Men's Basketball

 
UMass Opens A-10 Tourney Play On Thursday at 9 p.m.

Tony Gaffney is third in the A-10 in blocked shots.

Tony Gaffney is third in the A-10 in blocked shots.

Complete Release in PDF FormatGet Acrobat Reader

2008 Atlantic 10 Quarterfinal
UMASS (21-9, 10-6) vs. CHARLOTTE or URI
Thursday, March 13, 2008 • 9 p.m. (ET)
Boardwalk Hall • Atlantic City, N.J.
TV: CSN New England; Live Video: UMassAthletics.com
Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

UMass Opens A-10 Tourney Play On Thursday at 9 p.m.
• The No. 3 seeded UMass men's basketball team, which is making a strong push for an NCAA Tournament berth, will begin play in the Atlantic 10 Tournament this Thursday at 9 p.m., in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall. The Minutemen (21-9 overall, 10-6 A-10) will face the winner of the No. 6 Charlotte (18-12, 9-7)/No. 11 Rhode Island (21-9, 7-9) game which takes place on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Thursday's game will be aired on the CSTV Networks including Comcast New England, COX New England and FSN Ohio. Live streaming video is available online via UMass All-Access on UMassAthletics.com or via pay-per-view through CSTV's XXL package on UMassAthletics.com. The game will be carried on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM in Western Massachusetts and 830 AM and 95.9 FM in the Eastern portion of the state. Bob Behler and Tim Kenney call the action for UMass. Gametracker will be available on UMassAthletics.com.

• Riding a six-game win streak, the Minutemen are one of the hottest teams in the nation as UMass rose to a third-place finish in the A-10 after a 4-6 start. With a win Thursday, UMass would extend to a seven-game win streak, which would be the longest 1998, when the Minutemen won 10 in a row on the way to their last NCAA Tournament selection.

• UMass won all three games against Charlotte and Rhode Island in 2007-08. The Minutemen knocked off the 49ers in their only meeting, 86-79, back on Jan. 19 at the Mullins Center as Ricky Harris scored 24. UMass beat Rhode Island twice for the first time since 2005 with a 78-76 win in Amherst on Feb. 7 as Gary Forbes had 26 points. In Kingston on Feb. 21, UMass beat URI, 98-91. Etienne Brower led the Minutemen with 26 points.

Forbes, Harris Gain Atlantic, Regional Honors
• UMass senior Gary Forbes was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, giving UMass back-to-back top award winners in the league. Last season Stephane Lasme, who was drafted by the Golden State Warriors, claimed the league's top honor. The last time UMass had consecutive players of the year was in 1995 (Lou Roe) and 1996 (Marcus Camby). Forbes is the fifth overall player of the year from UMass as Harper Williams also took home the honor in 1992.

• Forbes was named the Atlantic 10 First Team as well as he tied for the league's regular-season scoring crown with Temple's Dionte Christmas. Both players had 20.3 averages with 610 points in 30 games. Forbes was also fourth in the league in rebounding with 7.9 UMass had two first-teammers last year in Lasme and three-time winner Rashaun Freeman.

• Sophomore guard Ricky Harris was named the Atlantic 10 Chris Daniels Most Improved Player of the Year. Harris took his scoring average from 4.5 to 18.1 in his second collegiate season. It was the largest improvement of any player in the league at +13.6. UMass had the three largest jumps as Etienne Brower is +10.1 and Forbes is +7.3. Harris is the first UMass player to win the honor since 2001 when Micah Brand and Kitwana Rhymer shared the MIP.

• Forbes was also named to the NABC All-Dsitrict First Team. It is the fourth year in a row UMass has had a first-teammer as Lasme and Freeman made it last year and Freeman was honored in 2005 and 2006.

UMass' 20-Win Season
• The Minutemen picked 20th win of the season on March 5 with the 100-63 win over La Salle. It marked 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.

UMass' A-10 Tournament History
• UMass has an all-time record of 29-26 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament dating to its inception in 1977. The 29 wins are second to only Temple (43-19) in terms of wins in the tournament. UMass has captured five titles -- consecutively from 1992-96, only Temple only has more with six. UMass has been to the finals on seven occasions which is third all-time.

• With the new format of keeping the A-10 in one division of 14 teams, UMass is the third seed for the first-time in a one-division format. UMass was No. 3 in the East in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000. In those first three year, UMass won its first-round game, but lost in the quarterfinals. In 2000, UMass won the first round and quarterfinal before falling to Temple in the semifinals.

• UMass has never played Charlotte in the Atlantic 10 Tournament as the 49ers joined the league three years ago. The Minutemen are 4-1 against Rhode Island all-time. The last time the all-time rivals played was in the 1993 semifinals with UMass beating the Rams, 76-50. UMass also beat URI in the 1983 first round (91-74), 1984 first round (69-67) and 1992 semifinals (78-67). RHode Island's lone tournament win vs. UMass came in the 1987 quarterfinals (76-68).

• Overall, UMass has not won a tournament game since 2002. The Minutemen have lost six games in a row, as they have been knocked out in their first game in each of the last five seasons after last season's 74-71 overtime loss to Saint Louis.

Tourna-Minutes
• This marks the second season the Atlantic 10 Tournament is being held in Atlantic City. It is at a neutral site for the fourth year in a row, as it was at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati in 2005 and 2006. Xavier has won two of the last four titles taking them in 2004 and 2006 while George Washington captured 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.

UMass In Atlantic City
• UMass lost its return to Atlantic City in the Atlantic 10 Quarterfinal vs. Saint Louis last season, 74-71 in overtime.

• Prior to last season's 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 La Salle, 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.

Ford's Championship Connections
Travis Ford and his staff members of Tim Maloney, Steve Middleton, and James Altman know a little about winning a conference championship as they were all part of Eastern Kentucky's magical run to the Ohio Valley Conference Championship in 2005.

• EKU defeated Tennessee State (W, 74-68), Southeast Missouri (W, 69-52) and Austin Peay (W, 52-46) to capture the Colonels first conference title in 25 years. EKU then held their own with Kentucky in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis, falling, 72-64.

• As a player at Kentucky, Ford won three SEC Conference Tournaments from 1992-94. He was part of the 1993 team which advanced to the NCAA Final Four, Ford was named the NCAA Southeast Regional MVP for the Wildcats.

During The 6-Game Win Streak

• UMass has won six games in a row, averaging 85.0 points in the six wins. The Minutemen knocked off Saint Louis (88-77), Rhode Island (98-91), St. Bonaventure (79-56), won at Richmond (78-74) for the first time in history, pounded La Salle (100-63) and defeated George Washington (67-63) in the season-finale. It is the longest winning streak since taking six games in a row at the end of December and early January.

• UMass will be seeking its longest win streak since a 10-game spurt in 1997-98 as UMass made the NCAA Tournament.

• With its six-game win streak, all against conference opponents, UMass has the second-longest win streak in a league play this season. Xavier won 11 in a row as the longest streak.

• During the six-game run, five players are averaging double-figures led by Gary Forbes (20.2), Ricky Harris (17.8), Etienne Brower (15.0), Chris Lowe (11.5) and Danté Milligan (10.0). UMass is outrebounding its opponents 39.8-to-32.3 over the run, a plus-7.5. The Minutemen are shooting 47 from the floor and holding opponents to 42 percent and making 44 percent from 3-pointers.

UMass' Senior Class
• Prior to tip-off vs. La Salle, UMass recognized 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 were also 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 45-18 (71.4). Over the last three years (Milligan and Pennie), UMass is 58-33 (63.7). The lone four-year member is Ampim and UMass is 74-45 (62.2) in his tenure.

• UMass comes off its most complete showing of the year in a 100-63 trouncing of La Salle on Senior Night at the Mullins Center on Wednesday. The list of achievements in the game is long. The A-10 Player of the Year Candidate Gary Forbes scored his 1,000th point at UMass as he racked up 26 points and 11 rebounds in his final regular-season home game. Chris Lowe posted the sixth triple-double in UMass history with 14 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. Three other Minutemen reached double-figures as sophomore Ricky Harris scored 21, Dante Milligan tallied 18 points, six rebounds and blocked five shots. Etienne Brower started slow, but finished with 11 points. It gave UMass its 20th win of the season, the 14th time in school history.

Racking Up A-10 Player Of Week Honors

Ricky Harris earned his second A-10 Player of the Week honor last 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.

• On the week endding March 2, 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 Charlotte
• UMass and Charlotte could play for just the sixth time in history and fourth as members of the Atlantic 10 if they meet in the quarterfinals.

• EARLIER THIS SEASON: Behind a 24-point effort by Ricky Harris, UMass (13-4, 2-1 A-10) defeated Charlotte (11-6, 2-1 A-10), 86-79, at the Mullins Center. With the win, UMass knocked off the final unbeaten team in the Atlantic 10 and moves into a tie with several teams atop the balanced conference standings. Etienne Brower logged his third career double-double and first at UMass with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Gary Forbes and Dante Milligan each added 15 points, while the Minutemen made a season-high 29 free throws. The game featured a total of 13 lead changes and nine ties.

• Last season, UMass captured a 66-61 workman like win at Charlotte in the Minutemen's first game at the 49ers. In the initial meeting as A-10 foes, Charlotte nipped UMass, 72-71 on Feb. 22, 2006 at the Mullins Center.

• Prior to that, the teams split two games played on neutral courts, both played in New England.

• UMass won the meeting on Jan. 15, 1998 as part of the Atlantic 10/Conference USA Challenge held at the Providence Civic Center, winning 68-62 in overtime. In that game, Lari Ketner and Charlton Clarke scored 15 points each, Tyrone Weeks had 15 rebounds and 9 points. Monty Mack had 12 points. UMass won despite shooting 38 percent from the floor. UMass had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Mack's tough angle shot missed. In the extra session, the Minutemen were efficient. Mack finished a fast break on a pass from Charlton Clarke to give UMass a 54-52 lead that it would never relinquish. Future NBA first-rounder DeMarco Johnson was held to 10 points for the Charlotte. Kelvin Price led the 49ers with 16 points.

• The first meeting came in 1974 at the Hall of Fame Tournament at the Springfield Civic Center with the 49ers beating UMass, 85-57. John Murphy led UMass with 30 points.

• UMass head coach Travis Ford could face be facing the 49ers for the fourth time in his coaching career, as he is 2-1 against the 49ers. Charlotte's Bobby Lutz could be coaching against UMass for the fourth time as well, standing at 1-2.

The Series With Rhode Island
• Thursday's game could be the the 131st between the schools, easily the most played series in UMass' history. UMass has faced UConn 108 times, the only other series with more than 100 meetings. The Minutemen also have more wins over Rhode Island than any other program, holding a 75-55 advantage dating to the first game on Jan. 11, 1908, a 32-14 UMass win in Amherst.

• Four of the last six meetings have been decided by three points or less including this year's first match-up. If you remove last season's 22-point UMass win, the averaging margin of victory in the last five games is 3.2 points.

• With its 98-91 win in Kingston this season on Feb. 21, UMass picked up its first series sweep since 2005 as they won the first meeting this year, 78-76 on Feb. 7, which was Black Out Night at home.

• IN THE LAST MEETING: Etienne Brower's career-high 26 points including a game-clinching 3-pointer with 1:04 left in regulation sewed up a 98-91 win for UMass at the Ryan Center. Brower finished off what amounted to a 5-point play as he had previously made two free throws on a breakaway intentional foul with 1:13 left in the game. That five-point swing gave UMass a 92-86 advantage. The Minutemen (17-9, 6-6 A-10) enhanced their chances of an NCAA Tournament bid by sweeping the Rams on the season. UMass had three players score in double-figures for the third time this season as Gary Forbes added 23 and Chris Lowe netted 21. Lowe had 10 assists for the third game in a row. The Rams were led by Will Daniels who had 25 points.

• The teams split last season's games with Rhode Island winning the first game, 75-72 on Jan. 24, at the Ryan Center. UMass won the second meeting at the Mullins Center, 77-55 on Feb. 7, 2007, which was also Black Out Night.

• UMass has won 31 of the last 42 games in the series. That includes sweeps by UMass in 2008, 2005 and URI in 2003.

• UMass coach Travis Ford is 4-2 vs. the Rams, while Rhode Island coach Jim Baron stands 12-23 against UMass (6-8 since moving to Kingston in 2002). He was 6-15 while at St. Bonaventure.

Forbes Hits 1,000 UMass Points

Gary Forbes joined Julius Erving as the only two players to score 1,000 points in their only two seasons with the Minutemen on March 5, 2008 with 26 points vs. La Salle. He became the 39th player in UMass history with 1,000 points while playing in Amherst. He had already surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career, at Northern Iowa on Nov. 11, 2007. Forbes has 1040 in his 63 games at UMass in two years since transferring from Virginia. Overall, Forbes has 1,551 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.

• Forbes is now 34th all-time with 1,040 points at UMass. He has a chance to zoom up the chart as 15 points would move him to 31st. Next up are No. 33 Charlton Clarke (1,041), No. 32 Dana Dingle (1043) and No. 31 Alex Eldridge (1053). Shannon Crooks is No. 30 with 1074.

• Forbes is also moving up the charts in terms of single-season marks at UMass. He is already eighth in single-season points with 610. 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 McCoy with 623 with 18.9.

• Forbes' 20.3 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 fifth with 445. Next on the list is Derek Kellogg (453). With his career-high 14 against La Salle (3/5), Lowe moved past UMass Hall of Famer Joe DiSarcina (431). 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 has four games with 10 or more assists in the last seven outings. He set 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. Then, Lowe bettered it in the La Salle game, which with 14 is tied for the fourth-most assists in a game in UMass history.

• With his 174 assists this season, Lowe is up to a tie for the fifth-best single-season in UMass history with Alex Eldridge (174) after passing Rick Pitino (168). Smith is next with 191 in 1985-86.

• With a similar season as a senior, Lowe would be on pace to pass all-time career assist leader Smith (633).

• Lowe is averaging 9.7 assists in his last seven games with his first four career games with 10 or more assists with double-doubles in the three of the last six games including the sixth triple-double in UMass history.

Lowe's Amazing Triple-Double
Chris Lowe posted the sxith triple-double in UMass history on March 5, with 14 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds vs. La Salle. It marked the second year in a row UMass had a triple-double against the Explorers. Stephane Lasme tied the all-time NCAA record for triple-doubles in the season with four in the game against La Salle last year with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks. Prior to Lasme, the only triple-double was by Al Skinner in 1973.

Harris on The 3-point charts
Ricky Harris has moved in elite company on the 3-point charts in UMass history. With 82 made treys on 225 attempts, he has risen to the top 10 on both single-season lists. Harris stands tied with Anthony Anderson for eighth-best single-season. Tied at No. 6 are Lorenzo Sutton and Monty Mack with 86. Harris, who has made five 3-pointers in each of the last three games is sure to reach that mark soon. With 225 attempts, Harris has the sixth-most in a season all-time. The record is 266 by Monty Mack in 1999-2000.

Updating The RPI
• With big wins at Syracuse, Boston College and Dayton, UMass is at No. 41 in the RPI rankings based on RealtimeRPI. com as of noon on March 11. 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. 9. Dayton follows at No. 36, Saint Joseph's is 54th, Temple is 59th, and Rhode Island is 68th, giving the league six in the top 75, Charlotte is 86th. Overall, the Atlantic 10 is seventh in the nation in league RPI.

• In the past two seasons the league with the seventh RPI has received four NCAA tournament teams. Last year the Big 12 had four and the Pac 10 had four in 2006 with three at-large teams in addition to an automatic qualifier.

• UMass plays the 65th-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 six wins against top 100 teams. UMass has beaten No. 36 Dayton, No. 46 Syracuse, No. 68 Rhode Island (twice), No. 66 Houston and No. 86 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 82.6 points per game, up from 77.1 points (+5.5) through 30 games last season and 77.3 points (+5.7) for the entire season.

• UMass is sixth in the NCAA in scoring through March 11 with 82.6 per game. The Minutemen are also first in the Atlantic 10 scoring moving ahead of No. 8 Duquesne (82.4). VMI leads the nation with a 91.3 average.

• UMass has scored 80 or more points 15 times with a 13-2 record in those games. The Minutemen have reached 90 points nine times, standing, 8-1.

• 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 34th with a 20.3 average and Ricky Harris, who was as high as 28th, is now 72nd at 18.1.

• UMass is 19th in total 3-pointers made with 279. With 9.3 treys per game, UMass leads the A-10 and is 19th in the NCAA in 3s per game. UMass has made 10 or more treys in 13 games, most recently with 14 in each of its last two games against La Salle and George Washington.

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 7.3 points per game from 13.0 to 20.3 to stand first on the Minutemen. Lowe has also taken his average from 7.0 to 12.1, a +5.1 mark.

• UMass has the three biggest scoring improvements from last season in the entire Atlantic 10 in Ricky Harris (+13.6), Etienne Brower (+10.1) and Forbes (+7.3).

• The Atlantic 10's Most Improved Player Ricky Harris has emerged as a major weapon on offense, scoring 18.1 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 543 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 +13.6 points per game. Harris scored in double-figures in the first 18 games this season and in 27 of 30 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 385 points in 29 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 10 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 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds. An increase of 4.8 points and 2.4 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 3.6 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 tied with Duquesne for third in 2007-08 with 7.4 per game. UConn (8.9) and Mississippi State (8.1) and lead the nation.

• UMass has eight games with 10 or more blocks most recently with 15 against La Salle (3/5).

• 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 11. Gary Forbes (20.3) is tied with Temple's Dionte Christmas (20.3) for lead in the league in scoring race as both have played 30 games and have 610 points. Ricky Harris (18.1) stands sixth. Forbes is 34th and Harris is 72nd 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 nine double-doubles this year, most recently with 16 points and 11 rebounds against La Salle (3/5) on Senior Night.

• 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 6.2 per game. With 67 assists in his last seven games, he is now tied for 11th in the NCAA in assist average. He had a career-high 14 assists vs. La Salle (3/5) to better his 13 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 2.07. Lowe tied his career-high with 23 points against Rhode Island (2/7). When Lowe has five or more assists this season, UMass is 17-3. The Minutemen are 2-6, when he has less than five.

Tony Gaffney is third with 1.77 blocks per game including a career-high six at Duquesne (1/30).

Dante Milligan is right behind Gaffney for fourth in the league in swats with 1.72. He is shooting 64.2 from the floor (95-of-148), but is shy of qualifying for the NCAA rankings (5.0 made field goals per game). If he were eligible, Milligan would rank sixth nationally and first in the A-10. Milligan has taken his field goal percentage from 49.4 to 64.2, an improvement of 14.8 percent.

• Harris is tied for fifth in steals per game with 1.57 and sixth in 3-pointers per game with 2.73.

• With his sensational 51 percent shooting from 3-point range of the last 14 games, Etienne Brower is now fourth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 43.6. He is also 10th in the league in rebounding at 6.6.

UMass Continues Home Dominance
• UMass has won 20 of its last 23 games at home (87.0) 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 finished 11-3 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 33-7 (82.5) in their last 40 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 45-8 (84.9) record as the home-team coach. He is 33-7 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.

• UMass had the 23rd-best non-conference RPI.

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.

Harris Gains National, A-10 Honors
• After his tremendous week from Jan. 13-19, UMass' Ricky Harris was named the ESPN Weekly Watch National Player of the Week and the Atlantic 10's Player of the Week. Here is what ESPN's Andy Katz had to say: "Harris was sensational in averaging 23 points in a critical 2-0 week for UMass. The Minutemen had two of the biggest wins of the young A-10 season, winning at Dayton and then taking out Charlotte at home. UMass knocked off the two teams that hadn't suffered a loss yet in the A-10. Harris scored a combined 46 points, making 11 of 22 shots and 9 of 18 3s. He made a career-high five 3s in the win over the Flyers. It's not like this was a fluke for Harris. He has put up 20 or more points in 10 of the Minutemen's 17 games and is a regular double-figure scorer. While Harris didn't have that one game that blows you away, he was as consistent as any player in the country this week. And he helped the Minutemen win two games that could ultimately put them in position to contend with any of the other top teams -- Dayton, Xavier, Charlotte, Rhode Island or Saint Joe's -- for the conference title. The wins also keep the Minutemen on track for a possible NCAA at-large berth.

Forbes Earns National, A-10 Honors
Gary Forbes was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week for the second time this season on Dec. 16. He was also named CollegeHoops.net's National Player of the Week and the UMass Athlete of the Week. Also on Fox Sports.com, Forbes was named one of Frank Burlison's Top Five Players in the nation. Forbes led UMass to a 2-0 week with a 23.5 scoring average along with 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Forbes scored 22 points, including 17 in the second half, in UMass' 83-80 win at Boston College. He had a game-high 25 points in the win over Toledo.

• In the win at BC, Forbes also pulled down seven rebounds. For the week, he shot 13-of-28 from the field and 18-for-19 from the line on the week. He was also named A-10 Player of the Week after the second week of the season on Nov. 18.

• Forbes was honored by the A-10 for the first time after his outstanding play on Nov. 18 as he was named the Atlantic 10's co-player of the week along with Rhode Island's Will Daniels. Forbes averaged 24.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in three contests between Nov. 11-17. He scored a season-best 29 points, including the 1,000th of his career, on Nov. 11 at Northern Iowa. He added 19 points and nine boards in the Minutemen's 89-80 win over Yale on Nov. 14. Finally, he scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists against Green Bay (11/17). That game was special to Forbes as he played before his father Roberto for the first time in his collegiate career. Roberto was visiting from his home in Jonesboro, Georgia.

UMass Wins Commonwealth Classic
• UMass captured its first Commonwealth Classic since 1999 with the 83-80 on Dec. 12, 2007 at Conte Forum. Riding a gutsy second-half effort by Gary Forbes and a stifling full-court press, the UMass men's basketball team picked up the victory over cross-state rival. The win was UMass' first vs. the Eagles since December 4, 1999, and first in the last nine games. UMass was led by Ricky Harris who tallied 25 points. Forbes added 22, including 17 in the second half. Along with Forbes and Harris, Chris Lowe tallied 17 points.

• UMass' athletic teams had great success against Boston College athletic teams in the 2007 calendar year. The Minutemen and Minutewomen posted a 10-2-1 record against BC in 10 different sports. Most notably, UMass' men's soccer team, which played in the NCAA College Cup on Dec. 7, knocked off No. 1-seeded Boston College on Nov. 28, by the score of 2-1. Additionally, UMass' softball team beat BC twice last spring, while the Minuteman hockey team has a 2-0-1 record against the Eagles, who won the 2007 Hockey East title. One of UMass' losses came in football, where the FBS Eagles were challenged by UMass' FCS team on Sept. 29, in a 24-14 BC win at Alumni Stadium. The Minutemen, who play with only 63 scholarships in the former Division I-AA, were within 17-14 in the fourth quarter.

• The basketball win also marked the first win vs. an ACC opponent since the Minutemen defeated Florida State, 78-68 on Feb. 15, 2005.

• UMass also defeated alumnus Al Skinner for the first time since 1999, after Skinner had won eight in a row. Skinner is one of four former UMass players to have his number retired. Skinner had his No. 30 retired on Feb. 18, 2004. All-time against his alma mater, Skinner is 11-21

Bits From The 107-Point Outburst
• The Minutemen's 107-100 win at Syracuse on Nov. 28, 2007 ranks on the all-time charts in UMass annals. The 107 points were the most scored by an opponent against the Orange since the Dome opened in 1980.

• The 107 points were the most UMass has scored in a regulation game since a 110-97 win over Duquesne on Jan. 6, 1977. It tied for the 11th-most points in a game for UMass as it also scored 107 in a win over Colgate in 1966.

• The 207 combined points tied for the third-most points in a game in UMass annals. The record is 233, when UMass lost at Rutgers in triple overtime, 119-114 on Feb. 27, 1988.

• The other game with more total points (214) marked the last time UMass played in a game where both teams scored 100 points in a regulation when North Texas beat the Minutemen, 110-104 on Dec. 29, 1982.

• UMass continues to be the personal bug-a-boo for Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim. Of schools the legend has faced two or more times, UMass is the ONLY school which Boeheim has never beaten. The Minutemen are 3-0, winning in 1992, 1995 and 2007 against the Orange.

• In the epic win, UMass rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to come away with the win. Ricky Harris led the Minutemen with a career-high 25 points while Gary Forbes added 23 points. Forbes also had seven assists and six rebounds in what Travis Ford called his best game at UMass.

25 Is Twice As Nice
• When Gary Forbes and Etienne Brower each scored 25 points in the win over Wis.-Green Bay (11/17), it was the first time UMass had two or more 25-point scorers in more than 10 years. The last time UMass had two with 25 or more was on Jan. 23, 1996 as Carmelo Travieso (27) and Donta Bright (26) accomplished the feat.

UMass Goes 2-1 At BTI Tip-Off
• The Minutemen opened the 2007-08 season winning two of three games at the BTI Tip-Off Tournament hosted by Northern Iowa on the weekend of Nov. 9-11. UMass defeated Cal Poly, 90-64 and Northern Illinois, 102-87 before losing to the host Panthers, 75-68. Senior Gary Forbes, who scored his 1,000th career point in the loss to Northern Iowa, and sophomore Ricky Harris were named to the All-Tournament Team.

2006-07 A Season To Remember
• The 2006-07 season was a historical one for the UMass basketball team as the Minutemen captured a share of the Atlantic 10 Regular-Season Championship. The Minutemen returned to the postseason for the first time since 2000 and won their first postseason game since the 1996 Final Four season. UMass downed perennial SEC power Alabama, 89-87 in overtime before an ESPN audience. That game capped off a sensational 24-9 season, which marked UMass' best record since that 1995-96 season when the Minutemen went an all-time best, 35-2. UMass' 24-win season tied for the fifth-most win in a season in the program's history.

• The Minutemen captured a share of the league title on March 3 with a 71-67 win at Saint Joseph's. It marked UMass' first regular-season league title since 1996 and sixth A-10 regular-season crown overall. The Minutemen won five straight regular-season titles from 1992-96 and proceeded to win the A-10 Tournament each time.

• The Minutemen went 24-9 overall and had the best season since the 1995-96 Final Four year when they went 35-2 in finishing as a national semifinalist. UMass finished with a 13-3 record in the Atlantic 10. UMass had its best conference record since going a school-record 15-1 in 1995-96. Prior to the loss to Saint Louis in the A-10s, the Minutemen had won six games in a row overall, their longest win streak since capturing 10 games in a row in Jan.-Feb. 1998.

• UMass senior Stephane Lasme was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-07. Lasme is the first UMass player to be named the league's top player since Marcus Camby in 1996 and fourth overall joining Camby, Lou Roe (1995) and Harper Williams (1992). Lasme was named an AP Honorable Mention All-American following the season. He was UMass' first All-American honoree since Camby in 1996.

• Lasme was joined by senior Rashaun Freeman on the A-10 First Team. Freeman is the first player since Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson (2001-04) to be a three-time first-team selection.

• Lasme is the second player to be named the league's Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same campaign joining Pepe Sanchez of Temple in 1999 and David West of Xavier in 2002. Lasme joined Tony Dobbins of Richmond (2002-04) as the only players in league history to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in successive seasons. Lasme was also named to the All-Defensive Team for the second year in row.

 

 

GET YOUR OFFICIAL
UMASS GEAR HERE

    Event Calendar

    There are no upcoming events.
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago