Anteaters, Titans Prepped For Rematch
Weekly Release No. 14
UC Irvine In Drivers Seat
At the midway point of its conference schedule, UC Irvine owns first place in the Big West with a 7-1 record. The Anteaters are one and a half games in front of Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara – both at 5-2. The schedule benefits UCI down the home stretch, with five of its eight remaining games at Bren Events Center. UCI is 5-0 in league road games, with four of those wins coming against its closest pursuers (CSF, CSUN, UCSB, Hawai‘i).
UCI begins a four-game homestand this week with a pair of key games on ESPN3. The ‘Eaters host CSF and UH with season sweeps at stake. UCI held the Titans to a season-low 46 points at Titan Gym on Jan. 12, and eked out a 75-74 win in overtime at Hawai‘i on Jan. 23. Since 2012-13, UCI leads all Big West programs with 42 home wins in conference play, going 42-10 overall over that stretch. LBSU is second at 40-13.
Big West Road Streak At 10
UCI will not play another road game until Feb. 28 at UC Davis. The ‘Eaters will try to extend their Big West road winning streak, which currently stands at 10 straight. UCI is also 10-2 overall in road contests this season. The 10 road wins is currently tied with Stony Brook for the most in all of Division I.
Better Look Now, The Titans Are Coming
Cal State Fullerton endured a rough start during a stretch of formidable non-conference opponent, but those early tests are now paying dividends. Despite an 0-2 league start, the Titans have reeled off five straight wins and are now in second place. The last time CSF won five straight league games was in 2011-12. The Titans have not won six straight league games since 1981-82. CSF would achieve that mark with a win at UCI on Wednesday.
Gauchos Make Statement
Coming off a home loss to UCI in a battle for first place, UCSB flew to Honolulu to take on a tough Hawai‘i team on Saturday. The Gauchos left the islands after handing the ‘Bows their worst Big West home loss, a 21-point defeat.
Diane On Pace To Join Exclusive Club
CSUN redshirt freshman LAMINE DIANE is having an outstanding season as the Big West leader in both scoring (24.1 ppg) and rebounding (11.0 rpg). He is in prime position to become just the eighth player in Big West history to lead in both categories. More impressively, he would become the first freshman to do so.
|Kevin Magee, UC Irvine
|Sidney Green, UNLV
|Larry Johnson, UNLV
|Michael Olowokandi, Pacific
|Ralphy Holmes, Cal State Fullerton
|Christian Maraker, Pacific
|Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara
PRIOR TO TIPOFF
CAL STATE FULLERTON AT UC IRVINE (ESPN3) - UC Irvine held Cal State Fullerton to a season-low in field goal percentage (.315) in the first meeting on Jan. 12 at Titan Gym. The Titans missed all 11 three-point attempts in that game. Since that game, CSF has reeled off five straight wins despite continued struggles from distance (33.8%, 26-of-77). However, during that win streak, CSF’s field goal percentage on two point attempts is 58.1% (115-of-198). In Big West games, the ‘Eaters are No. 1 in field goal percentage defense (.399), rebounding margin (+7.0) and blocked shots (4.6 bpg). PxP: Sam Farber • ANALYST: Dave Miller • SIDELINE: Courtney Sweet
CSUN AT UC SANTA BARBARA (BIGWEST.TV) - UC Santa Barbara is 8-0 this season when holding a foe below 60 points. In Big West play, the Gauchos are No. 1 in scoring defense (64.3 ppg) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.305). Conversely, CSUN is tops in scoring offense (78.4 ppg) and three-point field goal percentage (.415). AMADOU SOW had 20 points and 11 rebounds versus Hawai‘i to become the first freshman in UCSB history with 20 and 10. Former Gaucho Alan Williams, currently with the Brooklyn Nets, never had more than 19 in a game as a freshman.
UC DAVIS AT CAL POLY (BIGWEST.TV) - UC Davis earned its first road win of the season on Saturday at UC Riverside, shooting a season-best of 53.1% (26-of-49) against a Division 1 opponent. The Aggies also set a program record for free throw percentage as they went 23-of-23 from the line. Senior TJ SHORTS II made all 11 of his free throw attempts in that game. JOE MOONEY is averaging 15.5 points over his last six games for the Aggies. Cal Poly has committed the fewest turnovers (62 in 7 games) of any league team, an average of 8.9 per game. Junior JOB ALEXANDER has seen a recent uptick in minutes, including starts in the last two games. The guard has scored 14, 15, and 11 points in his last three outings, respectively. In Big West games, Cal Poly ranks No. 1 in three-point field goals made (8.7 pg).
HAWAI‘I AT LONG BEACH STATE (ESPN3) - Long Beach State is 6-0 against Hawai‘i in the Walter Pyramid since the ‘Bows joined the Big West for the 2012-13 season. Both squads recently lost games to first place UC Irvine by a combined margin of three points. Beach guard DEISHUAN BOOKER has had double-digit free throw attempts in five of the last seven games. He’s coming off an 11-for-11 effort at the line versus UCI and has made 13 straight overall. UH junior ZIGMARS RAIMO is No. 2 in field goal percentage in overall (.576) and league (.589) play. Through seven conference games, the ‘Bows backcourt tandem of DREW BUGGS and BROCKE STEPTEAU have dished out a combined 66 assists against only 21 turnovers. PxP: Trent Rush • ANALYST: Bill Herenda • SIDELINE: Olivia Phelps
TIPOFF TIME NOTES – FEB. 7
UC Irvine Reaches 20 Win Mark
UC Irvine completed the series sweep of Orange County rival Cal State Fullerton with Wednesday’s 60-53 victory. It was the 20th win of the season for UCI, with February 6 representing the fastest on the calendar the program has reached that milestone. In terms of fewest games played to get to the 20-win total, only two previous Anteater teams have gotten there faster – 2000-01 (23) and 1981-82 (24). This season’s 20-5 team now looks to Saturday’s showdown against Hawai‘i looking for another series sweep. The game will be showcased on ESPN3.
Home Court Advantage
UCI protected its home court advantage at the Bren Events Center with the win over CSF. Since 2012-13, UCI leads all Big West programs with 43 home wins in conference play, going 43-10 overall over that stretch. LBSU is second at 40-13.
UCI improved to 9-0 on the season when limiting the opponent to 60 points or less, achieving that standard in the win over CSF. The Anteaters have now won 20 consecutive games when an opponent fails to exceed 60 points, a streak that dates back to the start of the 2017-18 season. Since 2012-13, the Anteaters are 88-5 when hitting that benchmark.
Olé Olé Ole
UC Santa Barbara made a statement of its own in last night’s 70-64 victory over CSUN. The Matadors came in as the Big West’s top offense and were held to 14 points below their scoring average. In addition, CSUN entered No. 1 in the league with a .415 success rate from the three-point line. The Gauchos helped limit CSUN to 1-of-21 (4.8%) shooting from distance. In conference play, UCSB is the leader in both scoring defense (64.2 ppg) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.268).
UCSB’s Thunderdome Magic
UCSB is now 22-3 in the last two seasons at home under head coach Joe Pasternack. One of those three defeats came courtesy of UC Davis last year, a 71-54 setback which snapped a 12 game Thunderdome winning streak. The Aggies have won their last two encounters against the Gauchos in the T-Dome, and aim to make it a third straight in front of the ESPNU cameras Saturday. UCSB, now 6-2 in Big West play, needs a win to keep pace with first place UCI in the quest for the regular season title.
Galloway Nears Big West Top 10 In Rebounds
UCI senior Jonathan Galloway compiled his ninth double-digit rebounding game this season, a game-high 11 against CSF. The 11 boards gave him 876 for his career, moving him past Pacific’s Sam Willard (874, 2007-11) for 12th place in Big West history. Galloway needs 10 more boards to overtake Utah State’s Eric Franson (885, 1991, 1994-96) for 11th and he’s just 15 away from breaking into the top 10. UNLV’s Armon Gilliam (1985-87) occupies the No. 10 slot with 890 career rebounds.