Massachusetts Daily Collegian

COMMENTARY | Chris Lowe: Greatest UMass point guard?

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Columnist

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PHILADELPHIA – Move over Derek Kellogg, you’re not even the best point guard on your own team.

I’ll give you some credit for the really sweet hair, the four NCAA Tournament appearances as a player and being named the head coach of your alma mater, but your statistics say you’re not even the best UMass point guard to wear jersey number 14.

That honor goes to current floor general Chris Lowe.

Statistical superiority and genuine ability don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but one thing is for certain: no player that has ever put on a UMass jersey has more assists than Lowe ‘- who passed Carl Smith Sunday for the school record with 634 helpers.

Like any player, Lowe has had some ups and downs ‘- on and off the court ‘- in his four years at UMass, but they’ve been mostly good, mostly positive and often entertaining. Perhaps none more so than the final two seconds of Sunday’s game, when Lowe hit two of the most clutch free throws in one of the toughest environments that a player could ever face to defeat Saint Joseph‘s 70-69.

In honor of Lowe’s career-assist accomplishment, his late free-throw heroics and his career as a Minuteman, let’s take a look at some of his defining moments, best games, career achievements and other nifty tidbits.

Top 5 moments

Feb. 22, 2009: Lowe hits both free throws with two seconds remaining to give the Minutemen a thrilling 1-point win over the Hawks at the Palestra.

And oh yeah, he broke some record or something too.

It was classic C-Lowe, who penetrated and kicked it out for the 3-pointer, which Matt Glass swished through the net less than two minutes into Sunday’s game ‘- giving him his 634th assist to pass Carl Smith for the school record.

‘It means a lot,’ Lowe said after Sunday’s win. ‘Coach [Derek] Kellogg, Carmelo Travieso, Edgar Padilla, Carl Smith ‘- there’s been a lot of great point guards to come out of UMass. Records are made to be broken and hopefully someday someone will come in and break mine.’

March 13, 2007: Lowe hits game-winner with less than two seconds remaining against Alabama at the Mullins Center in the first round of the 2007 NIT.

(Bonus points for not prematurely jumping into the stands to celebrate a la Rashaun Freeman.)

Feb. 5, 2008: Lowe registers career-highs in both assists (14) and rebounds (10) in only career triple-double (sixth in school history) against LaSalle in a blowout win.

(No phantom triple-double in that game ‘hellip; can the same be said about all of Stephane Lasme’s?)

Feb. 4, 2009: Lowe becomes 41st player in school history to score 1,000 career points in home win over Richmond.

(And the man in charge of coaching him only mustered up 712. Weak.)

Jan. 18, 2006: Lowe scores season-high 14 points, hands out seven assists and only turns the ball over two times in win over Fordham in first-career start as freshman.

Top 5 random thoughts

1. If Lowe surpasses Charlotte‘s DiJuan Harris for the A-10 lead in assists, he’ll become the first player in conference history to lead the league in assists for three seasons. That’s pretty cool, not to mention a tremendous accomplishment.

2. If UMass were to retire jersey number 14, whose would it be ‘- Lowe’s or Kellogg’s? Can we decide now or should we wait until whenever Kellogg’s UMass coaching tenure ends?

‘Probably Chris Lowe’s,’ answered Kellogg, with a chuckle.

3. What is it like to play for one coach for three years (Travis Ford), then switch to a new offensive system under
a new coach for your senior season (Kellogg)?

4. It’s a shame Lowe didn’t make any of the three all-conference teams last season. The A-10 had a lot of very good players in 07-08, but he was certainly deserving of a spot somewhere. He did lead the league in assists and finish fourth in steals.

5. Lowe is the only player in school history ‘- and just seventh in Atlantic 10 history ‘- to register 1,000 points and 600 assists. Impressive.

Top tidbits (part I)

Sixth in A-10 history in assists (16 more to move into Top 5) ‘hellip; Had 26 assists and just six turnovers in final three games of 2008 NIT ‘hellip; Thirteen double-digit assist games overall and seven this season. UMass records are 15 overall and eight in one season ‘hellip; Can crack the UMass top 10 in steals (needs 10 more for 135), games played (needs two for 121) and minutes played (needs 96 more for 3,609) ‘hellip; Has made ‘SportsCenter’ Top Plays three times in career (always Top 3).

Top tidbits (part II)

Will lead team in assists all four years ‘hellip; Led team in minutes per game (31.0) as a freshman ‘hellip; Set career highs in both minutes (42) and steals (five) in addition to hitting game-winner against Alabama in NIT ‘hellip; Career-high in points is 23, which he did in wins over Marist and Rhode Island in 07-08 season.

Eli Rosenswaike is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]

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