UMass travels to Duquesne for its final road game of the season, playing the Dukes at the A.J. Palumbo Center on Wednesday night
The Minutemen are in fourth place in the Atlantic 10 standings and control their own destiny in regards to securing one of the top four spots which would result in a bye to the quarterfinals in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Championship.
UMass ranks in the top 75 in the following categories: scoring offense (43rd, 76.9 ppg), scoring margin (67th, 6.2 ppg), FG pct. (58th, 46.8), 3-point FG pct. defense (40th, 31.0%), assists (25th, 15.5 apg) and blocked shots (23rd, 5.7 bpg).
This is the 105th season of UMass Basketball. UMass has an all-time record of 1,229-1,077 (.533) in 2,306 games. UMass is 459-313 (.593) in conference games, including a 293-293 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
January 17, 2013
UMass and Duquesne meet for the 62nd time on Wednesday as the Minutemen look to win three-consecutive over the Dukes for the first time since a four-game streak from 2005-08.
The two teams have met every season but one since 1975 (1993 when Duquesne was in the MCC) and UMass holds a 36-25 series record.
UMass has won seven of the last 11 in the series and three of the last four in Pittsburgh.
UMass is 12-15 against Duquesne in Pittsburgh.
LAST SEASON IN AMHERST: UMass outscored Duquesne 16-4 over the final seven minutes to collect a 79-66 win at the Mullins Center. The Dukes were just 1-of-10 during the run, which came after they had trimmed a 14-point Minutemen lead down to three. Chaz Williams scored 22 points and Terrell Vinson added 17. UMass shot 46.8 percent from the floor hitting 29-of-62 field goals. Cady Lalanne added 12 and 10 for a double-double, while Williams had nine assists. Along with Vinson's 17 points, he had five assists, four rebounds, and a blocked shot.
UMASS SECURES THIRD-CONSECUTIVE 20-WIN SEASON
With its win at George Washington two weeks 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.
MINUTEMEN MILESTONE WATCH
All three UMass seniors are nearing some impressive milestones as we enter March.
Chaz Williams is in eighth place on the UMass career scoring list with 1,574 points. He is now 69 away from seventh, held by Tony Barbee with 1,643. He now has 672 assists in three years with the Minutemen, placing him seven away from the school record, held by Chris Lowe with 678 from 2005-08. For his college career, Williams has 810 assists, 13 shy of moving into 26th in NCAA Division I history.
Raphiael Putney is poised to become the next 1,000-point scorer at UMass. He enters the Duquesne game with 994 points and would be the 46th player to reach the mark at UMass.
Sampson Carter is also looking to add his named to the 1,000 Point Club at UMass, although he has a fair amount of work to get there. He enters the Duquesne game with 922 points and is averaging 10.9 ppg this year, meaning the Baton Rouge, La. native would need seven games at that pace to achieve the mark.
Putney and Carter are also climbing the games played list at UMass. Carter is tied for fifth (with Carmelo Travieso) with 130 and Putney is tied for eighth (Jim McCoy and Tony Barbee) with 126.
UMASS IMPROVING AT THE CHARITY STRIPE
One area that has been an up-and-down problem this season free throw line. Over the last six games the Minutemen have made 69.1% (114-for-165) of their attempts.
UMass was 23-of-32 (.719) from the free throw line at Dayton on Saturday, marking the third-consecutive game with at least 20 makes. The Minutemen also made more freebies than their opponents (UD was 21-of-33) for the third-straight game and 15th this season.
Last Wednesday against URI, the Minutemen made 67.7% (21-of-31), but were 10-of-12 down the stretch.
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 107 victories entering the Duquesne 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 25th nationally in assists per game at 15.5. Individually, Williams ranks third at 7.1 apg.
Further evidence of the team's ability to distribute across the court is that it has assisted on 57.4 pct. of its field goals this season. That is the highest since the 2005-06 squad assisted on 57.8 pct. of made baskets.
22-6 MARK AFTER 28 GAMES EQUALS THE FIFTH-BEST RECORD IN SCHOOL HISTORY
With a 22-6 record entering the Duquesne game, the 2013-14 UMass team has matched the 1992-93 squad for the fifth-best record after 28 games in school history. The record is held by the 1995-96 Final Four team which won its first 26 games before going 35-2. That team was one of 27 in NCAA history to start a season with at least 20 victories.
UMASS & THE POLLS
As a result of 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 five of their last seven and are receving 5 votes in the AP and 4 in the Coaches polls this week.
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 seven of UMass' nine Atlantic 10 victories, it has 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, 2/26 vs. URI). 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 nine 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 31.0% from outside and 5.0 makes per game. That percentage ranks fifth in the Atlantic 10 and 40th nationally. Thise numbers will be put to the test on Wednesday as Duquesne is fourth in the league at 36.3% shooting and has attempted 535 triples, also fourth in the A-10.
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 Duquesne game with 5.7 blocks per game, good for 23rd in the NCAA and first in the Atlantic 10.
They have been particularly unkind over the past 10 games, altering 65 shots for a 6.5 bpg average. UMass has blocked at least nine shots four times in the last nine 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.