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UMass hosts Senior Night on Wednesday night at the Mullins Center as the Minutemen welcome George Washington for the home finale at 7 p.m. Prior to the pivotal game for A-10 Tournament qualifying, UMass will honor its senior class of three players: center Luke Bonner, forward Tony Gaffney and guard Chris Lowe along with managers Taisuke Sato and Matt Vogel. The quintet has been part of UMass' recent two NIT Tournaments including last season's run to the NIT Final at Madison Square Garden. UMass is 72-52 over the last four years.
That does it! UMass clinches a spot in the A-10 tourney with a 77-62 win over the Colonials from GW. Be sure check out UMassAthletics.com for the game recap, notes, box score, quotes and more! The Minutemen travel to Rhode Island for a rematch against the Rams on March 7.
Lex Mongo makes it into the game!
UMass will run the clock, as they're up 77-62. Coach K says he'd rather take the turnover.
UMass is up 76-59. Tony grabbed his last board and earned the double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Lowe was fouled by Witherspoon and he'll go to the line for two. Matt Glass subs for Tony Gaffney, who receives a standing ovation by the Mullins Center and a "Ton-ny Gaff-ney" chant. Chris Lowe's turn to take a seat and he also gets a standing O. Finally Llluukkkkeee gets the call and a hug from Coach K.
Gaffney is one board away from a double-double. He has ten already this season, after none in this first three seasons.
Two minutes left and the Minutemen won't let up on defense. Anthony Gurley just grabbed a steal, was fouled and made both from the stripe. The Minutemen are up 73-59.
Luke Bonner with the dish to Ricky Harris and the Minutemen are up 71-59. Let's put this one away, boys!
Some stats during my last-ever media timeout... UMass has 18 fast break points, while GW only has four. Tony Gaffney has five steals, more than the entire GW squad with four.
The Mullins Maniacs have come alive. They want defense! Senior Luke Bonner answers with a huge block.
Chris Lowe with a easy lay in and the Minutemen are up 66-59.
Tony Gaffney just takes it coast to coast for his 48th dunk. No stopping him!
Tony Gaffney now has 57 steals on the season, which ties Chris Lowe's record for steals in a single season.
Matt Glass FOR THREE! The Colonials need a time out! UMass extends the lead to eight, 62-54 after going on a 14-4 run in just under four minutes. And the Greeks were honored for all they do for the Amherst community... Which I think is throwing great parties.
Everytime UMass seems to be pulling away, Rob Diggs seems to answer. He has 20 points right now. His season average is 13.2. This is the fifth time this season he has reached 20 points. UMass is on top 59-54.
TG with another HUGE dunk. Dun-na-nun, Da-na-nun. (That was my attempt at writing out the Sportscenter highlight music). That was set up by his fifth steal of the night. His career high is six against Southern Illinois, two years ago.
There is a line of Greeks behind the GW basket, in front of the student section. Either they are all here to support Matt Vogel or... I'll let you know if they make any moves.
Chris Lowe puts in a bunny to bring his game total to 11. This is the seventh game in a row Lowe has reached double figures.
Back to back threes and we're tied at 48. Rob Diggs steals it from Luke Bonner and gives a Dwight Howard-esque show on the other end. David Gibbs responds with another three. Minutemen 51, Colonials 50.
Just a quick observation. The Colonials' #12 Johnny Lee is listed at 5'10''. If he is 5'10'', I could beat Tony Gaffney in a dunk contest.
Lynch picks up his third foul. Minutemen are up 45-43 after one made free throw by GW's Ware.
First media timeout of the second half and we honor the four seniors on the UMass Dance Team. Good routine girls! UMass SID and fellow blogger Dave Gunn certainly approves.
Tony Gaffney JAMS it home. 47th dunk of the year. The rest of the team only has four.
Another steal by Lowe, another assist. David Gibbs makes the layup and gets fouled. After a GW basket, the Minutemen open the second half on a 10-4 run.
Baby hook by Luke Bonner and this game is tied at 38. Steal by C-Lowe, who does what he does best and dishes to Ricky Harris for three. The Minutemen up 41-38. The crowd of 3982 LOVES it.
UMass has the ball to start the second half. After a missed shot and a GW turnover, Ricky Harris drains a three.
UMass and GW will have the same starting lineups in the second half.
We just honored the 4.0 UMass student-athletes at halftime. The sport I am in charge of, cross country/indoor track/outdoor track, had the most individuals walk on the court. I'm so proud!
Halftime here at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen are down 36-33. They held for the last shot but Chris Lowe couldn't connect. Some halftime stats:
The leading scorer for the Minutemen is Chris Lowe with nine. Anthony Gurley is next with seven. Luke Bonner has pulled down four boards and has two points, an assist, and a block. Tony Gaffney has chipped in five points, one block, two steals, and three rebounds. The leading scorer for the Colonials is Rob Diggs with 10, also pulling down four boards.
Rob Diggs takes it hard to the basket and the UMass bench wanted an offensive foul. The ref came over to Coach DK and told him the next person that spoke would get a technical foul. The crowd DID NOT like that. Anthony Gurley hits a three we desperately needed and the Minutemen are down 36-33 with 24 seconds left in the half. Gurley takes a charge on the other end, the first of the season. This is the 36th time a Minuteman has taken one for the team this year.
Luke Bonner makes two free throws and those are UMass' first points in 5:01.
Tony Gaffney picks up his second foul and takes a seat on the UMass bench.
The UMass bench is NOT happy with the officiating. UMass has eight fouls to GW's five. But it seems there have been a lot of no calls today, mostly going against UMass.
Damian Hollis is the Colonials second leading scorer right now with 7 points. He was also the A-10 Co-Player of the Week last week after posting a double-double against Richmond.
UMass really needs a basket right now. The last time we scored a field goal was over three minutes ago.
Wynton Witherspoon (say that three times fast) for three and GW takes the first lead of the game.
Turnovers are still heavily favoring UMass, 5-1. Points off turnovers are 8-2. Score after 12 minutes, 30 seconds of play, UMass 25, GW 23.
UMass Hoop Band wins the award for most seniors here tonight with over 40... Do you know the Vitamin C song "Graduation?"
Great crowd at the Mullins Center, by the way. Tony wasn't kidding when he said he was bringing two towns. Matt Vogel also brought his whole fraternity and the city of Brooklyn. Another goal tending call (second this game) on GW and the Minutemen are up 25-19.
Count the basket, Ricky Harris for THREE! Missed the foul shot. UMass has had three four-point plays this season, two by Anthony Gurley and one by Matt Glass. This is our fifth opportunity this year.
I'd just like to comment on Coach Hobbs, who is standing about seven steps on the court and yelling to his offense. The tie is definitely coming off next.
Tyrell Lynch has two points, a rebound, and an assist, but something must have been going wrong because he made a shoe switch during the last timeout. Apparently, he was breaking in new shoes and he wasn't feeling them.
I don't want to jinx anything, but the Minutemen have ZERO turnovers. Colonials have four so far.
Anthony Gurley kills that stat with a three and then Chris Lowe gets GW to goaltend, and UMass scores five quick ones. Minutemen up 20-15 at the under 12 media timeout.
The Minutemen have hit a wall and GW is on a 11-2 run. The last time UMass scored a field goal was Tony Gaffney's three at 16:18. Almost five minutes ago.
Tony Gaffney just made two freethrows to put the Minutemen up 15-7. That was the first time since Kansas he has made two free throws in a game.
Derek Kellogg just sprinted up the sidelines trying to get David Gibbs to run. A confused ball boy also ran down the sidelines earlier in the game.
Giving a different look, Tyrell Lynch, Matt Glass, Gary Correia, and Anthony Gurley all check in to the UMass lineup. Lynch picked up his first personal foul, sending Aaron Ware to the line after our first media timeout. He misses one of two and that is the first point in over two minutes.
Three by Tony Gaffney! The Minutemen are up, 12-4.
Bucket by C-Lowe and then a three by Ricky Harris and the Minutemen are up 9-2. GW needs a timeout. During the timeout, we made it on the video board. Thanks, Jason. I think my face is as red as my shirt at the moment. I'm much more of a behind-the-scenes girl.
All senior scoring! Tony Gaffney lays it in. As stat girls, we would love if Luke Bonner scored the next points...
Chris Lowe, a senior scores for the Minutemen. The GW comes down the court and senior Rob Diggs scores first for the Colonials.
And the coat is off. We haven't tipped yet. Wow. Good call Jason Yellin. And the tip goes to GW. No special tip play, although we did force a GW turnover.
We have one more senior to honor before we tip off. Congrats Sam The Minuteman! You are the best mascot in the nation (not biased at all).
Army ROTC came down without a hitch! Glad they had the brave guys do it.
Word on the street is that GW Coach Karl Hobbs has the fastest jacket removal in college basketball. Faster than Travis Ford?! Another rumor going around.. We have a special play planned for the tip? You'll have to watch the video to see.
The seniors are all honored at half court. Cutest couple award goes to Jenn and Tony Gaffney Sr.. Award for not standing with their parents the entire time goes to Luke Bonner.
Managers Matt Vogel and Taisuke Sato are both looking stunning in black suits tonight. Matt has a purple shirt/tie underneath, while Tai has classic white. The Minutemen would be parched without them!
Tonight's starting lineups...
First, for the visiting George Washington:
#1 Travis King, guard
#3 Tony Taylor, guard
#5 Rob Diggs, forward
#11 Wynton Witherspoon, forward
#22 Damian Hollis, forward
No surprises here..
And for your UMass Minutemen:
#2 freshman David Gibbs, guard (His first career start)
#5 junior Ricky Harris, guard
#14 SENIOR Chris Lowe, guard
#24 SENIOR Tony Gaffney, forward
#31 SENIOR Luke Bonner, forward
Bonner has started 33 career games, Gaffney comes in next at 36, and Lowe has started 97 of his 122 games at UMass.
GW has gone back to the locker room and now its just the Minutemen on the floor. Tonight, the fans will receive Court Club t-shirts thanking the seniors and a handful of students have already arrived to snag one. Now UMass is leaving to head back to the locker room. Guess who were the last three to leave...
The Army ROTC was practicing repelling out of the rafters for the pregame delivery of the game ball. One guy was afraid to do it! The other guys were rooting him on and everything, but he wouldn't come down. I hope he's not the one responsible for game time delivery.
Before we get going, BIG ups to the UMass women's lax team! The Minutewomen beat #15 Dartmouth 13-10 today to improve to 2-3 on the season. Atlantic 10 Player of the Week Jackie Lyons totaled three goals and two assists for the Minutewomen.
Enough with the sentimental stuff... For now. Let's get some stats on the game. The Minutemen are in a must-win situation to get into the Atlantic 10 Tournament, either tonight or Saturday. Winning tonight will clinch a spot. If not, the Minutemen HAVE to win on Saturday. The Minutemen have stats on their side, as UMass has defeated GW in nine of the last 12 games. On senior night, the Minutemen have not lost on senior night since March 8, 2003 when they fell to St. Joe's, 52-49.
Tony Gaffney's ticket list is about nine pages long. He said the towns of Berkley and Somerset are coming out to watch him.
These seniors have had quite a ride. Neither Bonner and Gaffney started their careers at UMass. Bonner transferred from West Virginia after his freshman year, sitting out a year and donning a Minutemen uniform in 2006. Gaffney played two years at Boston University, sat out a year and then joined the Minutemen in 2007-08. Chris Lowe was previous UMass Coach Travis Ford's first recruit. The trio has been a part of two runs in the NIT, including last year's journey to the NIT Final at Madison Square Garden.
Chris Lowe explodes on the court, boppin' to 'Swagger Like Us.'
Luke Bonner not only warming up his jump shot, but also his dancing legs! The dance team was just practicing their routine and Luke joined, showing a few moves of his own.
Speaking of seniors, Tony Gaffney must be trying to soak up as much of this night as he can, as he was the first one on the court. Luke Bonner was second to make his way onto the court. C-Lowe is in the back rehearsing the pregame celebration with his family.
Hey UMass fans! Alli Miller and Rachel Perreault from UMass media relations blogging for you tonight, Senior Night, at the Mullins Center. Tonight is a very special night, not only for Chris Lowe, Tony Gaffney, and Luke Bonner, but also for the two of us as we are seniors as well. Fellow blogger Justin LaFleur is also a senior, and and will be joining us on press row tonight. We're really going to miss this place, as we have all been working for media relations/the basketball team for four years now. Just don't ask us where we'll be working next year.