UMass is making its 19th postseason appearance and its 11th in the Postseason NIT. The Minutemen were slotted as a No. 5 seed in the NIT, marking the third postseason appearance in the last six seasons and the first in four years under head coach Derek Kellogg.
The NIT Quarterfinal contest at Drexel will be televised nationally on ESPN with Bob Wischusen and LaPhonso Ellis describing the action. The radio broadcast will be carried on the UMass Sports Network with Josh Maurer and Tim Kenney on the call. Listen on WRNX 100.9 FM, the flagship station, WCRN 830 AM in Central Mass., WATD 95.9 FM on the South Shore, WWZN 1150 AM in Boston and on UMassAthletics.com. The UMass-Drexel winner will advance to the semifinals and face the Nevada-Stanford/Illinois State winner on Tuesday, March 27.
2011-12 UMASS SEASON CAPSULE
The 2011-12 season marks the fourth 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 grown from 12, 12, 15 and 24.
With its 20th win of the season in the regular-season finale against Rhode Island, it marked the 15th 20-win season in school history and the first in Kellogg's four years. The 24 total victories are currently tied for the sixth highest total in UMass annals.
UMass started the year 11-3, suffering losses to No. 22 Florida State & College of Charleston in the Bahamas and at Miami. A 7-3 start in league play had the Minutemen among the league leaders, but losses in four of five games hurt UMass down the stretch of the A-10 season. The fifth loss in that stretch was a 90-88 overtime loss at Temple after a 33-point setback at Dayton. Despite the loss, that performance sparked the Minutemen in the win over Rhode Island to close the regular-season and a pair of wins in the A-10 Tournament, including an upset of top-seeded and 21st-ranked Temple in the quarterfinals.
In the regular-season slate, UMass went 5-3 against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament and 1-5 against NIT entrants.
The Minutemen are shooting 44.3 pct. (196-of-397) from the field over the past six games and averaging 86.0 points per game.
UMass averages 8.0 3-pointers per game this season and has made at least 10 in nine games. The Minutemen have made 65 triples in the last seven games and are connecting on 42.6 pct. during that stretch.
UMass has collected 310 steals this season and is just one shy of tying the school record set during the Final Four season of 1995-96. The squad is averaging 8.9 thefts per game, which ranks eighth in the country and is on the heels of the 9.0 spg school mark of the 1999-2000 campaign.
UMass won its first 14 home games before improving to 15-1 with last week's Atlantic 10 Championship First Round win.
UMass averaged 4,359 fans in 15 dates at the Mullins Center this season. Those numbers got increasingly higher as the season evolved to 5,411 for eight A-10 home games and 6,614 for the last five regular-season home dates. The Minutemen saw four crowds of more than 6,200 in the final six games, with a season-high 8,399 in the victory over Saint Louis.
UMASS' POSTSEASON TOURNAMENT HISTORY
UMass has an all-time postseason record of 23-20 in 18 combined appearances in both the NCAA and NIT tournaments. The Minutemen are making their 11th NIT appearance this season and bring a 12-12 record which includes two Final Fours and a runner-up finish in 2008.
UMass is now 6-6 in NIT First Round games and 5-3 in true NIT road games. The Minutemen have played 15 of their 24 games in New York state, going 5-10 in those contests.
With Tuesday's 101-96 2ot win over Mississippi State, UMass has now faced an SEC school in each of its last three NIT appearances. The Minutemen defeated Alabama, 89-87 in overtime, in Amherst six years to the day from Tuesday's game. A year later in 2008, UMass outlasted defending NCAA Champion Florida, 78-66, in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden.
NIT FIRST ROUND RECAP
(5) UMASS 101, (4) MISSISSIPPI STATE 96 - 2 OT
Chaz Williams scored 28 and Sean Carter added a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds as Massachusetts outlasted Mississippi State, 101-96 in double overtime in the First Round of the National Invitation Tournament at Humphrey Coliseum Tuesday night. Raphiael Putney added a double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds. Javorn Farrell was key off the bench with 16 points including a big three and driving dunk in the first overtime.
UMass shot 43 percent for the contest and improved to 3-0 in NIT overtime games. The Minutemen also moved to 6-7 all-time in double-OT ball games, playing its first since 2005.
UMass was solid from the free throw line throughout the game, finishing 14-of-19 and 8-of-9 in the two overtime sessions. The Minutemen outrebounded the Bulldogs 56-41. Additionally, UMass collected 21 offensive boards that they converted into a 24-7 edge in second-chance points.
The Minutemen set school NIT records for points scored (101), individual points (28 by Chaz Williams) and individual rebounds (16 by Raphiael Putney).
Mississippi State was led by Arnett Moultrie's 34 points. Dee Bost had 20 points and 13 assists.
NIT SECOND ROUND RECAP
(5) UMASS 77, (1) SETON HALL 67
Chaz Williams scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures and Terrell Vinson came up huge down the stretch as Massachusetts defeated Seton Hall 77-67 in the NIT Second Round at Walsh Gymnasium Saturday. Williams finished with seven rebounds, six assists to lift UMass (24-11) to a berth in Tuesday's quarterfinal round at Drexel.
With the Minutemen clinging to a 65-64 lead and just under three minutes remaining, Wiliams and Vinson connected on back-to-back 3-pointers which pushed the margin to 71-64 with 1:30 left.
Following a Williams free throw, Jordan Theodore converted a three-point play with 54.5 tics on the clock, but that would be the last points for the Pirates as the Minutemen closed out the contest with 5-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Vinson finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. All eight of his second-half scoring came in the final 6:22. Raphiael Putney had 15 points and Sean Carter posted his second-consecutive double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.
UMass shot 45 percent from the floor and 71 percent from the line.
Seton Hall (21-13) was led by Fuquan Edwin's 21 points. Herb Pope pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds and blocked three shots. The Pirates shot just 35 percent and were just 2-of-27 from outside.
SERIES HISTORY WITH DREXEL, COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOC.
UMass and Drexel have met just once before with the Minutemen claiming a 69-48 victory at the Mullins Center in Amherst on Dec. 12, 1996. The game marked the seventh for then-head coach Bruiser Flint at UMass and his third career win.
UMass has compiled a 43-18 record against teams currently in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Minutemen have won their last four games versus CAA competition and are 3-0 in head coach Derek Kellogg's four seasons.
COACHES WITH TIGHT BOND MEET ON TUESDAY
While UMass and Drexel have met just once in their basketball histories, the teams have been associated since former UMass coach Bruiser Flint took over the Dragon's program in 2001 after spending 12 seasons on the sidelines in Amherst, with the last five as the head coach where he compiled a 86-72 record with two NCAA Tournament's and an NIT appearance.
Current UMass head coach Derek Kellogg was recruited to Amherst by Flint when he was an assistant to John Calipari from 1988-96. Kellogg was a four-year letterwinner (1991-95) and starting point guard who was part of four Atlantic 10 Championship teams, all of which advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The two still text and talk weekly
UMASS TURNING INTO NIT ROAD WARRIORS
This year's UMass team had tasted some success on the road but had struggled to sustain the wins and string together any type of win streaks away from home. But that has changed with the NIT schedule dealt the Minutemen thus far. UMass won at Mississippi State of the SEC and at Seton Hall of the Big East in the first two rounds of the postseason event, marking the first time it had won consecutive road games since January of 2010. The last time a UMass team won three-straight road games came during the 2008 NIT Final Four run when that group won four-straight away from Amherst, culminating with the epic come-from-behind win at Syracuse in the quarterfinals.
UMass has a chance to make some serious NIT history on Tuesday. A UMass win would make the Minutemen just the fourth team to win three road games en route to reaching the NIT semifinals. Since the tourney began using home sites in 1977, only Fresno State in 1998, Detroit in 2001 and Georgetown in 2003 reached Madison Square Garden via three road victories.
OFFENSE GETTING CLOSER TO GOING `FULL UMASS', CLICKING ON ALL CYLINDERS OVER LAST FOUR 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 in recent weeks where the Minutemen have put together some very complete efforts.
Over the last seven contests, UMass has averaged 86.3 points, while shooting .444 from the floor and .426 from outside. Even the free throw shooting is up from the season mark of .675 to .713. Six players in the eight-man rotation - and all five starters - are scoring at least 9.3 ppg, with First Team All-Conference PG Chaz Williams leading the team in scoring (20.9), assists (7.3) and steals (2.9).
Expanding the microscope to the last nine games shows that the Minutemen have reached the 80-point plateau six times for the first time this season and averaged 8.8 made 3-pointers per game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the UMass pressure defense has totaled 83 steals in the last 10 games for a 8.3 spg avg and outscored the opposition 18.9-14.5 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 nine games - most recently Farrell who went for 16 points with seven in ovetime of Tuesday's 101-96 win at Mississippi State. registering the best game of his career in last Tuesday's A-10 First Round win over Duquesne. A week earlier he collected 20 points, seven rebounds and career highs in assists (9) and 3-pointers (3) in the A-10 Tourney win over Duquesne.
Carter outplayed Mississippi State's Renardo Sidney with 20 points and 12 rebounds in a career-high 48 minutes on Tuesday. He also keyed the win over Rhode Island in the regular-season finale 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. Esho also kept UMass within striking distance in last Saturday's A-10 Semifinal loss to SBU, as he registered 14 points and seven boards in 15 first-half minutes.
Chaz Williams NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-ATLANTIC 10; ADDS FIRST TEAM NABC ALL-DISTRICT 4 HONORS
Redshirt sophomore PG Chaz Williams was named to the First Team All-Atlantic 10 squad as voted on by the 14 head coaches and added NABC All-District 4 First Team accolades earlier this week, becoming the first NABC honoree at UMass since Gary Forbes in 2007-08. Williams leads UMass in scoring (16.8 ppg), assists (6.4 apg), steals (2.3), 3-point FG pct (.420), FT pct. (.792) and minutes (34.7 mpg). He also ranks among the A-10 leaders in scoring (7th), assists (1st), steals (3rd), 3-point FG pct (5th) 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 NAMED TO ATLANTIC 10 ALL-CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM
Despite not being able to lead the Minutemen into the title game of last week's Atlantic 10 Championship, Chaz Williams was named to the 5-man All-Championship team after averaging 16 points, 7.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, 3.5 steals and 12-of-14 from the FT line in the team's two games in Atlantic City. Factoring in UMass' first round win over Duquesne at home and the Bronx native posted 17.7 points, 6.3 assists and 5.3 boards while making 4-of-7 from outside and 23-of-28 from the charity stripe in three tourney games.
The remaining members of the All-Championship squad included Andrew Nicholson (MOP) and Demitrius Conger of tourney champ St. Bonaventure, and Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons of runner-up Xavier.
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 16.7 points and a league-leading 6.4 assists this season (10th in NCAA). He is shooting 42 percent from 3-point range and has an assist-turnover ratio of nearly 2-1. Defensively, he ranks 17th nationally in steals with 2.3 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 11 20-point games this season, with career-highs of 29 on 6-of-8 from outside against Xavier (2/21). He also has eight games with at least nine assists, including six of the last 10.
Williams has posted five double-doubles this season (with four in the last 10 games). 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 ONE OF THE MOST COMPLETE POINT GUARDS IN THE NATION
You don't have to tell the followers of this year's Massachusetts team how special Chaz Williams is to the success of the squad. But to put things into perspective, consider that he is one of just three players in Division I this year to average at least 16.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. The others are Tim Frazier of Penn State and Nate Wolters of South Dakota State.
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.
PHILLY NATIVE MORGAN SHOWS THE BROTHERLY LOVE
UMass guard Jesse Morgan has turned his game up another notch when he has returned home for the Minutemen's three previous games in Philadelphia this season. In contests at La Salle, Saint Joseph's and Temple, he has averaged 18.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 41.6 pct from the floor and 41.2 from outside. Those numbers are all well ahead of his season averages of 10.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg with shooting percentages of 39.5 and 36.2, respectively.
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 (3/3). ESPN Stats & Info provided the following nugget: He's the 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.
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. (.571) and 14th in rebounding (6.3), while leading the team in board work 11 times. 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).
The Fayetteville, N.C. native has posted 10 double-figure scoring games this season, including a pair of 20-plus point performances. Three of his four career double-doubles have come this season with top performances on Tuesday at Mississippi State (20p/12r) and in the regular-seaosn finale against Rhode Island (22p/10r) on Senior Day.
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 78 of the team's 121 slams this season.
Carter leads the team with 52 thus far, including a season-best five at Rhode Island (2/1/12). In fact, of his 107 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 158 dunks out of 273 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 (2/8/12) 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.
UMASS ONE OF A-10'S TOP SCORING TEAMS
At an average clip of 77.5 points per game, UMass is the top-ranked scoring team in the Atlantic 10 and 17th 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 (+11.7), La Salle (+6.7), Temple (+6.1) and St. Bonaventure (+5.7) are the only A-10 teams to have margins higher than the Minutemen.
MINUTEMEN SOLID WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF
UMass is 18-1 (loss came in OT at Temple on 2/29) this season when leading at halftime and 6-9 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 against Saint Louis (2/2/12).
In the last three seasons, UMass is 38-6 (.863) overall and 23-2 (.917) at the Mullins Center when leading at the half.
UMass has shot .433 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.
The 2,222 field goal attempts thus far are the second-highest single-season total in school history and the most since the 2006-07 squad took a record 2,281 shots.
Along those same lines - the 3-point line to be exact - this season's bunch ranks in the top-3 at UMass in 3-pointers made (2nd, 279) and attempted (2nd, 793).
MINUTEMEN WITH SHARPSHOOTERS UP AND DOWN THE ROSTER
UMass averages 8.1 3-point field goals per game, which ranks first in the Atlantic 10 and 31st nationally. The Minutemen have made 279 triples this season to rank second all-time in school history.
UMass is one of just four schools in Division I with four players who have made at least 50 treys. The others are Florida, Iowa State and Youngstown State. All told, six of the players among the eight-man rotation are legitimate outside threats.
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 20 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 15 games this season, UMass has had four or more players reach double-figure point totals, translating into an 12-3 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 has collected 293 steals on the year, translating to 8.9 steals per game. The Minutemen need four steals to move into second all-time at UMass. The 1995-96 Final Four squad stole 311 in 37 contests. Also, the 8.9 spg avg is second only to the 9.0 avg set in 1999-2000.
In Friday's win over #21/24 Temple, the Owls committed a season-high-tying 22 turnovers, marking the ninth time an opponent has had at least 20 miscues in a game. UMass has scored at least 20 points off its opponents 15 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 22 games won this year, UMass is 200-of-507 from three-point land and average 14.0 turnovers per game. In 11 games lost, UMass is just 65-of-240 from deep and average 17.0 turnovers.
Sharing the ball is also a key. The Minutemen average 17.5 assists in wins this year, while that number drops to 12.3 in losses.
CLEARING THE BOARDS
UMass has been solid on the boards this season averaging 39.8 rebounds per game - that places the Minutemen first in the Atlantic 10 and 13th nationally. The Minutemen have outrebounded their opponents 16 times this season and are 12-4 in those contests.
KEY IMPROVEMENTS OVER LAST SEASON
Throughout the season, 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 10.2 points in 26.2 minutes.
Raphiael Putney has increased his scoring from 4.4 points to 10.3 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 9.7 points in 25.8 minutes per game.
UMASS AGAINST RANKED FOES
As a result of the 77-71 win over #21 Temple in the A-10 Quarterfinals, UMass is 31-74 vs. AP Top-25 teams all-time with four wins since 2004. The Minutemen have played three games against a ranked foe this season - against #22 Florida State at the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 24, at #23 Temple in Philadelphia on Feb. 29 and against #21 Temple on Friday in Atlantic City, N.J.
UMass had 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 now 2-8 against Top-25 teams.
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.
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.