SERIES WITH SIENA
• Friday will be the seventh all-time meeting between UMass and Siena on the hardwood. Siena fell to another Atlantic 10 opponent, St. Bonaventure, earlier this season at home by the score of 64-58.
• The Minutemen lead the series with the Saints, which began in 1974, 5-1. UMass has played Siena three times at home (3-0), twice on the road (2-0) and once at a neutral site in 2000, the Minutemen’s only loss in the series by a one-point margin, 66-65. UMass won the last meeting between the teams on Dec. 23, 2005 in Amherst by the score of 78-69.
GOOD AS ADVERTISED
• Redshirt sophomore point guard Chaz Williams has been given the reponsibility of quarterbacking the Minutemen’s new up-tempo offense and the tranfer from Hofstra lived up to the billing, averaging 14.3 points and 6.1 assists in the first 10 games. He is shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range and has an assist-turnover ratio of nearly 2-1.
• Williams scored a career-high 22 points in the 83-75 loss at Miami (12/3). He also dished out four assists, while raking in four rebounds.
• Williams scored 14 points and tallied 7 assists in the 89-75 win over Utah at the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 25. He also had a UMass career-high 5 steals.
• Williams scored a game-high 16 points and dished out five assists with three steals to lead UMass to a 36-point victory over Boston College, the biggest margin of victory ever in the series on Nov. 21.
• Williams recorded the first double-double of his career in Nov. 14’s win over Northeastern, tying career-highs with 20 points and 10 assists. He spurred a key UMass run in the second half with an assist on a fastbreak followed immediately by a pair of lay-ups of his own on the break.
• Williams, in his first game in a UMass uniform in the win over Elon, led all scorers with 18 points to go with a game-high eight assists, six rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes.
BRINGING THE PRESSURE
• To go with the new up-tempo offense, Derek Kellogg has the Minutemen pressing and trapping more on defense in 2011-12. The new attacking defensive style has worked extremely well thus far as the Minutemen have forced an average of 19.5 turnovers per game and scored 23.4 points per game off those take-aways.
• At East Carolina (12/6), UMass had nearly one point per ECU turnover, scoring 15 off 16 Pirates’ miscues.
• In the 83-75 loss at Miami (12/3), the Minutemen forced 11 turnovers, while scoring as many points off them.
• The Minutemen forced 19 turnovers and turned it into 31 points in their lone win at the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 25.
• In its 36-point win at Boston College on Nov. 21, UMass turned 23 Eagles turnovers into 28 points and outscored them 28-6 over the final 10:30 of the game.
• In the win vs. Northeastern (11/14), UMass forced 21 turnovers and scored 26 points off turnovers. Sampson Carter led the defense with three steals.
• The Minutemen held the Huskies to just 38 percent shooting in the game, including a 9.1 percent mark from behind the arc.
• In the opener vs. Elon, UMass forced 25 Phoenix turnovers and scoring 34 points off those turnovers, including 12 fast-break points. Jesse Morgan led the defensive charge with a career-high five steals in 17 minutes. UMass finished with 14 steals total.
• Through 10 games, UMass has shot .417 from the floor after posting a .401 shooting percentage a season ago. Much of the improvement can be attributed to the new up-tempo, fastbreaking offense that Derek Kellogg has implemented this season. Taking advantage of the long athletic players on his roster, Kellogg’s offense has resulted in higher percentage shots in transition.
• UMass has received strong shooting performances from the bench in the past few games. Leading the secondary players is Cady Lalanne who shoots 55 percent from the field and has contributed 65 points so far this season.
• Jesse Morgan is shooting 34 percent from beyond the arc and has netted 15 three-pointers so far this season, 5 of which come from the win over Utah on Nov. 25.
UMASS ONE OF A-10’S TOP SCORING TEAMS
• At an average clip of 75.6 points per game, UMass is the top ranked scoring team in the Atlantic 10. Only four A-10 teams are averaging below 70 points this season.
• UMass is also the fifth-ranked team in the league in terms of scoring margin at +8.8 over opponents. Saint Louis, La Salle and Xavier are the only three teams to have margins higher than 10 points.
CLEARING THE BOARDS
• UMass has been solid on the boards this season averaging nearly 42 rebounds per game - that places the Minutemen first in the Atlantic 10 with 41.6, ahead of Xavier’s 41.1. UMass ranks third in rebounding margin at +2.6 per game, however, ranks 13th in the league in opponent rebounds (39.0).
DEPTH OFF THE BENCH KEY
• UMass has received quite a lift from its bench early in the season. A season-high 51 points were scored in the win over Towson thanks to the reserves. All told, the UMass bench has outscored every opponent this year except one (College of Charleston).
• 34.9% (264-of-756 points) of UMass’ scoring this year has come from the bench.
OUTSIDE SHOOTING+PROTECT THE BALL=WIN
• It’s a simple formula, but when UMass is able to shoot the ball from outside and keep turnovers to a minimum, chances are the Minutemen win. In 7 games won this year, UMass is 70-of-187 from three-point land and average 14.7 turnovers per game. In 3 games lost, UMass is just 13-of-75 from deep and average 17 turnovers.
• Sharing the ball is also a key. The Minutemen average nearly 19 assists in wins this year, while that number drops to 9 in the three losses. Individually, Chaz Williams picks up over 7 assists in wins, but just 3.3 in each of the three losses.
KEY IMPROVEMENTS OVER LAST SEASON
• Through 10 games, a trio of players have made significant strides over their 2010-11 averages.
• Jesse Morgan played in just 12 games last season averaging 4.4 points in almost 11 minutes per game. This year, the combo point guard/two guard is averaging 6.8 points in 20.9 minutes.
• Raphiael Putney has increased his scoring from 4.4 points to 7.9 points and is averaging nearly one more rebound per game (3.0-to-3.8)
• After having a strong freshman campaign in 2009-10, Terrell Vinson saw his scoring dip from 9.6 poings per game to 6.5 last season. This year he is back to form averaging 8.0 points in just over 26 minutes per game.