Men's Basketball

 
Kellogg Makes Home Debut As UMass Coach, Monday At 7 p.m.

Ricky Harris can pass his coach Derek Kellogg with five 3-pointers, on the career 3-pointer list.

Ricky Harris can pass his coach Derek Kellogg with five 3-pointers, on the career 3-pointer list.

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UMASS (1-2) vs. JACKSONVILLE STATE (1-1)
Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 • 7 p.m. (ET)
Mullins Center (9,493), Amherst, Mass.
Streaming Video: UMassAthletics.com
Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM), WCAP (830 AM)

Kellogg Makes Home Debut As UMass Coach
• UMass alum and Springfield native Derek Kellogg coaches his first regular-season game at the Mullins Center on Monday night as they Minutemen take on Jacksonville State at 7 p.m. The Minutemen are off to a 1-2 start losing at two of the toughest venues in the nation in SIU Arena at Southern Illinois (80-73) and FedEx Forum at Memphis (80-58). Combined since 2001, the Salukis and Tigers are 213-19 (91.8) as Southern Illinois is 94-6 (94.0) and Memphis is 109-13 (89.3).

• Kellogg will look to continue his winning ways on his home court. In his playing career at UMass, Kellogg was 30-1 all-time at the Mullins Center for an 96.8 win percentage from when the building opened in 1993 through 1995.

• Prior to the game their will be a brief ceremony and video looking back at last season's run to the NIT Championship game and the banner will be unveiled.

• Live streaming video will be available for Monday's game on UMassAthletics.com. Monday's game from the Mullins 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 and 980 AM WCAP in Lowell. "Voice Of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer, will call the action with former Minuteman Tim Collins.

UMass In Home Openers
• The Minutemen have won their last five home openers, four of which were season openers. Last season, UMass' home opener was the fourth game of the year, similar to this season as UMass beat Yale, 89-80 on Nov. 14, 2007. The last time UMass did not win its home opener was in 2002-03, UMass lost to Boston College (80-62) in the fifth game of the season after opening with four road and neutral site games.

• All-time at the Mullins Center, UMass is 14-2 in its home openers. That includes the first-ever game played at the Mullins Center back in 1993. UMass' only losses in home openers came in 2002 and 1999. They won the first six lid-lifters at Mullins.

• UMass is a perfent 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.

UMass-Jacksonville State Previous Meeting
UMass jumped out to a 18-2 lead and host Jacksonville State trailed by double-figures for the remainder of the game as the Minutemen moved to 5-1 with a 100-69 victory at the Pete Mathews Coliseum. It is UMass' best start since the Final Four seasons of 1995-96, when they got off to a 26-0 start. It is also the first time UMass scored 100 points in a game since Dec 22, 1999.

Seven players scored in double-figures for UMass, which tied the school record. Gary Forbes led the way with 20 points for the Minutemen as he has scored in a double-figures in all six games this season. The inside combination of seniors Rashaun Freeman (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Stephane Lasme (11 points, 11 rebounds) combined for 29 points and 21 rebounds in the victory.

James Life tallied 11 points. A trio of bench players each scored 10 points: Chris Lowe, Dante Milligan and Brandon Thomas.

Forbes scored a team-best 11 points in the first half as UMass led 47-28 at intermission.

The Minutemen dominated early with Freeman scored six points in the 18-2 run as UMass opened a lead of 23 points (38-15) on a 3-pointer by Thomas with 6:00 left in the first half. The largest lead was 24 points at 46-22 on a Lowe 3-pointer. The Minutemen shot 60 percent from the floor, 34-of-57. UMass outrebounded JSU, 47-37.

Lowe Moving Up Assists Chart
Chris Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass as he stands fourth with 499. Next on the list is Alex Eldridge (518). After piling up 11 assists in the opener vs. Arkansas-Monticello (11/11), Lowe is just four shy of 500 in his career. He passed his current coach Derek Kellogg (453) most recently.

• With his career-high 14 against La Salle (3/5), Lowe moved past UMass Hall of Famer Joe DiSarcina (431) into fifth. 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 had five games with 10 or more assists in 2007-08, most recently with 11 at Syracuse in the NIT Quarterfinals. He set a then-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 214 assists last season, Lowehad the third-best single-season in UMass history after passing Smith (212), Smith (191), Alex Eldridge (174) and Rick Pitino (168). With a similar season as a senior, Lowe would be on pace to pass all-time career assist leader Smith (633).

• Lowe averaged 8.4 assists in his last 13 games with his first five career games with 10 or more assists with double-doubles in the three of the last 10 games including the sixth triple-double in UMass history.

Gaffney's Sensational Start
Tony Gaffney is off to an amazing start in his senior season averaging a double-double with 12.7 points and 13.7 rebounds along with 4.8 blocked shots per game. Gaffney comes off his best career game, one which Memphis John Calipari called him the best player on the court. Againt the No. 13 Tigers, Gaffney scored 16 points and grabbed 19 rebounds along with five blocks. It was his second career double-double, both coming in the first three games this season. He opened the year with 16 points and 13 rebounds against Arkansas-Monticello (11/11).

• Gaffney has played 34 or more minutes in each game, all more than any game he previously played at UMass.

Harris Rises on 3-Point Charts
• Junior Ricky Harris has picked up where he left off last season, when he was named the A-10 Chris Daniels Most Imporved player. Harris is leading UMass with a 21.0 scoring average and has led the team in scoring in each of the first three games. He netted a season-best 24 points at Southern Illinois (11/12). Harris has also continued to blister from 3-point range. In the first three games, he is shooting 46.4 from beyond the new extended-distance arc. He has made 13-of-28 from 3-point range.

• Harris' who tied Carmelo Travieso for the single-season mark for made treys last year with 104, is rising on the career charts. Harris stands ninth in career made 3-pointers with 134 and ninth in career attempts with 373. Next on the makes list at No. 8 Edgar Padilla (136) and at No. 7 is his coach Derek Kellogg (138). On the attempts list, Harris is eying Mike Williams (406) after passing Kellogg (362) earlier this 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 six UMass basketball coaches won their Minuteman debuts after Derek Kellogg won his first game against Arkansas-Monticello. Prior to Kellogg, Travis Ford led UMass past Hartford, 67-62 on Nov. 18, 2005.

• 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 was 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 was 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.

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 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."

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

UMass Back To National Prominence
• After a 2006-07 season which included the program's first postseason appearance since 2000, the Minutemen headed into the 2007-08 campaign with high expectations.

• The team would not disappoint as it used a magical postseason run to reach the NIT Finals, highlighted by topping the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome in the quarterfinals while beating defending National Champion Florida at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals. UMass eventually succumbed to Ohio State in a hard-fought finals game, 92-85.

• The Minutemen had two six-game winning streaks (Dec. 18 through Jan. 2 and Feb. 17 through Mar. 8) along with the four-game streak in the NIT (Mar. 18 to April 1).

• UMass finished with a 25-11 record good for its second-consecutive season with at least 24 victories.

• The Minutemen picked up their 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 in 2006-07. The last time UMass won 20 in back to back seasons was 1994-95 (29-5) and 1995-96 (35-2).

• With 25 wins, UMass reached the fifth-most wins in school history passing the 2006-07 team (24-9) and the 1992-93 squad (24-9). Fourth on the list is 28 wins set in 1993-94.

• In 2006-07, 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 with a 35-2 record during the Final Four season of 1995-96.

• In the first round, UMass posted a solid 80-60 win over Southland Conference champion Stephen F. Austin on March 18 at the Mullins Center. Dante Milligan had a career game in UMass' NIT First Round win over SFA, as he had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots. A-10 Player of the Year Gary Forbes added 19 points and the league's Most Improved Player Ricky Harris had 16 points.

 

 

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