Today the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced BYU will match up with the University of Massachusetts for the 2013 Holiday Showcase. This event will be held in the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts on December 7th at 1:30 pm EST. This is the first in a home and home match-up with the Minutemen traveling to BYU to play on December 23, 2104. This will be the first and second meetings between the schools.
The Inaugural Holiday Showcase took place in 2011 and has continued with the University of Massachusetts playing in the game each year. In 2011 UMass staged a comeback with Chaz Williams scoring 20 points in the second half to lead the Minutemen to an 82-78 victory. In last year's match-up, Tanner Samson of Elon knocked down a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left to send the game to overtime. The Minutemen pulled away in the last minutes of overtime to win 78-73.
UMass finished the 2012-2013 season with a 21-12 record going 9-7 in Atlantic 10 Conference play. They played their last game of the season in the NIT first round by losing to Stony Brook with a score of 71-58. The team returns three starters including Chaz Williams, an All-American candidate, who led the team in points, assists, steals and minutes. They are trying to take the next step and make it to the NCAA Tournament as they have notched 20 win seasons in the last two years, but have been relegated to the NIT each time.
BYU returns a core of talented players as well while welcoming new ones that should have an immediate impact. Junior Tyler Haws led the West Coast Conference in scoring and is joined by junior point guard Matt Carlino. Excitement continues to generate around returning Kyle Collinsworth and newcomer Eric Mika. Collinsworth played with BYU during the Cougars 2011 Sweet 16 run but has just returned from his LDS mission. Mika, a true freshman from Lone Peak High School, is expected to contribute right away.
Ticket sales and broadcast plans will be announced at a later date.