UMass Set For BC In Commonwealth Classic
Dec. 10, 2007
UMASS (6-2) at BOSTON COLLEGE (7-1)
UMass Set For BC In Commonwealth Classic
The Minutemen are seeking to move to 7-2 for the second year in a row after a 24-9 season in 2006-07 which saw them advance to the NIT Second Round. UMass picked up an 83-68 win over Marist at the Mohegan Sun Arena last Saturday night as the Minutemen ended the game on a 31-10 run to blitz the Red Foxes.
UMass is seeking to end an eight-game losing streak in the series against Boston College. The Minutemen last beat Boston College on Dec. 4, 1999 at Conte Forum. Last year, Boston College topped the Minutemen, 84-73 at the Mullins Center on Dec. 2, 2006. All-time, Boston College leads the series 23-17.
Boston College comes off a thrilling 81-78 win at Maryland on Sunday night to open their ACC schedule. The Eagles' lone loss came to former Big East foe Providence College on Dec. 1, 98-89 in overtime at the TD Banknorth Garden.
Skinner Faces His Alma Mater
Skinner starred at UMass in the early 70s as he was named first-team All-Yankee Conference three times (1972-74. He was also an all-district selection in those seasons. In his career, Skinner scored 1,235 points which ranks 16th all-time. He led the then-Redmen to a pair of Yankee Conference titles. Following his UMass career, Skinner went on play professionally in both the ABA and NBA, with the New York Nets, Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers. He began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Rhode Island, before taking over at Boston College in 1997.
It was apropos, that during the UMass-Rhode Island game on Feb. 18, 2004, Skinner (No. 30, 1971-74) became the fourth player in school history to have his number retired. The other three players to be honored are George "Trigger" Burke (No. 32, 1954-56), Julius Erving (No. 32, 1969-71) and Lou Roe (No. 15, 1991-95)
For games played on the Boston College campus, the Eagles hold an 9-3 advantage with a 3-1 mark at the Conte Forum. The schools have also played nine times at either the Boston Garden or the TD Banknorth Garden, with UMass leading 6-3 in those contest. Boston College has won all three games played at Mullins, winning in 2000, 2002 and in 2005.
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
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.
UMass Teams Beating BC
Additionally, UMass' softball team beat BC twice last spring, while the Minuteman hockey team has a 2-0-1 record against the Eagles, who won the 2007 Hockey East title.
One of UMass' losses came in football, where the FBS Eagles were challenged by UMass' FCS team on Sept. 29, in a 24-14 BC win at Alumni Stadium. The Minutemen, who play with only 63 scholarships in the former Division I-AA, were within 17-14 in the fourth quarter.
Scoring, More and More
With the new offense, UMass is scoring a high-pace. The Minutemen are averaging 88.6 points per game, up from 77.3 points (+11.3) through eight games last season and 77.3 points (+11.3) from the entire season.
UMass is six in the NCAA in scoring through Tuesday, Dec. 10 with 88.6. The Minutemen also lead the Atlantic 10 scoring.
UMass is one of four teams in the nation with two players in the Top 50 NCAA scoring leaders as of Dec. 10 with Gary Forbes standing 26th with a 21.0 average. Ricky Harris is 47th with 19.6 per game. The other teams on the exclusive list are North Dakota State, Vanderbilt and Vermont.
UMass is 26th in total 3-pointers made with 80. With 10.0 treys per game, UMass leads the A-10.
Showing Major Improvement
Sophomore Ricky Harris has emerged as a major weapon on offense, scoring 19.6 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 157 points this year after 145 all of last year. He passed his entire scoring total in the eighth game of the season against Marist with 18 points. He leads all Minutemen in scoring improvement at +15.1 points per game. Harris has scored in double-figures in all eight 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 13.5 points in eight starts after scoring just 2.7 points per game in 2006-07 when he was hindered by an ankle injury all season. Brower has 108 points in the first eight 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 six of eight games in 07-08 after his season high was just eight last year. His +10.8 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 five 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 9.6 points and 5.1 rebounds. An increase of 6.3 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 5.8 per game and has made 10-of-19 from 3-point land. Last year he made seven treys all season in 31 games.
Among The A-10 Leaders
Ricky Harris leads in steals per game with 3.0, which is 10th in the NCAA. Harris is also fifth in scoring with a 19.6 average.
Chris Lowe is now healthy and has returned to his usual form and place amongst the leaders when it comes to point guards. He is third in the league in assists per game with 5.5 per game. He is also second in assist-to-turnover ratio with 2.54 per game. Lowe has averaged 7.7 assists over the last three games since returning from an ankle injury.
Lowe is closing in on the all-time assists list at UMass. The man he is chasing is BC Coach Al Skinner. Lowe has 304 helpers in his two-plus seasons. Skinner stands 10th with 320. Ahead of Skinner is Louisville coach Rick Pitino with 329.
Etienne Brower is third in the A-10 and is 18th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage. He is shooting 55.3 from long-range hitting 21-of-38.
Danté Milligan is shooting 66.0 from the floor (31-of-47), but is just shy of qualifying for the NCAA rankings (5.0 made field goals per game). If he eligible, Milligan would rank tied for ninth nationally and second in the Atlantic 10. Milligan has taken his field goal percentage from 49.4 to 66.0, an improvement of 16.6 percent.
Juicy Bits From The 107-Point Outburst
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
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 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
25 Is Twice As Nice
UMass Continues Home Dominance
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 Goes 2-1 At BTI Tip-Off
Additionally, UMass will have two games televised by other outlets as the Jan. 23 game at Saint Joseph's will be on CN8 with a new 6 p.m. start time while the Jan. 19 will be on MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) with a new 4 p.m. start.
Here are UMass' game changes and updates in terms of times and television for the remainder of the season.
2006-07 A Season To Remember
2006-07 Mass Co-A-10 Champions
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.
Lasme, Freeman Gain Honors
Lasme was named an AP Honorable Mention All-American following the season. He was UMass' first All-American honoree since Camby in 1996.
Lasme was joined by senior Rashaun Freeman on the A-10 First Team. Freeman is the first player since Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson (2001-04) to be a three-time first-team selection.
Lasme is the second player to be named the league's Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same campaign joining Pepe Sanchez of Temple in 1999 and David West of Xavier in 2002. Lasme joined Tony Dobbins of Richmond (2002-04) as the only players in league history to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in successive seasons. Lasme was also named to the All-Defensive Team for the second year in row.
Lasme and Freeman were named to the NABC All-District First Team and USBWA All-District First Team.
UMass' 20-Win Season
UMass picked up its 20th win of the season on Feb. 21, 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 a season with a 35-2 record the Final Four season of 1995-96.
It was UMass' 13th 20-win season in school history. The Minutemen had their first 20-win season in 1970-71, when they went 23-4.
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