Seven of the 10 games on this week's men's basketball docket take place on the road, including UC Santa Barbara's foray to No. 2 UCLA.
UC Santa Barbara Travels To No. 2 UCLA
UC Santa Barbara faces its toughest challenge of the season when it visits Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday against No. 2 UCLA. The Gauchos are in the midst of playing seven of eight on the road. They are seeking their first road win of the campaign.
Long Beach State Snaps Streak
Long Beach State returned from a brutal nine-game roadtrip last Wednesday against Pepperdine, and emerged with a 75-66 victory to improve the squad to 2-0 at the Walter Pyramid. The Beach then went on the road and nearly upset Texas, leading by as many as 11 points in the second half before eventually falling, 71-65.
Double-Double The Trouble
UC Davis junior Chima Moneke compiled his third double-double of the season – dropping 24 points and 10 rebounds on California last Saturday. The forward, a native of Australia, registered the career-high 24 on 10 of 15 shooting. It was his third 20-point game of the year. He also recorded his fourth double-digit rebounding game, which has enabled him to lead the Big West in the category at 8.5 per game. Moneke is tied with Long Beach State’s Gabe Levin for the Big West lead in double-doubles.
Toth In The Top 10
Cal Poly senior Kyle Toth is one of the nation’s top three-point shooters. The guard ranks No. 8 in three-point field goal percentage (.545), as he has made 30 of his 55 attempts from distance. Toth already has three games this season in which he has drained five treys – at Arizona State, Bethesda University and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Home Vs. Away
The benefits of playing at home and the difficulty of winning on the road have been spelled out starkly during non-conference play. Big West teams are a solid 23-8 at home, but have struggled to a 4-31 record in true road games. On neutral courts, the conference is 3-15.
The Future Is Here
UC Irvine has received nearly 50 percent of its total offense (339 of 680 points) from seven freshmen. Guard Eyassu Worku is the team’s third-leading scorer (7.5 ppg), followed in succession by Max Hazzard (6.8), Tommy Rutherford (6.5) and Evan Leonard (4.5). Hazzard, a redshirt freshman, has started all 11 games, helping the Anteaters to a 5-6 record.
Vincent Nears Top 10 In Threes
Gabe Vincent, who has drained nine threes over the last two games, ranks No. 5 in the Big West in total threes made with 20. The UC Santa Barbara junior now has 157 made threes for his career, putting him within range of the school’s top-10. He’s only six away from tying Branduinn Fullove (163, 2000-04) for No. 10 on the chart.
BIG WEST BY THE NUMBERS
8 - Threes made by Evan Payne at Texas, tying LBSU single-game record.
30 - Total threes for CSF’s Tre’ Coggins, tying him for 37th nationally.
96 - Big West-leading threes total for Cal Poly, also tied for 36th nationally.
Lou Henson Award Watch List
Juniors Justin Bibbins of Long Beach State and Gabe Vincent of UC Santa Barbara represent the Big West on the 50-player Lou Henson Award Preseason Watch List, as announced by online publication CollegeInsider.com. The two guards are up for the award presented annually to the nation’s top mid-major player. Bibbins, a second team all-conference pick last year, registered 164 assists for the third-highest single-season total in 49er history. Vincent, who earned All-Big West Honorable Mention praise, knocked down 80 three-pointers to rank No. 2 on the Gaucho single-season chart.
Long Beach State Earns Media Nod
With 203 points and 19 first-place votes, Long Beach State was the choice of the media to win the 2016-17 Big West men’s basketball regular season title. Head coach Dan Monson’s 49ers, which return three starters and eight letterwinners from last season’s 20-15 club, was cast in the favorite’s role for the first time since the 2012-13 season. In addition to returning Bibbins, LBSU also welcomes back junior forward Gabe Levin, an honorable mention all-conference selection who averaged 9.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Once again, LBSU faces one of the nation’s toughest non-conference schedules with road games against the likes of Wichita State, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA, Washington, Kansas and Texas.
Graham Nominated For Allstate Good Works Team
UC Davis senior guard Darius Graham was nominated to the 2017 Allstate NABC Good Works Team, which represents the sport’s finest in the areas of community service and leadership among their peers, and recognizes players at all levels of college basketball whose charitable involvement and altruistic acts stand out amongst all other student-athletes participating in the sport. A total of 181 players were recognized from the NABC, and the final 10-member team will be announced in February and be honored during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four® in Phoenix, where they will participate in a community service project benefitting the city. Graham has been involved in the UC Davis Reading Program, which includes more than 23,000 elementary-aged children from 35 schools throughout Yolo and Sacramento counties. In addition, he helped organize food drives, toy drives and classroom visits during his junior season.
Williams, Monson Among Winningest Coaches In Big West History
UC Santa Barbara’s Bob Williams and Long Beach State’s Dan Monson are the two current longest-tenured and winningest head coaches in Big West history. Williams became only the third coach in conference history to reach the 300-win mark when the Gauchos won at UC Riverside on Feb. 18, 2016. He joined Bob Thomason (436 at Pacific) and Jerry Tarkanian (405 at Long Beach State and UNLV) in the exclusive club. Williams, in his 19th season at the helm of the Gauchos, is also third with 181 wins in Big West play. In his 10th season, Dan Monson has compiled 157 wins at Long Beach State, which places him for 11th all-time in Big West annals. Monson is seven victories shy of entering the top 10. The No. 10 spot is currently anchored by UC Irvine’s Bill Mulligan (163, 1981-91). On the conference wins list, Monson is 96-50 all-time, needing four more victories to become just the seventh coach to reach 100.
Several first-year Big West players are ranked among the conference leaders in scoring and rebounding. Noah Allen, a transfer from UCLA, ranks No. 3 in points per game (14.8) and No. 5 in rebounding (6.3). UC Davis redshirt junior Chima Moneke is the conference’s leading rebounder at 8.5 per game, while his 13.7 points per game average is No. 6.
Here is a list of Big West newcomers ranked in the top 15 in either scoring or rebounding throughout the league:
UCLA transfer averaging 14.8 points per game
Tied for the league lead with three double-doubles
Long Beach State
Scored 26 points at Texas
Averaged 15.0 points in two games versus Utah and UCLA
Shooting 9-of-14 (64.3%) over the last two games
Scored career-high 19 points against Princeton
Averaging 11.7 ppg in 10 reserve appearances
Grabbed 10 caroms at California
JC transfer had 10 caroms against USC
Career-high 11 boards versus Florida Atlantic
UConn transfer leads CSUN with 5.6 boards per game
Has had seven or more rebounds in four games
Cal State Fullerton
Leads all Big West freshmen in rebounding (4.8 rpg)