record with a current eight-game winning streak against non-league foes that it will take into next year.
• The Minutemen have been strong during the winter break as well, winning their last 11 non-league games when the classes are not in session.
• UMass is in its 21st season of play at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center and has posted an all-time record of 200-86 (.700) following the VCU game. The Minutemen also own a 112-52 (.683) all-time record in regular-season Atlantic 10 Conference games at the Mullins Center, and a 4-2 mark in Atlantic 10 Tournament contests. The first game was played on Feb. 4, 1993 as UMass defeated West Virginia 64-59 in overtime.
UMASS SAAC ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR AMHERST SURVIVAL CENTER
• The UMass Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is conducting a food drive to benefit the Amherst Survival Center. Collection games include the Feb. 15 and 22 ice hockey games and the Feb. 21, 26 and March 9 men's basketball games. Non-perishable food and personal care items will be accepted inside the entrances of the Mullins Center. Some of the most common items needed are soup, vegetables, whole-grain pasta, soap and shampoo.
UMASS NOT SO CHARITABLE AT THE LINE
• One area that has continued to give UMass troubles lately has been the free throw line. Over the last four games the Minutemen have made 62.5% (70-for-112) of their attempts. The average was much lower before the team made 20-of-27 (74.1%) on Friday against VCU.
• UMass started the year making 73 percent of its shots in its first eight games, but just 65 percent over the last 18.
KELLOGG PICKS UP WIN NO. 100 IN AMAZING FASHION
• Sixth-year head coach Derek Kellogg's earned his 100th career victory - all at UMass - with a thrilling 88-87 come-from-behind victory at George Mason on Jan. 15. UMass trailed by eight midway through the second half and by five (86-81) with 41.3 seconds left. But a pair of lightning-quick layups by Chaz Williams, three forced turnovers and a Derrick Gordon putback with 8.1 left helped the Minutemen remain unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play.
• What made the game special for Kellogg was that his first full-time job after college came in the late 1990s when he spent two seasons at George Mason working for Jim Larranaga from 1997-99. That stint included the 1999 CAA regular-season and tournament titles en route to a NCAA Tournament First Round appearance.
• With 105 victories entering the VCU game, Kellogg is in third place on the school's career victories list. Jack Leaman won 217 over 13 seasons and John Calipari is second with 193 over eight years in Amherst.
UMASS SHARING THE BALL AS WELL AS AT ANY POINT IN KELLOGG'S SIX SEASONS
• Paced by one of the best point guards in the country in Chaz Williams, UMass ranks 19th nationally in assists per game at 15.9. Individually, Williams ranks third at 7.2 apg.
• Further evidence of the team's ability to distribute across the court is that it has assisted on 57.1 pct. of its field goals this season. That is the highest since the 2005-06 squad assisted on 57.8 pct. of made baskets.
21-5 MARK AFTER 26 GAMES EQUALS THE FIFTH-BEST RECORD IN SCHOOL HISTORY
• With a 21-5 record entering the URI game, the 2013-14 UMass team has matched the 1993-94 and 1973-74 squads for the fifth-best record after 26 games in school history. The record is held by the 1995-96 Final Four team which won its first 26 games. That team was one of 27 in NCAA history to start a season with at least 20 victories.
UMASS & THE POLLS
• After losing three of four games three weeks ago, UMass fell out of the national rankings after a 10-week run of being ranked. The Minutemen have now won three of their last four and are receving 9 votes in each poll this week, putting them as the fifth team receiving votes in each poll.
• When the Minutemen debuted in the rankings this season, it ended a drought that dated back to Nov. 1998 in each poll. Last month's initial No. 19 ranking marked the first foray in the Top 20 in both polls since Feb. 24, 1998.
• UMass has now appeared in the AP Poll 87 times and is 126-33 all-time as a ranked team. The Minutemen have been ranked in the top 10 48 times, the top five 31 times and No. 1 15 times (32-4).
• UMass was ranked for 63-consceutive weeks during the mid-1990s.
• In six of UMass' eight Atlantic 10 victories, it trailed in the final five minutes of the game before coming back to win (1/8 vs. Saint Joseph's, 1/11 vs. St. Bona, 1/15 at George Mason, 2/9 at URI, 2/15 at GW, 2/21 vs. VCU). The Minutemen were behind in the final 95 seconds in three of those (Saint Joseph's, St. Bona and GMU). You can read more about those comebacks in the next note.
REFUSE TO LOSE
• With the style of play and mentality that Derek Kellogg has implemented at UMass, just about any deficit can be overcome. The Minutemen have pulled off some late-game heroics in three of their eight A-10 wins.
• UMass trailed at George Mason by eight in the second half and 86-81 with 41.3 seconds left. But a pair of lightning-quick layups by Chaz Williams, three forced turnovers and a Derrick Gordon putback with 8.1 left helped the Minutemen remain unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play.
• Against St. Bonaventure the game prior, they erased a 13-point deficit with nine minutes remaining and outscored the Bonnies 21-8 to close the game. That marked the first time this season and the seventh time in the last three seasons a UMass club has overcome a double-digit hole to win a game.
• Three days earlier against Saint Joseph's, UMass trailed by nine seven minutes into the game and again with six minutes to play. More full court pressure and timely shooting saw the Minutemen close the game on an 18-5 run.
DEFENDING THE THREE
• UMass has done a solid job with its three-point field goal defense this season, holding opponents to 30.3% from outside and 4.9 makes per game. That percentage ranks fifth in the Atlantic 10 and 29th nationally. URI is third and 18th at 29.6%
• Since Boston College made 40 pct. in the season-opener, only three times has a team made better than 38 pct. in a game. Teams have been held to five or fewer makes 15 times, with opponents averaging 4.7 over the last 15 games.
DEFENDING THE RIM
• With an arsenal of long, athletic players who can defend the rim, UMass has been among the nation's blocked shot leaders all season long, entering the URI game with 5.8 blocks per game, good for 20th in the NCAA and first in the Atlantic 10, just ahead of URI's 4.6 bpg.
• They have been particularly unkind over the past eight games, altering 56 shots for an 7.0 bpg average. UMass has blocked at least nine shots four times in the last seven contests.
TOP PLAYS U
• Over the course of the last three seasons, UMass basketball student-athletes have had 15 performances earn a spot on ESPN SportsCenter's Top Plays of the Day or Weekend.
• The latest came on Jan. 26 when Trey Davis threw a bounce pass between a Fordham player's legs to Derrick Gordon who tossed an alley-oop to Maxie Esho for the throw down. That earned No. 6 on the list.
• A week earlier, Chaz Williams (5'9") blocked St. Bonaventure's Youssou Ndoye's (7'0") layup attempt for the No. 9 play on Saturday, Jan. 11.
• Esho also earned the No. 8 play on Jan. 8 with his backcourt steal of Saint Joseph's DeAndre Bembry and dunk that put UMass ahead 63-62 with 1:00 left en route to a 66-62 come-from-behind win.
• Other top plays included a Derrick Gordon offensive putback with 1.1 seconds left in overtime to lift UMass to a 69-67 win over Providence, earning him No. 8 on Dec. 28, a Williams-to-Raphiael Putney alley-oop against Northern Illinois for No. 8 on Dec. 14, a Putney coast-to-coast drive and dunk where he took off from just inside the "A-10" logo in the lane against Youngstown State for No. 3 on Nov. 17.
• So what does all of this mean, you ask? Maybe not a lot in terms of basketball statistics, but UMass' brand has been enhanced with visibility through social media whether it be Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vine and even UMassAthletics.com. Derek Kellogg has mentioned that the UMass basketball brand is well known and recognized nationally, further evidenced by the current roster which features players from Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington state.
WILLIAMS NAMED TO NAISMITH TOP 30 LIST
• On Thursday, senior PG Chaz Williams was named to the Men's Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T Top 30 List. Williams is one of 19 guards and 18 seniors listed, and the only player from an Atlantic 10 Conference school.
• Last month he was named to the Wendy's Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list and the Oscar Robertson Midseason Watch List. He is the only player from an Atlantic 10 school on each of those lists and one of 12 guards on the Wooden list and 13 floor generals among the 23 total from the Robertson list.
• Earlier this week he was named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award (top point guard in men's college basketball).
CHAZ IS LIKE A FINE WINE, HE GETS BETTER WITH AGE
• Chaz Williams continues to impress with his on-court talents year-in and year-out. While his scoring has been consistently strong throughout his college career, his shooting percentages are at or near all-time highs and his assist-to-turnover numbers are at an all-time high.
Year MPG PPG FG% 3FG% FT% APG TPG A/TO Ratio
2009-10 31.7 9.8 .372 .389 .733 4.2 2.5 1.64
2011-12 34.9 16.9 .410 .419 .788 6.2 3.4 1.83
2012-13 35.3 15.5 .433 .333 .785 7.3 3.4 2.12
2013-14 34.6 15.5 .406 .372 .739 7.2 3.3 2.21
• He has 17 double-figure assist games in his career and 15 at UMass, tying Carl Smith's record set from 1983-87.
CHAZ AMONG ELITE COMPANY
• Chaz Williams has had a very impressive career dating back to this freshman season at Hofstra in 2009-10, and has maintained his high level of play through his career at UMass. He is currently one of only seven active Division I players to have 1,500 points, 500 assists and 100 steals. Here is the list of current active players who fit this category as well...
Chaz Williams (UMass) 1,866 points 799 assists 238 steals
Anthony Ireland (Loyola Marymount) 2,103 points 535 assists 194 steals
Kendall Williams (New Mexico) 1,720 points 579 assists 179 steals
Shabazz Napier (UConn) 1,720 points 597 assists 228 steals
Patrick Miller (Tennessee State) 1,837 points 511 assists 195 steals
Joe Jackson (Memphis) 1,606 points 541 assists 185 steals
Brandon Young (DePaul) 1,798 points 508 assists 177 steals
WILLIAMS EARNS THIRD A-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Chaz Williams earned his third Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honor in late January after he averaged 23 points, 6 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.5 rebounds in road victories against George Mason and Elon.
• The Brooklyn native left his mark in both wins that week, scoring a game-high 26 points with eight assists, and a career-high tying five steals in the thrilling come-from-behind win at George Mason. He scored 15 in the second half and was the catalyst during their final 41 seconds comeback. He scored five of the final seven points and his steal with 10 seconds left led to the game winning basket. Against Elon on Saturday, he had 20 points, all in the second half and was instrumental in numerous plays that kept the UMass lead between 7-12 points the entire second half. Williams, who won his third Player of the Week award this season, passed Carmelo Travieso for third all-time in school history with 598 assists in just 87 games.
LALANNE HAVING BREAKOUT SEASON
• Junior C Cady Lalanne (caddie luh-lane) is having his best season since arriving at UMass, posing season marks of 12.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. While his A-10 numbers aren't as imposing - 10.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg - he still has the potential to dominate any game inside.
• Lalanne was able to spend a full off season working with strength & conditioning coach Rich Hogans and added more muscle to his frame, which led to his strong season. That strong play has continued throughout the season with his ability to post a double-double any time out, something he has done 10 times this season - which ranks second in the A-10 and 30th nationally.
ESHO MAKING PUSH FOR SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR...
• Redshirt junior Maxie Esho, who has been described as the X-factor by head coach Derek Kellogg at times, is producing at a high level with 8.2 ppg and 4.8 rpg, ahead of his previous season benchmarks of 5.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg set last year. In 12 A-10 games he has averaged 6.7 points, 3.5 rebounds with 13 total blocks and seven steals.
• Prior to being injured at Saint Joseph's, in the previous 13 games, he was UMass' third leading scorer and rebounder at 10.2 ppg and 5.3 rpg. His field goal percentage was tops on the team during that span at .621 (54-for-87) and he had eight double-figure games in those 12.
DAVIS NOT A BAD CHOICE EITHER
• Sophomore Trey Davis has also made a solid improvement from his rookie season and has asserted himself as one of the top guards off the bench in the conference. He is averaging 8.7 points and 2.6 assists in 22.5 minutes per game. He is second on the team with 35 3-pointers this season. In A-10 play, he is the team's third leading scorer, averaging 10.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists over 12 games.
• A very good shooter from 3-point range, he struggled at times to get going but has returned to form in the last few weeks. He is leads the team in A-10 play, making .396 (19-for-48) with four games remaining. Prior to a pair of 0-for-2 effort in the last two games, he had made at least one 3-pointer in 15-consecutive games and 17 of the 18.