Men's Basketball

 
On The Road Again ... UMass Heads To Toledo For Wednesday Match-Up

Matt Glass scored his first points of the season at Green Bay in a career-high 26 minutes.

Matt Glass scored his first points of the season at Green Bay in a career-high 26 minutes.

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UMASS (1-4) at TOLEDO (1-5)
Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008 • 7 p.m. (ET)
John Savage Arena (7,300), Toledo, Ohio
Streaming Video: UMassAthletics.com
Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

On The Road Again ... UMass Heads To Toledo
• The run of road games where UMass opens the season with five of six away from the Mullins Center comes to an end on Wednesday night as the Minutemen (1-4) head to Toledo to face the Rockets (1-5) at 7 p.m. The game will serve as the inaugural game at the newly renovated John Savage Arena on Toledo's campus. After Wednesday's game, UMass returns home to host state rival Boston College on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. That game, which will televised nationally on CBS College Sports, will be a celebration of the Classic Era (1899-1959) as part of the 100 Seasons of UMass Basketball.

• UMass comes off an 84-67 loss at Green Bay in Wisconsin last Saturday night. Top scorer Ricky Harris (19.8 ppg) led the Minutemen with 27 points. The nation's third-leading rebounder Tony Gaffney had a game-high 12 rebounds.

• Live streaming video will be available for the game through UTRockets.com a link provided on UMassAthletics.com. Wednesday's game 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 and 830 AM WCRN in Worcester. "Voice Of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer, will call the action with Tim Kenney.

• This game wraps up a home-and-home series with the Rockets as UMass beat Toledo, 68-61, last season at the Mullins Center on Dec. 15, 2007 as Gary Forbes scored 25 points for the Minutemen.

• Toledo leads the all-time series, 2-1, winning a pair of games played in Ohio more than 25 years ago. The Rockets picked up a 77-47 win on Jan. 27, 1977 and an 84-74 victory on Dec. 3, 1979, both in Toledo.

Gaffney Among The National Leaders
• With his amazing start this season, UMass senior forward Tony Gaffney is ranked in the Top 5 in the NCAA in two major statistics. He is third in the country in rebounding with 13.2 per game. He is fourth in blocked shots per game with 5.0 entering the weekend. Gaffney is averaging a double-double with a 12.6 scoring average. Coming into the year, Gaffney's career averages were 3.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

• Gaffney is off to an amazing start in his senior season averaging a double-double with three double-doubles this season after none in his career. He also had grabbed at least nine rebounds in every game and at least 12 in four of the five games.

• Gaffney had his best career game at Memphis (11/17), one which Memphis John Calipari called him the best player on the court. Against the No. 13 Tigers, Gaffney scored 16 points and grabbed 19 rebounds along with five blocks. It was his second career double-double. He opened the year with 16 points and 13 rebounds against Arkansas-Monticello (11/11).

• Gaffney has played 32 or more minutes in each game, all more than any game he previously played at UMass. He played a career-high 39 minutes when he had his third double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds along with a career-high eight blocked shots vs. Jacksonville State (11/24) in the home opener. The 20 points were also a UMass high. He scored 20 while at Boston University against Stony Brook in 2006.

The Previous Meeting Between UMass-Toledo
Behind an 11-0 run to start the second half, and a combined 42 points by Gary Forbes and Ricky Harris, the UMass men's basketball team was able to fend off a late Toledo rally to hold on to a 68-61 win at the Mullins Center. Forbes finished with 25 while Harris had 17, and Lowe chipped in with 11. After a slow start, the Minutemen (8-2) made a run to reverse a six point deficit to a two point lead at the half. It carried into the second-half, as the Minutemen would never relinquish the advantage.

Forbes finished with 25 points and Harris had 17. The two have hit double figures in every game thus far. Lowe added 11.

Jonathan Amos, Ridley Johnson, and Tyrone Kent combined for 49 of the Rockets' 61 points. Amos and Johnson had 18, while Kent added 13.

UMass-Toledo Series Notes
• The UMass-Toledo series renewed last year after 28 years of being dormant. The Rockets beat UMass twice before, winning on Jan. 27, 1962, 77-47 and on Dec. 3, 1979, 84-74.

• UMass played three MAC schools last season with the Minutemen winning all three games. The Minutemen beat Northern Illinois, 102-87, on Nov. 10, 2007 as part of the BTI Tip-Off Tournament. UMass also beat Toledo and then Akron in the NIT Tournament, 68-63 on March 22, 2008. Against MAC schools, UMass is 6-3: Akron (1-0), Buffalo (1-0), Eastern Michigan (1-0), Kent State (0-2), Northern Illinois (1-0), Ohio (1-0), Toledo (1-2).

Lowe Moving Up Assists Chart
Chris Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass as he stands fourth with 507. Next on the list is Alex Eldridge (518). Lowe became the fourth player with 500 career assists at UMass after he gained five against Jacksonville State (11/24). After piling up 11 assists in the opener vs. Arkansas-Monticello (11/11), Lowe had his seventh-career game with double-figures. He passed his current coach Derek Kellogg (453) most recently at the end of last year.

• 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, Lowe had 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.

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 Improved player. Harris is leading UMass with a 19.8 scoring average and led the team in scoring in four of the first five games. He netted a season-best 27 at Green Bay (11/29) and had 24 points at Southern Illinois (11/12). Harris has also continued to blister from 3-point range. In the first five games, he is shooting 46.2 from beyond the new extended-distance arc. He has made 18-of-39 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 seventh in career made 3-pointers with 139 and ninth in career attempts with 384. With four treys at Green Bay, he passed Edgar Padilla (136) and his coach Derek Kellogg (138). Next on the list at No. 6 is James Life (148). On the attempts list, Harris is eying Mike Williams (406) after passing Kellogg (362) earlier this season.

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).

• An early look at the players who have responded they will attending the Boston College game includes: (Don Akerson, Frank Barous, George "Trigger" Burke, John Edgar, Dick Eid, Paul Kollios, Ned Larkin, John MacLeod, Condon McDonough, Ed McGrath, George Morin, Alex Norskey, Bill Prevey, Bill Stephens, William Walsh).

• 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.

• Entering, 2008-09, all-time, UMass 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 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.

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.

Forbes, Harris A-10, Reg. Honors
• UMass senior Gary Forbes was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, giving UMass back-to-back top award winners in the league. In 2006-07, Stephane Lasme, who was drafted by the Golden State Warriors, claimed the league's top honor. The last time UMass had consecutive players of the year was in 1995 (Lou Roe) and 1996 (Marcus Camby). Forbes was the fifth overall player of the year from UMass as Harper Williams also took home the honor in 1992.

• Forbes was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team as well as he tied for the league's regular-season scoring crown with Temple's Dionte Christmas. Both players had 20.3 averages with 610 points in 30 games. Including the postseason, Forbes finished second in the league in scoring with a 19.4 average and fifth in the league in rebounding with 7.5. UMass had two first-teamers in 2006-07 in Lasme and three-time winner Rashaun Freeman.

• Sophomore guard Ricky Harris was named the Atlantic 10 Chris Daniels Most Improved Player of the Year. Harris took his scoring average from 4.5 to 18.2 in his second collegiate season. It was the largest improvement of any player in the league at +13.7. UMass had the three largest jumps as Etienne Brower finished +10.0 and Forbes +6.4. Harris was the first UMass player to win the honor since 2001 when Micah Brand and Kitwana Rhymer shared the MIP.

• Forbes was also named to the NABC and USBWA All-District First Team. It marked the fourth year in a row UMass has had a first-teamer as Lasme and Freeman made it last year and Freeman was honored in 2005 and 2006.

 

 

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