7-0 UMass Heads To Boston Tip-Off; Faces BC
7-0 UMass Heads To Boston Tip-Off Classic, Faces BC
At 7-0, UMass is off to its best start since the 1995-96 Final Four season, when UMass started 26-0 on the way to a 35-2 mark. The 7-0 beginning equals the seventh-best start in the 102 year history of UMass basketball. Perfection At The Garden
UMass returns to the TD Garden for the second year in a row seeking to keep its all-time mark of 4-0 intact. Last season, UMass posted a dramatic 73-72 win over Memphis on Dec. 19, 2009 as Terrell Vinson scored on a putback with 0:00.7 left on the clock to down the Tigers.
The Minutemen played the first-ever college basketball game at the home of the NBA's Boston Celtics and NHL's Boston Bruins. UMass knocked off Boston College, 65-57 on Dec. 9, 1995 in the first Commonwealth Classic before a sellout of 18,974.
UMass has won two more Commonwealth Classics played at the Garden, formerly known as the Fleet Center. The Minutemen beat Boston College on Jan. 18, 1997, 90-78 before 15,215 and 65-57 on Dec. 14, 1997 in front of 9,218. Just Win Baby!
At seven games, UMass is riding its longest winning streak since 1998 when the Minutemen won 10 games in a row from Jan. 3-Feb. 1 under Flint.
Also, as mentioned, the last time UMass played in Boston, they won a putback by Terrell Vinson with seven-tenths of a second left last season on Dec. 19, 2009.
Best Starts In UMass History
Here are the best starts at UMass: 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).
The program started 5-0 in 1991-92 (Derek Kellogg's freshman season) and 1930-31.
Series History With Boston College
Since the teams resumed playing each other -- as the Commonwealth Classic -- on an annual basis during the 1995-96 season, BC leads the series, 9-6.
For games played on the Boston College campus, the Eagles hold a 10-4 advantage with a 4-2 mark at the Conte Forum. The schools have also played nine times at either the Boston Garden or the TD Garden, with UMass leading 6-3 in those contest. Boston College has won all five games played at Mullins, winning in 2000, 2002 and in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
UMass has not beaten BC in Amherst since 1977, an 85-69 win on Feb. 2, 1977. The Eagles have won five games in a row in Amherst.
The two programs first a century ago with the Minutemen winning the first game 20-15 on Dec. 8, 1905 in Drill Hall. The two teams did not play again until the 1950-51 season, but met regularly since then with the exception of the 1980-94 seasons. In that time, they played once on Dec. 29, 1990 in the Abdow's Classic in Springfield, Mass.
Against The ACC
Prior to 2007's win against Boston College, UMass last beat a team from the ACC, in 2004-05, when it beat Florida State, 78-68 on Feb. 15, 2005 at the Mullins Center.
One of the biggest wins against an ACC team came at the Mullins Center, 15 years ago nearly to the day as #3 UMass and Marcus Camby beat #10 Wake Forest and Tim Duncan, 60-46 on Dec. 6, 1995.
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 .384 for the season with super efforts in a three-game span from Nov. 20-24, limiting New Mexico State to .333; TCU to a dreadful .298 and AIC to .345.
From 3-point range, opponents are just .298 from beyond the arc.
The Minutemen also lead the Atlantic 10 in turnover margin with a +5.0 per game, forcing opponents into 119 in six games, compared to just 87 miscues for UMass.
Interestingly, UMass' opponents are just 58.4 from the foul line, one of the best free throw defenses in the NCAA.
Better Shot Selection
From 3-point range, UMass is 35.2, again with several strong efforts. UMass has made more than 45 percent three times: 45.0 vs. Rider (11/12), 50.0 vs. AIC (11/24) and 47.4 vs. Holy Cross (11/27). Anthony Gurley (58.8) and Gary Correia (53.8) lead the charge in taking more selective treys and hitting them. Correia has actually made seven of his last 10 over four games.
Gurley, A Big Man On Campus
Gurley scored a career-high 31 points to serve a part of the two-headed offensive attack in the big rally against Rider (11/12) With 31 points in the opener, Gurley tallied the most points by a UMass player in a season debut since Marcus Camby netted 32 against Kentucky in the 1995-96 season opener. Gurley was named to the Atlantic 10 Weekly Honor Roll on Nov. 15 for his performance.
Gurley scored his 1,000th career point with his final field goal against Rider and now has 1,119 in his career with 199 coming at Wake Forest and 920 at UMass. He led UMass in scoring in the first six games this season including 24 vs. Holy Cross (11/27), 22 points vs. AIC (11/24) and 18 points in the win over Sacred Heart (11/17) He now has scored in double-figures 56 times in his career and has reached 20 points 13 times, three times this year.
Junkyard Dog Farrell Returns With Vengeance
Even more important is his defensive intensity. Farrell has helped UMass to allow just 56.6 points in his five games.
Ready Freddie Nets Career-Best
He added 10 points vs. TCU for his second game this season in double-figures and added 17 in 17 minutes vs. Holy Cross (11/27).
UMass Calls Upon Sampson
Matt Climbs The Hill, Adds Energy
Return To The Cage, a Huge Success
UMass "extended" its winning streak at the Curry Hicks Cage to 15 games with a 17-year gap. The streak spans back to the 1991-92 season as the Minutemen won their final 14 games before moving to the Mullins Center in Feb. 1993.
34-POINT SWING IN WIN OVER RIDER
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 NBA With Denver
"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.
Playing 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 Hamden, 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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