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Where Dr. J took off

Before it spawned Hall of Famers, national No. 1 rankings, and a memorable run to the Final Four (since vacated by the NCAA), UMass men’s basketball got its official start on Jan. 10, 1899, when the school, then known as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, beat the Northampton YMCA, 14-9.

More than 1,000 victories have followed, many of them involving famous names that either are displayed prominently inside the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield, or might someday. You’ll learn about Julius Erving there, even though he’s not among the school’s career scoring leaders. The high-flying forward better known as Dr. J played just two seasons in Amherst (1969-71), yet averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds per game, both still tops in UMass history.

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