• Just over a week after one of the most exciting games in UMass-Temple history, the teams meet for the second time this season on Friday in the Quarterfinals of the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. The UMass-Temple winner will advance to the semifinals and face the St. Bonaventure-Saint Joseph’s winner on Saturday, Mar. 10 at 1 p.m.
• The A-10 Quarterfinal Round contest vs. Temple will be available on CBS Sports Regional syndication, in New England on Comcast Sports Net New England. Tom McCarthy and John Griffin will describe the action. The radio broadcast will be carried on the UMass Sports Network with Josh Maurer, Tim Collins and Tim Kenney on the call. Listen on 100.9 FM WRNX, the flagship station, and on UMassAthletics.com.
UMASS’ A-10 TOURNAMENT HISTORY
• UMass has an all-time record of 31-30 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament dating to its inception in 1977. The 31 wins trail only Temple (53-20) and Saint Joseph’s (33-27) in terms of tourney wins. UMass has captured five titles -- consecutively from 1992-96, only Temple only has more with eight. UMass has been to the finals on seven occasions which is third all-time.
• UMass is 9-9 all-time in first-round games, 9-17 in the quarterfinals, 8-2 in the semifinals and 5-2 in championship games.
• With the format of keeping the A-10 in one division of 14 teams, UMass is the eighth seed for the second-consecutive year. All-time, UMass is 4-8 playing as the eighth seed with 10 of those games coming between 1977 and 1989.
• The longest run UMass had as a No. 8 seed was in the first year of the Atlantic 10 -- 1977, as UMass reached the semifinals before losing to Duquesne. That year, they held a consolation game, which UMass beat West Virginia. Prior to this year, the 1984 tournament marked the only other time UMass won a game as a No. 8 seed.
• Last season, the Minutemen fell to Dayton 78-50 in the first round at the Mullins Center. In 2010, UMass won its first tournament game since 2002 with the 59-56 victory at Charlotte in the first round. The Minutemen had lost eight games in a row, as they had been knocked out in their first game in seven seasons in a row after the 2009 season’s 91-81 loss to Duquesne. UMass suffered a 69-65 loss to Charlotte on March 13, 2008. In 2007, UMass suffered a 74-71 overtime loss to Saint Louis.
UMASS HOSTING A-10 TOURNAMENT GAMES
• UMass hosted an Atlantic 10 Tournament game for the second-straight year on Tuesday, claiming a 92-83 win over Duquesne. Prior to this season, UMass hosted George Washington in the 2003 first round, the 1995 Atlantic 10 Championship game, a 63-44 win over Temple on March 9, 1995 -- 17 years ago to the day of the game vs. Temple this year.
• UMass has won five of its last seven home games in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, the first four were A-10 Championship games from 1992-1995, beating Temple the last three times.
• Overall, UMass is 4-2 at the Mullins Center in A-10 Tournament games and 6-4 in tournament games held in Amherst with a 2-2 mark at the Curry Hicks Cage. UMass first hosted an A-10 Tourney game in the 1981 Quarterfinals, a 53-48 loss to Rhode Island. The Minutemen first won a Tournament game at home in the 1983 First Round, knocking off URI, 91-74.
MORE UMASS-A-10 TOURNEY NUGGETS
• This is the third season for the format where the first round games are held at campus sites.
• This marks the sixth season the Atlantic 10 Tournament is being held in Atlantic City. It is at a neutral site for the eighth year in a row, as it was at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati in 2005 and 2006. Richmond captured last year’s event following Temple’s run of three crowns from 2008-10. Prior to Temple, Xavier alternated titles with George Washington. The Musketeers took two titles in 2004 and 2006 while George Washington won the crown in 2005 and 2007.
• Lou Roe (1992-95) is the only player in Atlantic 10 history to be named to four All-Championship teams. Harper Williams (1990-93) is the only player in league history to earn two Most Outstanding Player awards (1992, 1993).
• Five former UMass stars earned All-Atlantic 10 Tournament honors more than once in their career. The five players to accomplish the feat are Jim McCoy (1990 and 1992), Harper Williams (1992 and 1993), Lou Roe (1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995), Marcus Camby (1995 and 1996) and Monty Mack (2000 and 2001).
• The longest winning streak in Atlantic 10 Championship play is 16, set by UMass when it was winning five straight titles from 1992-96. The Minutemen won three games a year for five years, as well as their first round match-up with La Salle in 1997 before falling to George Washington in the quarterfinals.
KELLOGG’S A-10 TOURNAMENT SUCCESS
• UMass head coach Derek Kellogg never lost a game in the Atlantic 10 Tournament as a player, posting a perfect 12-0 record as a Minuteman from 1992-95. Kellogg and UMass were in the midst of that 16-game tournament win streak in capturing the crowns from 1992-96. He is 2-3 as a coach in the tournament, collecting first-round victories at Charlotte in 2010 and against Duquesne at the Mullins Center on Tuesday.
• In his senior year, Kellogg tied for team-high scoring honors in the A-10 title game with 14 points as UMass knocked off Temple for the third year in a row in the final, 63-44 on March 9, 1995. In his last game vs. Duquesne in the A-10 Tournament, Kellogg notched 16 points and handed out five assists in the 1995 A-10 Quarterfinals. His highest scoring game in the A-10 Tournament came in the 1993 Quarterfinals with 19 points in a 75-62 win over St. Bonaventure on March 7, 1993. In that game, Kellogg also set the UMass A-10 Tournament record for assists in a game with 11.
• Kellogg has been a part of eight conference tournament winning teams, the four at UMass, George Ma- son as an assistant coach in 1999 and Memphis in 2006-08. The Tigers were a perfect 9-0 in conference tournament play over his last three years taking home the Conference USA crowns in 2006-2008.
UMASS IN ATLANTIC CITY
• UMass returns to Atlantic City for the first time since the 2009-10 season. That year, the Minutemen dropped a pair of games in the Championship rounds of the Legends Classic in late November, falling to Rutgers (83-75) and No. 2 Michigan State (106-68). UMass saw its season end in the quarterfinals of the A-10 Tournament as the 11-seeded Minutemen lost to No. 3 seed Richmond, 77-72. The Minutemen have played in Boardwalk Hall each season between 2006-07 and 2009-10, going 0-6 over that span.
• UMass is 1-6 all-time playing basketball in Atlantic City. In addition to the two Legends Classic games, the Minutemen have lost their last four A-10 Tourney games -- Richmond in 2010, Duquesne in 2009, Charlotte in 2008 and Saint Louis in 2007.
• Prior to the 2007 A-10 tournament, the last time UMass played a game in what is now known as Boardwalk Hall was when the football team beat UC-Davis in the Boardwalk Bowl on Dec. 8, 1972. The field was 100 yards long with shortened end zones.
• UMass played one previous basketball game in Atlantic City, beating LaSalle, 87-64 on Jan. 7, 1995 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The game was a homecoming for Lou Roe, a native of Atlantic City.
SERIES HISTORY WITH TEMPLE
• The series with UMass and Temple has been one of the most intense in the history of the Atlantic 10 as the teams battle for the 64th time on Friday. Despite Temple winning the first 21 games in the series, UMass only trails the all-time series, 43-20. Since the Minutemen won their first game in the series (65-52) on Feb. 16, 1992 at the Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst, UMass has won 20 of the last 42 games. Temple has captured the last three in the series - last week’s overtime thriller in Philadelphia, 90-88, the 2011 game in Amherst, 73-67 in overtime on Mar. 2, 2011 and the 2010 contest in Philadelphia, 76-64 on Jan. 13, 2010. UMass’ last win came in Amherst, 79-75 in 2009 for its first win in the series in three seasons.
• Prior to 2008, UMass and Temple had played twice every season since the Owls joined the Atlantic 10 in 1982-83. Because of scheduling policies, the teams played just once in the regular-season this year, again.
• After Temple led the series 21-0, UMass rebounded to win 13 of 15 contests from 1992-97, including two six-game win streaks. Since then the Owls have won 12 of 19 meetings, but UMass snapped Temple’s three-game series win streak in the series, at the Mullins Center with a 66-65 win on Jan. 24, 2004.
• The Owls hold a 25-4 advantage for games played in Philadelphia at the Liacouras Center (12-1), McGonigle Hall (12-3) or the Palestra (1-0). UMass’ only win at the Liacouras Center came on Jan. 27, 2001, a 65-64 overtime victory. Temple has won eight home games in the series in a row.
• The Minutemen have won three of the last four games at the Mullins Center, winning 88-77 on Jan. 13, 2007 and 60-34 on Jan. 21, 2006. That was the fewest points UMass allowed since 1950. Prior to that, Temple had won three straight including both games in 2004-05, by virtually the same score: 61-49 on Jan. 5, 2005 at UMass and 61-48 on Feb. 26, 2005 at Temple.
• UMass is 13-5 all-time against Temple at the Mullins Center. The 18 games played against the Owls are the most UMass has played against any team since the building opened in 1993. The 13 wins are also the most by UMass against any team at the Mullins Center.
• UMass coach Derek Kellogg will coach against Temple for the fifth time, in his fourth year as a head man. As a player from 1992-95, Kellogg and his Minutemen went 8-3 against the Owls including winning three Atlantic 10 Championship games in 1993, 1994 and 1995. Temple coach Fran Dunphy is 5-4 against UMass losing twice while he was at Penn. Prior to making the move from Penn to Temple, the last time he coached against the Minutemen was on Jan. 14, 1995, a 93-60 UMass win at the Mullins Center.
THE LAST MEETING: TEMPLE 90, UMASS 88 OT
• Last week UMass and Temple played an exciting game at the Liacouras Center that the Owls came away with a 90-88 overtime victory. In that game, UMass erased a 10-point deficit with 2:01 to play in regulation before outscoring Temple 13-3 to force the extra session. The Minutemen scored the first six points in OT but were unable to close out the game. Temple rode Khalif Wyatt who netted the final seven points as UMass managed just four free throws in the final four minutes.
• Chaz Williams turned in a brilliant performance for UMass as he finished with 26 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and four steals. Raphiael Putney and Terrell Vinson both had 16 before fouling out of the contest.
• Temple clinched a tie for the league’s regular-season title and was led by Wyatt’s 26 points, including the winning layup with 16.1 seconds remaining in overtime. The Owls got 30 points at the free throw line, making 30-of-40 compared to 6-of-10 for the Minutemen. UMass shot 45 percent and used a 12-of-24 effort from outside to keep the pressure on all game.
• The game was tied eight times and had 11 lead changes. UMass held a slim 44-38 edge in the paint while Temple finished with a 48-45 lead on the boards.
A-10 CHAMPIONSHIP FIRST ROUND RECAP: UMASS 92, DUQUESNE 83
• Chaz Williams finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Javorn Farrell had his most complete game in three seasons at UMass with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, nine assists and seven rebounds. Raphiael Putney matched Farrell’s three 3-pointers en route to 20 points and six boards.
• The Minutemen shot 51 percent from the floor, 47 pct. from outside and made 24-of-31 free throws. UMass also held a 40-34 edge on the glass.
• Duquesne had five players in double figures, led by Eric Evans and Jerry Jones, who finished with 16 apiece. Jones was 4-of-6 from behind the arc. The Dukes shot 44 pct.
• Duquesne led 78-73 with just over six minutes to play when UMass rattled off nine-consecutive points to stake a 82-78 lead. The Dukes answered the run with a three from Sean Johnson. That would be the final field goal for the Dukes over the final 6:02. UMass closed the game with 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
• The game had 14 lead changes and eight ties.
OFFENSE GETTING CLOSER TO GOING ‘FULL UMASS’, CLICKING ON ALL CYLINDERS OVER LAST THREE GAMES
• With head coach Derek Kellogg’s transition to an up-tempo offense and full-court, trapping defense this season, there have been periods of play where the team has gone ‘Full UMass’ as he refers to it, but not too many where the style has been sustained for more than a game or two at a time. But that appears to be changing over the past few games where the Minutemen have been putting together some very complete showings.
• Over the last three contests, UMass has averaged 89.7 points, while shooting .459 from the floor and .479 from outside. Even the free throw shooting is up from the season mark of .675 to .712. Six players in the eight-man rotation are scoring at least 10.7 ppg, with First Team All-Conference PG Chaz Williams leading the team in scoring (22.0), rebounding (7.3), assists (8.0) and steals (3.3).
• Expanding the microscope to the last five games shows that the Minutemen have reached the 80-point plateau four times for the first time this season and averaged 9.6 made 3-pointers per game.
• On the defensive side of the ball, the UMass pressure defense has totaled 46 steals in the last six games for a 6.8 spg avg and outscored the opposition 17.8-14.1 in points off turnovers.
ROLE PLAYERS’ IMPORTANCE OF LATE
• With most opposing scouting reports keying on UMass’ top scorers Chaz Williams, Raphiael Putney, Jesse Morgan and Terrell Vinson, the emerging role and importance of the next four scorers in the Minutemen rotation can’t be understated.
• The quartet of Sean Carter, Freddie Riley, Javorn Farrell and Maxie Esho has each provided an above average game at some point in the past six games - most recently Farrell registering the best game of his career in Tuesday’s First Round win over Duquesne. Dubbed ‘JYD’ (Junk Yard Dog) early in his career for his bulldog-like mentality and tenacity, the junior went for 20 points, seven rebounds and career highs in assists (9) and 3-pointers (3).
• Carter keyed the win over Rhode Island on Saturday with his third career double-double and his first 20-plus point performance, finishing with 22 points, 10 boards (7 offensive) and three blocks. Riley had 12 points in 22 minutes off the bench in the win over Xavier (2/21). Despite falling to La Salle (2/18) by a point, Esho took over at times in the second half before posting a career- and game-high 18 points, along with six rebounds and three steals.
Chaz Williams NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-ATLANTIC 10
• Redshirt sophomore PG Chaz Williams was named to the First Team All-Atlantic 10 squad as announced by the league office on Monday. Williams leads UMass in scoring (16.2 ppg), assists (6.4 apg), steals (2.3), 3-point FG pct (.403), FT pct. (.780) and minutes (33.8 mpg). He also ranks among the A-10 leaders in scoring (7th), assists (1st), steals (3rd) and assist-to-turnover ratio (5th, 1.8).
• In 16 A-10 games, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native posted the following stats: 15 double-figure scoring games ... 5 games with at least 20 points ... 3 double-figure assist games ... 7 games with at least 9 assists ... 3 doubles-doubles with all coming in the last six games.
• The transfer from Hofstra is the 54th first team all-conference selection in school history and the first since 2007-08 when Gary Forbes was named the A-10 Player of the Year. UMass now has 20 first team honorees since the league’s inception prior to the 1976-77 season.
• For Williams, it marks the second career postseason honor following his selection to the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie Team when he played for current Fordham coach Tom Pecora at Hofstra during the 2009-10 campaign. He averaged 9.8 points and 4.2 assists while starting 20 games.
• St. Bonaventure senior forward Andrew Nicholson was named the Player of the Year and Temple’s Fran Dunphy was named the Coach of the Year. Saint Joseph’s sophomore forward C.J. Aiken was named the Defensive Player of the Year while Richmond Freshman Kendall Anthony was selected as the Rookie of the Year. Sophomore forward Ronald Roberts of Saint Joseph’s was voted the Sixth Man of the Year and La Salle senior guard Earl Pettis earned the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player Award.
WILLIAMS IS GOOD AS ADVERTISED
• Redshirt sophomore point guard Chaz Williams has been given the responsibility of quarterbacking the Minutemen’s new up-tempo offense and the transfer from Hofstra lived up to the billing, averaging 16.3 points and a league-leading 6.4 assists this season. He is shooting 41 percent from 3-point range and has an assist-turnover ratio of nearly 2-1. Defensively, he ranks 23rd nationally in steals with 2.2 per game and 9th nationally in assists per game.
• In league play, he posted averages of 17.4 points (4th in A-10), 6.9 assists (1st) and 83.3 FT Pct (8th).
• Prior to a first-half miss against Saint Louis (1/28), Williams hit 33 consecutive free throws over a six-game stretch which broke Donta Bright’s (1996) single-season record for consecutive free throws made against conference opponents. The school record for the most consecutive made free throws is 40 which was also set by Bright in 1996.
• Williams has recorded eight 20-point games this season, with career-highs of 29 on 6-of-8 from outside against Xavier (2/21). He also has five games with at least nine assists, including three of the last four.
• Williams has posted four double-doubles this season (with three in the last seven games), including 26 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and four steals at Temple last Wednesday. He followed that up with 19 points, nine assists, six boards and five steals vs. Rhode Island on Saturday. Williams, Kevin Dillard (Dayton) and Tu Holloway (Xavier) are the only players in the A-10 to post multiple double-figure assist games this season.
WILLIAMS ON PACE TO BE FIRST TRUE POINT GUARD TO LEAD UMASS IN SCORING SINCE 1985
• A check of the UMass record book shows that Chaz Williams is on the verge of doing something that hasn’t been done in nearly 30 years. As the team’s leading scorer throughout the season, Williams looks to be the first true point guard to lead the Minutemen in scoring since 1984-85 when Donald Russell averaged 15.2 ppg. When adding Williams’ team-leading categories of assists, steals and minutes into the fold, the timetable extends three more years to 1981-82 when Russell lead UM with 16.4 ppg, 2.5 apg, 1.4 spg and 36.7 mpg.
• Some may recall that recent scoring leaders Ricky Harris (2009-10) and Shannon Crooks (2001-02) played the point, however historians will point out that they were shooting guards who happened to play the point guard position out of necessity in those seasons.
CARTER DEMANDING RESPECT INSIDE
• While he may not be the stat sheet stuffer that some of his teammates have become, senior Sean Carter’s play has remained strong throughout the season. He ranks third in the Atlantic 10 in field goal pct. (.596) and 14th in rebounding (6.2), while leading the team in board work 10 times, including five A-10 contests. His numbers in league play are even more impressive, where he finished the season 2nd in FG pct. (.653) and 16th in rebounds (6.5).
DUNK YOU VERY MUCH
• Its no secret that dunks can play a big role in exciting the crowd and shifting a game’s momentum, and UMass has a pair of players who can bring the house down on any given night. Senior Sean Carter and sophomore Raphiael Putney have combined for 72 of the team’s 113 slams this season.
• Carter leads the team with 46 thus far, including a season-best five at Rhode Island (2/1/12). In fact, of his 96 made buckets this season, 49 pct. have come from above the rim. In his three seasons since transferring from Oregon State he has led UMass in dunks each year and produced 171 dunks out of 262 field goals - good for 45 pct.
• Conversely, Putney uses his long, athletic frame to find ways to reach the basket that most players can’t manage. He has 26 dunks, with a good number of those on alley-oops and fast breaks. His soaring throwdown in transition against Saint Joseph’s was named ESPN’s No. 8 Play of the Day (Jan. 14, 2012), the No. 4 Play of the Week (Jan. 16, 2012) and is also a nominee for the GEICO Play of the Year.
PUTNEY NOMINATED FOR DUNK OF THE YEAR
• Raphiael Putney’s alley-oop dunk from half court against St. Bonaventure has been nominated for Dunk of the Year! The Dunk of the Year competition is part of the Dunks of the Year special which airs on ESPN2 March 26.
• Each week for four weeks, six rim-rattling dunks will be nominated for Dunk of the Year. Two winners from each week will be determined by fan voting through the official Facebook page (facebook.com/DunksOfTheYear). The eight finalists will compete in a two-week voting competition to determine the Dunk of the Year. The winner will be announced during the Dunks of the Year special which airs March 26 on ESPN2.
MORGAN’S PERFECT RHODE ISLAND GAME
• Jesse Morgan was 9-for-9 from the field, including 6-for-6 from 3-point range for 25 points in the win over Rhode Island on Saturday.ESPN Stats & Info provided the fllowing nugget: He’s first player to take at least nine field goals and six 3s without missing since Oregon’s Brice Taylor was 11-for-11 from the field and 7-for-7 from 3-point range in the 2007 Pac-10 Tournament championship game.
HOME SWEET HOME AT MULLINS
• UMass is 15-1 at home this season. The 12 consecutive home wins to start the season (11-0 at Mullins, 1-0 at The Cage) was the best since 1993-94 when the squad was a perfect 14-0 at home.
• The 11-consecutive wins at the Mullins Center are the third-longest skein since the facility opened 19 years ago. UMass won its first 27 games in the building.
• UMass is in its 19th season of play at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center and has posted an all-time record of 192-75 (.719). The Minutemen also own a 103-49 (.676) all-time record in regular season Atlantic 10 Conference games at the Mullins Center, and a 4-2 mark in Atlantic 10 Tournament contests.
• Including this season’s record, UMass has gone 29 consecutive seasons without having a losing record on its home court.
UMASS ONE OF A-10’S TOP SCORING TEAMS
• At an average clip of 76.6 points per game, UMass is the top-ranked scoring team in the Atlantic 10 and 24th nationally. The Minutemen are one of eight teams in the league to average over 70 points per game.
• UMass is also the fifth-ranked team in the league in terms of scoring margin at plus-5.0 over opponents. Saint Louis (+12.4), La Salle (+7.7), Temple (+6.5) and St. Bonaventure (+5.6) are the only A-10 teams to have margins higher than the Minutemen.
MINUTEMEN SOLID WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF
• UMass is 15-1 (1st loss came at Temple last Wednesday) this season when leading at halftime and 6-7 when trailing at the break. In the six wins when they have been behind, the largest deficit overcome to win was six points against both Siena (12/9/11) and Davidson (12/22/11).
• The Minutemen’s largest lead at the half was 19 on two occassions - at East Carolina (12/6/11) and vs. Saint Louis (2/2/12).
• In the last three seasons, UMass is 36-6 (.854) overall and 23-2 (.917) at the Mullins Center when leading at the half.
• UMass has shot .431 from the floor this season after posting a .401 shooting percentage a season ago. Much of the improvement can be attributed to the new up-tempo, fastbreaking offense that Derek Kellogg has implemented this season. Taking advantage of the long, athletic players on his roster, Kellogg’s offense has resulted in higher percentage shots in transition.
BALANCED SCORING AMONG ROTATION
• With UMass utilizing a shorter bench that has employed eight players due to injuries, one would think that the same two or three guys would dominate the box score on a regular basis, but that’s been the case with this team. Since the start of A-10 play 17 games ago, five different players have led the team in scoring, five in rebounding, three in assists, six in steals and six in blocks.
• In 14 games this season, UMass has had four or more players reach double-figure point totals, translating into an 11-2 record. Against Utah, Davidson, Central Connecticut, and Fordham, five Minutemen reached double-figures in the scoring column. Against Siena, Williams and Freddie Riley each scored over 20 points in the comeback win.
BRINGING THE PRESSURE
• To go with the new up-tempo offense, Derek Kellogg has the Minutemen pressing and trapping more on defense in 2011-12. The new attacking defensive style has worked extremely well thus far as the Minutemen have forced an average of 17.0 turnovers per game and scored 21.1 points per game off those takeaways.
• UMass was the beneficiary of 21 turnovers at Rhode Island (2/1), marking the seventh time an opponent has lost the ball at least 20 times. The flip side to that is that the Minutemen recorded 25 points off those 21 URI TOs. UMass has scored at least 20 points off its opponents 13 times this season, topping 30 points four times.
• In its 36-point win at Boston College on Nov. 21, UMass turned 23 Eagles turnovers into 28 points and outscored them 28-6 over the final 10:30 of the game.
• In the win vs. Northeastern (11/14), UMass forced 21 turnovers and scored 26 points off turnovers. Sampson Carter led the defense with three steals.
• The Minutemen held the Huskies to just 38 percent shooting in the game, including a 9.1 percent mark from behind the arc.
• In the opener vs. Elon, UMass forced 25 Phoenix turnovers and scored 34 points off those turnovers, including 12 fast-break points. Jesse Morgan led the defensive charge with a career-high five steals in 17 minutes. UMass finished with 14 steals total.
OUTSIDE SHOOTING+PROTECT THE BALL=WIN
• It’s a simple formula, but when UMass is able to shoot the ball from outside and keep turnovers to a
minimum, chances are the Minutemen win. In 21 games won this year, UMass is 191-of-491 from three-point land and average 14.1 turnovers per game. In 10 games lost, UMass is just 57-of-217 from deep and average 17.7 turnovers.
• Sharing the ball is also a key. The Minutemen average 17.9 assists in wins this year, while that number drops to 12.4 in losses.
CLEARING THE BOARDS
• UMass has been solid on the boards this season averaging 39.5 rebounds per game - that places the Minutemen first in the Atlantic 10 and 12th nationally. The Minutemen have outrebounded their opponents 15 times this season and are 11-4 in those contests.
KEY IMPROVEMENTS OVER LAST SEASON
• Through 31 games, a trio of players have made significant strides over their 2010-11 averages.
• Jesse Morgan played in just 12 games last season averaging 4.4 points in almost 11 minutes per game. This year, the combo point guard/two guard is averaging 9.8 points in 26.1 minutes.
• Raphiael Putney has increased his scoring from 4.4 points to 10.5 points and is averaging over two more rebounds per game (3.0-to-5.7).
• After having a strong freshman campaign in 2009-10, Terrell Vinson saw his scoring dip from 9.6 points per game to 6.5 last season. This year he is back to form averaging 9.4 points in 25.6 minutes per game.
DEPTH OFF THE BENCH KEY
• UMass has received quite a lift from its bench this season. A season-high 51 points were scored in the win over Towson thanks to the reserves. All told, the UMass bench has outscored every opponent this year except six (College of Charleston, at La Salle, Saint Louis, at Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure and at Saint Joseph’s).
• 31.8% (681-of-2,156 points) of UMass’ scoring has come from the bench.
UMASS AGAINST RANKED FOES
• All-time UMass is 30-74 vs. AP Top-25 teams with four wins since 2004. The Minutemen have played two games against a ranked foe this season - against #22 Florida State at the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 24 and at #23 Temple in Philadelphia on Feb. 29.
• UMass has lost its last seven against ranked schools dating back to a 61-60 win over #25 Kansas at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Dec. 13, 2009. Derek Kellogg is 1-8 against Top-25 teams.
ESHO NAMED ATLANTIC 10 ROOKIE OF THE WEEK (2/20)
• Redshirt freshman Maxie Esho was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week following his performance against La Salle (2/18) two weeks ago. Esho poured in a career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting to lead all scorers. He also added six rebounds and three steals in a career-high-tying 22 minutes.
• This markes Esho’s first weekly award and the second for UMass this season. Raphiael Putney was named the Co-Player of the Week on Jan. 30. The last time a UMass player earned Rookie of the Week honors was two years ago when Terrell Vinson garnered the award on Dec. 20, 2009.
LALANNE TAKES PRESEASON A-10 HONOR
• The Atlantic 10 Conference announced its preseason awards at its annual men’s basketball media day in Brooklyn on Oct. 13 with UMass freshman Cady Lalanne being named to the All-Rookie Team. The forward from Orlando, Fla. is the first Minuteman named All-Rookie since Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson in 2009.
• Joining Lalanne on the All-Rookie Team are Dezmine Wells (Xavier), Jerrell Wright (La Salle), Justin Martin (Xavier), Alonzo Nelson-Odada (Richmond) and Anthony Lee (Temple).
• Lalanne joins the Minutemen following becoming eligible per NCAA rules after attending UMass as a student in 2010-11. The 6-8 big man played at Oak Ridge HS in Orlando, Fla. and his AAU ball with the Florida Rams.
UMASS SIGNS FLORIDA CENTER BERGANTINO
• UMass men’s basketball head coach Derek Kellogg, on the eve of the Minutemen’s season opener, announced on Thursday the signing of 6-9 center Tyler Bergantino of Springhill, Fla. to a National Letter of Intent. The talented big man, now a senior at Nature Coast Technical High School in Brooksville, Fla., will join the Minutemen for the 2012-13 season.
• “Tyler exemplifies exactly the type of person and player we want at UMass,” Kellogg said. “He is an extremely high-character young man and plays the game at a high level at both ends of the floor. My staff, the team, the UMass community and I are all very excited to have Tyler joining the UMass basketball family.”
• At 6-9, 240 lbs., Bergantino is a physical force inside and possesses rapidly improving skill and touch around the basket. He enters his senior year at Nature Coast the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,150 career points. Bergantino is coming off a junior campaign in which he led all of Hernando County with averages of 17.9 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.8 blocked shots. That followed up a sophomore season in 2009-10 in which he posted averages of 14.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 5.2 blocks.
UMASS LED BY ONE OF ITS OWN
• Derek Kellogg, in his fourth season, is the first UMass alum to serve as the head coach of his alma mater since Tom McLaughlin, who coached the Minutemen from 1981-83. Kellogg graduated from UMass in 1995 where he was an All-Atlantic 10 selection in 1995. McLaughlin graduated from UMass in 1973 where he was one of three future head coaches on the team. He was joined by former Boston College head coach Al Skinner and current Louisville coach Rick Pitino.
• Kellogg is not the only current head coach from the UMass rosters in the mid-90s as Tony Barbee is in his second year as the head coach at Auburn. In his first season with the Tigers, Barbee’s squad went 11-20 overall and 4-12 in the SEC after taking UTEP to the NCAA Tournament the previous season. Alum Harper Williams was named to Barbee’s staff this summer. The pair were at UMass’ Nov. 17 win against NJIT in Amherst.
• Prior to McLaughlin, the last UMass alum to lead his alma mater was Lorin Ball (Class of 1921), who coached the team from 1945-52.
FOLLOW THE TEAM ONLINE
• Looking for all the latest news on the Minutemen and Coach Kellogg? There are several ways to keep tabs on all of the updates on the squad.
• Your first and Number 1 source is UMassAthletics.com. The official website of the UMass teams features news, stats, profiles, videos, photos, auctions, live audio, live video and so much more.
• Our daily blog “Just Take A Minute” has all the latest news from the media along with special information. Its updated several times each day.
• Follow the teams and Coach Kellogg on Twitter. Get the news instantly for all Minuteman and Minutewoman teams by following @UMassAthletics. For the latest on the basketball team and Coach, follow him at @CoachKellogg.
• The UMass Facebook page is very active, become a fan today at Facebook.com/UMassAthletics. You can also follow Coach Kellogg on his Facebook.com/CoachKellogg account.
• Also, UMass has a very comprehensive YouTube page with video highlights, features, interviews and press conferences. Visit today at YouTube.com/UMassAthletics.