Men's Basketball

UMass Set For Senior Night, Wednesday Vs. La Salle At 7:30 p.m.

Nana Ampim will suit up for his final regular-season home game on Wednesday.

Nana Ampim will suit up for his final regular-season home game on Wednesday.

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    UMASS (19-9, 8-6) vs. La SALLE (14-14, 8-6)
    Wednesday, March 5, 2008 • 7:30 p.m. (ET)
    Mullins Center (9,493) • Amherst, Mass.
    Streaming Video:
    Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
    WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

    UMass Set For Senior Night, Wednesday Vs. La Salle
    • Riding a four-game win streak, UMass will hold Senior Night on Wednesday as La Salle comes to the Mullins Center in a battle between teams tied for third-place in the Atlantic 10. The Minutemen stand at 19-9 overall and 8-6 in the league. La Salle, which has won five of its last six games, is 14-14 overall and also 8-6 in the league. Richmond and Saint Joseph's also stand at 8-6, with all four teams one game behind second-place Temple.

    • Prior to tip-off, UMass will recognize the senior class of team captains forward Etienne Brower, forward Gary Forbes, forward/center Danté Milligan and forward Matt Pennie along with senior guard Nana Ampim. Head manager Max Reich and fellow managers June Chen and Ian Kilpatrick will also be recognized.

    • The senior class is made up five players, playing three different lengths of years at UMass. Over the last two years (Forbes and Brower), UMass is a combined 43-18 (70.5). Over the last three years (Milligan and Pennie), UMass is 56-33 (62.9). The lone four-year member is Ampim and UMass is 72-45 (61.5) in his tenure.

    • UMass has won four games in a row, averaging 85.8 points in the quartet of wins. The Minutemen knocked off Saint Louis (88-77), Rhode Island (98-91), St. Bonaventure (79-56) and won at Richmond (78-74) for the first time in history. It is the longest winning streak since taking six games in a row at the end of December and early January.

    • Live streaming video will be available on UMass All-Access on 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.

    UMass' Senior Class
    Etienne Brower has emerged as one of the top power forwards in the Atlantic in his senior season. He is averaging career-bests of 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds, playing all 28 games. He has been exceptional from 3-point range recently making more than 52 percent of his shots over the last 13 games. Brower came to UMass in 2005 after spending two seasons at Boston University.

    Gary Forbes is a top candidate for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year leading the league in scoring with a 20.1 average. He is fourth in the league in rebounding at 7.9 per game. Including his first two years at Virginia, Forbes has 1,505 points in his collegiate career. Forbes is just six points from becoming the 39th player in UMass history with 1,000 points with the program. Forbes has scored in double-figures in 32 games in a row including every game this year and has eight double-doubles as a senior.

    Dante Milligan has emerged as a force inside as a senior, seeing his most playing time in college. After beginning his career at Pittsburgh, Milligan has played 82 games for UMass. He is in the midst of his best season averaging 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. He is shooting 63 percent from the floor and has reached double-figures in nine games this season. He tallied a career-high 21 against Saint Louis on Feb. 17.

    Matt Pennie is a constant leader for the Minutemen over his last three years since joining the active roster after serving as a team manager. Pennie has played in 11 collegiate games. No one can forget his memorable 3-pointer against Temple back in 2006. Pennie is a huge asset to the program providing constant encouragement on and off the court. He is in graduate school after earning his bachelor's degree last spring in Sport Management.

    Nana Ampim is the lone four-year member of the UMass program. He has played in 10 games in his time with the Minutemen including two games this season. Ampim is a tough defender and has seen some time in key moments over his four years. The native of London, England, came to the United States to attend high school in New Jersey.

    UMass Eying 20-Win Season
    • The Minutemen are seeking their 20th win of the season on Wedensday. It would mark the 14th time in history that UMass reached the mark and second year in a row after going 24-9 last season. The last time UMass won 20 in back to back seasons was 1994-95 (29-5) and 1995-96 (35-2).

    • Last year, UMass picked up its 20th win of the season on Feb. 21, 2007 beating St. Bonaventure, 83-44. The win gave the Minutemen their first 20-win season since 1997-98 when UMass went 21-11. Prior to that season, UMass last won 20 or more when they set the school record for wins a season when a 35-2 record the Final Four season of 1995-96.

    • Last year was UMass' 13th 20-win season in school history. The Minutemen had their first 20-win season in 1970-71, when they went 23-4.

    Racking Up A-10 Player Of Week Honors
    Ricky Harris earned his second A-10 Player of the Week honor this week and the fifth overall for UMass this season. The five accolades are the most since the 1995-96 season when Marcus Camby himself won six player of the week honors. In addition to Harris' two honors, Gary Forbes has won it twice and Chris Lowe was recognized on Feb. 25.

    • This week, Harris was honored after he averaged 19.0 ppg in a 2-0 UMass week. Harris hit seven 3-pointers in the two wins. He shared the award with Richmond's Dan Geriot.

    Chris Lowe earned his first-ever Atlantic 10 Player of Week honor two weeks ago. He was recognized with La Salle's Darnell Harris as co-players of the week. Lowe averaged 17.0 points and 11.5 assists in a 2-0 week for the Minutes, who knocked off a Saint Louis and Rhode Island.

    The Series With La Salle
    • UMass is 12-7 all-time against La Salle with the Minutemen. The Minutemen captured last season's pair 102-63 on Feb. 28, 2007 at the Mullins Center and the earlier meeting, 79-71 at La Salle on Jan. 6, 2007.

    • The Explorers have won five of the last eight overall dating to 2003. UMass won six straight meetings from 1991-98.

    • La Salle won both games two seasons ago, 68-61 on Jan. 29, 2006 at Tom Gola Arena and 65-44 at the Mullins Center on Feb. 8, 2006.

    • All-time UMass is 5-3 at La Salle, while they are 6-2 in Amherst. The two losses for UMass at home, have come in the two of the last three meeting at the Mullins Center, a 78-64 loss on Jan. 7, 2004 and last season.

    • The first meeting between the two teams was an 82-75 win for La Salle on Dec. 30, 1971 in Philadelphia.

    • UMass coach Travis Ford is 2-2 against La Salle, while La Salle coach John Giannini stands 3-5 against UMass (3-3 since moving to La Salle, as he lost twice at Maine).

    The Last La Salle Games
    FEB. 28, 2007 AT MULLINS CENTER: UMass seniors came out on fire and continued to click on all cylinders as the Minutemen pounded La Salle, 102-63. The Minutemen jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the first five minutes and proceeded to dominate the game. The Minutemen have won five games in a row and eight of their last nine with the win. Stephane Lasme made NCAA history with his fourth triple-double of the season, becoming just the third player to accomplish the feat. He had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots to join Jason Kidd (1994 at California) and Michael Anderson (1986 at Drexel) as the extraordinary trio. Lasme is the nation's second-leading shot blocker with 5.2 per game. Rashaun Freeman tallied 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his Mullins Center regular-season finale. It was Freeman's 13th double-double this season. While senior James Life tallied 17 points hitting five 3-pointers, as he reached double-figures for the first time in nine games. Brandon Thomas had two thunderous dunks in the opening minutes and finished with 11 points. UMass led 55-23 halftime and opened the lead to as large as 50 points on three occasions in the second half. The Minutemen picked up their second 39-point margin of victory in a week, beating St. Bonaventure 83-44 one week prior.

    JAN. 6, 2008 AT GOLA ARENA: The Minutemen captured this season's earlier meeting, 79-71 at La Salle. UMass rallied from a 14-point deficit in the first half to come away with the win in the conference opener. Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme combined for 35 points and 24 rebounds in the win. James Life added 16 points, Chris Lowe had 14 and Gary Forbes chipped in 12 off the bench.

    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 994 in his 61 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 1,505 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.

    • Forbes is also moving up the charts in terms of single-season marks at UMass. He is already ninth in single-season points with 564. Only five players in UMass history (Julius Erving, Marcus Camby, Lou Roe, Jim McCoy and Monty Mack) have scored more in a year at UMass. Next on the list is Mack with 566 in 2000-01.

    • Forbes' 20.1 points per game stands as the eighth-best single-season scoring mark in history. He is on pace to be the first 20-point scorer since Camby in 1995-96, who scored 20.5 per game.

    Lowe Moving Up Assists Chart
    Chris Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass as he stands seventh with 424. After passing Anton Brown (417), next on the list is UMass Hall of Famer Joe DiSarcina (431). 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 9.2 assists in his last five games with his first three career games with 10 or more assists with double-doubles in the two of the last four games.

    Updating The RPI
    • With big wins at Syracuse, Boston College and Dayton, UMass is at No. 40 in the RPI rankings based on as of noon on March 4. 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 11 Atlantic 10 teams to be in the top 100 at some point in the season. Currently, Xavier tops the list at with Xavier at the top coming in at No. 6. Dayton follows at No. 38, Rhode Island is 54th, Saint Joseph's is 65th and Temple is 66th, giving the league six in the top 75., Charlotte is 96th and La Salle is at No. 160. Overall, the Atlantic 10 is seventh in the nation in league RPI.

    • UMass plays the 53rd-toughest schedule in the nation. That number was in the top 20 for most of the year until the Fordham game. The Minutemen have a 7-6 record against top 100 teams. UMass has beaten No. 38 Dayton, No. 54 Rhode Island (twice), No. 57 Syracuse, No. 70 Houston and No. 96 Charlotte.

    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 82.5 points per game, up from 76.5 points (+6.0) through 28 games last season and 77.3 points (+5.2) for the entire season.

    • UMass is tied with Kansas for sixth in the NCAA in scoring through March 4 with 82.5 per game. The Minutemen are also first in the Atlantic 10 scoring moving ahead of No. 8 Duquesne (82.3). VMI leads the nation with a 91.5 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 35th with a 20.1 average and Ricky Harris, who was as high as 28th, but is now in the top 75 at 17.9.

    • UMass is 29th in total 3-pointers made with 251. With 9.0 treys per game, UMass leads the A-10 and is 29th in the NCAA in 3s per game. UMass has made 10 or more treys in 11 games.

    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 7.1 points per game from 13.0 to 20.1 to stand first on the Minutemen. Lowe has also taken his average from 7.0 to 12.3, a +5.3 mark.

    • UMass has the three biggest scoring improvements from last season in the entire Atlantic 10 in Ricky Harris (+13.4), Etienne Brower (+10.1) and Forbes (+7.1).

    • Sophomore Ricky Harris has emerged as a major weapon on offense, scoring 17.9 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 502 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 +13.4 points per game. Harris scored in double-figures in the first 18 games this season and in 25 of 28 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 12.8 points, starting 22 games after scoring just 2.7 points per game in 2006-07 when he was hindered by an ankle injury all season. Brower has 357 points in the first 28 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. Over an eight-game span from Jan. 27-Feb. 21, Brower averaged 18.1 points 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 5.0 rebounds. An increase of 4.7 points and 2.5 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 7.1 per game with A-10 foe Duquesne ahead at 7.6. UConn (8.8) and Mississippi State (8.1) and lead the nation.

    • UMass has seven games with 10 or more blocks most recently its outing vs. St. Bonaventure (2/24) 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 nine individual categories in the Atlantic 10 as of March 4. Gary Forbes (20.1) is just ahead of Temple's Dionte Christmas (19.8) for lead in the league in scoring race with Ricky Harris (17.9) standing sixth. Forbes is 35th and Harris is in the top 75 in the NCAA in scoring. Forbes is second in the league in defensive rebounding with 6.0 per game with a season-best 11 against Boston University (12/29) and 10 against Rhode Island (2/7). Forbes is fourth in rebounds with 7.9 per game. He has eight double-doubles this 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 first in the league in assists with 5.9 per game. With 46 assists in his last five games, he is now tied for 22nd 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 2.04. Lowe tied his career-high with 23 points against Rhode Island (2/7). When Lowe has five or more assists this season, UMass is 15-3. The Minutemen are 2-6, when he has less than five.

    Tony Gaffney is tied for third with teammate Dante Milligan with 1.61 blocks per game including a career-high six at Duquesne (1/30).

    • Milligan is shooting 62.6 from the floor (87-of-139), 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 62.6, an improvement of 13.2 percent. Milligan is tied with Gaffney for third in the Atlantic 10 in blocks with 1.61.

    • Harris is fifth in steals per game with 1.6 and sixth in 3-pointers per game with 2.57.

    • With his sensational 52 percent shooting from 3-point range, Etienne Brower is now fifth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 43.4. He is also 10th in the league in rebounding at 6.6.

    UMass Continues Home Dominance
    • UMass has won 19 of its last 22 games at home (86.3) 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 10-3 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 32-7 (82.1) in their last 39 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 44-8 (84.6) record as the home-team coach. He is 32-7 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.

    Getting It Done In 3s
    • In UMass' 94-80 win at Duquesne on Jan. 30, UMass had a pair of trios reach meaningful numbers. The Minutemen had three players score 20 or more points for the second time this season as Gary Forbes had 23 while Etienne Brower and Ricky Harris each added 21. UMass also had three 20-point scorers at Vanderbilt.

    • The Minutemen also had three players grab 10 rebounds in a game for the first time since 1999. UMass was led by Tony Gaffney, who also had a career-high six blocked shots, with 12. Dante Milligan had 11 rebounds and Forbes had 10 to give him his fourth double-double of the season.

    Non-Conference Success
    • UMass had its best non-conference season since the Final Four year of 1995-96, as the Minutemen went 11-3 prior to beginning the A-10 season with a loss to Saint Joseph's on Jan. 9.

    Beating the ACC & Big East
    • With the wins at Syracuse and BC, UMass beat teams from the Big East and ACC for the first time since 2004-05 when UMass defeated UConn and Florida State at home. The last time UMass beat teams from those two conferences away from home came in 1999-2000 when the Minutemen last won at BC, prior to Wednesday, and beat Florida State at the Orange Bowl Classic.




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