Notebook: Kennesaw State coach Al Skinner enjoys return to UMass

  • Kennesaw State Head Coach Al Skinner, who has his former number retired at UMass Amherst, coaches his players including Nick Masterson, left, during a men's basketball game Dec. 17, 2016 at the Mullins Center in Amherst. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

Published: 12/18/2016 11:00:53 PM

AMHERST – While he wasn’t happy with his team’s 95-77 loss to UMass, Kennesaw State coach Al Skinner enjoyed his return to Amherst Saturday.

Skinner, a 1974 UMass alum and member of the school’s Hall of Fame, coached in the shadow of his retired No. 30.

“I’m always pleased to come back to UMass to play,” Skinner said. “It’s always a good place to come back to. I still have a lot of friends in the area. I enjoy coming here and watching the place grow. It makes me feel good to see everything that’s occurring here.”

It was the third team Skinner, the former coach of Rhode Island and Boston College, has brought to his alma mater.

Skinner said he didn’t look up at the banner with his number.

“My focus was between the lines,” he said. “I know it’s there, but more importantly, it’s in my heart. That’s all I really care about. I was fortunate to have a good career.”

Kennesaw athletic director Vaughn Williams, a 1992 UMass alum and former Minuteman football player, was also in attendance.

PIPKINS RECORD BOOK – In 11 career games, Luwane Pipkins has now tied two UMass single-game records. His eight 3-pointers matched a mark hit by six previous players, most recently Trey Davis in January.

Pipkins had eight steals against UMass-Lowell in the season opener, which also matched a record.

CHASING 1,000 – Donte Clark’s 11 points gave him 982 in his career. The junior guard is attempting to become the school’s 50th 1,000 point scorer.

DEFACTO GOTHAM TITLE – There’s no actual championship for the Gotham Classic, but UMass and Rider are both undefeated in the event making Thursday’s game the de facto championship of the event.

MISCELLANEOUS – After struggling from the free-throw line recently, the Minutemen made 7 of 9 from the line.

The snow and road conditions left the crowd at 1,758, the lowest of the season. It would have been impossible to move the start time back because of the scheduled 7 p.m. hockey game in the building that followed.

Matt Vautour can be reached at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at

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