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February 8, 2012 - St. Bonaventure vs. UMass


UMass Athletics

Daily Hampshire Gazette

UMass set to face St. Bonaventure, big man Andrew Nicholson
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 2/8/2012

AMHERST - During Monday's Atlantic 10 conference call, Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus remarked that there are about 25 legitimate candidates for the Atlantic 10's all-conference first team.

If Majerus is exaggerating, it's only slightly. Making things even more difficult is that most of those candidates are guards, as the league is filled with loaded backcourts. Almost every team in the conference features a guard as its best player.

The most obvious exception to that rule is St. Bonaventure, where everything revolves around senior big man Andrew Nicholson.

While the coaches sort out which guards and how many of them to put on the all-conference first team, Nicholson is all but a shoe-in to make the squad as the league's premiere big man. The 6-foot-9 Canada native is averaging 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

The University of Massachusetts will see Nicholson up close tonight at 7:30 when the Bonnies visit the Mullins Center. The game is the second of a doubleheader involving the women's team, which plays SBU at 5 p.m.

Nicholson's “a guy that means a whole lot to their team. They run great sets for him and put him in position to be successful,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “It's going to be a challenge for us to make the game hard on him and make sure guys on the perimeter don't get open looks because we're focused on him.”

Sean Carter figures to spend plenty of time guarding Nicholson and was looking forward to the challenge.

“Every year he's been in this league he's put in work. I respect him as a player. He's really good. It's a key thing for their team to get him going and get him a lot of touches throughout the game,” Carter said. “That's what you look for, to take on a challenge. I'm up for this game. I have a big defensive role to play in this game, which I'm ready for. I have to play with as much energy as I can.”

Kellogg said Carter won't face the assignment alone.

“Sean is only going to be able to play him so long,” he said. “Then there're going to be some other guys to take on that challenge. There's a chance a lot of different guys could be on him.”

Both Kellogg and Carter thought making Nicholson work on defense was important.

“That's been a key for some teams to make him work on the defensive end of the floor so he doesn't just have to use energy on offense,” Kellogg said.

Added Carter, “Putting pressure on him is most important. I need to make him exert some energy at the other end of the court.”

Foul trouble has plagued Nicholson lately. He's fouled out of the last three games and had just two points in 10 minutes last week at Saint Louis.

“It's a huge concern,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said. “For us to be successful, he needs to be on the court. He's got to play smarter and stay away from silly fouls. It's something he has to work through and play according to how the referees are calling fouls.”

The Bonnies are 2-3 when he scores in single digits.

St. Bonaventure (12-8, 5-3) is trying to separate itself from the cluster of teams in the middle of the Atlantic 10 standings. The Bonnies are in sixth place, but they're just a half game behind four teams tied for second, including the Minutemen (17-6, 6-3).

“We have to continue to get better. We have to go on the road and get a couple more wins,” Schmidt said. “UMass is really playing extremely well. Chaz Williams really makes them go. They're extremely good in the open court. We have to find a way to slow them down.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at [email protected]. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at

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UMass Athletics

Morgan's Sharp Shooting Leads UMass Past St. Bonaventure
UMass improves to 12-0 at home on the season.
From UMass Athletics, 2/8/2012

AMHERST, Mass. - Led by two second half surges and a career night from Jesse Morgan the UMass men's basketball team knocked off St. Bonaventure, 76-67, Wednesday night at the Mullins Center. Morgan scored a career high 24 points, off a career high 6-for-7 from three point range.

UMass (18-6, 7-3 A-10) improves to 12-0 at home this season. It is their best start at home since the 1993-94 season in which they started 14-0.

St. Bonaventure (12-9, 5-4 A-10) was led by Andrew Nicholson who finished the game with 24 points on 11-for-17 shooting from the floor.

The Minutemen opened the second half with 14 unanswered points off four St. Bonaventure turnovers in the first three minutes of play. However, the Bonnies answered back with a 17-9 run of their own to cut the UMass lead to three with 8:41 left to play in the half.

UMass then went back on a 17-2 run over the next four minutes of play with nine points coming from Morgan, off 3-for-3 shooting from long range.

The Minutemen went into half trailing 34-31, rallying back from a 10-point deficit, thanks to a buzzer beater three from Morgan. The first half went back-and-forth with UMass outshooting St. Bonaventure from long range 36.4 percent (4-for-11) to 16.7 percent (1-for-6).

Chaz Williams led UMass at the half with nine points, while Morgan tallied eight of his own. Both Nicholson and Chris Johnson finished the first period with 12 and 10, respectively.

For the game UMass shot 48.1 percent (26-for-54) from the floor, 45 percent (9-for-20) from three-point land and 78.9 percent (15-for-19) from the charity stripe.

St. Bonaventure shot 42.9 percent (27-for-63) from the floor, 12.5 percent (2-for-16) for three, and 73.3 percent (11-for-15) from the free throw line.

The Minutemen will be back in action on Saturday Feb. 11 as they travel to Philadelphia, Pa. to take on Saint Joseph's. The last time these two teams met this season UMass came from behind to win 71-62. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Morgan, Minutemen overcome slow start to beat St. Bonaventure
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 2/9/2012

AMHERST - The first run Jesse Morgan started gave the University of Massachusetts the lead. The second one delivered the knockout blow.

The Minutemen erased a double-digit deficit in the first half and nearly gave up a 12-point edge in the second half before pulling away for a 76-67 win over St. Bonaventure Wednesday at the Mullins Center.

UMass started slowly and the Bonnies took advantage, pulling ahead 23-13 with 6 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first half. The Minutemen trimmed the lead to three at 31-28 with 46 seconds left before intermission, but Chris Johnson completed a three-point play to stretch SBU's lead back to six.

UMass held for the last shot and Morgan launched a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The shot hit the back of the rim and bounced up. It hit the front of the rim and seemed to hang there before dropping through as the buzzer sounded.

“That was big for us. We were down six, he knocks down the 3 on, not a broken play, but not how it was designed,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “For him to make that 3 gave us a nice boost going into halftime.”

The shot seemed to ignite the Minutemen (18-6, 7-3 Atlantic 10), who stormed out for the second half. After Chaz Williams hit a floater, Morgan stole a pass in the backcourt and knocked down the open 3 to give the Minutemen a 36-34 lead.

The Bonnies suddenly seemed rattled by the Minuteman ball pressure as UMass continued to attack, scoring the first 14 points of the second half to bring its run to 17-0, including Morgan's buzzer beater. The run gave UMass a 45-34 lead.

“We put everything in the concept of a boxing match, and we felt like we had them against the ropes that one time,” Williams said. “It was only right for us to keep abusing, keep throwing at them the way we were and not give up and not let up, not let them get us against the ropes. We just try to go out there and execute our game plan.”

Andrew Nicholson, who led St. Bonaventure (12-9, 5-4 Atlantic 10) with 24 points and nine rebounds, led a 13-4 surge that brought the visitors within three at 54-51.

Terrell Vinson answered with a jump hook in the lane then UMass forced St. Bonaventure into a shot clock violation going into an officials timeout.

Out of the break, Morgan got the ball in the corner and passed up a semi-contested shot and fed Javorn Farrell in the other corner. He fed Raphiael Putney near the top of the key who quickly passed to Williams, who whipped it to Morgan back in the corner. Now open, Morgan drained the 3-pointer.

“Morgan played really, really well. He shot the heck out of the ball. He was 6-for-7 from 3,” said St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt, who tried to recruit Morgan to the Bonnies. “You can't get much better than that.”

Morgan had two more 3s as the run reached 17-2, giving UMass some breathing room. The Bonnies subs made some shots to shrink the Minuteman lead, but they never threatened the final outcome.

Morgan finished with a career-high 24 points, but Kellogg was more impressed with his defense.

“That was a big-time game for him. I think the first one he hit wasn't a great shot, but when that went in, he knocked three or four more continuously after that,” Kellogg said. “What I really like out of him is that he's really pressuring the other team's point guards on defense and kind of taking them out of their offense, which I think has been his best attribute.”

Williams echoed Kellogg.

“He is a hell of a defender, by the way. He guards me in practice every day,” said Williams, who added 17 points, six rebounds, five assists, four turnovers and three steals.

UMass returns to the road to face Saint Joseph's, Saturday at 7 p.m. in Philadelphia.

Matt Vautour can be reached at [email protected]. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at

Maxie Esho key in second half for UMass
By Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 2/9/2012

AMHERST - What would have been the biggest play of Maxie Esho's night wasn't quite completed.

On a fast break, University of Massachusetts point guard Chaz Williams tried to throw an overhead hook pass from the right side of the basket to Esho for an alley-oop.

The throw was off, but the freshman leaned to catch the ball and nearly threw down a reverse dunk, but hit the rim.

While he missed a shot at SportsCenter's Top 10, he still played a key role in the second half when he scored seven of his nine points in the Minutemen's 76-67 win Wednesday over St. Bonaventure.

“I thought he was unbelievable in the zone and on the front of the press. And his energy and athleticism I think gave us a different kind of look.. He gave us a nice boost,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “His energy was I thought great defensively. And if he didn't miss that dunk, I thought that it might have made a highlight reel.”

Esho said he's grown more comfortable as the season progresses.

“I'm getting more confident as the season goes, and toward the end of the season,” Esho said. “(I just try to bring) energy, rebounds, just to be aggressive on the press, on the full-court press.”

TECHNICALS - Among Raphiael Putney's five fouls was a technical after a dunk in the first half and a flagrant foul in the second half. St. Bonaventure's Chris Johnson was also called for the technical.

WHITE RIBBON PLEDGE - Kellogg and members of his staff wore white ribbons on their lapels as part of the White Ribbon Pledge campaign that promotes ending violence against women.

About 50 students officially took the pledge on the court at halftime.

CARTER HONORED - Senior Sean Carter wasn't part of the ceremony that honored UMass athletes with 4.0 grade point averages as he was in the locker room preparing for the second half. But the senior sociology major's name was announced as part of the ceremony.

HOME STREAK - The win improved the Minutemen to 12-0 at home this season - 11 wins at the Mullins Center and one at Curry Hicks Cage. It's the best start since the 1993-94 Minutemen were 14-0 at home.

MISCELLANEOUS - Among the 4,253 fans in the building were Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade and former Major League Baseball player, manager and coach Don Zimmer.

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Box Score

Conger, DemitriusF2937.42901.000331.0001452013029
Cook, Da'QuanF1704.00000000444012000
Nicholson, AndrewF331117.6470023.66745920113124
Kloof, CharlonG2938.37501.000001123001016
Wright, MatthewG2605.00004.000000333053030
Mosley, Eric1114.25003.000000111020002
Gathers, Jordan1515.20014.250000221030003
Ndoye, Youssou1234.7500014.2502242003117
Johnson, Chris2659.55613.333331.00000010120214
Houseknecht, Jake20000221.0002020000012
TEAM213 1
First half1329.44816.16778.875 34
Second half1434.412110.10047.571 33
Points in the paint36
Points off turnovers13
Second chance points11
Fast break points0
Vinson, TerrellF3348.50014.25012.50013420300010
Putney, RaphiaelF3037.42914.250001345116407
Carter, SeanC3112.50000221.0000334021014
Williams, ChazG35412.33313.33389.88906620540317
Morgan, JesseG34913.69267.8570022410310224
Farrell, Javorn12111.0000034.7501121012005
Esho, Maxie1449.4440012.5000221000019
Riley, Freddie1102.00002.000000110010000
First half1026.385411.36478.87531
Second half1628.57159.556811.72745
Points in the paint32
Points off turnovers18
Second chance points3
Fast break points10
Score by Periods1st2ndOT1OT2OT3Final
OfficialsWally Rutecki, Lamar Simpson, Brent Hampton
Technical FoulsSt. Bonaventure-JOHNSON, Chris. Massachusetts-PUTNEY, Raphiael

Play by Play

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