Following its second scheduled `bye' week in league play, UMass travels to Xavier in a game that could go a long way in determining if the Minutemen can secure one of the top four spot in the A-10 regular-season. UMass is currently in seventh place and just two games back of third with three contests left. Xavier is one game ahead of UMass and plays three of its final four games at home.
Neither team had a scheduled mid-week A-10 game, but the Musketeers defeated No. 19/17 Memphis 64-62 on Tuesday.
WHERE TO WATCH
Comcast/Xfinity subscribers in the Springfield and Amherst markets can watch the game on channels 261 and 956 (HD). Additionally, the network can be found on DirecTV Ch. 613 and Dish Ch. 158.
For students on campus, the UMass Cable system recently added CBS Sports Network to the channel lineup. It can be found on channel 88 for analog users and 80.1 on the digital signal.
The 2012-13 season marks the fifth 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 and 25 last season with an NIT FInal Four appearance.
The Minutemen are shooting 43.2 pct. from the field, 32.9 pct. from outside and 71.4 pct. from the free throw line, while averaging 73.8 points per game overall. In 13 A-10 games, those numbers are 45.6 pct., 35.0 pct., 72.1 pct. and 74.7 ppg.
UMass averages 7.1 3-pointers made and 22.6 attempts per game. The Minutemen have 196 steals thus far for 7.5 spg, which ranks 94th in the nation. Last season, UMass collected a school-record 326 steals and 8.8 spg. UMass is also second in the A-10 and 27th in blocked shots with 5.2 bpg.
Junior PG Chaz Williams leads the A-10 in assists (7.6, tied for fourth in NCAA) and double-digit assist performances (5). In A-10 games, he is averaging 16.2 points (seventh in the A-10) and shooting 45 pct from the floor and 85 pct from the free throw line.
Saturday's game marks the 24th meeting between UMass and Xavier, with the Musketeers holding a 14-9 edge.
Xavier is 7-3 in games played in Cincinnati and 5-1 in the Cintas Center. UMass handed the Musketeers their first-ever loss in the facility on Jan. 9, 2001. Only three A-10 schools have multiple wins in the arena - Richmond, Saint Joseph's and Saint Louis.
Prior to last season's 80-73 UMass win at the Mullins Center, Xavier had won six-straight in the series dating back to a pair of UMass wins in 2005 and 2006.
UMass' last trip to Cincinnati saw the home team claim a 79-59 decision due in large part to a 21-4 run over the final eight minutes of the first half that turned a 14-14 game into a rout. Anthony Gurley led the Minutemen with 12 points, while Sean Carter added nine and five rebounds.
Three years ago, the-then No. 10 Musketeers pulled out a thrilling 82-80 win in Cincinnati. UMass forced Xavier into a season-high 23 turnovers, but couldn't break through in the closing minutes. Ricky Harris led the Minutemen with 17 points as four players scored in double-figures. Chris Lowe netted 16 points, missing a free throw on purpose with 3.6 seconds, but Tony Gaffney's (9 points, 12 rebounds) tip at the end rimmed out.
In 2007, its was an early conference battle between the preseason Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the A-10, as the Musketeers emerged with a 83-77 win in a soldout Cintas Center. Xavier hit six straight free throws in the final 23 seconds. With 30 seconds remaining, UMass' Etienne Brower hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to pull the Minutemen within two, 77-75, but could get no closer. For the game, free throw shooting gave Xavier an 11-point edge as the Musketeers hit 15-of-22 from the line compared to just 2-for-4 for the Minutemen. Rashaun Freeman had a game-high 22 points.
The Minutemen are 5-4 against Xavier in the Mullins Center, including the 2005 triple-OT game, which was the first extra-session game at Mullins since the Feb. 20, 1999 contest against the Musketeers. UMass went 77 games at home between overtime action with both games coming against Xavier.
Terrell Vinson TO BECOME UMASS' CAREER STARTS LEADER SATURDAY
Senior Terrell Vinson is slated to make his 122nd career start on Saturday, which will put him in first place on the UMass career list. He is will pass Jim McCoy, who set the record following his career from 1988-92.
Vinson will also appear in his 126th game and move into a tie for sixth place with Tony Barbee (1989-93) and McCoy. Other players with attainable games played for TV include Carmelo Travieso (1993-97) with 130 and Ricky Harris (2006-10) with 129. The complete individual record book can be found near the back of this notes packet.
UMass' Official NCAA RPI is 55 for the second-consecutive week. The Atlantic 10 has seven teams in the top 60 and 10 in the top 100, behind only the Big East's 12. Butler (31), Saint Louis (35), VCU (36), La Salle (37) and Temple (41) are ahead of the Minutemen. UMass is 56 with a strength of schedule of 67 in both the ESPN Insider and CBS Sports RPIs.
OFFENSE TURNING THE CORNER IN SECOND HALF OF A-10 ACTION
The UMass offense has appeared to hit its stride in the second half of the Atlantic 10 season thus far. The Minutemen are averaging more points per game, shooting better, rebounding at a higher rate and sharing the ball more in the past six games compared to the first seven.
In the past six games, UMass is averaging 80.2 points, 38.7 rebounds and 18.2 assists per contest while shooting 47 pct. overall, 38 pct. from outside and 77 pct. from the free throw line. Seven players are seeing at least 20 minutes per game and the team has put at least four players in double figures five of the six contests.
KELLOGG AMONG UMASS TOP FIVE IN VICTORIES
With 81 victories entering Saturday's game, fifth-year head coach Derek Kellogg is tied with Robert T. Curran (1952-59) for fifth in coaching victories at UMass. Curran finished 81-80 in seven seasons.
UMASS PLAYER QUICK HITS
Senior G Freddie Riley has found his scoring touch over the past five games, posting five-consecutive double-figure scoring games for the first time in his career. He is averaging 14.0 ppg during the stretch.
Junior F Raphiael Putney saw his streak of 52-consecutive starts come to an end two games ago but has responded well in the past two contests. He posted nine points and a team-high 12 rebounds, including a career-high seven offensive at St. Bonaventure, and added 10 points, three boards and two assists in the win over Dayton. He has paced the Minutemen on the boards in four of the past seven games while averaging 6.5 rpg during those outings
Senior F Terrell Vinson has put together one of the best long-range shooting periods of his career, knocking down 13-of-23 (.565) over the past seven games. He has also averaged 14.7 ppg with a pair of 20-plus point performances.
Sophomore C Cady Lalanne has averaged 16.0 points and 10.7 rebounds in the last three games, while shooting 20-for-28 (.714) from the floor. He also ranks second in the A-10 in league games with a .612 field goal percentage.
Last month, UMass came away with some late-game heroics as Chaz Williams' running layup with 8.1 seconds left proved to be the difference in the 61-60 victory at La Salle, snapping a four-game losing skid at Tom Gola Arena.
But that was just the latest in a string of thrilling wins this season for UMass, who is 9-4 in games decided by 5 points or less.
Nov. 13: Sampson Carter 3-pointer with 1.2 left beats Harvard 73-70 in ESPN Tip-Off Marathon.
Nov. 15: Terrell Vinson tip-in off Chaz Williams miss as time expires to beat Providence in Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Nov. 28: Chaz Williams 5-footer off the glass with 3.3 seconds left completes 17-point comeback in 64-63 win at Siena.
Jan. 30: Chaz Williams driving layup with 8.1 seconds left lifts UMass to 61-60 win at La Salle. Raphiael Putney partially blocks Jerrell Wright's baseline jumper and Cady Lalanne secures the rebound as time expires to snap a four-game losing streak at Tom Gola Arena.
It hasn't always been UMass with the ball and a chance to win... Jan. 2: Leading 70-69 at Miami (Ohio), Carter misses a 3-pointer with 10 seconds to play but Red Hawk guard Will Sullivan misses a layup before Putney corrals the rebound as time expires.
And the four losses in a game decided by 5 points or less...
Jan. 19: Trailing 77-74 against George Wash., Freddie Riley is fouled attempting a 3-pointer with 3.0 seconds left. The senior missed the first and made the last two before having to foul the Colonials, who made two free throws to account for the 79-76 final score as the Minutemen were unable to get a shot off.
Feb. 2: After rebounding a pair of missed Charlotte free throws with 14.8 seconds left, Chaz Williams drives but lost the ball when he made contact with a pair of 49er defenders near the right elbow as UMass lost 66-65.
Feb. 16: UMass and Temple wrote one final memorable game in their storied rivalry, with the Owls claiming a 83-82 win at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen had the ball, down by one with 17 seconds left. Chaz Williams handed the ball off to Freddie Riley, who drove to the free throw line, faked a shot and attempted a bounce pass to a cutting Williams, but the ball was partially tipped and time ran out in the ensuing scramble.
Feb. 20: Four days later UMass and St. Bonaventure played to a 99-94 shootout with the Bonnies emerging with the win. UMass had a chance to tie the game with 20 second left but Chaz Williams' 3-pointer fell short and the teams traded free throws for the remainder of the contest.
UMASS GETTING THE TRANSITION GAME GOING
One of the primary factors during its strong play of late has been UMass' ability to put together some momentum-building scoring runs, while limiting its opponent's opportunities. Four weeks ago against Duquesne, the Minutemen collected their third-most lopsided scoring stretch when they outscored the Dukes 32-15 over much of the latter part of the first half, turning a 3-point deficit into a 17-point lead with five seconds to play in the period. They also rode a 14-2 run over the final seven minutes to pull away after the Dukes had trimmed the margin to 65-52.
They produced a season-high four stretches of plus-9 or better against Rhode Island en route to the most lopsided victory of the season four weeks ago.
This season the Minutemen have compiled 29 scoring runs where the margin was at least nine points, compared to 16 by their opponents.
The Minutemen are now 12-1 when holding their opponent under 70 points and 13-3 when leading at halftime. The last two times UMass held a halftime lead, the game ended in a loss (VCU and Temple).
Cady Lalanne recorded a career-high 22 points on the afternoon besting his previous high of 18. Lalanne pulled down 14 rebounds, which ties his career high and finished with his fifth double-double of the season.
Freddie Riley finished the game with 12 points, shooting 7-of-19 from the floor including 3-of-8 from long range. Riley is riding a career-long five-game double figure scoring streak.
In the past two games, the Minutemen are 34-of-39 from the charity stripe. Today, UMass was 17-of-19 following their 13-of-15 performance against St. Bonaventure.
Terrell Vinson was 2-for-3 from outside the arc tonight and is now 13-of-23 (56.5%) in the last seven games. The senior is now averaging 14.7 points-per-game over that stretch.
The Minutemen shot a season-high 50 percent (7-of-14) from three point range.
UMass closed out the game on a 17-6 run after trailing 60-59 with 8:06 remaining.
CHAZ AMONG SELECT COMPANY
As a sophomore last season, PG Chaz Williams was one of just three players in the country to average 16.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds, joining Nate Wolters of South Dakota State and Tim Frazier of Penn State. This year he has replicated those numbers and is the only Division I player with averages of at least 15.0 ppg, 7.0 apg and 4.0 rpg.
DEFENSE CREATES OFFENSE
The transition offense can't get going unless the UMass defense does its job and that has certainly been the case in recent weeks. The Minutemen have held four of the last seven opponents to less than 40 pct. from the floor, with eight-game totals of .427 overall and .331 from 3-point range.
Additionally, the last eight foes are averaging 68.9 points per game with five of the eight being held to 66 points or less.
UMASS NEVER OUT OF A GAME
With the style of play and mentality that Derek Kellogg has implemented at UMass, just about any deficit can be overcome. UMass erased a 12-point deficit in defeating Ohio, marking the second time this season and the sixth time in the last two seasons it has overcome a double-digit hole to win a game.
Three weeks earlier at Siena, the Minutemen trailed by 17 points (33-16) before outscoring the Saints 45-12 over a period of 13:02 for a 51-45 lead at the midway point of the second half, eventually getting a running jumper by Chaz Williams with 3.3 seconds left to win the game. It was the third time in the last 11 months that UMass has erased a 17-point deficit and won - at home against Saint Joseph's and at Drexel in the NIT Quarterfinals.
The Minutemen trailed by as many as 16 in the second half against George Washington before climbing back to within one twice in the final 15 seconds. Despite running out of time against the Colonials, it's another example of the comeback abilities of UMass.
1,000-POINT CLUB GAINS NEW MEMBERS
Junior PG Chaz Williams scored his 1,000th career point in the win over Siena and recorded his 1,000th point at UMass two weeks ago against Temple. Senior F Terrell Vinson finished with 10 points against Northern Illinois in December to become the 44th member of the 1,000-Point Club at UMass. He now ranks 24th at UMass with 1,187 points following his 13 points against Dayton last Saturday.
Additionally, senior G Freddie Riley enters the Xavier game with 927 career points. With his current average of 8.2 points per game, the Minutemen would need to play at least nine more games. That number could be reduced if Riley continues to score in double figures, as he has done in each of the last five games, posting 13.6 ppg in that stretch.
UMASS LOOKS TO REGAIN ROAD SUCCESS FORMULA
The Minutemen hold a 6-3 record on the road this season and a 2-3 mark in A-10 actiong. Prior to its loss at Saint Louis in the opening week of league play, the Minutemen had won seven-consecutive road games dating back to the postseason NIT run last year - a figure that ranked as the third-longest active streak in the country. The last time they won as many true road games was during the 1997-98 season when Bruiser Flint's second team reeled-off seven-consecutive in opposing arenas.
Last season UMass went 2-6 on the road in A-10 action, collecting wins at George Washington and Richmond. The eight road opponents this season - Charlotte, Fordham, La Salle, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis, VCU and Xavier - combined to go 44-21 at home in 11-12.
Jesse Morgan OUT FOR SEASON WITH ACL INJURY
Junior guard Jesse Morgan was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee two weeks ago. He suffered the injury early in the second half of UMass' loss at Saint Louis in the A-10 opener.He underwent surgery last Friday, February 1.
At the time of the injury, he was UMass' second leading scorer at 14.5 ppg and leading 3-point shooter with 37-of-104 for .356. He ranked 37th in the NCAA in 3-pointers per game and 81st in 3-point FG pct. His .808 free throw pct. was also first on the team.
The injury was his second this season, following a broken right wrist he sustained in July that saw him miss three months.
WILLIAMS NAMED TO BOB COUSY AWARD WATCH LIST
After posting a banner season in 2011-12 in his first season playing for UMass, junior point guard Chaz Williams has garnered national attention for running the fast-paced Minuteman offense. Last Thursday, the Brooklyn native received yet another accolade as he was named to the 2013 Bob Cousy Award Watch List.
The award is given annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation's top point guard in college basketball and is named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy.
In 2011-12, Williams earned NABC First Team All-District 4 honors in addition to being named to the All-Atlantic 10 First-Team and the Atlantic 10 All-Tournament Team. He averaged 16.9 points per game and 6.3 assists. The addition of the transfer from Hofstra helped guide UMass to the NIT Final Four last year before a lose to Stanford in the Semifinals.
Through 12 games in 2012-13, Williams leads the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game and leads the A-10 with 7.3 assists - which ranks seventh nationally.
FOUR STARTERS, 9 LETTERMEN BACK FROM 25-WIN SQUAD
UMass welcomes back four starters, including its top four scorers and nine of its top 10 rebounders from last season's team that went 25-12 and reached the NIT Final Four. Led by All-America candidate Chaz Williams at the point guard spot, the Minutemen will look to continue their up-tempo offensive style and full-court pressure defense in head coach Derek Kellogg's (64-65) fifth year at his alma mater.
UMass returns the following percentages in 2012-13: Scoring 89.3 pct.; Rebounding 83.2 pct.; Assists 94.7 pct.; Steals 91.7 pct.; Blocks 76.7 pct.; Minutes 85.4 pct.
Williams (16.9 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.4 rpg), a first team NABC all-district and all-conference selection, was one of just three players in Division I last year to average at least 16.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. The others were Tim Frazier of Penn State and Nate Wolters of South Dakota State.
UMass recorded a school-record 326 steals last season (8.8 spg, 7th in NCAA) which aided in its 76.6 possessions per game, ranking the Minutemen second nationally behind Seattle's 77.2.
UMASS TO RETIRE MARCUS CAMBY'S NO. 21 JERSEY
The Massachusetts athletic department announced Tuesday that it will retire the jersey of 1996 Naismith National Player of the Year Marcus Camby on Jan. 19, 2013 when the Minutemen host George Washington at the Mullins Center.
One of the most decorated athletes UMass has ever produced, Camby lettered from 1993-96 and led the Minutemen to the 1996 NCAA Final Four and a 35-2 record, the most successful season in program history. He was named a consensus first-team All-American that season as he averaged 20.5 points to lead the Atlantic 10. In his three seasons at UMass, he was a two-time NABC All-District selection, an Atlantic 10 First-Team pick twice and the league's Freshman of the Year in 1994.
He left UMass as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots in a career (336) and single-season (128). Camby scored 1,387 points in his career to rank in the top 10 after his final season for the Maroon & White.
This will be the fifth men's basketball jersey retired at UMass and ninth in school history. Previous hoops numbers to be hung at the South end of the Mullins Center include George "Trigger" Burke (#32), Julius Erving (#32), Lou Roe (#15) and Al Skinner (#30). Additionally, Dick Bergquist in baseball (#26), Danielle Henderson in softball (#44), Greg Minton in water polo (#6) and Eric Sopracasa (#43) in men's lacrosse have had their jerseys retired in their respective sports.
UMASS SELECTED FIFTH IN A-10 PRESEASON POLL
UMass was selected fifth in the preseason Atlantic 10 Poll in a vote by media and coaches. Saint Joseph's was picked to win the league followed by Saint Louis, VCU, Temple and UMass. The Hawks had 11 first place votes, while the Billikens had 10 votes. Temple, UMass and Butler all had two first place votes in the poll.
Junior Chaz Williams was named to the preseason First Team. Williams had a banner campaign in 2011-12 in leading UMass to the NIT Semifinals. The Brooklyn native was named to the All-Atlantic 10 First Team, the A-10 All-Championship Team and the NABC All-District 4 First Team.
Among national publications, Athlon picked the Minutemen to finish fourth and make a return trip to the NIT. They also tabbed Chaz Williams as the Preseason Player of the Year and one of the top 10 Floor Leaders in the nation. Lindy's had UMass seventh but listed it as a team folks may want as an A-10 sleeper team. Williams was bestowed the honor of being the Most Entertaining player in the league.
UMASS AMONG TOP 3-POINT SHOOTING TEAMS IN 2011-12
UMass averaged 8.1 3-point field goals per game a year ago, which ranked first in the Atlantic 10 and 31st nationally. The Minutemen made 288 triples to rank second all-time in school history.
UMass was one of just four schools in Division I with four players who made at least 50 treys. The others were Florida, Iowa State and Youngstown State.
UMASS A POPULAR TV CHOICE IN 2012-13
UMass is scheduled to appear on television 11 times this season with nine current match-ups slated for national broadcasts. That marks the most regular-season showings since the 1997-98 year.
UMASS POSTSEASON HISTORY
UMass has an all-time postseason record of 24-21 in 18 combined appearances in both the NCAA and NIT tournaments. The Minutemen have made eight NCAA Tourney showings, with the last in 1998. The first came in 1962 before a string of seven-consecutive from 1992-98 in which it ran its all-time record to 11-8 with an Elite Eight showing in 1995 and the only Final Four appearance in A-10 history in 1996. Last season the Minutemen collected their 11th NIT appearance and ran their record to 13-13, which included Final Fours in 1991 (fourth), 2008 (runner-up) and 2012 (tied-third).
ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
The A-10 ranked seventh among all conferences in the final RPI in 2011-12. The league boasted eight Top 100 teams, third among all leagues behind only the Big East and Big 10. The eight teams matched the SEC and was more than the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Mountain West.
A-10 IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
For the fifth year in a row, the Atlantic 10 Conference earned at least three bids into the NCAA Tournament while it marked the 27th time in the league's 35-year history that the conference received multiple bids to participate in the national tournament. The A-10 also received multiple at-large bids for the fifth year in a row and 18th time overall. Over the last six years, the league has had 12 at-large selections - the seventh most among Division I conferences - behind only the Big East (42), Big Ten (29), ACC (26), Big 12 (26), SEC (23) and the Pac-10 (22). In fact, the A-10 is one of eight conferences to receive at least one at-large selection over each of the last six seasons.