Men's Basketball

 
UMass Faces Marist At Mohegan Sun on Saturday

Ricky Harris leads the A-10 in steals per game with 2.86.

Ricky Harris leads the A-10 in steals per game with 2.86.

Dec. 5, 2007

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UMASS (5-2) vs. MARIST (5-3)
Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007 • 7:30 P.M. (ET)
Mohegan Sun Arena (10,000) • Uncasville, Conn.
Streaming Video: UMassAthletics.com
Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
WCRN (830 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

UMass Faces Marist At Mohegan Sun on Saturday
• After a disappointing loss at IUPUI, UMass will back on the court on Saturday as the Minutemen take on Marist at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Saturday's game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. from the neutral site where UMass (5-2) will serve as the "home team" against Marist (5-3). Live streaming video is expected to be available via UMassAthletics.com's All-Access. The game will be carried on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM WRNX in Western Massachusetts and on 830 AM (WCRN) in Central Mass and 95.9 FM (WATD) in Eastern Mass. Bob Behler calls the action alongside color analyst Tim Kenney.

• Saturday's game will pit a pair of teams which advanced to the NIT Second Round last season. UMass defeated Alabama in the NIT First Round before losing at eventual champion West Virginia. Marist won at Oklahoma State before falling at NC State in the Second Round.

• The Minutemen return to action after a mixed week which saw UMass knock off Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in a thrilling 107-100 win at Syracuse on Nov. 28. UMass than travelled to Indianapolis, where the Minuteman suffered an 89-77 loss to Summit League favorite IUPUI.

• Marist stands 5-3, heading into a game on Wednesday night at Canisius. The Red Foxes have won four games in a row after a three-game losing streak. The success has coincided with Syracuse transfer Louie McCroskey making his season debut five games ago. Marist lost an overtime thriller with Temple (73-69) in his first game before reeling off four wins in a row against Colgate (61-60), Richmond (64-62), Bucknell (55-40) and Wright State (79-64).

The UMass-Marist Series
• The game will be the fourth in the series between UMass and Marist. The Minutemen have won all three previous meetings: Dec. 22, 1982 (51-49 at the Cage), Feb. 14 (59-58 at Marist) and Nov. 24, 2001 (66-59 at the Mullins Center. Kitwana Rhymer led UMass with 16 points and seven rebounds. Shannon Crooks added 14 points. Marist was led by Nick Eppenhimer, who had 14 points.

UMass At Mohegan Sun
• The Minutemen return to the Mohegan Sun for the fifth time in seven years as UMass plays "host" to Marist. The Minutemen split four games at Mohegan Sun between 2001-06, with all four games coming against Central Connecticut State. UMass won last season (79-66) and the 2001 game, 64-49. The Blue Devils got the best of the Minutemen in 2002 (46-45) and 2003 (53-52) in a pair of narrow defeats.

Scoring, More and More
Travis Ford has installed an up-tempo offense in 2007-08 after two years of low-post dominance with Stephane Lasme and Rashaun Freeman leading the way. 2007 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Lasme was a second-round draft pick by the Golden State Warriors. Freeman is leading the French B Division in scoring and rebounding after being a three-time A-10 First-Team selection. Heading into 2007-08, UMass returned just 40 percent of its scoring and just 35 percent of its rebounding.'

• With the new offense, UMass is scoring a high-pace. The Minutemen are averaging 89.4 points per game, up from 77.9 points (+11.5) through seven games last season and 77.3 points (+12.1) from the entire season.

• UMass is seventh in the NCAA in scoring through Tuesday, Dec. 4.

• UMass is the only team in the nation with two players in the Top 40 NCAA scoring leaders as of Dec. 4 with Gary Forbes standing 22nd with a 21.4 average. Ricky Harris is 38th with 19.9 per game.

• UMass is 19th in total 3-pointers made with 74.

Showing Major Improvement
• With only two players returning with significant playing time (Gary Forbes and Chris Lowe), many UMass players are seeing the most playing time of their careers. With that they have made major strides in all areas. Forbes, who started most of last year has increased his average 8.4 points per game from 13.0 to 21.4 to lead the Minutemen.

• Sophomore Ricky Harris has emerged as a major weapon on offense, scoring 19.9 points per game after just 4.5 last season as a freshman. He played in 32 games, all off the bench, but has started all seven games this season. Harris has 139 points this year after 145 all of last year. He should pass his entire scoring total in the eighth game of the season against Marist. He leads all Minutemen in scoring improvement at +15.4 points per game. Harris has scored in double-figures in all seven games this season. He scored more than 15 in each of the first four games, surpassing his freshman-season high of 14 each time.

• Senior Etienne Brower has become the force UMass thought he would be after transferring from Boston University. Brower is averaging 13.6 points in seven starts after scoring just 2.7 points per game in 2006-07 when he was hindered by an ankle injury all season. Brower has 95 points in the first seven games after just 59 all of last year in 22 games. He passed his entire total in the fifth game of the season with 75 after the Wis.-Green Bay (11/17) game which he scored a career-high 25 points. Brower has more than 12 points in five of seven games in 07-08 after his season high was just eight last year. His +10.9 improvement was aided by his career-high 25 points against Wis.-Green Bay.

• Senior Danté Milligan has tallied 10 or more points in three of the last four games. He had his career-high of 17 in two of three games at Syracuse (11/28) and against Yale (11/14). Milligan's season-high last year was 10 points which he accomplished twice. Milligan has taken his averages from 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds to 10.0 points and 5.1 rebounds. An increase of 6.7 points and 2.6 rebounds.

• Junior Luke Bonner is also seeing more time and making his signature 3-pointers. Bonner, who averaged just 1.6 points in 06-07 is up to 6.6 per game and has made 10-of-17 from 3-point land. Last year he made seven treys all season in 31 games.

More Numbers To Ponder
Etienne Brower leads the A-10 and is second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage for all players with 30 or more attempts. He is shooting 61.3 from long-range hitting 19-of-31. The only player with a mor proficient touch is Alan Voskuil of Texas Tech, who is 23-of-33 for 69.7.

• Danté Milligan is shooting 64.4 from the floor (29-of-45), but is just shy of qualifying for the NCAA rankings (5.0 made field goals per game). If he eligible, Milligan would rank 18th nationally and second in the Atlantic 10. Milligan has taken his field goal percentage from 49.4 to 64.4.

Chris Lowe has averaged 8.5 assists over his last two games since returning from an ankle injury suffered in the first game of the season. Lowe is handing out 5.4 assists per game in his five games and would rank third in the A-10, but is not eligible with just five games played.

Ricky Harris leads the Atlantic 10 in steals per game with 2.86 per contest with 20 in seven games.

Juicy Bits From The 107-Point Outburst
• The Minutemen's 107-100 win at Syracuse ranks on the all-time charts in UMass history. The 107 points were the most ever scored by an opponent against the Orange since the Dome opened in 1980.

• The 107 points were the most UMass has scored in a regulation game since a 110-97 win over Duquesne on Jan. 6, 1977.

• It ties for the 11th-most points in a game for UMass as it also scored 107 in a win over Colgate in 1966.

• The 207 combined points tied for the third-most points in a game in UMass annals. The record is 233, when UMass lost at Rutgers in triple overtime, 119-114 on Feb. 27, 1988.

• The other game with more total points (214) marked the last time UMass played in a game where both teams scored 100 points in a regulation when North Texas beat the Minutemen, 110-104 on Dec. 29, 1982.

More On The Orange Crush
• UMass continues to be the personal bug-a-boo for Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim. Of schools the legends has faced two or more times, UMass is the ONLY schools which Boeheim has never beaten. The Minutemen are 3-0, winning in 1992, 1995 and 2007 against the Orange.

• In the epic win, UMass rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to come away with the win. Ricky Harris led the Minutemen with a career-high 25 points while Gary Forbes added his A-10 leading scoring average of 23 points. Forbes also had seven assists and six rebounds in what Travis Ford called his best game at UMass.

• Point guard Chris Lowe returned to action after sitting for 14 days of game-action and had 13 points and a career-high tying nine assists.

• UMass shot 52 percent from the floor including 14-of-31 from 3-point range. Etienne Brower, who ranks second in the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage (63.3) made 4-of-6 from trey-range.

• Danté Milligan continued to show he can be a force with his second career-high 17-point game in the last three games. Milligan also equalled his Yale game, two weeks prior, with an 8-of-9 showing from the floor.

Forbes Nov. 18 A-10 Co-Player of the Week
• Senior Gary Forbes was honored for his outstanding play on Nov. 18 as he was named the Atlantic 10's co-player of the week along with Rhode Island's Will Daniels. Forbes averaged 24.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in three contests between Nov. 11-17. He scored a season-best 29 points, including the 1,000th of his career, on Nov. 11 at Northern Iowa. He added 19 points and nine boards in the Minutemen's 89-80 win over Yale on Nov. 14. Finally, he scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists on Nov. 17 as UMass downed Wisconsin-Green Bay, 93-78. That game special to Forbes as he played before his father Roberto for the first time in his collegiate career. Roberto was visiting from his home in Jonesboro, Georgia.

25 Is Twice As Nice
• When Gary Forbes and Etienne Brower each scored 25 points in the win over Wis.-Green Bay (11/17), it was the first time UMass had two or more 25-point scorers in more than 10 years. The last time UMass had two with 25 or more was on Jan. 23, 1996 as Carmelo Travieso (27) and Donta Bright (26) accomplished the feat.

UMass Continues Home Dominance
• The Minutemen are now 24-4 in their last 28 games at the Mullins Center spanning the last three seasons spanning Travis Ford's tenure in Amherst. UMass went 12-2 at home last year and 10-2 in 2005-06.

• The Minutemen went 12-2 at home last season playing before an average of nearly than 6,000 fans per game at the Mullins Center, including a sellout of 9,493 for the Boston College game on Dec. 2. that UMass had its second crowd of more than 9,000 this year with 9,088 against Saint Louis on Feb. 24. This season marks the first since 1998-99 UMass has had two crowds of more than 9,000 in the same season. The Saint Louis crowd was the largest for an A-10 game, since a sell-out of 9,493 against Temple on Feb. 17, 2001. With an average of 5,968 UMass had its best attendance since 1998-99 when an average of 6,723 came to the Mullins Center. UMass is fourth in the league in attendance.

Ford-Tough At Home
• UMass head coach Travis Ford has been strong at home over the last four years with a 36-5 record as the home-team coach. He is 24-4 at UMass. In 2004-05, Ford posted a 12-1 record at Eastern Kentucky's McBrayer Arena prior to this year's perfect start at the Mullins Center. Staff members Tim Maloney, Steve Middleton, and James Altman were all with EKU as well.

UMass Goes 2-1 At BTI Tip-Off Tournament
• The Minutemen opened the 2007-08 season winning two of three games at the BTI Tip-Off Tournament hosted by Northern Iowa on the weekend of Nov. 9-11. UMass defeated Cal Poly, 90-64 and Northern Illinois, 102-87 before losing to the host Panthers, 75-68. Senior Gary Forbes, who scored his 1,000th career point in the loss to Northern Iowa, and sophomore Ricky Harris were named to the All-Tournament Team.

2006-07 A Season To Remember
• The 2006-07 season was a historical one for the UMass men's basketball team as the Minutemen captured a share of the Atlantic 10 Regular-Season Championship. The Minutemen returned to the postseason for the first time since 2000 and won their first postseason game since the 1996 Final Four season. UMass downed perennial SEC power Alabama, 89-87 in overtime before a national audience. That game capped off a sensation 24-9 season, which marked UMass' best record since that 1995-96 season when the Minutemen went an all-time best, 35-2. UMass' 24-win season tied for the fifth-most win in a season in the program's history.

2006-07 Mass Co-A-10 Champions
• The Minutemen captured a share of the league title on March 3 with a 71-67 win at Saint Joseph's. It marked UMass' first regular-season league title since 1996 and sixth A-10 regular-season crown overall. The Minutemen won five straight regular-season titles from 1992-96 and proceeded to win the A-10 Tournament each time.

• The Minutemen went 24-9 overall and had the best season since the 1995-96 Final Four year when they went 35-2 in finishing as a national semifinalist. UMass finished with a 13-3 record in the Atlantic 10. UMass had its best conference record since going a school-record 15-1 in 1995-96. Prior to the loss to Saint Louis in the A-10s, the Minutemen had won six games in a row overall, their longest win streak since capturing 10 games in a row in Jan.-Feb. 1998.

 

 

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