• Following an 11-day layoff between games, UMass returns to action against Elon in the 2012 Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase, hosted by the Basketball Hall of Fame at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.
• UMass and Elon will meet on the hardwood for the second time Saturday. The Minutemen opened the 2011-12 season with an 85-67 win over the Phoenix at the Curry Hicks Cage on the UMass campus.
• UMass is 43-24 all-time at the MassMutual Center (formerly Springfield Civic Center). The Minutemen went 3-0 in the facility two seasons ago and defeated Siena in last year’s inaugural Hall of Fame Showcase.
• In his hometown of Springfield, Derek Kellogg is 5-1 as a coach after going 8-1 as a player with the Minutemen.
• UMass has trailed in all seven games with 4:00 left in the second half.
• This is the 104th season of UMass Basketball. UMass entered the year with an all-time record of 1,186-1,059 (.537) in 2,245 games. UMass is 439-301 (.593) in conference games, including a 275-281 in Atlantic 10 play. The Minutemen have claimed 15 regular-season conference champ. and five tournament titles.
SERIES HISTORY WITH ELON & THE SOCON
• Saturday’s game marks just the second game between Elon and UMass. The Minutemen won last year’s season-opener at the Curry Hicks Cage, 85-67.
• The Minutemen won the last meeting, 85-67 on Nov. 14, 2011 in Amherst. Chaz Williams recorded his first double-double with then-career-highs of 20 points and 10 assists in his second game at UMass and first at the Mullins Center. UMass used a 15-0 first-half run to take control of the game, led 40-28 at the half and by as many as 17 with 13:38 to play.
• UMass is 6-7 all-time against current members of the Southern Conference. The record against those schools includes: 1-2 vs. Charleston, 4-4 vs. Davidson, 1-0 vs. Elon and 0-1 vs. Georgia Southern. UMass has won two-consecutive over SoCon foes with both coming over Elon and Davidson last season. Its last loss came three seasons ago at Davidson, 63-61, on Jan. 10, 2010.
UMASS & SPRINGFIELD HAVE STRONG HISTORY
• Saturday’s game against Elon in the second Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase marks the fifth-consecutive year that UMass has played at least once at the MassMutual Center, with an active four-game winning streak in the building. The Minutemen went 3-0 in the facility two seasons ago and defeated Siena in last year’s inaugural Hall of Fame Showcase. UMass is 43-24 all-time at the MassMutual Center (formerly Springfield Civic Center).
• UMass is 18-4 since 1990 in the building. The first UMass game played there was on Dec. 28, 1970 as UMass defeated Fairfield, 95-82.
• UMass’ also had a nice win in Springfield against Oregon on Nov. 27, 2001 as the Minutemen beat the Ducks 62-58. Oregon had three players on that squad who turned pro: Luke Ridnour, Luke Jackson, and Chris Christoffersen.
• One of the most memorable contests in the facility came in the 1994 Tip-Off game when third-ranked UMass defeated the defending national champion Arkansas with a stunning 104-80 loss -- its worst defeat since the 1987-88 season -- and the victory catapulted UMass into the nation’s top-ranked position. UMass senior Lou Roe set the tone of the evening with a slam dunk five seconds into the game and dominated the game from start to finish. Roe scored a career-high 34 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and connected on 10-of-11 free throws in a sterling performance. Roe had help from teammates Donta Bright (24 points), and sophomore Marcus Camby, who scored 13 in 17 minutes.
• The Minutemen played their entire home schedule at the Civic Center during the 1984-85 season -- as the Curry Hicks Cage was being renovated -- going 7-4. That is the only year that UMass has not played its home schedule on campus.
OFFENSIVE BOARD WORK PAYING DIVIDENDS
• Prior to its last game, UMass had posted at least 12 offensive rebounds in each game and is now averaging 13.2 offensive rebounds per game. The Minutemen are also averaging 10.5 second-chance points per game and have posted double-figure totals in five of their last six.
GETTING THE TRANSITION GAME GOING
• It’s no secret that UMass head coach Derek Kellogg wants to press and speed the game up as much as possible. That being said, the Minutemen are averaging 8.3 steals and 4.9 blocks per game - stats that have aided in a 16-12 ppg edge in points off turnovers and a 6-2 margin in fast break scoring. UMass opponents are averaging 14.8 turnovers per game.
• Additionally, UMass has forced 18 TOs with its press and four shot clock violations this season.
• UMass has won five consecutive road games dating back to the postseason NIT run last year. The last time they won 5-consecutive true road games was in 1997-98 season when Bruiser Flint’s second team reeled-off seven-consecutive in opposing arenas.
• UMass led 30-29 at the half and is now 3-0 this season when leading at the break.
• The game’s 7 ties and 11 lead changes are the most in a UMass contest this season.
• Sampson Carter made his first start of the season and 23rd of his career. It was his first start since the 2010-11 season. The lineup of Williams, Morgan, Putney, Vinson and Carter was the third different lineup this season.
• Nine of the 10 players who dressed for the Minutemen had played by the 10-minute mark of the first half.
• UMass shot .471 pct from the floor for its second-best shooting game of the season (.508 vs. Providence). Additionally, the .350 effort from outside on 7-of-20 was the second-best effort from outside this year (.375 vs. NC State).
• The defensive effort was among the best all seasons, with Northeastern’s .353 overall shooting and .111 3-point shooting the lowest by a UMass opponent in both categories all season.
• Chaz Williams finished with 18 points for his seventh double-figure game this year and 56th in his career.
• Jesse Morgan also had 18 points to share game-high honors with Williams. He was 4-of-7 from outside, including 4-of-6 in the second half. He made his last four triples, accounting for 12 of 13 during a four-minute stretch when UMass was playing from behind late in the second half.
• Carter had a season-high 14 points on 3-of-5 from the floor and 8-of-10 at the free throw line in a career-high 34 minutes. His free throw numbers tied his career-high for both makes and attempts set against Maine on Dec. 8, 2010. His last double-figure scoring game (12 pts.) came against Northeastern last season.
• Maxie Esho finished with a team-high nine rebounds - one shy of his career-high set at Siena last Wednesday. He also played 29 minutes for a new career-high after 28 on Saturday against Miami (Fla.).
WILLIAMS JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB; VINSON 46 AWAY
• Junior G Chaz Williams surpassed the 1,000 point mark in a career at Siena. He finished that game with 23 points and none bigger than the game-winning layup with 3.3 seconds left that propelled the Minutemen to their third buzzer-beating victory of the season.
• He is the 43rd player to reach the 1,000-point mark while at UMass and the first since Anthony Gurley two seasons ago.
• Along those same lines, senior F Terrell Vinson has scored 954 points in 105 career games.
FOUR STARTERS, 9 LETTERMEN BACK FROM 25-WIN SQUAD
• UMass welcomes back four starters, including its top four scorers and nine of its top 10 rebounders from last season's team that went 25-12 and reached the NIT Final Four. Led by All-America candidate Chaz Williams at the point guard spot, the Minutemen will look to continue their up-tempo offensive style and full-court pressure defense in head coach Derek Kellogg's (64-65) fifth year at his alma mater.
• UMass returns the following percentages in 2012-13: Scoring 89.3 pct.; Rebounding 83.2 pct.; Assists 94.7 pct.; Steals 91.7 pct.; Blocks 76.7 pct.; Minutes 85.4 pct.
• Williams (16.9 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.4 rpg), a first team NABC all-district and all-conference selection, was one of just three players in Division I last year to average at least 16.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. The others were Tim Frazier of Penn State and Nate Wolters of South Dakota State.
• UMass recorded a school-record 326 steals last season (8.8 spg, 7th in NCAA) which aided in its 76.6 possessions per game, ranking the Minutemen second nationally behind Seattle's 77.2.
UMASS TO RETIRE MARCUS CAMBY'S NO. 21 JERSEY
• The Massachusetts athletic department announced Tuesday that it will retire the jersey of 1996 Naismith National Player of the Year Marcus Camby on Jan. 19, 2013 when the Minutemen host George Washington at the Mullins Center.
• One of the most decorated athletes UMass has ever produced, Camby lettered from 1993-96 and led the Minutemen to the 1996 NCAA Final Four and a 35-2 record, the most successful season in program history. He was named a consensus first-team All-American that season as he averaged 20.5 points to lead the Atlantic 10. In his three seasons at UMass, he was a two-time NABC All-District selection, an Atlantic 10 First-Team pick twice and the league's Freshman of the Year in 1994.
• He left UMass as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots in a career (336) and single-season (128). Camby scored 1,387 points in his career to rank in the top 10 after his final season for the Maroon & White.
• This will be the fifth men's basketball jersey retired at UMass and ninth in school history. Previous hoops numbers to be hung at the South end of the Mullins Center include George "Trigger" Burke (#32), Julius Erving (#32), Lou Roe (#15) and Al Skinner (#30). Additionally, Dick Bergquist in baseball (#26), Danielle Henderson in softball (#44), Greg Minton in water polo (#6) and Eric Sopracasa (#43) in men's lacrosse have had their jerseys retired in their respective sports.
UMASS SELECTED FIFTH IN A-10 PRESEASON POLL
• UMass was selected fifth in the preseason Atlantic 10 Poll in a vote by media and coaches. Saint Joseph's was picked to win the league followed by Saint Louis, VCU, Temple and UMass. The Hawks had 11 first place votes, while the Billikens had 10 votes. Temple, UMass and Butler all had two first place votes in the poll.
• Junior Chaz Williams was named to the preseason First Team. Williams had a banner campaign in 2011-12 in leading UMass to the NIT Semifinals. The Brooklyn native was named to the All-Atlantic 10 First Team, the A-10 All-Championship Team and the NABC All-District 4 First Team.
• Among national publications, Athlon picked the Minutemen to finish fourth and make a return trip to the NIT. They also tabbed Chaz Williams as the Preseason Player of the Year and one of the top 10 Floor Leaders in the nation. Lindy's had UMass seventh but listed it as a team folks may want as an A-10 sleeper team. Williams was bestowed the honor of being the Most Entertaining player in the league.
UMASS AMONG TOP 3-POINT SHOOTING TEAMS IN 2011-12
• UMass averaged 8.1 3-point field goals per game a year ago, which ranked first in the Atlantic 10 and 31st nationally. The Minutemen made 288 triples to rank second all-time in school history.
UMass was one of just four schools in Division I with four players who made at least 50 treys. The others were Florida, Iowa State and Youngstown State.
MULLINS CENTER TURNS 20 IN 2012-13
• UMass is in its 20th season of play at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center and has posted an all-time record of 193-75 (.719). The Minutemen also own a 103-49 (.676) all-time record in regular-season Atlantic 10 Conference games at the Mullins Center, and a 4-2 mark in Atlantic 10 Tournament contests. The first game was played on Feb. 4, 1993 as UMass defeated West Virginia 64-59 in overtime.
• UMass was dominant at home last season, posting a 15-1 record in Amherst, which included a 14-1 record at the Mullins Center (1-0 at historic Curry Hicks Cage) and a renewed home-court advantage with the student-based Mullins Militia. UMass averaged 4,359 fans in 15 dates last season. Those numbers got increasingly higher as the season evolved to 5,411 for eight A-10 home games and 6,614 for the last five regular-season home dates. The Minutemen saw four crowds of more than 6,200 in the final six games, with a season-high 8,399 in the victory over Saint Louis.
UMASS A POPULAR TV CHOICE IN 2012-13
• UMass is scheduled to appear on television 11 times this season with nine current match-ups slated for national broadcasts. That marks the most regular-season showings since the 1997-98 year.
UMASS POSTSEASON HISTORY
• UMass has an all-time postseason record of 24-21 in 18 combined appearances in both the NCAA and NIT tournaments. The Minutemen have made eight NCAA Tourney showings, with the last in 1998. The first came in 1962 before a string of seven-consecutive from 1992-98 in which it ran its all-time record to 11-8 with an Elite Eight showing in 1995 and the only Final Four appearance in A-10 history in 1996. Last season the Minutemen collected their 11th NIT appearance and ran their record to 13-13, which included Final Fours in 1991 (fourth), 2008 (runner-up) and 2012 (tied-third).
ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
• The A-10 ranked seventh among all conferences in the final RPI in 2011-12. The league boasted eight Top 100 teams, third among all leagues behind only the Big East and Big 10. The eight teams matched the SEC and was more than the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Mountain West.
A-10 IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• For the fifth year in a row, the Atlantic 10 Conference earned at least three bids into the NCAA Tournament while it marked the 27th time in the league's 35-year history that the conference received multiple bids to participate in the national tournament. The A-10 also received multiple at-large bids for the fifth year in a row and 18th time overall. Over the last six years, the league has had 12 at-large selections - the seventh most among Division I conferences - behind only the Big East (42), Big Ten (29), ACC (26), Big 12 (26), SEC (23) and the Pac-10 (22). In fact, the A-10 is one of eight conferences to receive at least one at-large selection over each of the last six seasons.