UMass Hoops Seeks 3rd Win In Row At BC
UMASS (6-5) vs. BOSTON COLLEGE (7-4)
UMass Seeks 3rd Win In Row, At BC In Commonwealth Classic
UMass freshman forward Terrell Vinson hit the game-winning basket with 0:00.7 left to beat Memphis on Saturday. His bucket was the ESPN SportsCenter No. 1 Play of the Day on Saturday and the No. 6 Play of the Week on SportsCenter. He was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week and UMass Athlete of the Week as he posted a career-high 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds along with the thrilling game-winner.
Wednesday's game pits UMass alums on the sidelines for the second year in a row in the series. UMass' Derek Kellogg `95 and BC's Al Skinner `74 became the first UMass graduates to coach against each other in 27 years last season. Skinner's Eagles pulled out an 85-81 win in overtime at the Mullins Center last season on Dec. 6.
Boston College holds an 8-6 lead in the Commonwealth Classic which was started in 1995 as the teams played at the Fleet Center -- now TD Garden. UMass won the first five Classics before BC won seven in a row.
There is no television coverage of game, but live streaming video is available. The UMass Sports Network with Josh Maurer, Tim Collins and Tim Kenney will cover the game on WRNX 100.9 FM in Western Mass as well as WCRN 830 AM in Central Mass, 1060 AM in Boston and 95.9 WATD on the South Shore. The pregame begin 30 minutes prior to tip-off.
UMass Alums Face Off In Minuteman Game
The last time two UMass alums coached against each other was back on Dec. 3, 1981 when Tom McLaughlin `73 lost his first game as UMass coach to his former teammate Rick Pitino `74, who coached Boston University to a 91-65 win in Beantown. McLaughlin was the last UMass alum to lead the Minutemen as he coached the team from two years 1981-83.
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. He was named to the UMass All-1970s team last season as part of the 100 Seasons of UMass Basketball Celebration. In his playing 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).
Since the teams resumed playing each other -- as the Commonwealth Classic -- on an annual basis during the 1995-96 season, BC leads the series, 8-6.
For games played on the Boston College campus, the Eagles hold an 9-4 advantage with a 3-2 mark at the Conte Forum. The schools have also played nine times at either the Boston Garden or the TD Garden, with UMass leading 6-3 in those contest. Boston College has won all four games played at Mullins, winning in 2000, 2002 and in 2005 and 2006.
UMass has not beaten BC in Amherst since 1977, an 85-69 win on Feb. 2, 1977. The Eagles have won five games in a row in Amherst.
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
Prior to 2007's win against Boston College, 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.
One of the biggest wins against an ACC team came at the Mullins Center, 13 years ago to the day as #3 UMass and Marcus Camby beat #10 Wake Forest and Tim Duncan, 60-46 on Dec. 6, 1995.
Last Year's Commonwealth Classic
Harris shattered his old career-high of 27 by shooting 12-for-19 from the field and 5-for-6 from the line. He added four rebounds and an assist. Gaffney nearly reached a triple-double with 15 points, 18 rebounds and nine blocks.
The two teams slugged it out in overtime, exchanging the lead six times, before BC took the lead for good on a Josh Southern jumper with 1:02 remaining. With the Eagles leading, 83-80, with 8.3 seconds left, Rakim Sanders missed two free throws. Lowe was fouled on the ensuing UMass possession, where he made one of two, cutting the BC lead to two, 83-81, with 3.9 seconds remaining.
The teams battled back and forth throughout the first early portions of the second half. Just over three minutes in, two-straight hoops by Rakim Sanders gave the Eagles a 38-35 lead, but Harris struck back with a two and a 3-pointer to put the Minutemen back on top, 40-38, with 16:10 to go.
UMass led, 45-40, with 14:55 left when the Eagles went on a 9-0 run over the three minutes to take the lead, 49-45. The Minutemen used three 3-pointers, by Matt Glass and two by Harris, over a two minute span to take the lead back, 54-53, with 9:46 to play.
The Eagles followed that up by reeling off seven-straight points, giving them a 60-54 lead, their biggest since the opening minutes of the game. Harris then put the Minutemen on his back, scoring five-straight points while securing a rebound and a block at the defensive end. A Gurley bucket at the 4:35 mark tied the game, 64-64, but a Raji basket 13 seconds later gave BC a lead they would keep until the final seconds.
BC led, 74-69, with seven seconds left when Lowe hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to pull UMass within two. Reggie Jackson missed the front end of a one-and-one after a UMass foul. Lowe took the outlet pass and flew up the court before being fouled as he entered the lane. After missing the front end of his one-and-one opportunity, Gaffney tipped in the rebound with 2.2 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Harris & Gurley Leading The Way
Harris continues to move up the UMass career scoring charts with his 17.2 average this season. He is ninth with 1,519 points and closing in on No. 8 Harper Williams (1,534). He has scored in double-figures in 21 games in a row, in 74 of his 108 career games and in 71 of his last 76 games dating to his sophomore season. Harris passed the two legends of UMass basketball on the career scoring list this season. Harris moved by Julius Erving (1,370) and Marcus Camby (1,387) in the game against Cornell. He had 19 in points in each of the last two wins vs. Quinnipiac (12/2) and at Holy Cross (12/5).
Harris was named the A-10 Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 7 after he led UMass to a 2-0 week (Dec. 2-5). Harris had exactly 19 points, six assists and three rebounds in each UMass win last week (vs. Quinnipiac and at Holy Cross. The Baltimore native shot a blistering 68 percent from the floor (13-of-19) and made a stellar 7-of-13 3-point field goals.
Gurley scored in double-figures in 10 of 11 games this season, with the first five off the bench and the last six as a starter. He is second on UMass in scoring with a 16.4 points per game average. He is also shooting very well with a 49 percent mark from the floor. He had at least 13 points in 10 of 11 games this season. He had 18 points at Holy Cross (12/5) and 15 points in the win over Quinnipiac (12/2). Against No. 2 Michigan State (11/28), he tied his career-high with 24 points. That came on the heels of 19 vs. Rutgers (11/27). He had 21 points vs. Arkansas-Fort Smith (11/21).
Freshman Showing Strong In Debuts
Vinson has six games overall in double-figures including the last two with 21 vs. Memphis (12/19) and 20 points vs. Grambling State (12/11) in addition to having three in a row from Nov. 18-24. Vinson became the first UMass freshman to post a double-double and a 20-point, 10-rebound game since Rashaun Freeman in 2003-04, when he had 20 points and 11 boards vs. Grambling.
Riley has four games in double-figures including 12 at Holy Cross (12/5).
Sampson Carter is averaging 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds with double-figures in three games. Javorn Farrell is averaging 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds including a career-best 10 rebounds vs. Grambling State (12/11).
Shooting Tells The Story
In UMass' six wins, the Minutemen are shooting 49.0 from the floor overall and 35.2 from 3-point range. In the five losses UMass is a dreadful 34.8 on all field goals and 30.4 from beyond the arc.
On defense, in the six victories, UMass is holding foes to 39.3 overall and 29.4 from 3-point land. In the five defeats, opponents are shooting 51.2 percent overall and an amazing 48.8 from trifecta land.
It has translated to a scoring margin of 79.5 to 64.0 in the wins and a deficit of 86.8 to 67.8 in the losses.
Harris Shoots Up 1,000-Point List
In the Cornell (11/18) game he passed three players on the all-time list including the two greatest stars in UMass history in Julius Erving (1,370) and Marcus Camby (1,387). He also went by Clarence Hill (1,369).
Against UAFS, he went by Edwin Green (1,393) with 18 points.
He is the 40th player to score 1,000 points in his career.
Harris has scored in double-figures in 74 of his 108 career games including 71 of the last 76 dating to his sophomore year.
With a similar season to his previous two, where he averaged 18.2 points per game, Harris would finish with right around 2,000 points. That would place him third behind Jim McCoy (2,374) and Monty Mack (2,183). Among the players he could pass are No. 6 Tony Barbee (1,643), No. 4 Rashaun Freeman (1,744) and No. 3 Lou Roe (1,905).
Harris has continued to be prolific scorer in his career at UMass. In 2009, he was named a Third-Team All-Conference selection. In 2008, he was named the A-10 Chris Daniels Most Improved player.
Harris is leading returning scorer in the Atlantic 10 with a 18.2 scoring average and led the team in scoring in 18 of 30 games in 2008-09. He scored 20 or more in 10 games. Harris was fourth in the Atlantic 10. He dropped a season and career-high 35 points on BC (12/6/08). The 35 points were 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.
Harris Rises on 3-Point Charts
Harris, who is tied Carmelo Travieso for the single-season mark for made treys with 104 (in 2007-08), is rising on the career charts. Harris stands fourth in career made 3-pointers with 232 and fourth in career attempts with 639. Among the players he passed last season was his current head coach Derek Kellogg (138 makes and 362 attempts). Next on both lists is Carmelo Travieso (245 of 666).
Harris' 87 made 3-pointers last season finished tied with James Life for sixth-most in a single-season.
On the single-season list of most 3-pointers attempted, Harris' 225 stands seventh-most in a season. He took 212 in 2003-04.
Harris also 11th on the career 3-point field goal percentage list (36.3).
Additionally, he is 10th in career made free throws with 319-of-422. Next on the list are Monty Mack (320) and Julius Erving (322).
Visiting The Commonwealth
UMass is now 4-0 at the TD Garden with the win on Dec. 19. It was UMass first game at the building since 1997, when the Minutemen took on Boston College in the Commonwealth Classic. It is the second year in a row that UMass is playing a game in Springfield.
UMass is 6-1, winning the last six in a row in the Commonwealth.
UMass Quick Hits For 2009-10
UMass has one of the youngest teams in the country as UMass features the top recruiting class in the Atlantic 10 with five freshmen. The Minutemen are also welcoming two transfers who will be eligible this season in Sean Carter from Oregon State and Hashim "Big City" Bailey from Memphis. Sophomore Trey Lang also returns to the team after not playing in 2008-09, giving UMass eight newcomers for this season's roster.
UMass returns just 36.1 average points. In looking at it by percentages, UMass returns 49.1 percent of its scoring with Harris leading the way. UMass lost nearly all of its rebounding with the graduation of 2009 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year Tony Gaffney, the final cut of the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. UMass has just 24.3 percent of its rebounding returning as Gaffney grabbed 10.2 per game.
UMass Alum Leading UMass
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.
Harris, Riley, Vinson Earn
In the first preseason men's basketball magazine, Lindy's, UMass men's basketball is being praised for the A-10's top recruiting class. Senior guard Ricky Harris is also gaining honors as he was named to the A-10's First Team and the league's "Most Entertaining" player.
Lindy's picks UMass to finish fifth in the A-10 behind Dayton, Xavier, Richmond and La Salle. The magazine mentions: "Ricky Harris is an absolute scoring machine and coach Derek Kellogg has a killer group of newcomers." It finishes with UMass "Will get better as the season progresses and will be a team nobody wants to draw in the A-10 Tourney."
Lindy's calls UMass' incoming class the "Best group of recruits" in the league. "Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg made a name for himself as a recruiter under John Calipari at Memphis, and he proved that he could do it on his own at his alma mater in Amherst. He scored a key early pledge from Freddie Riley, and in the late signing period nabbed a big-time combo forward in Terrell Vinson. Aside from those two, Kellogg got pledges from a pair of small forwards in Sampson Carter and Javorn Farrell, as well as a super athletic power forward Raphiael Putney."
In the UMass team profile, Lindy's cites Anthony Gurley under "Keep An Eye On." The mag says: "Gurley will display his all-around talents in the backcourt, largely because he has to as the Minutemen do not have a true point guard with experience."
Bud Light Radio Show Hits Road In 2009-10
The show continues to air on WRNX 100.9 in Western Massachusetts and on UMassAthletics.com at 7 p.m. "Voice of the Minutemen" Josh Maurer will host the show for the second year in a row.
The show returns to its normal Thursday night time slot with the second show on Dec. 3 at Theodore's in Springfield. The Dec. 10 show airs live from Charlie's in Amherst and the following week on Dec. 17, the show moves to Paddy's in Springfield. After a short break for the winter holidays, the show resumes from Stackers in Amherst on Jan. 7.
Other locations scheduled to host shows include: Whip City in Westfield, Samuels in Springfield, Rafters in Amherst, Rumbleseat in Chicopee, The Harp in North Amherst, 350 Grill in Springfield, McCaffreys in Springfield and The Hangar in Amherst.
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