Central Coast Duels Ranked Opponents This Week
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Men's Basketball Release No. 6
UC Santa Barbara battles back-to-back top 25 opponents in No. 22 UNLV and No. 10 San Diego State while Cal Poly also faces the Aztecs in a bustling week of Big West men's basketball. Long Beach State makes its first appearance in the Wooden Classic with a meeting against Saint Mary's.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Jer’Vaughn Johnson, Cal State Fullerton
Johnson has molded back into the starting lineup after recovering from a strained knee ligament that sidelined him for Cal State Fullerton’s initial four games this season. The senior forward has scored in double figures in five straight games, including a career-high 23 points against San Diego on Dec. 4. In his last outing, Johnson posted 19 points on 7 of 7 shooting from the field against Portland State. He is averaging 16.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in the last five games, the last four of which have been starts.
Gauchos Face Back-To-Back Ranked Opponents
Big West preseason favorite UC Santa Barbara encounters its two toughest tests of the 2010-11 season with road games this week against No. 22 UNLV and No. 10 San Diego State. It is the first time in history that the UCSB program will have played a ranked foe in back-to-back games. The Gauchos own a modest two-game winning streak heading into their battle with UNLV on Wednesday.
Cal Poly Takes Shot At Aztecs Too
Cal Poly squares off against the highest ranked opponent in program history when it travels to No. 10 San Diego State on Monday. It is the third of five straight road games covering a 29-day span for the Mustangs. Cal Poly has lost the first two games of the roadtrip to Loyola Marymount and UCLA. After meeting the Aztecs, Cal Poly returns to action on Saturday with another formidable test in Pac-10 foe California.
Wise Returns To Action, Approaches 1,000 Points
UC Irvine junior Eric Wise missed five straight games with a hip injury but returned to the lineup in Friday’s win against Wyoming. He came off the bench and contributed 12 points in 24 minutes. The 12 points moved him ever closer to the 1,000-point career milestone as he needs just four more to become the 20th player in UCI history to accomplish the feat. Wise aims to become the fourth player in the Big West to surpass 1,000 career points this season, joining the likes of UC Davis’ Mark Payne and Joe Harden, and Long Beach State’s T.J. Robinson.
Big West’s Highest Scoring Duo
The conference’s top two scorers belong to UC Santa Barbara with James Nunnally averaging 21.9 points per game and fellow junior Orlando Johnson right behind (21.4 ppg). Nunnally and Johnson rank No. 17 and No. 21 in the nation in scoring, respectively. The dynamic duo has accounted for 303 of the Gauchos’ 484 points, or 62.6% of the total offense this season. UCSB’s third leading scorer in Jaimé Serna, who averages 7.1 points per game. The next highest duo in terms of total percentage of offense contributed is Cal Poly’s David Hanson and Shawn Lewis, who have combined for 50.3% (234 of 465 points) of the Mustangs’ scoring.
Here is a list of the top two scorers for each Big West school, their combined points and percentage of total offense contributed.
BIG WEST’S TOP SCORING DUOS
School Duo Pts. Pct.
UCSB James Nunnally & Orlando Johnson 303 62.6
CP David Hanson & Shawn Lewis 234 50.3
PAC Sam Willard & Demetrece Young 261 45.2
CSF Orane Chin & Devon Peltier 322 44.6
UCD Joe Harden & Mark Payne 249 42.6
UCI Darren Moore & Patrick Rembert 278 41.7
UCR Phil Martin & Javon Borum 218 40.7
LBSU Casper Ware & T.J. Robinson 326 40.6
CSUN Lenny Daniel & Rashaun McLemore 255 40.5
Honda Center New Home Of Tournament
Honda Center last November announced a five-year partnership with the Big West Conference to host its annual men’s and women’s post-season basketball tournament beginning in 2011. Each year the winner of the three-day single-elimination playoff receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Big West and Honda Center have teamed up for “March Madness” and “The Road To The Final Four” on numerous occasions including men’s basketball regionals in 1998, 2001 and 2003 and first and second round action in 2008. In addition, the Big West and Honda Center was selected as host of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball West Regional.
The Big West Tournament is the oldest NCAA Division I post-season basketball tournament in the west, dating back to 1976 when the conference was known as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association.
All-session tickets for the 2011 Big West Tournament may be purchased at hondacenter.com. For more information, please call (714) 704-2500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Courtside (first 4 rows) all-session tickets cost $144 apiece. All other all-session tickets cost $64 apiece.
UC Davis Appears On The Tube
UC Davis makes its first television appearance of the 2010-11 season with a trip to UCLA and storied Pauley Pavilion on Monday. The game will tip at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket. The Aggies have won three of their last four games, but were off last week for finals and have not seen action since an 80-53 win against Notre Dame deNamur on Dec. 4. UC Davis is the fourth of five Big West teams that will play UCLA this season. The Aggies boast the Big West’s only tandem to eclipse the 1,000-point career scoring plateau this season in Mark Payne and Joe Harden. Payne enters the Bruin game with 1,074 career points while Harden trails with 1,046.
Daniel Roasting The Opposition
Cal State Northridge senior Lenny Daniel, No. 6 in the Big West with 16.1 points per game, recorded his third double-double of the year with a career-high 31 points and 13 rebounds against Cal Lutheran on Tuesday. He hit an astounding 15 of 18 shots from the field, posting the fifth-best single-game total in school history with the 15 made baskets.
Better Be Ware-y
Junior Casper Ware has further cemented himself as one of the upper echelon players in the Big West. An All-Big West Second Team selection in 2009-10, Ware has improved his scoring from 11.9 points per game as a sophomore to 15.3 as a junior. He is No. 10 in the Big West in scoring. Ware’s all-around contributions extend to his defense and playmaking skills, as the point guard leads the conference in both assists (6.09 apg) and steals (2.18 spg). He gets a chance to showcase his skills when the 49ers meet Saint Mary’s in a first-ever Wooden Classic appearance on Saturday.
Follow Your Team On BigWest.TV
The Big West Conference and the CBS College Sports Network are partnering to bring you exclusive coverage of Big West sports, press conferences, interviews, and features to your home via the Internet! Now in its sixth year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in men’s basketball as well as women’s basketball and volleyball. Also covered are select contests in men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball, and Big West Conference Championships. A monthly subscription of $9.95 or an annual subscription of $79.95 delivers exclusive coverage to you. If you can’t make it to the gym or the field, you can still catch all the action on BigWest.TV!