• UMass plays host to league leader Saint Louis on Sunday afternoon. The game will be televised nationally.
• The Minutemen are in 4th 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 1,230-1,077 (.533) in 2,307 games. UMass is 460-313 (.593) in conference games, including a 294-293 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.
• This will be the 13th meeting between the two teams and 10th since the Billikens joined the Atlantic 10 in 2005-06. Saint Louis leads the series 8-4 overall and 3-1 in Amherst.
• The teams have played their 12 games at six different facilities: Scottrade/Kiel Center (1995, 2008), Georgia Dome (1998), St. Charles Family Arena (2006), Mullins Center (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012), Boardwalk Hall (2007), Chaifetz Arena (2009, 2011, 2013).
• UMass and Saint Louis met in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament in Atlanta with the Billikens winning 51-46. That game was the last time the Minutemen made the NCAA Tournament. Larry Hughes scored 18 points, Matt Baniak tallied 12 and Virgil Cobbin added 11 in the win. Monty Mack was the sole double-figure scorer for UMass with 10 points.
• LAST SEASON IN ST. LOUIS: Saint Louis used a 10-2 run late in the game to claim a 70-62 decision in the Atlantic 10 opener for both teams. UMass saw its seven-game win streak come to an end while SLU won its ninth-straight. Cady Lalanne came off the bench to lead UMass with his second-career double-double, posting 18 points and 13 rebounds - both career-highs at the time. Chaz Williams had 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds. The Minutemen shot 40 percent from the floor in a game that had 15 lead changes and seven ties. The Billikens shot 44 pct. and were paced offensively by Rob Loe’s 20 points and seven boards. Jordair Jett had 15. SLU’s run came at a time when UMass had just completed a 10-4 run of its own to stake a 54-50 lead with 9:28 remaining.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE
• When UMass and Saint Louis meet on Sunday, the teams will have played a combined 98 games (48 for UMass and 50 for SLU) since their meeting in the opening game of the 2013 A-10 regular-season on Jan. 10, 2013 - a span of 433 days.
UMASS & NEW ENGLAND BASKETBALL HALL OF FAMER RAY ELLERBROOK TO BE HONORED AT SAINT LOUIS GAME
• Former Massachusetts two-sport star Ray Ellerbrook, who passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 18, will be recognized at the Saint Louis game. Ellerbrook, 65, died at his Pioneer Knolls home with his wife, Wendy, their two sons, Mike and Tom, and other family members and friends gathered around.
• A two-time All-Yankee Conference selection in basketball (1969 and 1970), Ellerbrook was a third-team All-New England selection in 1968-69. He was also a two-time All-Yankee Conference selection in baseball (1969 and 1970) and an honorable mention All-New England and All-Northeast second team selection in 1970.
• A member of the basketball team that captured three straight Yankee Conference titles (1968-70), Ellerbrook was the captain of the 1969-70 squad that advanced to the National Invitation Tournament for the first time in school history. Ellerbrook scored 1,224 career points in three seasons, which currently ranks 22nd on the all-time chart.
• At the time of his graduation he ranked second in career assists, fourth in points, third in field goal attempts and sixth in scoring. His 16.5 points per game ranked ninth on the all-time list while his 1,156 career field goal attempts were 10th.
• In baseball, Ellerbrook played first base and posted a career batting average of .299. He was a member of the 1969 squad that captured the Yankee Conference title and advanced to the College World Series, upsetting No. 1 Southern Illinois, 2-0. Ellerbrook was the Samuel S. Crossman Two-Sport Athlete Award winner in 1970.
• Ellerbrook, who was the first member of his family to attend college, graduated from UMass in 1970. The Hawthorne, N.J. native also graduated from Hawthorne HS.
• Ellerbrook was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 1998. The six-member class that year also included Dick Bergquist (baseball) and Jack Leaman (basketball) - his two coaches during his time at UMass.
• In 1999, the Daily Hampshire Gazette named him one of the top 25 local athletes over the last 100 years. The Ray Ellerbrook Athletic Fields were dedicated on June 13, 2009 in Northampton. He was also enshrined into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
UMASS SECURES THIRD-CONSECUTIVE 20-WIN SEASON
• With its win at George Washington three 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 1,591 points. He is now 52 away from seventh, held by Tony Barbee with 1,643. He now has 678 assists in three years with the Minutemen, tying Chris Lowe (2005-08) for the school record. For his college career, Williams has 816 assists, seven shy of moving into 26th in NCAA Division I history.
• Raphiael Putney became the 46th player to reach the 1,000 point mark at UMass on Wednesday at Duquesne. He is one of just 21 players to record 1,000 points and grab at least 600 rebounds in school history.
• Sampson Carter is also looking to add his name to the 1,000 Point Club at UMass, although he has a fair amount of work to get there. He enters the Saint Louis game with 943 points and is averaging 10.8 ppg this year, meaning the Baton Rouge, La. native would need just over five games at that pace to achieve the mark.
• Putney and Carter are also climbing the games played list at UMass. Carter is fifth with 131 and Putney is eighth with 127.
UMASS IMPROVING AT THE CHARITY STRIPE
• One area that has been an up-and-down problem this season free throw line. Over the last seven games the Minutemen have made 69.9% (128-for-183) of their attempts.
• UMass was 23-of-32 (.719) from the free throw line at Dayton last 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.
• This past Wednesday at Duquesne, the Minutemen made 77.8% (14-of-18) and made their final four in the last minute to secure the vctory.
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 108 victories entering the Saint Louis 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 15.7. 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 56.7 pct. of its field goals this season. That is the highest since the 2005-06 squad assisted on 57.8 pct. of made baskets.
23-6 MARK AFTER 29 GAMES EQUALS THE FOURTH-BEST RECORD IN SCHOOL HISTORY
• With a 23-6 record entering the Saint Louis game, the 2013-14 UMass team has matched the 1992-93 and 1993-94 squads for the fourth-best record after 29 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 eight of UMass’ 10 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, 3/5 at Duquesne). 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.
• In 12 games at the Mullins Center, opponents are making just 27% (57-for-209).
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 Saint Louis game with 5.8 blocks per game, good for 23rd in the NCAA and first in the Atlantic 10.
• They have been particularly unkind over the past 11 games, altering 73 shots for a 6.6 bpg average. UMass has blocked at least nine shots four times in the last 10 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.