Men's Basketball

LIVE BLOG: UMass At Southern Illinois In 2K Sports Classic

SIU Arena before the storm.

SIU Arena before the storm.

Nov. 12, 2008

CARBONDALE, Ill. - is coming to you live from courtside at SIU Arena for what amounts to the biggest college basketball game of the short three-day season so far. UMass and Southern Illinois are battling it out for a chance to play No. 5 Duke at Madison Square Garden next Thursday night. Jason Yellin from the media relations office brings you all the coverage. Be sure to listen on the UMass Sports Network as well with Josh Maurer and Tim Kenney. 100.9 FM in Western Mass as well as 830 AM and 95.9 FM in Eastern Mass.

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  • Javorn Farrell Signs NLI With UMass

    10:07 p.m. ET It's all over...Final score, SIU 80, UMass 73...Some key stats: Ricky Harris 24 points on 7-14 shooting. Chris Lowe (17 points) and Anthony Gurley (15) were the only other Minutemen in double figures. Tony Gaffney had a monster game on the defensive end with seven blocks. The Minutemen shot 23-51 (45%) from the floor, 8-20 (40%) from behind the three point arc. SIU was 30-64 (48%) from the field, 9-22 (41%) from long distance.

    On another note, Luke Bonner's injury will hurt if he is out for while. Keep your fingers crossed.



    Remember, the Minutemen play a huge game on Monday (or call it Tuesday to be official), at Memphis, kicking off the college basketball season on ESPN! It's a midnight start after Monday Night Football against old friend John Calipari.

    Be sure to check back to all weekend for news on the basketball team prepping for last season's national runner up, along with some field hockey, men's soccer, and ice hockey news and scores! From Carbondale, Illinois, have a great night and GO UMASS!

    10:05 p.m. ET That may do it...Up seven, Kevin Dillard misses the front end of a one-and-one, but the Salukis get the offensive board with only a few seconds remaining...great effort for UMass against an excellent team in a tough environment. The Minutemen should have a lot of positives to take out from this game.

    10:00 p.m. ET The Minutemen are struggling and the Salukis can't miss as SIU has scored 10 unanswered points (since the 3:30 mark) to open up an eight point lead 75-67, with a little over one minute remaining in regulation. It's still not over yet...

    9:57 p.m. ET Carlton Fay scores five-consecutive (and seven straight for Southern Illinois) to open up its largest lead of the game at looks like UMass may be running out of gas, but there's still 2:16 remaining, so plenty of time...

    9:54 p.m. ET
    Tony Gaffney does it again! He dunks home a Ricky Harris three-point miss to make it 67-65 UMass with 3:30 remaining.

    9:52 p.m. ET
    The final media timeout is here with the Minutemen holding the slim two-point advantage. This game is primed to be an instant classic...Let's see if the Minutemen can pull it off down the stretch!

    9:50 p.m. ET
    4:20 left in game UMass retakes lead at 65-63 on Gurley 2FTs ... for an early season game this is as good as it gets ...

    9:47 p.m. ET
    The intensity is intense! Harris at the line makes both and UMass back up 61-60 ... 5:40 left.

    9:42 p.m. ET
    Media TO ... UMass up 59-56 ... 7:54 left ... Lowe with 9 TOs ... Gaffney new career best 7 Blocks ... Harris 22 points ... Lowe 12 points ... SIU has no one with more than 12.

    9:40 p.m. ET
    Third charge on Gurley ... Gaffney has six blocks to tie his career high set at Duquesne last year ... Lynch gets fourth foul to the bench with 8:38 left ... Hill replaces ... UMass up 58-56.

    9:36 p.m. ET
    UMass regains lead at 56-53 on a Harris 3FG and 2FTs ... The Minutemen are showing their moxy ... going down but coming right back up and retaking lead ... Coach Kellogg is barking instructions with sweating pouring down ...

    9:32 p.m. ET
    Dillard cans another trey and SIU leads 53-51, first lead since 2-0 ... Dillard has been the difference starting the second half ... Former Chicago Player of the Year in HS joining the likes of Eddy Curry, Shaun Livingston and Derrick Rose prior to him in 2008.

    9:29 p.m. ET
    Two fastbreaks by UMass gives the Minutemen a 5-point lead ... but Dillard strikes again and it 51-50 UMass ... The Minutemen are clutching for their lives at this points ... SIU has found their shooting touch ...

    9:26 p.m. ET
    Dillard cans a 3FG and SIU within one at 46-45 with 14:41 left in regulation ... UMass is just not getting shots, too many turnovers right now ... this half its 16-6 SIU ...

    9:21 p.m. ET
    UMass up 46-39 ... SIU in foul trouble both Fay and Dillard with 3 fouls ... Hill is the first sub for UMass off the bench with no Bonner and Lynch starting ... 16:19 left in second ... Lowe having tough time 7 TOs now .... UMass is 2-2 FGs this half but that's just it only 2 FGA, SIU is 5-8 this half.

    9:16 p.m. ET
    Just like that its a four points game ... Salukis force Derek Kellogg to take a TO ... Dillard, who was 0-5 in the first half and SIU which was 0-8 for 3FGs -- hits a trey ... then Fay again in the low post ... No Bonner is hurting ... UMass up 39-35, 18:24 left in second.

    9:15 p.m. ET
    Second half underway ... Lynch starts for Bonner for UMass ... Dillard for Roundtree for SIU ... Salukis' Fay with first FG ... SIU down 39-30.

    9:00 p.m. ET
    HALFTIME ... WOW what wreckless abandon the teams are going at it with ... bodies on the floor UMass is matching SIU's legend as Floorburn U. with intensity and hustle all over the place ...

    Luke Bonner is done for the night, just spoke to him, he got hit on his left knee and went down ... He has a big ice pack on it and upset about his injury ...

    Halftime stats to ponder: Rebounds: UMass 26, SIU 14; FG Pct: UMass 45%, SIU 36%; 3FGs: UMass 4-8, SIU 0-8; FTs: UMass 7-12, SIU 4-4 ... Harris leads with 12, Gurley has 10 points. SIU's top scorer Boyle with 8 ... eight players have scored for the Salukis ...

    Boy, do they love Jessica Simpson here in Carbondale ... she's on the speakers again!

    8:55 p.m.
    FIVE charges in a half! Gurley called for his second ... SIU down 11 (39-28) but you would never know it ... fans are wild as there is a loose ball and Gaffney pushes it out of bounds with 53 seconds left.

    8:54 p.m. ET
    Luke Bonner is at the end of the UMass bench propped up ... looks to be done for the game ... UMass biggest lead at 39-24 ... 2:40 left ... Lowe with another teardrop in the lane.

    8:50 p.m. ET
    UMass up 37-24 on a Gurley 3FG that bounces up off rim and IN! Media TO 3:21 left in first ... rebounds 23-10 UMass ... TREMENDOUS HUSTLE for the Minutemen.

    8:45 p.m. ET
    Both injured players are getting treatment ... no way to know how serious at this point ... UMass leads 32-20 with 4:32 ... Matt Hill makes first entrance of the game now biggest lead at 34-20 on pair of Harris FTs.

    8:40 p.m. ET
    Odd to see two men down one on each side ... Bonner for UMass is down in a heap ... ROundtree for SIU is on the floor ... They did not hit each other ... separate plays both have leg injuries it looks to me ... The stretcher has been brought out ... Bonner has risen up and is being helped off by Andy Allison and trainer Dave Maclutsky ... Bonner is his left leg/ankle ... Roundtree off to the bench now also ... 5:55 left ... UMass up 28-20.

    8:35 p.m. ET
    Intentional foul called on SIU's Wesley Clemmons as David Gibbs drives on a lay-up, but Gibbs makes 1 of 2 ... UMass keeps the ball ... SIU fans irrate ... then Gaffney has the ball stolen away ... this is a battle royale on the floor ... Lynch bricks 2 FTs ... UMass outrebounding SIU 17-7 ... UMass has its biggest lead of game at 26-14 with 8:00 left.

    8:30 p.m. ET
    Great deflection by Gaffney on an SIU in-bounds pass, but SIU keeps the ball ... SIU is 0-5 from 3-point range ... tip-rebound by Bonner great hustle leads to Harris 3FG ... UMass up 23-14.

    8:23 p.m. ET
    Even down by 10 or eight the fans are cheering each movement by the Salukis ... fourth charge Bonner draws this one ... Harris back to back jumpers ... UMass up 20-10, 11:40 left, media TO ... Correia with two fouls ... Harris leads with 7 points, Gurley has 5 but missed two FTs earlier.

    8:20 p.m. ET

    A little pushing with Lynch and Nick Evans, who is a tree, nicknamed Big Country ... but they separate ... good to see Lynch battling ... UMass up 16-8 on a teardrop by Lowe ... three charges called so far two on UMass one on SIU.

    8:14 p.m. ET
    First media TO 15:54 on the clock ... UMass up 9-4 ... David Gibbs and Tyrell Lynch were the first two UMass subs in. SIU has already run in nine players.

    The fans are booing one of their own who has missed multiple free throws in a contest ... now he hits it and make a 3-pointer to win a 2K SPorts video game ... very fickle fans.

    8:08 p.m. ET
    Its hit fever pitch as SIU begins with a long 2-pointer but Gurley answers with a whirling dirvish lay-in and a dunk by Gaffney ... Harris 3-pointer ... SIU calls TO ... UMass up 7-2 and quieting the crowd. Gaffney poked Mullins in the eye and fans are giving it to him with jeers.

    8:04 p.m. ET
    WOW .... what an atmosphere ... the PA is blasting, the music is blasting it is just a frenzy ... this has to be one of the most unheralded arenas in the nation ... It is just rocking with every person on their feet waving towels and screaming ... the clock has been reset to 20:00 ... we are set to tip it off for the chance to play Duke at the Garden next Thursday.

    7:51 p.m. ET
    Starters are in the book ... we mentioned UMass already ... for SIU its Tony Boyle, Carlton Fay (who had a double-double last night), Bryan Mullins (nice name to play at the Mullins huh?), Wesley Clemmons (not related to Roger) and Torres Roundtree (a man with two last names). Just 8:00 on the clock before tip.

    7:43 p.m.ET
    The teams have hit the court and what a welcome for the Salukis after some booing towards the Minutemen. The PA announcer has belted out a big welcome and they are singing their alma mater right now with great passion. UMass is pumped up as well. The Minutemen have thrived in wild environments recently, of course winning twice at Syracuse and at ranked Dayton last season.

    7:40 p.m. ET
    There is a great buzz in this old barn to steal a hockey term and with the wooden seats it feels like a barn. The band is booming and student section is full... It reminds me of UD Arena at Dayton, old, but well maintained and packed.

    UMass has a few fans on hand -- five to be exact in its section -- including two of Chris Lowe's uncles who made their way to Illinois from New York. One of his uncles actually played basketball here at SIU with Walt Frazier in the 60s, but he's rooting for C-Lowe and Minutemen tonight sitting right behind UMass' bench. Also our bus driver who is a clone of the legendary Guy Racine. He has been all service and very funny during the trip.

    UMass is starting its same five as last night: Chris Lowe, Anthony Gurley, Ricky Harris, Tony Gaffney and Luke Bonner in the middle.

    7:30 p.m. ET
    The teams have left the court ... we are 35 minutes from tip-off ... In case you were wondering about the other game in this regional ... We it was supposed to be played at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon but the two Division II teams agreed to play at 10 a.m. so they could both drive home. Arkansas-Monticello easily beat Cal Pa., 72-54. Of course Cal was playing its second game in about 14 hours so they were gassed despite looking like the better team last night.

    If you you the transitive property, UMass beat UAM by 19 and SIU beat Cal by 14 so that a plus 5 and them UAM beat Cal by 18 ... so could UMass win by 23? UMass would love that, but don't expect that type of margin with the scrappy Salukis.

    7:20 p.m. ET
    The Minutemen are continuing to work on the dribble drive system ... Assistant coach Vance Walberg is on the court in a UMass T-Shirt and shorts working with the players as basketball intern Dan Jurkowski and managers Matt Vogel and Tai Sato grab the rebounds. That trio is all dressed in shirts and ties ... a funny contrast to see just 40 minutes before the game.

    Another side note the wife of the SIU Athletic Director Mario Moccia is a UMass grad and former All-American soccer player: Heidi Kocher. She played on four NCAA Tournament teams at UMass coached by Jim Rudy when Brianna Scurry was UMass' goalkeeper. Heidi is here but isn't sure if she should root for her alma mater or her husband's current employer....

    7:05 p.m. ET
    The SIU band is making their way into the arena. Last night they put on a show, really adding to the enthusiasm of the student section. The fans are trickling in little by little. A sell out of over 9,400 is expected for the game. Last season the Salukis had a bunch of sellouts throughout the season.

    With UMass on the court, many of the players have started a trend of tucking their warm up pants inside their socks, creating a baseball pants/stir-ups look. Travon Wilcher, Matt Hill, Matt Glass and David Gibbs are sporting the look.

    Many of the workers here are asking me about Steve Middleton, the former UMass assistant coach, who was a legendary player for the Salukis in the late 1980s. Middleton is right up with Walt Frazier among the all-time greats in SIU history.

    In front of me, athletic trainer Dave Maclutsky is stretching the guards while the bigmen are dunking home some shots.

    By the way, in case you are wondering about the Saluki nickname, here is the description from Wikipedia: A Saluki is one of the oldest dog breeds, and is an Egyptian hunting dog similar to a greyhound or whippet. SIU's teams originally competed under the team name "Maroons" from 1913 to 1951. Then the Saluki was chosen as SIU's mascot on March 19, 1951 in part because the southern Illinois region is colloquially known as Little Egypt.

    6:40 p.m. ET
    UMass has rolled into SIU Arena for the match-up tonight. It has been a rainy and grey day here in Carbondale. The team spent the day in the hotel other than a 12 noon shootaround for an hour. There was time for several meals and scouting reports and rest as the Minutemen get ready for the scrappy and feisty Salukis.

    Luke Bonner was the first to hit the court sporting what he calls his "MSG Beard" which we wore last season when UMass made its NIT Finals run finishing at the "World's Most Famous Arena."

    As we arrive here at the arena, the Minutemen are dressed in their road maroon jerseys. They do include the white 100 Seasons Of Basketball patch as well. There will be a ton of maroon in the house tonight as nearly every SIU fan wears the color to the game. What a great atmospehere is expected. They Salukis have lost just a handful of games at home since 2001. Of course they are unheralded in the east, but have been to the postseason seven years in a row including six NCAA Tournament from 2002-07. They made the Sweet 16 twice as well.


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