Riding Three-Game Win Streak, UMass Hosts IUPUI, Saturday At 4 p.m.
UMASS (4-6) vs. IUPUI (7-4)
Riding Three-Game Win Streak, UMass Hosts IUPUI
Following the IUPUI game, UMass heads to Houston for a match-up on Tuesday, which is now at 2 p.m., moved from the earlier listed time of 8 p.m., due to the Cougars' football team playing in the Armed Forces Bowl.
UMass has starting clicking on both offense and defense after a slow 1-6 start under new head coach Derek Kellogg. Over the three-game win streak, UMass is averaging 77 points per game and allowing 66 per game. The Minutemen tied their school record for 3-pointers made in a game in the 97-81 win over Hofstra last Saturday. Wake Forest transfer Anthony Gurley scored a UMass-best 19 points including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Ricky Harris added 16 points including the 1,000th point of his career in the win.
In the win over Hofstra, off the bench, senior Luke Bonner returned to action after missing a month. The center posted career highs with 15 points and nine rebounds. Freshman David Gibbs also scored a career-best 11 points and had a powerful slam dunk to help punctuate the victory over the Pride, which came into the game with an eight-game win streak. Senior point guard Chris Lowe had his fourth 10-assist game of the season including three of the last four games. Lowe is averaging 9.0 assists per game in his last four games.
Saturday's game with IUPUI 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 last Saturday began six straight Saturdays of home games until Jan. 24 against La Salle.
Saturday's game 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 .
Last Year's UMass-IUPUI Meeting
IUPUI, predicted to win the Summit League, play in one of the smallest venues in Division I. Called "The Jungle", the seating capacity is 1,215. The Jaguars also feature one of the league's best players, George Hill, who was an NBA first-round draft pick by the San Antonio Spurs.
Hill wouldn't disappoint, putting up 30 points, 26 of which came in the second half. Jon Avery chipped in with 25, and also turned it up after halftime, scoring 20 himself.
Four Minutemen recorded double-figure point totals. Ricky Harris scored 23, the second consecutive game and fourth time this season scoring over 20 points. Gary Forbes added 12, Luke Bonner scored 11.
After trailing by 11 at the half, the Jaguars came out strong in the second with a 16-5 run to tie the score at 48 at the second media timeout. Avery and Hill scored all of IUPUI's points in that span, with ten and six points, respectively.
The Minutemen ended the run with a Harris slam dunk to make it 50-48. IUPUI took their first lead of the half, and first since it was 19-17, after a pair of free throws to make it 51-50. After another two-point field goal, they had their biggest lead of the game up to that point, at 53-50.
The game continued to go back and forth with neither team holding greater than a five-point lead. Along with being tied at 48, the score was also tied at 53, 55 and 62.
IUPUI eventually upped their lead to eight, 75-67. Harris made three free throws to cut the lead to five and it looked the Minutemen would claw back into the game. But that was the closest the Minutemen would get. The Jaguars responded with a 14-5 run to close out the win.
UMass Now 5-1 Against Defending NCAA Champs
UMass head coach Derek Kellogg has been a part of three of the wins over the champ as a player in 1993 and 1994 and the head coach in 2008 vs. Kansas.
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.
For head coach Derek Kellogg the 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 on Jan. 18, 1997. 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.
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.
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).
Gaffney Among The National Leaders
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 the first nine games and at least 11 in seven of the 10 games.
Gaffney nearly had triple-doubles in back-to-back games on Dec. 6 and 10. 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 played 32 or more minutes in the first nine games, 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
Lowe is 24th in the NCAA with 6.2 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.
Lowe has four 10-assist games this season and 10 in his career, all in the last two seasons (all in the last 23 games). With a 10-assist vs. Hofstra (12/20), Lowe has 36 assists in the last four games (9.0 per game). He has 10 or more in three of those four games with 12 vs. Holy Cross (12/10) and 11 against Boston College (12/6). That total of 36 cames after he had 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). 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).
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 Hits 1,000th Career Point
He tallied 16 in the win over Hofstra and has 92 in his last four games (23.0 PPG) including a career-high 35 against Boston College (12/6) and 23 vs. Holy Cross (12/10). Prior to Harris, 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. Also ready to be knocked down the list at No. 38 Tyrone Weeks (1,013), No. 37 Tim Edwards (1,022), No. 36 Derick Claiborne (1,033) and No. 35 David Brown (1,037).
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 20.4 scoring average and led the team in scoring in seven of the first 10 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 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. 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
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 tied for seventh in career attempts with 424. 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 tied with Sutton(424) and eying James Life (425) and Edgar Padilla (431) after passing Kellogg (362) earlier this season.
100th Season Of UMass Basketball
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
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 Gets Preseason Honors
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
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.
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