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Men's Basketball Notes for Boston College Game
UMass takes on Boston College this Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
From UMass Athletics, 12/3/1999

Game Information
Game #5 UMass vs. Boston College
Tipoff 1 p.m. (EST)
Radio WHMP 99.3 FM (Ted Baker, Skip Connors, Jack Leaman)
Television NESN
Satellite Coord. Satcom C3, Transp. 14
Polls ESPN/USA Today - NR
Associated Press - NR
Site Conte Forum (8,606) Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Bruiser Flint: UMass head coach Bruiser Flint is in his fourth season as head coach of the Minutemen (56-43, .566) and 11th season as a

Game 100 This will only be the fifth game of the season for both teams but it will be a milestone of sorts for head coach Bruiser Flint. With a 56-43 record at UMass, Flint will prepare for game No. 100 this afternoon in his successful head coaching career. After seven seasons as an assistant coach at UMass, he became the head coach replacing John Calipari in the 1996-97 season. Flint would lead the Minutemen to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths in three years with a possible third coming this season.

Kit is No Pussy Cat Starting center Kitwana Rhymer has taken on the starting role in the middle and flourished so far in this young season. Rhymer is replacing Lari Ketner who is now playing for the Chicago Bulls. He had 11 rebounds while hitting six of six free throws from the charity stripe against Boston University this past Thursday. Rhymer registered his first double-double Monday night against Marshall with 10 points and 10 rebounds. He also established a career high with six blocked shots, five coming in the first half. The last time a Minuteman had six or more blocked shots in a game was in the Rock 'N' Roll Shootout in Cleveland against Cincinnati when Ajmal Basit had six at Gund Arena on Dec. 12, 1997. The last time a Minuteman had six or more blocked shots at the Mullins Center was January 27, 1996 when Marcus Camby had nine against St. Bonaventure. Only four games into the season and Rhymer has already eclipsed most of Ketner's single game highs from a year ago. Ketner had season highs of four blocked shots, 15 rebounds and 21 points. Rhymer has a season high of six blocked shots (vs. Marshall), 17

WHO'S HOT? Senior Chris Kirkland came alive against Boston University two days ago when he registered his season-high of 23 points to lead the Minutemen to a 70-51 victory. Kirkland hit a career-high 10 field goals in 15 attempts and currently is shooting .535 from the field good enough for third in the Atlantic 10 conference. Junior Kitwana Rhymer is still playing well defensively and on the boards.

vs. Boston College This will be the 32nd meeting between UMass and Boston College with the Minutemen leading the series 16-15. Last year at the Worcester Centrum the UMass ran out to its biggest margin of victory on the season with a 75-45 win (SEE BOX). UMass has a five game winning streak against the Eagles winning every game in the '90s. The Minutemen have won all four Commonwealth Classics beginning in 1995 with a 65-57 victory at the FleetCenter. This will be the first Commonwealth Classic not played at a neutral site. The last time these two played at a campus site was in 1977 when UMass hosted and defeated the Eagles 85-69. 10 of the last 11 contests have gone UMass' way.

Overall Series 16-15
Bruiser Flint vs. Boston C. 3-0
Last Meeting UMass (75-45) on 12/12/98 at Worcester
Last Five Meetings UMass 5-0
Most UMass Points 97, (97-109) on 2/2/65 at Curry Hicks
Fewest UMass Points 20, (20-15) on 12/8/05 at UMass
Largest UMass Margin 30, (75-45) on 12/12/98 at Worcester
Most Boston C. Points 109, (109-97) on 2/2/65 at Curry Hicks
Fewest Boston C. Points 15, (15-20) on 12/8/05 at UMass
Largest Boston C. Margin 24, (94-70) on 2/6/68 at BC
In Overtime: Boston College leads 1-0

A Visit with Boston College Boston College is 3-1 on the season and averaging a boatload of points (over 85 ppg). This team dropped 104 points on Hartford in a 42 point victory this past Monday night. Troy Bell has led the scoring barrage averaging over 18 points a game. The Eagles were 6-21 last season with a 3-15 Big East Conference record.

Against the Big East Massachusetts is a long time member of the Atlantic 10 but it seems like they always play a strong Big East schedule as well. Boston College will be the second of four Big East teams the Minutemen will face this year. Last week UMass gave No. 7 UConn all it could handle before falling to the defending national champions. After this afternoon the Minutemen will face Villanova on Monday night at the Mullins Center and wrap up their Big East part of the schedule on December 30 at Providence to take on the Friars in the final UMass game of the millenium.

Welcome Home, Sort of Boston College head coach Al Skinner is a 1974 graduate of UMass where he picked up the scoring load in 1971 after Julius Erving left the previous season. Skinner averaged 15.6 points and 9.5 rebounds a game over his UMass career with his best coming in 1973-74 when he averaged a double-double, 18.8 pts and 11.0 rebounds a contest. His 1,235 points is 15th on the UMass career list, a feat he accomplished in only three seasons. Coach Skinner has had plenty of practice coaching against his former school. Prior to taking over at BC, Skinner was the head coach at Rhode Island where he faced the Minutemen twice a year.

Coaching Debut Associate head coach Geoff Arnold made his UMass head coaching debut Thursday night in the 70-51 victory over Boston University. Head coach Bruiser Flint served a self-imposed one game suspension following the use of an expletive on his post-game radio show in the aftermath of UMass' 65-55 loss to Marshall Monday night. "I always tell my players that when they do something wrong, there is a price to pay," said Flint. "Obviously, my language on the radio the other night was inappropriate. I caught it right away and apologized on the air, but after thinking about it and talking it over with Bob Marcum, sitting out for a game is the right thing to do."

Keep it Going, Little Man With All-America candidate, Monty Mack, out for most of the preseason, head coach Bruiser Flint has had to go down his bench and look for someone to step up. At 5-9 you may not have noticed it but junior Jonathan DePina has stepped up his game and more. After four games he is averaging 7.0 points with five three-pointers in seven tries. Last season DePina had five three-pointers in 26 games. A more confident player in UMass' uptempo game, DePina is making the smart plays this season and should continue to get minutes even after Mack is back at 100 percent after a stress fracture in his left foot sustained seven weeks ago.

Debut Three UMass players made their collegiate debuts as a Minuteman in a regular season game at Iona...Junior JoVann Johnson, sophomore Shannon Crooks and freshman Micah Brand all saw gametime in their first opportunity in the maroon & white...Crooks started at shooting guard and finished the game with 11 points on 50 percent shooting from the field... for Crooks it was his first regular season game after sitting out a year last season after transferring from St. John's University...Brand is the only freshman on the squad...he had a team high seven rebounds coming off the bench in 22 minutes of action...Johnson is a junior college transfer from Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel, Ill. who failed to score in only two minutes of play.

The Stopper Senior Mike Babul is known nationally as one of the best defensive players in the country. In the season opener he picked up right where he left off with a lock-down on MAAC preseason player of the year, Tarik Kirksay. Babul, who had been nursing a lower back strain the previous three weeks, did not draw the assignment at the beginning of the game and Kirksay would score 15 first half points. The high scoring Gael would fail to register a field goal in the second half after Babul took over on the coverage. Kirksay wouldn't score until 19 seconds left in the game with the final verdict already decided. Babul then clamped down on No. 7 UConn's Kevin Freeman. Freeman was 1-8 from the field and scored two points in 37 minutes of action. Last year against the Huskies Babul held All-America Richard Hamilton to 11 points on 3-11 shooting from the field.

Player(school)        fg-fga   3fg-3fga   Pts  Avg.
Tarik Kirksay (Iona)*   0-2      0-0       5   13.8
Kevin Freeman (UConn)   1-8      0-0       2   13.3
*second half only

Welcome to the Team Senior Dwayne Early is the latest addition to the UMass basketball family. Early is a 6-4, 205-pound walk-on guard from Springfield Central High School. Early will be wearing No. 24 this season. Joining him is C.W. Post transfer, Dale Menendez. Menendez is 5-8, 180 pound point guard who will not be eligible to play this season due to NCAA transfer rules. At Westhampton Beach high school, Menendez led his team to the New York State Class B Championship after posting a perfect 28-0 record. He pulled double duty for Westhampton scoring 1,000 points while also rushing for 1,000 yards in his career as a tailback.

Any Time, Any Place, Any Team This season, UMass will have 10 teams on their schedule which appeared in the 1999 NCAA Tournament and two teams that competed in last year's NIT. This schedule includes a game against defending national champion UConn, and games against perennial national powers Texas and Villanova, 1999 NCAA Tourney participants Detroit, Rhode Island, Temple and George Washington, and NIT participants, Xavier and Providence.

The Minutemen will appear on television at least 20 times this year, including seven national telecasts.

Climbing the Charts Senior Monty Mack is attacking the UMass career leader boards for three-point shooting. His 86 three-pointers made last season was the third best single season performance in UMass history. He has 12 three-pointers on the season and currently sits fourth all-time for three-pointers made at UMass. At his current pace he will pass Carmelo Travieso as the all-time leader in three-pointers made.

3-point Field Goals Made   
      Player                   3FG   3FGA   Pct.   Years
   1.   Carmelo Travieso '97   245   666   .368   1993-97
   2.   Rafer Giles '91        221   592   .373   1987-91
   3.   Lorenzo Sutton '88     178   424   .420   1984-88
   4.   Monty Mack '00         152   419   .363   1997-
   5.   Derek Kellogg '95      138   362   .381   1991-95
   6.   Edgar Padilla '97      136   431   .316   1993-97
   7.   Mike Williams '95      123   406   .303   1991-95
   8.   Tony Barbee '93        116   341   .340   1989-93
   9.   Charlton Clarke '99    113   339   .333   1995-99
  10.   Anton Brown '92         92   218   .422   1988-92

3-point Field Goal Attempts Player 3FG 3FGA Pct. Years 1. Carmelo Travieso '97 245 666 .368 1993-97 2. Rafer Giles '91 221 592 .373 1987-91 3. Edgar Padilla '97 136 431 .316 1993-97 4. Lorenzo Sutton '88 178 424 .420 1984-88 5. Monty Mack '00 152 419 .363 1997- 6. Mike Williams '95 123 406 .303 1991-95 7. Derek Kellogg '95 138 362 .381 1991-95 8. Tony Barbee '93 116 341 .340 1989-93 9. Charlton Clarke '99 113 339 .333 1995-99 10. Anton Brown '92 92 218 .422 1988-92

3-point Field Goal Percentage (min. 45 made) Player 3FG 3FGA Pct. Years 1. Carl Smith '87 54 122 .443 1983-87 2. Anton Brown '92 92 218 .422 1988-92 3. Lorenzo Sutton '88 178 424 .420 1984-88 4. Jerome Malloy '95 86 215 .400 1991-93 5. Derek Kellogg '95 138 362 .381 1991-95 6. Rafer Giles '91 221 592 .373 1987-91 7. Carmelo Travieso '97 245 666 .368 1993-97 8. Monty Mack '00 152 419 .363 1997- 9. Tony Barbee '93 116 341 .340 1989-93 10. Charlton Clarke '99 113 339 .333 1995-99

Last Game

A slip of the tongue made Massachusetts head coach Bruiser Flint banish himself from the sideline and into the national spotlight. The Minutemen defeated winless Boston University 70-51 Thursday night, but their coach was missing from his normal position patrolling the sideline.

Flint was serving a self-imposed one-game suspension after he used profanity in a postgame radio interview following his team's loss to Marshall on Monday.

Flint, who watched the game from a glassed-in reception room high above the Mullins Center, was replaced by associate head coach Geoff Arnold.

Chris Kirkland had 23 points and Monty Mack added 12 to lead UMass (2-2). Paul Seymour had 13 points for BU (0-5), which went 9-18 last season.

UMass led 36-22 at halftime and held at least a 14-point lead throughout the second half. The biggest lead was 62-39 with 6:59 to play. Kirkland, working the inside with ease, was 10-for-15 from the field.

BU scored the first five points, but UMass got the next nine and the Minutemen stayed on top for the rest of the game. Kirkland and Mack had 10 points each in the first half. BU shot 9-for-24 from the field and was 1-for-7 from behind the 3-point line in the first 20 minutes.

Center(s) of Attention It is still very early in the season BUT, while Lari Ketner plays for the Chicago Bulls the 1999-2000 UMass big men did look good in their season debut. In fact, senior Anthony Oates, junior Kitwana Rhymer and freshman Micah Brand combined for a total of 39 minutes of playing time at Iona on Saturday. In that span they scored 18 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked a shot. Rhymer, who foulded out with only 11 minutes of action under his belt, was 6 of 8 from the field for a career-high 12 points to go along with seven rebounds. Brand also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and five fouls in 22 minutes of action. Oates provided much needed depth while scoring two points, grabbing a couple of boards and a critical steal late in the game. Rhymer followed his performance against the Gaels with 17 rebounds and seven points against No. 7 UConn in Storrs, Conn. The 17 boards is the most by a Minuteman since Ajmal Basit grabbed 19 at Rhode Island in the 1997-98 season.

Did You Know? The 85-77 win at Iona was the first time UMass has opened a season in an opponent's home gym with a victory in 22 years. Not since the Minutemen defeated Harvard in Cambridge by a score of 73-66 to open the 1977-78 season under coach Jack Leaman had they accomplished it.

Captain(s) of the Ship Senior leadership has always played an important part of UMass basketball and this year should be a banner year in that department. Seniors Mike Babul and Chris Kirkland were named co-captains this year not only because of their improved play but because of their leadership skills and poise under fire.

Player Updates #0 Anthony Oates - Played perhaps the best game of his UMass career at Iona in season only six minutes of play he scored two points, grabbed a pair of rebounds, garnered his first career steal and played solid defense...missed the Marshall game with a contusion in his left foot.

#1 Jonathan DePina - Hit a career-best three for three from three-point land and finished with 10 points against No. 7 UConn. Scored 11 points in the season-opener at Iona. Currently third on the team with a 10.5 ppg scoring average...grabbed a season-high four rebounds against Boston University.

#3 Ronell Blizzard - played well in the first two games with five points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 20 minutes. He hit his first career three-pointer at No. 7 UConn to cut the Huskies lead to three with 8:46 left to go in the game.

#4 JoVann Johnson - A junior college transfer who has seen only 10 minutes of playing time in the first three games...registered his first career steal against Marshall.

#5 Monty Mack - Came off the bench and scored a season-high 26 points at No. 7 UConn. Scored 21 points off the bench in the season-opener at Iona. Scored 22 against Marshall to give hime three consecutive 20 point games for the first time in his career. Passed the 1,000 career points total in the Iona game achieving the feat in only 63 contests. He has been the leading scorer for UMass every game this season. In his career Mack has scored 25 points or more in a game five times, 20 points or more in a game 19 times and has scored in double figures 57 times out of 65 games.

#11 Darryl Denson - Played in the final minute of the win over Boston University.

#20 Winston Smith - Notched his first basket of the season in the season-opener at Iona...played a season-high 16 minutes against Boston University handing out three assists.

#22 Chris Kirkland - Nailed a career-high 10 field goals in 15 attempts posting a game-high 23 points against Boston University... registered nine points and five rebounds against the defending national champion UConn Huskies. Scored 15 points and grabbed another five boards in the season-opener at Iona. Registered 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots against Marshall.

#23 Mike Babul - Shut down UConn's Kevin Freeman holding him to two points on 1-8 shooting from the field. Shut down first team All-MAAC selection Tarik Kirksay, in the second half holding him to five points, all on free throws. Babul did not have the defensive coverage on Kirksay in the first half when the Gaels' leading scorer dropped in 15 points in the opening stanza.

#24 Dwayne Early - Played in the final minute of the victory over Boston University registering his first career steal.

#30 Shannon Crooks - Scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out three assists in his first game as a Minuteman in the season-opener at Iona...connected on his first career three-pointers as a Minuteman scoring 10 points, grabbing four rebounds and handing out four assists in 21 minutes in a 70-51 win over Boston University.

#33 Kitwana Rhymer - Scored a career-high 12 points in the season-opener at Iona along with a team-high seven rebounds in only 11 minutes of play. Grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds at No. 7 UConn in Gampel Pavilion. The last UMass player to grab 17 or more rebounds was Ajmal Basit against Rhode Island in the 1997-98 season. Swatted away a career-high 6 blocked shots and registered his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Marshall...was six for six from the free throw line while grabbing 11 rebounds against Boston University.

#40 Micah Brand - In his collegiate debut he grabbed a team-high seven boards in the season-opener at Iona. He also registered four points and a blocked shot against the Gaels...posted a career-high 6 points against Boston University.

Television Update UMass basketball has been a popular television show in the '90s and continues to be a prominant TV player as the new millenium beckons. Three more games have been added to the television slate, giving the Minutemen 20 televised games during the regular season. In Detroit against the Titans, Fox-Detroit is producing the now 3:05 tipoff (previously 4:05), and the game will be aired locally by Fox-New England. The New England Sports Network (NESN) has also announced that it will be televising the Commonwealth Classic pitting UMass against Boston College at Conte Forum, and the UMass-Providence tilt on December 30 at the Providence Civic Center.

State rivalry rings Bell
By Mike Shalin, The Boston Herald, 12/4/1999

Troy Bell isn't from the local area and doesn't know a lot about the Boston College-UMass rivalry. The Eagles' freshman point guard, a Minneapolis native, probably knows even less about UMass' all-Boston backcourt.

But Bell's been around these parts long enough to know today's game is important and that Conte Forum, however full it might be, will be hopping.

``I think it will (be alive),'' said Bell. ``There will be a lot of people here - I think we'll be ready.

``These last couple of teams (Hartford, UNH), we were supposed to beat them - UMass we have to get out and show people. I think we will be mentally focused and I think we will be ready for that.''

The home fans - a three-game grand total of 5,850 - have seen the Eagles beat three America East teams by a combined 94 points. Even fewer locals watched last Saturday, when the Eagles failed their first real test of the year by getting blown out by a physical Penn State team on the road.

This is another test against another physical team. ``I think they present the same type of situation that Penn State presented,'' said BC coach Al Skinner, looking for his first 4-1 start at the Heights. ``We'll find out (today) if we've really learned our lesson from the Penn State game.''

As in most BC games, its key is the backcourt. The Eagles' guards, Bell and Xavier Singletary, will have their hands full with guards Monty Mack, Jonathan DePina and Shannon Crooks.

``They're doing a good job of rebounding the basketball,'' said Skinner. ``I think they're more aggressive offensively than they have been in the past but they're still a very good rebounding team and a very aggressive defensive team.''

Skinner constantly faces the questions regarding improvement from last year's 6-21 club. ``We are a better club,'' he said, ``but in order to be able to compete against UMass and the rest of the teams in the (Big East, BC's conference), there's still a lot of room for improvement.''

State championship at stake
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/4/1999

AMHERST - It's been 10 years since the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team has lost to any school that calls the Bay State home. Not since a Dec. 9, 1989, 79-73 loss to Northeastern have the Minutemen dropped an intrastate contest.

It's been even longer since UMass has lost to Boston College, an Eagle drought that dates back to Jan. 26, 1979, when BC beat UMass, 82-70 in the Colonial Classic at the Boston Garden.

The Eagles will try to snap both of those streaks Saturday afternoon in the fifth Commonwealth Classic at 1 p.m. After three games in the FleetCenter and one in the Worcester Centrum, the unofficial state championship moves back to campus sites as Conte Forum will host this year's game.

It marks Bruiser Flint's return to the sideline after his self-imposed one-game suspension for swearing on the radio and he's looking forward to getting back to coaching, especially for this game.

"This is a state thing. I'm about the rivalry because I'm from Philly and I go back to the Big Five," Flint said. "It's always good to play those games. People always talk about the UConn game, but I think people look forward to this one. This is like the state title."

Just how good the Eagles are is tough to gauge from their first four games. They beat up on America East perennial after-thoughts New Hampshire (89-65), Vermont (91-63) and Hartford (104-62), but were handled by Penn State 85-57.

"They're much better than they were last year," Flint said. "It's not even close. Plus they're playing at home. It's going to be a hyped up crowd and they're going to be ready."

A pair of newcomers have sparked coach Al Skinner's offense. Freshman guard Troy Bell has averaged 18.3 points, while Howard-transfer Xavier Singletary has been solid early with 14.8 points per game.

"Bell is pretty good. He can score," Flint said. "Singletary can score and when you have guys that can score points it makes it a little easier for you to run the offense. They make the other guys better."

BC will put a small line-up on the floor. Senior Brian Ross will play the pivot, but is really more of a forward at 6-8. Singletary is 6-6 and the three guards are Bell (6-1), Michael Cotton (6-4) and Kenny Harley (6-5). UMass will try to capitalize on its height advantage while matching quickness with the Eagles.

This marks the first game at Conte Forum for UMass junior guard Jonathan DePina, who almost became an Eagle, but had his scholarship offer revoked in a much-publicized incident. DePina and current Miami forward Elton Tyler verbally committed to the Chestnut Hill institution, but BC's admission department denied the two players for academic reasons. The move caused put a sizable black mark on the program. It led to the departure of coach Jim O'Brien and several players, beginning erosion of the program from Big East contender to distant also-ran.

DePina has put the incident behind him.

"This is just another game now," DePina said. "We need to go out and play our game."

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