Men's Basketball

 
UMass Renews Rivalry With Holy Cross, Wednesday At 7 PM

Ricky Harris is averaging a team-high 21 points/game this season.

Ricky Harris is averaging a team-high 21 points/game this season.
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    UMass (1-6) vs. Holy Cross (3-6)
    Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 • 7:00 p.m. (ET)
    Mullins Center (9,493), Amherst, Mass.
    Streaming Video: UMassAthletics.com
    Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
    WCRN (830 AM), WCAP (980 AM), WATD (95.9 FM)

    UMass Renews Rivalry With Holy Cross, Wednesday At 7 PM
    • After dropping an 85-81 overtime heartbreaker on Saturday night vs. Boston College, the Minutemen stay home for their second-consecutive game vs. a Commonwealth rival. Holy Cross and UMass will face for the first time since 2001, when the Crusaders topped the Minutemen at the Mullins Center, 67-56 on Dec. 4, 2001. The game marks the second of a basketball doubleheader as the Minutewomen face the Delaware Blue Hens at 5 p.m.

    • Wednesday's game will be streamed on UMassAthletics.com as part of UMass All-Access. It will also 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 former Minuteman Tim Collins.

    • The Crusaders and Minutemen have only faced two times in the last 15 years, both Holy Cross wins. UMass' last win came on Dec. 11, 1993 at the then-Worcester Centrum (now called DCU Center). It was the final victory of four wins in a row over the Crusaders. Holy Cross leads the all-time series, 36-17 with the MInutmen's last home win coming on Jan. 28, 1991.

    Last Game Vs. Holy Cross: Dec. 4, 2001
    AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - Ryan Serravalle's 16 points and Michael Smiley's three 3-pointers led Holy Cross to a 67-56 victory over the University of Massachusetts on Tuesday night.

    Holy Cross (3-3) snapped a three-game losing streak with the win and gave UMass (4-1) its first loss of the season.

    Four Holy Cross players, led by Serravalle, scored in the double digits. Nate Lufkin and Smiley added 13 apiece, and Tim Szatko scored 12.

    Micah Brand led the Minutemen with 15 points, with Anthony Anderson getting 13 and Shannon Crooks 12.

    After an 8-0 run early in the first half, UMass stayed in front for the remainder of the half.

    Smiley came off the bench to sink his trio of 3-pointers for Holy Cross in the first half.

    A layup by Eric Williams just before the buzzer gave UMass a 36-32 lead at the half.

    The Crusaders shot 61.9 percent from the field in the second half. They also ended 8-for-11 in 3-pointers for the game.

    Holy Cross took the lead for good, 46-44, with two baskets from Lufkin, and later used an 8-0 run to go up 60-50 as UMass went more than seven minutes without scoring a point. UMass scored only two baskets in the last 10:50.

    UMass-Holy Cross Series
    • The Crusaders hold a 36-17 advantage in the all-time series with the Minutemen, which began in the 1907-08 season. In the first-ever game between the two schools on Jan. 8, 1908, UMass was held to only four points in a 51-4 defeat.

    • The two teams have faced each other on Dec. 10 in the past (1974), a 68-62 Holy Cross victory. In fact, the teams have played each other on Dec. 6, 7, 8 (2X), 9, 10, and 11.

    • The all-time series has been all about streaks. Out of UMass' 17 wins, only four have not been part of a winning streak in the series. The Minutemen have posted winning streaks of 2, 5, 2, and 4 to account for 13 of the 17 wins against Holy Cross.

    Against the Patriot League
    • UMass has a rare opportunity to face a Patriot League foe. The last time the Minutemen have faced an opponent from the Patriot League was on Dec. 21, 2002 when Lafayette handed UMass a 54-52 defeat at the Springfield Civic Center.

    • The program has never faced three Patriot League teams: American, Bucknell, and Lehigh. The Minutemen have enjoyed varied success against the five Patriot League teams they have faced: Army (0-7), Colgate (2-0), Holy Cross (17-36), Layette (0-1), and Navy (2-0).

    Gaffney Among The National Leaders
    • With his amazing start this season, UMass senior forward Tony Gaffney is ranked in the Top 3 in the NCAA in two major statistics. He is third in the country in rebounding with 13.1 per game. He is also second in blocked shots per game with 5.0. Gaffney is averaging a double-double with a 12.7 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 four 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 five of the seven games. He nearly had a triple double on Saturday vs. Boston College.

    • Gaffney's two best performances of 2008-09 have come against two national powers. The last came on Saturday vs. the Eagles when he had 15 points, 18 rebounds, and a career-high nine blocked shots. His put-back of a missed Chris Lowe free throw sent the game to overtime, giving UMass a chance for its second-straight win over BC. His other outstanding game came 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 set a career-high in minutes on Saturday, playing 43 of the 45 against the Eagles. He played a then career-high 39 minutes when he had his third double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds along with 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.

    Lowe Moving Up Assists Chart
    Chris Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass as he stands third with 522. His 11 assists on Saturday propelled him past Alex Eldridge (518) and into third place. Next on the list is Edgar Padilla (597). 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 on Saturday vs. BC (12/6), Lowe had his eighth-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 21.0 scoring average and led the team in scoring in five of the first seven games. He dropped a season and career-high 35 points on BC (12/6). The 35 points are good for the 13th most in school history and only six behind the school record of 41 held by Billy Tindall on Feb. 10, 1968 vs. Vermont. It was also Harris' second ever 30+ point scoring effort. Two games prior, he netted 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 seven games, he is shooting 46.4 from beyond the new extended-distance arc. He has made 26-of-56 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 147 and ninth in career attempts with 401. 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 next event is set for the Vanderbilt game on Jan. 3 at 5 p.m., which is the Leaman Legacy Game/1960s night.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    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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