Return To The Cage! UMass Hosts Holy Cross
Return To The Cage
UMass last played a regular-season game at the storied Cage, on Jan. 29, 1993, an 84-74 win over Southwest Louisiana, a game known as "Rage In The Cage." The Minutemen hosted a preseason exhibition against Concordia on Nov. 3, 2007.
With a throwback game at the Curry-Hicks Cage on Saturday, the Minutemen will be sporting their new throwback uniforms for the first time in the game against Holy Cross. This year's throwback jerseys are replicas of the 1995-96 Final Four season. The style was worn from 1994-97 and will be on display Saturday. They will be worn several other times this season.
UMass will be honoring former players that played at the Curry-Hicks Cage as the Minutemen play their first regular-season game at UMass' home from 1941-1993 on Saturday at 3 p.m. vs. Holy Cross. Harper Williams headlines the group. Among the players who have confirmed attendance are: Don Akerson `58; Jim Burke `76; Chuck Demers `53; John Edgar `57; Bob Eichorn `60; Eldon Goodhue `65; Thomas Kelly `43; Tom McLaughlin `73; Ed McGrath `49; Bob Powers `72 Sam Provo `71; Peter Trow `74; Bill Walsh `40, John Widdison `62; Harper Williams `93.
Facts About The Curry Hicks Cage
The longest winning streak in Cage history took place in the early 1970s. UMass won 17 straight games at the Cage from Feb. 1, 1972 through Dec. 10, 1974.
UMass can "add" to the Curry-Hicks winning streak on Saturday as the Minutemen finished their run at the Cage on a 14-game winning streak back in 1993. UMass' last loss at the Cage came on Jan. 9, 1992 (76-75 to West Virginia). The Minutemen won the final eight home games in 91-92 and the first six games of 92-93 to command a 14-game winning streak that carried to the Mullins Center.
History Of Curry Hicks Cage
"If Hicks was a visionary and crackerjack fund-raiser, he was not exactly humble. He made no objection to the building being named after him. In 1931, at the height of the Depression, the Curry S. Hicks Physical Education Building was dedicated.
"The place got its nickname from cage-like enclosures that surrounded the court and separated it from the track. The building's glass roof was designed to illuminate indoor baseball practice. The Cage's idiosyncrasies can be traced to it being designed primarily with the national pastime in mind. Basketball was, at best, a minor sport when The Cage was built. But basketball will be what The Cage is most remembered for.
"On Jan. 19, 1932, UMass won its first game at The Cage, beating crosstown rival Amherst, 17-12, in what was, to say the least, a defensive struggle. A one-hander by Lou Bush clinched the game."
Between 1966 and 1979, Hall of Fame Coach Jack Leaman is the winningest coach in Cage history. He compiled a 99-29 record there, a .773 winning percentage.
From the Globe: "Leaman's favorite Cage story is the one about when UMass played Boston College in 1975 for the unofficial New England championship. There was snow on the glass roof, and when some 5,000 people jammed in for the biggest game in decades, the body heat rose to the rafters and melted the snow."
The Last `Rage In The Cage'
Harper Williams, who will be in attendance started in that game and scored a game-high 23 points, as he returned from a broken hand. Lou Roe was the center and finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Current Auburn coach Tony Barbee also started and had eight points and five assists along.
Here's Calipari on the final game from back in 1993: "We've enjoyed it, but you know, I'm really not the person to talk about it," he said. "This night meant most to former UMass coach Jack Leaman. He built the program in this building. The Cage has been great, and we'll miss it, but we're now ready to move on to a bigger arena."
UMass Aims For 6-0 Start
Best Starts In History
The program also started 5-0 in 1991-92 (Derek Kellogg's freshman season) and 1930-31.
Here are the best starts in history: 1995-96 (26-0); 1933-34 (12-0 undefeated season); 1970-71 (11-0); 1973-74 (9-0); 1925-26 (9-0); 1977-78 (8-0); 1968-69 (7-0); 1975-76 (6-0); 1971-72 (6-0); 1956-57 (6-0); 1991-92 (5-0); 1930-31 (5-0).
Series History With Holy Cross
UMass pounded Holy Cross, 84-63 in last season's game on Dec. 5, 2009 at the DCU Center in Worcester. The teams are finishing a three-game series that began with a 73-59 win on Dec. 10, 2008 at Mullins.
The 2008 game marked the first between the teams since a 2001 game at the Mullins Center. Prior to that, the last game between the teams hosted by Holy Cross was also at the DCU Center in 2000, won by the Crusaders, 67-56.
At the Curry Hicks Cage, UMass is 4-10 in games against Holy Cross. UMass first played Holy Cross o Dec. 9, 1952 and lost to the Crusaders, 76-40. The first win was 83-66 on Feb. 10, 1970 with Julius Erving in the line-up for the Redmen. Erving records an outstanding all-around game with 24 points, 25 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 blocks, and 4 steals in the win over Holy Cross.Two years later, on Dec. 8, 1971: John Betancourt netted 32 points to lead UMass to a 93-82 double overtime win over Holy Cross. The last game between the teams at the Cage came on Jan. 28, 1991, a 98-94 UMass win.
Last Season's Win At Holy Cross
UMass got contributions from many sources in different areas. Hashim Bailey had his first field goals of the season, grabbed a career-high eight rebounds and blocked three shots as he returned from an injury. Freddie Riley canned two 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Harris, played a lot much of game at points guard had six assists.
First Undefeated Tournament Since 1995
This year, UMass swept the Hall of Fame Tip-Off with wins over Rider (77-67), New Mexico State (71-57), TCU (67-48) and AIC (83-56). It marked the first four-game sweep in a tournament in school history.
Ramped Up Defense
The shooting defense has been stellar with grit and intensity. Opponents are shooting just .361 for the season with super efforts in its last three games, limiting New Mexico State to .333; TCU to a dreadful .298 amd AIC to .345.
Gurley, A Big Man On Campus
Gurley scored his 1,000th career point with his final field goal against Rider and now has 1,076 in his career with 199 coming at Wake Forest and 877 at UMass. He led UMass in scoring in all five games this season including 22 points vs. AIC (11/24) and 18 points in the win over Sacred Heart (11/17) He now has scored in double-figures 54 times in his career and has reached 20 points 12 times, two this year.
Gurley is second in the Atlantic 10 in scoring with a 21.0 points per game average.
Junkyard Dog Farrell Returns With Avengence
Ready Freddie Nets Career-Best
He added 10 points vs. TCU for his second game this season in double-figures
UMass Calls Upon Sampson
Matt Climbs The Hill, Adds Energy
34-POINT SWING IN WIN OVER RIDER
TICKETS ON SALE FOR BOSTON TIP-OFF CLASSIC
UMass will be playing at the TD Garden for the second year in a row after a dramatic 73-72 win over Memphis last season on Dec. 19, 2009. UMass is a perfect 4-0 all-time at the TD Garden.
LAGUERRE SIGNS NLI WITH UMASS
"I am excited to have Jordan join our growing UMass basketball family," said third-year head coach Derek Kellogg. "I have truly enjoyed watching Jordan play over the last few years as he has become quite a player and a person. Jordan has a tremendous competitive nature and an intensity on the floor that will push us to win basketball games. He is a great addition to the building process of UMass basketball both on and off the court."
The Manchester, N.H., native averaged 14 points per game as a junior and is expected to take an even more dominant role in the offense this season.
"It's close to home. They have a good environment and I really like the coaches and players," Laguerre said about coming to UMass. "I've gotten to play with them over the last couple years, and I'm really looking forward to going there and getting stronger physically and as a player."
FORBES IN THE NBA WITH NUGGETS
"He's an NBA player," Denver forward Carmelo Anthony said. "He's got an NBA body, a guy who's willing to learn. He's just a good addition to the team."
At UMass, Forbes was named the 2007-08 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection. Forbes had a sensational senior season in 2007-08, finishing as the A-10's co-scoring champion with 610 points (20.3 ppg) along with Temple's Dionte Christmas. The New York native led the Minutemen to the NIT Championship game at Madison Square Garden, averaging 14.8 points in five NIT games, 17.5 in NIT Final Four, and was named to the NIT All-Tournament Team. UMass finished the season with a 25-11 record, the fifth-most wins in school history. That, combined with UMass' 24-9 record in 2006-07, gave the Minutemen their first back-to-back 20-win seasons since `94-95, `95-96.
Close To Home
UMass will also play three games down I-91 in Springfield. Two in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off on Nov. 20 and 22 along with a regular-season home game vs. La Salle on Jan. 15. UMass has played home games in Springfield in each of the last three seasons since Kellogg was hired in 2008.
The Minutemen will play at the TD Garden for the second year in a row, against Boston College on Dec. 4 as part of the Boston Tip-Off Classic. That game will air on Comcast SportsNet New England as part of a doubleheader with Drexel, coached by former Minuteman bench boss Bruiser Flint, battling Northeastern in the first game. The event will benefit the Boston Children's Hospital.
UMass also plays two road games within 90 miles at Quinnipiac in Hampden, Conn. on Dec. 1 and at Central Connecticut on Jan. 3 in New Britain, Conn.
UMass Alum Leading UMass
Kellogg is not the only current head coach from the UMass rosters in the mid-90s as Tony Barbee is in his first year as the head coach at Auburn. Coaching at Texas-El Paso last season, Barbee led the Miners to the NCAA Tournament.
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.
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KELLOGG'S MISSION 1000
As part of MISSION 1000, UMass head coach Derek Kellogg, his staff and players hand-delivered season tickets to patrons throughout Western Massachusetts. They were greeted with excitement of fans from Amherst to Springfield.
UMass' exhibition game vs. Brandeis on Nov. 4 was a benefit for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Fans brought 2 cans of nonperishable food to the Mullins Center to gain admission in place of a ticket price. More than 1,000 cans were donated.
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