Men's Basketball

 
Come Out And Support Your UMass Basketball Team, This Saturday At 4 p.m.

Ricky Harris 23rd in the NCAA in scoring with 20.9 points per game.

Ricky Harris 23rd in the NCAA in scoring with 20.9 points per game.

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    UMASS (3-6) vs. HOFSTRA (8-1)
    Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008 • 4 p.m. (ET)
    Mullins Center (9,493), Amherst, Mass.
    Streaming Video: UMassAthletics.com
    Radio: WRNX (100.9 FM - Flagship)
    WCRN (830), WATD (95.9), WCAP (980)

    Fresh Off Kansas Win, UMass Faces Hofstra
    • After handing one-loss #25/23 Kansas, its second loss of the season, last Saturday, 61-60, UMass will host another team with a sparkling record this Saturday at the Mullins Center. The Hofstra Pride come to Amherst with an 8-1 record riding an eight-game win streak. UMass (3-6) has won two games in a row with a 73-59 win over Holy Cross on Dec. 10 and the historic win over Kansas in Kansas City. The UMass win was its first in 17 tries against a non-conference ranked team outside the state of Massachusetts. The win ended Kansas' 30-game home win streak (the game at KC was counted officially by the NCAA as a home game since it was part of the season-ticket package and was staffed by KU). UMass is also now an amazing 5-1 all-time against defending national champions knocking off the Jayhawks who claimed the 2008 title.

    • For head coach Derek Kellogg was win was sweet as his Minutemen picked up their first win over a ranked team under his watch in just his ninth game as a head coach. The previous fastest UMass coach to beat a ranked team was Bruiser Flint, who beat then-No. 19 Boston College in his 17th game as the head man in the 1996-97 season. Kellogg also gained a win against Kansas, the team which downed Memphis in the 2008 NCAA title game when Kellogg was an assistant for former UMass coach John Calipari.

    • Saturday's game with Hofstra welcomes UMass back to the friendly confines of the Mullins Center as UMass is hosting a stretch of five of seven games in Amherst, starting with the Boston College game on Dec. 6 until the Vanderbilt game on Jan. 3. If you include the Jan. 10 game against Dayton in Springfield (which will be counted as a home game), UMass has a run of seven of 10 games at the Mullins Center until Jan. 17. The Hofstra game begins six straight Saturdays of home games until Jan. 24 against La Salle.

    • The can be heard 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 and 980 AM WCAP in Lowell. "Voice of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer, will call the action with former Minuteman Tim Collins .

    UMass-Hofstra Series Notes
    • UMass and Hofstra are rivals in several sports at UMass including football (where they both play in the CAA) and lacrosse (they have played for the last 16 years in a row and will be conference partners starting in 2010). But in basketball, the teams have played just twice and not since 1971. The teams matched up in a home-and-home in 1970-71 when the Minutemen featured Long Island natives Julius Erving and Al Skinner.

    • Hofstra won the last meeting, 60-56 on Dec. 21, 1971 in Hempstead. UMass was led by Tom Austin and Chris Coffin, who each had 12 points. Of note for Hofstra, Quinis Brower, the father of recent Minuteman Etienne Brower played for the Dutchmen.

    • In the first meeting in played in a snow storm at the Curry Hicks Cage, UMass beat Hofstra, 87-60 on Dec. 22, 1970 as Julius Erving scored 27 points. The win for UMass was the 500th in program history and came on Jack Leaman's birthday. The then-Redmen improved to 7-0 with the win, the best start in program history.

    • UMass' Ricky Harris and Hofstra's Greg Washington both played prep ball at Winchendon School, separated by a year with Harris in his junior year while Washington is a sophomore in college. At Winchendon, they played for UMass alum and former Minutemen Mike Byrnes.

    UMass Now 5-1 Against Defending NCAA Champs
    • With the 61-60 over #25/23 Kansas (12/13), UMass is now 5-1 all-time against defending national champions, as the Minutemen have won three in a row against the champs. With last year's win over Florida in the NIT Semifinals, UMass has beaten the last two NCAA champs in their title defense year.

    • On Dec. 9, 2004 as the Minutemen downed No. 7 UConn at the Mullins Center, 61-59 as Rashaun Freeman scored with seconds left to lift UMass to the historic win. The game marked the first time a defending champion visited the Mullins Center.

    • UMass knocked off North Carolina, 91-86, in overtime on Nov. 24, 1993 in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden.

    • One year later, UMass thumped Arkansas, 104-80, on Nov. 25, 1994 in the Tip-Off Classic at the Springfield Civic Center.

    • That win over No. 1 Arkansas is symbolic, as it vaulted UMass to the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll for the first time in school history. Last week was the 14-year anniversary of the school's first No. 1 ranking, as the Minutemen played their first game as the No. 1 team on Dec. 3, 1994.

    • UMass' only loss against a champ came on Nov. 22, 1999, as the Minutemen lost to UConn at Gampel Pavilion, 79-65, on Nov. 22, 1999.

    Notes On UMass' Win Over Kansas
    • UMass won a non-conference game against a ranked team, away from Massachusetts for the first time since it beat Georgetown in the 1996 NCAA Elite Eight on March 23, 1996. Since then, UMass had lost 17 games outside the state of Massachusetts against ranked teams.

    • UMass beat a non-conference ranked team on the road for the first time since win at #21 Louisville on March 2, 1996, 62-59.

    • UMass beat a non-conference ranked team for the first time since topping UConn, 61-59, on Dec. 9, 2004. Since that game, UMass is 4-7 against ranked teams (1-1 this season, losing at Memphis).

    • UMass last beat a ranked team at #14 Dayton on the road last season, 82-71 on Jan. 16, 2008.

    • UMass ended Kansas' 30-game home win-streak with the victory in Kansas City as the game was officially a KU home game at the Sprint Center.

    • UMass is now 5-1 all-time against defending national champions with wins over the last two Florida (2007) and Kansas (2008).

    • The Minutemen have won the last two games against Kansas, winning at the Mullins Center in 1999. All-time Kansas leads the series, 3-2. All five games have been played in different states (New York, California, Kansas, Massachusetts and Missouri).

    • For Derek Kellogg it was his first win over a ranked team in his ninth game as a head coach. Previously, Bruiser Flint was the fastest to beat a ranked team, knocking off #19 Boston College in his 17th game as the head man on Jan. 18, 1997.

    Gaffney Among The National Leaders
    • With his amazing start this season, UMass senior forward Tony Gaffney is ranked in the Top 2 in the NCAA in two major statistics. He is second in the country in rebounding with 12.9 per game. He is also second in blocked shots per game with 5.4. Gaffney is averaging a double-double with a 12.4 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 22nd in field goal percentage (61.1) also.

    • Gaffney is off to an amazing start in his senior season averaging a double-double with five double-doubles this season after none in his career. He also had grabbed at least eight rebounds in every game and at least 11 in seven of the nine games.

    • In two of his last three games he has nearly had a triple double. In those contests he has a combined 32 points, 29 rebounds and 17 blocks. Against Holy Cross, (12/10), he had 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks. That followed a titanic effort vs. Boston College (12/6) with 15 points, 18 rebounds and a career-high nine blocked shots. At #25/23 Kansas (12/13), he posted 13 rebounds and six blocks.

    • Some of Gaffney's best performances of 2008-09 have come against national powers. One came against Boston College 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, 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 537, just 96 shy of the all-time record. His 11 assists against Boston College (12/6) propelled him past Alex Eldridge (518) and into third place. Next on the list is Edgar Padilla (597). Carl Smith (633) is the all-time leader. In the final 20 regular-season games, Lowe would need to average 4.8 assists to get the record before any possible postseason.

    • Lowe is 29th in the NCAA with 5.8 assists per game, leading the A-10. He has led the league in assists in each of the last two years and would become the first player to lead the A-10 in assists for three years in a row. Lowe has three games with 10 or more assists this season and nine in his career.

    • With a 12-assist effort against Holy Cross (12/10), he has 23 assists in his last two games after 15 total in the previous five games. 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 coach Derek Kellogg (453) most recently at the end of last year.

    • With a career-high 14 against La Salle (3/5/08) - part of the sixth triple-double in UMass history (14 pts, 10 reb), 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 become the all-time career assist leader Smith (633).

    Harris Eyes 1,000th Career Point
    Ricky Harris needs 11 points to become the 40th UMass player with 1,000 career points. In 76 college games, Harris has 989 points after 76 points in his last three games (25.3) with a career-high 35 against Boston College (12/6) and 23 vs. Holy Cross (12/10). The last UMass player to reach the plateau was Gary Forbes (vs. La Salle on March 5, 2008), who did it in his two seasons with UMass as he finished his career with 1,128 in 69 games. Forbes is playing with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA's D-League.

    • Standing in 39th place on UMass' all-time scoring list is former Miami Heat forward Stephane Lasme, who has 1,011 points. He broke the barrier in his final game, the NIT Second Round of 2007 at West Virginia.

    • 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 20.9 scoring average and led the team in scoring in seven of the first nine games. Harris is 23rd in the NCAA in scoring per game. 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 Rises on 3-Point Charts
    • Junior Ricky Harris has also continued to blister from 3-point range. In nine games, he is shooting 40.8 from beyond the new extended-distance arc. He has made 31-of-76 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 sixth in career made 3-pointers with 152 and eighth in career attempts with 421. With four treys at Green Bay, he passed Edgar Padilla (136) and his coach Derek Kellogg (138). Next on the list at No. 5 is Lorenzo Sutton (178). On the attempts list, Harris is eying Sutton(424) 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 first event was set at Boston College game on Dec. 6 which honored the Classic Era (1899-1959).

    • The following players were on hand for the BC game:Don Akerson, Frank Barous, George "Trigger" Burke, John Edgar, Dick Eid, Wray Gunn, Paul Kollios, Ned Larkin, John MacLeod, Condon McDonough, Ed McGrath, George Morin, Alex Norskey, Bill Prevey, Bill Stephens and William Walsh.

    • 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 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 to 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
    • UMass was 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 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Sporting News wrote 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. UMass finished with a 25-11 record good for its second-consecutive season with at least 24 victories.

    • 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).

    • 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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