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Harris helps UMass shock Kansas

Dec 13, 2008 - 10:58 PM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Ricky Harris helped Massachusetts take down another national champion.

Harris scored 18 points as UMass held on for a 61-60 upset of No. 23 Kansas on Saturday, snapping the Jayhawks' 31-game home winning streak.

The win also improved Massachusetts' record to 5-1 all-time against defending national champions.

Last season, the Minutemen posted a 78-66 win over 2007 champion Florida in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

"It feels great. Kansas is a great team with a great tradition and not many teams come in here and beat them," Harris said. "With coach (Derek) Kellogg coming here from Memphis we wanted to play well for him. We didn't guarantee a victory, but we knew we would give a good effort for him."

Harris sank a pair of free throws and Chris Lowe added another in the final minute as UMass took a 61-57 lead.

But with the Minutemen leading by just a point with 20 seconds remaining, Lowe missed a pair from the line, giving the Jayhawks (7-2) one last shot.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins, who led all scorers with 19 points, missed a tough drive in the lane with five seconds left and the Jayhawks ran out of time to get off another attempt to seal the victory for UMass.

"This is really frustrating," Collins said. "We just weren't ready to play from the start of the game. We didn't lose on our last shot or our last possession; we lost it from the beginning of the game. We weren't ready to play."

Cole Aldrich added 12 points and 13 rebounds for Kansas.

Tony Gaffney finished with 13 rebounds, six blocked shots, three assists and three steals for UMass.

"He's 6-8, 215 pounds and he plays like he is 7-foot, 260 pounds," Kellogg said of Gaffney. "He does everything for us. To come into a program and have him do what he has done for us thus far in the season is amazing. He's averaging a double-double and he contests and blocks almost every shot out there."

The Minutemen opened a 36-30 lead at the half, thanks in large part to 10 Kansas turnovers.

UMass took advantage of the miscues and got 10 points from Harris during an 18-3 run that put them up 34-20 with just 2:38 left before the break.

"To be honest, I don't think we played well today, and I think UMass contributed to us not playing well," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Anytime you give up 16 first-half points because of the scouting report means that you are probably not as ready as you should be. And that's our (the coaches) job to get them ready, I'm not putting that on them."

Kansas responded with a 3-pointer from Tyrel Reed which started a 10-2 run to close the first half.

The Jayhawks kept the momentum going in the second half and Reed hit a 3-pointer to give the them a 46-45 lead, setting up a back-and-forth final 12 minutes.

"I am proud of the kids, the way they competed and played," Kellogg said. "This is a tough place to play and Kansas is a Top-25 team that has some rocks in Aldrich and Collins and some young kids that are continuing to get better. They are going to be a team by the end of the year that has a chance to do something special."