Men's Basketball

UMass Opens 2007-08 Season at BTI Tip-Off Tournament In Iowa

Tony Gaffney led UMass in rebounding the exhibition games.

Tony Gaffney led UMass in rebounding the exhibition games.

Nov. 7, 2007

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Friday, Nov. 9, 2007 • 3:15 pm (CT)
McLeod Center (7,018, Cedar Falls, Iowa)
Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)

Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007 • 5:45 pm (CT)
McLeod Center (7,018, Cedar Falls, Iowa)
Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007 • 5:05 pm (CT)
McLeod Center (7,018, Cedar Falls, Iowa)
TV: Mediacom in Iowa
Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

UMass Opens 2007-08 at BTI Tip-Off Tournament In Iowa
• The UMass basketball team opens the 2007-08 season at the BTI Tip-Off Tournament at Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The 2007 Atlantic 10 Regular-Season Co-Champions will take on Cal Poly in its opener on Friday at 3:15 p.m. (CT). That game will air back in Western Massachusetts on WRNX 100.9 FM kicking off coverage of every game all season-long. The tournament also features Northern Illinois, which UMass will play on Saturday at 5:45 p.m. (CT) and the host UNI Panthers, which UMass will battle on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. (CT). Both Saturday and Sunday's game will air in the eastern part of Massachusetts on WCRN (830 AM) and WATD (95.9 FM). Live streaming video of all three games will be available on for a charge.

UMass In Season Openersa
• UMass owns a 65-33 all-time mark in season openers, including victories in 12 out of the last 14 seasons. UMass has won its last four season openers that have been at home, in each of the last four seasons. Last season, UMass pounded Dartmouth, 98-61 at the Mullins Center on Nov. 11, 2006. In Travis Ford's debut at UMass on Nov. 18, 2005, the Minutemen beat Hartford, 67-62 as Rashaun Freeman dropped in 25 points. UMass beat Birmingham Southern in the 04-05 opener, 64-60, on Nov. 22, 2004 and defeated St. Francis (N.Y.), 84-71 in the 2003-04 opener, 80-58 as part of the Preseason NIT.

• The last time UMass lost its season opener was five years ago -- also the last time UMass opened away from home, when the Minutemen dropped an 84-71 decision to No. 22 Indiana in the opening round of the Maui Invitational on Nov. 25, 2002. Prior to that, UMass posted victories in four straight season openers, against Arkansas-Little Rock (66-60 in 2001-2002), Iona (67-65 in 2000-2001 and 85-77 in 1999-2000) and Niagara (87-73 in 1998-1999).

• UMass is a percent 8-0 in season openers which have been played at the Mullins Center. In 2002-03, was the last time they lost a home opener, when Boston College beat the Minutemen, 80-62 on Dec. 7, 2002.

Ford In Season Debutsa
• UMass coach Travis Ford is 6-1 overall in season debut over the last seven seasons (five at Eastern Kentucky and two at UMass. He led the Minutemen to a 98-61 win last season and a 67-62 win over Hartford in his first year 2005-06. Prior to that, ironically, Ford coached against current Atlantic 10 teams in his last two season openers while coaching at Eastern Kentucky. He led the Colonels to a win at Dayton, 73-66, to open the 2004 season at UD Arena on Nov. 21, 2004. His EKU team lost a 64-58 battle at Saint Louis to open the 2003-04 season on Nov. 21, 2003.

• At EKU, he went 4-1 in season debuts overall. He won his first game with the Colonels beating Urbana, 73-47 in 2000. He also led EKU to a 91-56 win over UNC Wilmington to open the 2001-02 season. He won his 2002-03 season debut beating NAIA Kentucky Christian, 106-71.

UMass In Regular-season Tournamentsa
• For the second year in a row UMass is playing an early-season tournament.

• Last season, UMass played in its first regular-season tournament in four years as the Minutemen went 2-1 at the First Commonwealth Colonial Athletic Association Classic at Pittsburgh. UMass defeated Oakland, 65-56 and Northeastern, 79-56. The host No. 4 Panthers beat the Minutemen, 85-68.

• Prior to last year, the last regular-season tournament UMass played in was the 2002 Maui Invitational, where the Minutemen went 1-2, beating host Chaminade (69-55) and falling to No. 22 Indiana (84-71) and Utah (69-53).

• UMass last went undefeated in a tournament at the 1995 Rainbow Classic in Hawaii, winning three games. The Minutemen beat NC State (78-67), USC (78-63) and Syracuse (65-47) on the way to the NCAA Final Four in April 1996.

• The Minutemen have played seven regular-season tournaments since the win at Honolulu and have won eight of the 19 games.

Series Notesa
• UMass has never faced any of the teams in the BTI Tip-Off Tournament.

• The Minutemen have never played a game in Iowa. There are four Division I schools in Iowa (Drake, Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa) and UMass has played just one. The Minutemen beat Iowa State, 73-53 on Dec. 28, 1991 in the Abdow's Classic in Springfield, Mass.

• Against teams from California, UMass is 4-5 all-time: vs. California (0-1, losing in 1996-97), vs. Fresno (0-2, losing in 1996-97 and 97-98), vs. Santa Clara (1-0, winning in 1991-92), vs. USC (1-0, winning in 1995-96) and vs. Stanford (2-2, last winning in 1995-96).

• When playing teams from Illinois, UMass is 3-3 with a 3-1 mark vs. DePaul from Chicago, 0-1 vs. Southern Illinois (alma mater of assistant coach Steve Middleton), falling in 1999-2000 and 0-1 against Bradley, losing to the Braves in 1964-65.

• UMass has never played a team from the Big West where Cal Poly plays.

• Against MAC schools, UMass is 3-3: Buffalo (1-0), Eastern Michigan (1-0), Kent State (0-2), Ohio (1-0), Toledo (0-2).

• When playing teams from the Missouri Valley, the Minutemen are 0-4: Bradley (0-1), Evansville (0-2) and Southern Illinois (0-1).

Facing the Boss' Old Teama
• UMass will be facing the school which its Athletic Director John McCutcheon worked in the same capacity before coming to Amherst in 2004, when the Minutemen take on Cal Poly in the opener. McCutcheon served as Cal Poly's AD from 1992-2004, overseeing the Mustangs' rise from Division II to Division I.

Notes From The Exhibition Gamesa
• UMass averaged 105 points in its two preseason exhibitions games. The Minutemen beat Concordia (107-80) and American International (103-66). The Minutemen players average 20 points with Ricky Harris hitting for a 22.0 point average, and Gary Forbes with 20.0. Harris hit 16-of-26 from the floor including 9-of-17 from 3-point land. Forbes was 13-of-23 from the floor along with 5.0 rebounds per game.

• UMass had four players average in double-figures and seven with more than 8.0 points per game.

• The leading rebounder was junior transfer Tony Gaffney, who grabbed 5.5 per game. Of the freshman Max Groebe was the top scorer with 14.0 points per game.

• The Minutemen are sure to break their school record of 3-pointers in a game this season after making 14 in each exhibition game. UMass shot an impressive 41.2 from beyond the arc and 49 from the floor overall.

UMass Nets 100-Plus In Each Exhibitiona
• UMASS 107, CONCORDIA 80: UMass won its second and final preseason exhibition game, 107-80 on Saturday night at the Curry-Hicks Cage. Senior Gary Forbes led four Minuteman scorers in double-figures. Sophomore Ricky Harris scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half. Freshman Max Groebe netted 17. UMass outscored Concordia in the 55-50 in the second half. UMass made 14 3-pointers for the second preseason game in a row. The Minutemen led 52-30 at halftime as they took the commanding lead to close to half thanks to Forbes. The senior captain had a driving lay-up and dunk to wrap UMass' first half in style. UMass used a 17-6 midway through the first half to take a 24-12 lead with about 10 minutes left in the half. That spurt was keyed by 3-pointers by Forbes, Groebe and Harris.

• UMASS 103, AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL 66: The new-style UMass Minutemen displayed their scoring and shooting prowess on Thursday night at the Mullins Center running past local foe American International, 103-66 in a preseason exhibition. The Minutemen hit 14 3-point field goals, which would be one shy of a school record in a regular-season game. The points total of 103 would also have set a Mullins Center single-game record as well. Sophomore Ricky Harris scored a game-high 25 points. Senior Gary Forbes added 17 and junior Chris Lowe contributed 11 points and eight assists. Of UMass' class of seven freshmen, Max Groebe led the crew with 11 points. UMass blew out the Yellow Jackets early in the second half, scoring 14 of the first 17 points of the half to lead 64-41 with 16 minutes left in the game.

• The Minutemen showed off their fast-breaking 3-point shooting style late in the second half as they finished the first 20 minutes with seven bombs from beyond the arc. Forbes had 12 points in the first half and Harris added 11 as UMass led 50-38 at intermission. UMass went on a 15-2 run midway through the first half to take a 33-23 lead with about seven minutes left in the half.

2006-07 A Season To Remembera
• The 2006-07 season was a historical one for the UMass men's 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 a national audience. That game capped off a sensation 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.

UMass Co-A-10 Championsa
• 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.

Lasme, Freeman Gain Honors • 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.

• Lasme and Freeman were named to the NABC All-District First Team and USBWA All-District First Team.

UMass' 20-Win Seasona
• With a 24-9 record, UMass tied its program mark for fifth-most wins in a season; they also won 24 in 1992-93, going 24-7.

• UMass picked up its 20th win of the season on Feb. 21, 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 with a 35-2 record the Final Four season of 1995-96.

• It 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.

Home Sweet Home, As Fans Come Backa
• The Minutemen went 12-2 at home last season playing before an average of nearly than 6,000 fans per game at the Mullins Center, including a sellout of 9,493 for the Boston College game on Dec. 2. that UMass had its second crowd of more than 9,000 this year with 9,088 against Saint Louis on Feb. 24. This season marks the first since 1998-99 UMass has had two crowds of more than 9,000 in the same season. The Saint Louis crowd was the largest for an A-10 game, since a sell-out of 9,493 against Temple on Feb. 17, 2001.

• With an average of 5,968 UMass had its best attendance since 1998-99 when an average of 6,723 came to the Mullins Center. UMass is fourth in the league in attendance.

• UMass drew its third-largest crowd for a game this year on Feb. 8 against Rhode Island with 8,328. The URI crowd included more than 3,500 students. There have been six crowds of more than 6,000 this year.

• The 12-2 record marks the third-most home wins a season all-time at Mullins and the fifth-best record by percentage at 85.7.

• UMass has won 22 of its last 26 at home, spanning Travis Ford's two seasons in Amherst.

Ford-Tough At Homea
• UMass head coach Travis Ford has been strong at home over the last three years with a 34-5 record as the home-team coach. He is 22-4 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, James Altman and Austin Newton were all with EKU as well.




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