Men's Basketball - bigwest.org
Men's Basketball

Nine Games On Tap Before Christmas Break Beckons

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 7

12/20/2010

Big West men's basketball teams play nine games in the final full week of non-conference competition prior to Christmas.  Long Beach State travels to Arizona State Tuesday for a game on Fox Sports Arizona and UC Irvine heads up the 405 freeway to face UCLA in a televised battle on Fox Sports Prime Ticket on Thursday.

NOTEWORTHY

KEEP AN EYE ON

Josh Ritchart, UC Davis
Ritchart played the two best games of his young Aggie career last week, averaging 20.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in losses at UCLA and North Dakota State.  The freshman poured in a career-high 23 points and drained five three-pointers against the Bruins in 25 minutes off the bench.  Ritchart returned to action against the Bison and collected 17 points in 24 reserve minutes.  He sank three more treys at North Dakota State.  The forward made 15 of 23 shots overall in the two games.  His previous career-best was eight points.

MORE NOTABLES

Non-Conference Play Winds Down
Big West teams enter their final full week of non-conference play prior to starting the league leader on Thursday, December 28.  Nine games dot this week’s schedule with two on television.  On Tuesday, Long Beach State travels to Arizona State for a game that will be televised on Fox Sports Arizona.  UC Irvine journeys to UCLA on Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. game on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.  Each Big West school plays just one game this week.  In other action, Pacific takes on northern California rival Fresno State, Cal State Northridge hosts Santa Clara and Cal State Fullerton entertains Montana in the second game of a home-and-home series.

Looking Ahead
The conference schedule begins in earnest when the two teams predicted to finish one-two by the media – UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State – square off on the Central Coast next Thursday.  ESPNU will carry the game at 8:00 p.m.  The Gauchos and 49ers met in last year’s Big West Tournament final, which UCSB won to move on to the NCAA Tournament.

Big Win For Gauchos
UC Santa Barbara captured the most prominent non-conference win by a Big West team when the Gauchos upset No. 22 UNLV on the road, 68-62, on Wednesday.  It was UCSB’s first win over a ranked team since 1993 and the first road win against a top 25 opponent since 1988.

Wooldridge To Coach No. 100 At UC Riverside
Head coach Jim Wooldridge will coach his 100th game for the UC Riverside program on Wednesday at Cal State Bakersfield.  He is 42-57 (.424) in three-plus seasons with the Highlanders.

Big West’s Highest Scoring Duo
The conference’s top two scorers continue to be UC Santa Barbara’s James Nunnally (21.2 ppg) and Orlando Johnson (19.7 ppg).  Nunnally and Johnson rank No. 19 and No. 35 in the nation in scoring, respectively.  The dynamic duo has accounted for 368 of the Gauchos’ 616 points, or 59.7% of the total offense this season.

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    368     59.7
CP           David Hanson & Shawn Lewis             283     51.4
PAC         Sam Willard & Demetrece Young         314     44.2
UCD        Joe Harden & Mark Payne                   304     42.0
CSF         Orane Chin & Devon Peltier                 334     41.9
CSUN      Lenny Daniel & Rashaun McLemore    290     41.5
LBSU       Casper Ware & T.J. Robinson              355     40.5
UCI          Darren Moore & Patrick Rembert         332     39.8
UCR         Phil Martin & Javon Borum                  266     39.8

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 bigwesttournament@hondacenter.com.  Courtside (first 4 rows) all-session tickets cost $144 apiece.  All other all-session tickets cost $64 apiece.

Home Court Streaks On The Line Again
Two teams put impressive home court winning streaks to the test this week.  Cal State Fullerton takes a 13-game home court non-conference winning streak into a battle with Montana on Wednesday.  The two teams met on November 30 in Missoula with the Grizzlies taking a 75-67 win.  After posting an 8-0 home conference record last season and winning its first two non-conference home games in 2010-11, UC Santa Barbara brings a 10-game Thunderdome win streak into a Tuesday tussle with Cal Baptist.  Meanwhile, UC Riverside travels to Cal State Bakersfield for its only game this week.  But the Highlanders extended their non-conference home court win streak to 15 when they defeated Montana State on Sunday.

Willard Continues Double-Double Fest
Pacific senior Sam Willard posted double-doubles against Santa Clara and New Mexico State last week for his league-leading seventh and eighth of the season, respectively.  Willard has a double-double in eight of 11 games.  He leads Long Beach State’s T.J. Robinson, who has six double-doubles of his own, by percentage points for the Big West rebounding lead at 10.3 caroms per game.

Wise Hits Millenium Mark
UC Irvine junior Eric Wise became the 20th player in school history to surpass the 1,000-point career mark after six points versus Pepperdine on Saturday gave him 1,002.  He is the fourth player in the Big West to reach the scoring milestone this season, joining the likes of UC Davis’ Mark Payne and Joe Harden, and Long Beach State’s T.J. Robinson.  Cal Poly’s Shawn Lewis looks to be next in line.  The senior has 964 career points and needs only 36 more to achieve the feat.

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!