Men's Basketball

Kellogg Era Kicks Off With 2K Sports Classic In Illinois

Senior point guard Chris Lowe plays in his final season-opener on Tuesday.

Senior point guard Chris Lowe plays in his final season-opener on Tuesday.

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Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008 • 6 pm (ET)
SIU ARENA Center (9,628), CARBONDALE, Ill.
Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008 • 4:30/8 pm (ET)
SIU ARENA Center (9,628), CARBONDALE, Ill.
Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM), WCAP (980 AM)

Kellogg Era Kicks Off With 2K Sports Classic In Illinois
• The native son who has returned to his alma mater, will make his regular-season debut as a head coach on Tuesday at the 2K Sports Classic's Carbondale Region, hosted by Southern Illinois University. In the 100th season opener in UMass history Derek Kellogg, who was a point guard on four A-10 Championship teams from 1992-95, will be roaming the sidelines as the head man when the Minutemen face Division II Arkansas-Monticello. The game tips off at 5 p.m. locally at the SIU Arena as the UMass game is the fourth overall game of the college basketball regular-season. The 2K Sports Classic's Durham Region, which plays the winner of the Carbondale Region the following Thursday in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden, begins on Monday.

• The 2K Sports Classic which benefits Coaches vs. Cancer has four regional sites. In addition to the sites hosted by Southern Illinois and Duke, Michigan hosts the Ann Arbor Regional and UCLA is home to the Los Angeles region. The semifinal games take place on Thursday, Nov. 20 with the final and consolation game on Friday, Nov. 21. All of those games from Madison Square Garden will air on ESPN2.

• Tuesday's UMass-UAM game from Carbondale will air on the UMass Sports Network across the state. Flagship station WRNX 100.9 (Springfield) heads the network along with 95.9 FM WATD in Marshfield/Boston, 830 AM WCRN in Worcester. 980 AM WCAP in Lowell will carry Wednesday's game. Tuesday's game vs. Arkansas-Monticello is also the basketball broadcasting debut for the "New Voice Of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer, who will team with Associate A.D. Tim Kenney, back for his second season as the full-time road color commentator.

100th Season Of UMass Basketball
• UMass is celebrating the 100th season of UMass basketball in 2008-09. UMass will be honoring six eras/decades throughout the season by inviting back every living UMass player to attend his respective celebration. The first event is set for the Boston College game on Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m., honoring the Classic Era (1899-1959).

• In looking back at UMass basketball, the program started with its first season in 1899-1900 with the first game played on Jan. 10, 1900, a 14-9 win over the Northampton YMCA.

• The program has had several hiatuses in its history as, this is the 100th season with the program starting 109 years ago. UMass did not field a team in 1900-01, 1909-10 through 1915-16 and during World War II in both 1943-44 and 1944-45.

• All-time, UMass has played 2,116 games with a 1,122-994 all-time record.

• Under the leadership of John Calipari, the Minutemen become A-10 Tournament Champs five consecutive times (1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96). Overall, UMass has appeared in the NCAA Tournament eight times, in addition to those five A-10 title years (1961-62, 1996-97 and 1997-98). They have two appearances in the Elite Eight (1995, 1996) and a Final Four appearance (1996). Last year UMass, went 25-11 in reaching the NIT Championship game. It was UMass' 10th NIT appearance including each of the last two season.

UMASS Alum Leading UMass
Derek Kellogg 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 current Boston College head coach Al Skinner and Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Kellogg is not the current head coach from the UMass rosters in the mid-90s as Tony Barbee is in his fourth year as the head coach at Texas-El Paso.

• 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.

Coaches In UMass Debuts
• The last five UMass basketball coaches won their Minuteman debut most recently with Travis Ford leading UMass past Hartford, 67-62 on Nov. 18, 2005. Prior to that the three coaches lost their debuts including legend Jack Leaman, who lost his first game on the bench at UMass, falling to Boston College, 86-63, on Dec. 3, 1966.

• Starting with Ron Gerlufson's 75-73 win over New Hampshire in 1983, John Calipari, Bruiser Flint, Steve Lappas and Ford all won their UMass debut games.

• Kellogg will be the third coach in the last five to begin their UMass career against a Division II team as both of his friends and mentors John Calipari and Bruiser Flint did the same as Calipari beat Southern Connecticut, 84-61 in 1988 and Flint topped Chamindae, 59-48 in 1996.

• Interestingly, Kellogg will be the second coach in three to make his UMass debut against a team from Arkansas. Lappas led the Minutemen past Arkansas-Little Rock, 66-60, on Nov. 16, 2001.

• Entering the 100th season opener all-time, UMass owns a 66-33 mark in season openers, including victories in 13 out of the last 15 seasons. UMass has won its last five season openers, four of which were at home at the Mullins Center. Last season, UMass opened the year at the BTI Tip-Off Classic in Cedar Falls, Iowa and defeated Cal Poly, 90-64. Two seasons ago, 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. 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 six years ago, 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 perfect 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.

Arkansas Openers
• The 2008-09 opener against Arkansas-Monticello will mark the third time, all in the last 15 years the UMass will be opening a season against a team from the state of Arkansas. One of the biggest games in school history came in the 1994-95 season opener as then-No. 3 UMass trounced No. 1 Arkansas, 104-80 in the Starter Tip-Off Classic at the Springfield Civic Center on Nov. 25, 1994. That game marked UMass' second-ever win against a defending national champion.

• UMass also faced a team from what is known as the "Natural State" in the 2001-02 opener as UMass hosted and beat Arkansas-Little Rock, 66-60 on Nov. 16, 2001.

UMass In Regular-season Tournaments
• For the third year in a row UMass is playing an early-season tournament. This is the second straight year UMass is opening with a tournament.

• Last season, UMass went 2-1 in the BTI Tip-Off Classic in Iowa. The Minutemen started 2-0, beating Cal Poly, 90-64 on Nov. 9, 2007 and Northern Illinois, 102-87 on Nov. 10, 2007. UMass lost the finale to host Northern Iowa, 75-68 on Nov. 11, 2007.

• Two years ago in 2006-07, 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 2006-07, 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 eight regular-season tournaments since the win at Honolulu and have won 10 of the 21 games.

• UMass has never played in the 2K Sports Classic, formerly known as the Coaches Vs. Cancer Tournament.

• The last time UMass played in a tournament that extended over two sessions, as this tournament does, was the 2003-04 Preseason NIT where UMass beat Saint Francis (N.Y.) at the Mullins Center and lost at Texas Tech in the second round. UMass had a similar fate in the 1998-99 Preseason NIT beating Niagara at home and losing at St. John's. The last time UMass advanced to finals of a bridged tournament was the 1993-94 Preseason NIT as UMass beat Cleveland State and Towson in Amherst before heading to Madison Square Garden beating No. 1 North Carolina in the semifinals and losing to No. 7 Kansas in the championship game.

Series Notes
• UMass has only faced Southern Illinois of the three teams in the Carbondale Region of the 2K Sports Classic. The Minutemen lost to the Salukis, 65-63 on Dec. 21, 1999 in the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic.

• The Minutemen are 3-0 all-time against teams from Arkansas with a 2-0 mark against Arkansas and 1-0 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock. In addition to the games mentioned above in the openers note, UMass also beat the Razorbacks, 79-63 in the 1996 NCAA Sweet 16 on the way to the Final Four.

• When playing teams from Illinois, UMass is 4-3 with a 3-1 mark vs. DePaul from Chicago, 1-0 vs. Northern Illinois (a 102-87 win last season), 0-1 vs. Southern Illinois, falling in 1999-2000 and 0-1 against Bradley, losing to the Braves in 1964-65.

• UMass has never played Arkansas-Monticello or a team from the Gulf South Conference. The Minutemen have never played California, Pa. or a team from the PSAC.

• When playing teams from the Missouri Valley, the Minutemen are 0-5: Bradley (0-1), Evansville (0-2), Northern Iowa (0-1 - losing last season 75-68) and Southern Illinois (0-1).

UMass 6th; Harris & Lowe Honored
• The UMass men's basketball team has been picked sixth in the preseason poll released by the Atlantic 10 coaches and media on Oct. 29 as part of the league's media day. Senior point guard Chris Lowe was named the A-10 Preseason First Team while junior guard Ricky Harris has earned a spot on the Preseason Second Team. Lowe was also named to the Preseason All-Defensive Team.

UMass Gets Preseason Honors
• With UMass alum Derek Kellogg in town to lead the Minutemen attack, the program is getting considerable attention from national media as it hopes to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997-98. Lindy's and Athlon both predict UMass to finish in the top five in the Atlantic 10 while Ricky Harris is tabbed to have a breakout year as well.

• Lindy's predicts that the Minutemen will finish fourth behind St. Joseph's, Temple, and Xavier. It mentions the good news as "Derek Kellogg returns to his alma mater and has plenty of perimeter firepower." Lindy's includes Harris on the First Team All-Conference while recognizing Chris Lowe with "Top Playmaker" in its honor roll. The magazine also includes a mention of freshman point guard David Gibbs, who will now "run the dribble-drive offense new coach Derek Kellogg is bringing to UMass from Memphis."

• Athlon sports predict that the Minutemen will finish fifth, trailing Xavier, Temple, Charlotte, and Dayton, while earning their third-consecutive NIT berth. Like Lindy's, Athlon predicts Harris to be a First-Team All-Atlantic 10 performer. Replacing A-10 player of the Year Gary Forbes will be a challenge, but Athlon says "Wake Forest transfer Anthony Gurley should give Kellogg another wing scorer...Young guards Gary Correia and David Gibbs will provide depth."

• Sporting News predicts a 10th place finish for the up-tempo Minutemen. The publication thinks that with Gibbs on board (to go along Lowe, a senior), "the Minutemen should be able to play at breakneck speed." It predicts that the best shot-blocker in the conference will once again come from UMass (Tony Gaffney), while Lowe is deemed the "best passer." Sporting News identifies three-point shooting as a big asset as "Together, Harris and Gurley give UMass a pair of solid three-point threats."

• has pegged Anthony Gurley as the No. 3 overall impact transfer in all of Division I.

Notes From The Exhibition Win
• With many new faces taking the court in Wednesday night's men's basketball exhibition game at the Mullins Center, it was two veterans leading the way for the Minutemen as Chris Lowe scored 21 points and Ricky Harris had 20 in UMass' 91-87 victory over Dowling. Anthony Gurley added 17 points and six rebounds in his debut in front of the Mullins Center fans. David Seagers led the way for Downing with 32 points, 25 of which came in the first half.

• The Minutemen, using head coach Derek Kellogg's new dribble-drive offense, jumped out to an early lead. 3-pointers on three-straight possessions, one by David Gibbs and two by Harris, gave UMass a 21-11 lead with 13:45 left in the first half. After Dowling came back to tie the game at the 11:20 mark on a Seagers 3-pointer, the Minutemen went on a 12-0 run over a 3:40 stretch that included two Gary Correia 3-pointers to take a 35-23 lead with 7:06 left in the half. Seagers led another Golden Lions run to pull them within four, 52-48, at halftime.

• UMass' defense started creating opportunities early in the second half. Tony Gaffney's long outlet pass leading to a Harris dunk at the 17:32 mark capped off a 11-1 Minutemen run to start the second half, extending the lead to 14, 63-49. Tyrell Lynch's first bucket of the game gave the Minutemen their biggest lead, 68-51, at the 16:24 mark, but the Golden Lions came back again. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Dowling cut the lead to six at the 10:24 mark. A jumper by Beijon Warrington then cut the lead to one, 76-75, with just over seven minutes left.

• A 3-point play by Lowe with 3:21 put UMass back up by six, 86-80. After a Seagers 3-pointer and Jones basket that cut the lead to three with 1:51 left, Lowe scored on another drive into the lane to make it a 90-85 game with 1:34 to go. Seagers scored once more, with 58 seconds left, but the UMass defense was able to make stops in the final minute to preserve the victory.

• For the game, UMass outshot Dowling, 52.3% (34-65) to 50.7% (36-71). From 3-point range, the Minutemen shot 36% (9-25), while Dowling shot 45% (9-20). The Golden Lions held a slight edge on the glass, 38-37.




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