UMass Continues Home Stretch, Hosting BU Saturday At 7:30 p.m.
UMASS (9-2) vs. BOSTON UNIV. (3-7)
UMass Continues Home Stretch, Hosting BU Saturday
The Minutemen received six points in the Associated Press poll for the second week in row, effectively ranking them 36th in the nation. UMass is at No. 20 in the RPI as of Friday, Dec. 28 at 12 Noon. The Minutemen have risen as high as No. 10 this season.
Saturday's game will be available via UMass' All-Access streaming video package on UMassAthletics.com. The game will be carried on the UMass Sports Network on 100.9 FM WRNX in Western Massachusetts and on 830 AM (WCRN) in Central Mass and 95.9 FM (WATD) in Eastern Mass. Bob Behler calls the action alongside color analyst Tim Collins.
Happy Birthday Coach Ford
Brower, Gaffney Face Former Team
Gaffney is in his first year playing for UMass after a redshirt year in 2006-07 after leaving BU. Gaffney played in 46 games in 2004-06 with the Terriers. He averaged 4.5 as a sophomore in 2005-06.
The Series With BU
BU's last win came on Dec. 2, 1989, a 76-60 win at Boston University.
LAST YEAR: UMass defeated Boston University 56-54 behind a strong showing from Rashaun Freeman who scored 20 points, 14 in the second half, and hauled in 12 rebounds (eight offensive). Stephane Lasme chipped in 12 points despite being plagued with foul trouble. The big story of the night, however, was the play of Brandon Thomas and Chris Lowe off the bench. Thomas scored 10 points, including two big three pointers, while Lowe recorded six assists, two steals and one block. The UMass reserves were huge in the tight road win outscoring the Terriers' bench 18-to-8.
The last time UMass was ranked in the AP Poll was in the Nov. 18, 1998 poll, when the Minutemen came in at No. 23.
UMass is one of four Atlantic 10 teams in the poll with Rhode Island ranking No. 25. In "others receiving votes" this week in the AP poll Dayton has 84 and Xavier has 14 points.
Of Minutemen opponents, undefeated Vanderbilt is ranked 15th at 11-0.
Rising In The RPI
Beating the ACC & Big East
Forbes Earns National, A-10 Honors
In the win at BC, Forbes also pulled down seven rebounds. For the week, he shot 13-of-28 from the field and 18-for-19 from the line on the week. He was also named A-10 Player of the Week after the second week of the season on Nov. 18.
The Minutemen hold the top four shot blocking days in Atlantic 10 history led by the 1995 showing and this year's party against CCSU. UMass also had 16 against St. Francis (N.Y.) last year and St. Peter's in 2005.
After finishing third in the nation (7.4) in blocked shots with the nation's top shot blocker in Stephane Lasme, UMass is sixth in 2007-08 with 7.2 per game. UConn leads the way with 9.4 per game. Duquesne leads the A-10 with 8.9 per contest.
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.
Ford-Tough At Home
Scoring, More and More
With the new offense, UMass is scoring a high-pace. The Minutemen are averaging 85.4 points per game, up from 75.0 points (+10.4) through 11 games last season and 77.3 points (+8.1) from the entire season.
UMass is 13th in the NCAA in scoring through Dec. 27 with 85.4 per game. The Minutemen are also second in the Atlantic 10 scoring behind No. 3 Duquesne (88.1). VMI leads the nation with a 97.2 average.
UMass is one of two teams in the nation with two players in the Top 50 NCAA scoring leaders as of Dec. 27 with Gary Forbes standing 25th with a 20.5 average. Ricky Harris is 42nd with 19.5 per game. The other teams on the exclusive list is North Dakota State.
UMass is 29th in total 3-pointers made with 104. With 9.5 treys per game, UMass leads the A-10 and is 18th in the NCAA in 3s per game.
Showing Major Improvement
Sophomore Ricky Harris has emerged as a major weapon on offense, scoring 19.5 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 10 games this season. Harris has 214 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 +15.0 points per game. Harris has scored in double-figures in all 11 games this season with a career-high 25 on two occasions (at Syracuse and at Boston College). 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 11.4 points in 11 starts after scoring just 2.7 points per game in 2006-07 when he was hindered by an ankle injury all season. Brower has 125 points in the first 11 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 +8.7 improvement was aided by his career-high 25 points against Wis.-Green Bay.
Senior Danté Milligan has tallied 10 or more points in four games this season -- equalling his total from all of last year. 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 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds. An increase of 5.3 points and 1.9 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 4.9 per game and has made 12-of-28 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 2.5, which is 26th in the NCAA. Harris is also fourth in the A-10 in scoring with a 19.9 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 5.7 per game. He is also fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio with 2.13 per game. Lowe averaged 14.6 point and 7.2 assists over five games since returning from an ankle injury from Nov. 28-Dec. 15. Lowe is also second in steals to Harris with 2.2 per game.
Lowe is moving up on the all-time assists list at UMass. With five assists against CCSU (12/22), he passed BC Coach Al Skinner (320) and now has 322 to stand 10th. Next on the list at No. 9 is Louisville coach Rick Pitino with 329.
Danté Milligan is shooting 63.8 from the floor (37-of-58), but is shy of qualifying for the NCAA rankings (5.0 made field goals per game). If he eligible, Milligan would rank 14th nationally and first in the Atlantic 10. Milligan has taken his field goal percentage from 49.4 to 63.8, an improvement of 14.4 percent.
UMass Wins Comm. Classic For First Time Since `99
UMass' athletic teams have had great success against Boston College athletic teams in the 2007 calendar year. The Minutemen and Minutewomen have posted a 10-2-1 record against BC in 10 different sports. Most notably, UMass' men's soccer team, which is playing in the NCAA College Cup this weekend, knocked off No. 1-seeded Boston College on Nov. 28, by the score of 2-1. 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.
The win also marked the first win vs. an ACC opponent since the Minutemen defeated Florida State, 78-68 on Feb. 15, 2005.
UMass also defeated alumnus Al Skinner for the first time since 1999, after Skinner had won eight in a row. Skinner is one of four former UMass players to have his number retired. Skinner had his No. 30 retired on Feb. 18, 2004. All-time against his alma mater, Skinner is 11-21
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.
UMass continues to be the personal bug-a-boo for Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim. Of schools the legends has faced two or more times, UMass is the ONLY schools which Boeheim has never beaten. The Minutemen are 3-0, winning in 1992, 1995 and 2007 against the Orange.
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 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 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 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.
2006-07 A Season To Remember
The Minutemen captured a share of the league title on March 3 with a 71-67 win at Saint Joseph's. It marked UMass' first regular-season league title since 1996 and sixth A-10 regular-season crown overall. The Minutemen won five straight regular-season titles from 1992-96 and proceeded to win the A-10 Tournament each time.
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.
UMass senior Stephane Lasme was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-07. Lasme is the first UMass player to be named the league's top player since Marcus Camby in 1996 and fourth overall joining Camby, Lou Roe (1995) and Harper Williams (1992). 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.
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