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Men's Basketball

Early Leader Long Beach State Returns Home For Four

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 9

1/3/2011

Long Beach State picked up two key road wins last week to move to 2-0 in the early portion of the Big West men's basketball schedule.  The 49ers look to continue the hot start in the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid, hosting Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine.

NOTEWORTHY

KEEP AN EYE ON

Ryan Sypkens, UC Davis
Sypkens established career-highs in points (19) and three-point field goals made (5) against Cal State Northridge on Saturday.  It was third straight game that Sypkens reached double figures in points.  He hit double figures just twice in the first 11 games.  In that three game span, Sypkens has connected on 12 of 20 three-point attempts for a 60.0% success rate.  The sharpshooting guard leads the Big West in three-point field goal accuracy at 49.2% (32 of 65).

MORE NOTABLES

Long Beach State Takes Early Lead In Big West Race
Long Beach State recorded a key sweep of Central Coast foes UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly to emerge 2-0 following the opening week of Big West play.  The 49ers concluded a season-long seven-game roadtrip and snapped a four-game losing streak after commanding victories over the Gauchos (71-55) and Mustangs (69-53).  LBSU now returns home for four straight contests, beginning with Cal State Northridge on Wednesday and UC Irvine on Saturday.  LBSU is looking to extend its winning streak to a season-high three games with a win against the Matadors. 

Fox Package Begins On Saturday
The first of seven Big West regular season games on Fox will be televised this Saturday when Cal State Fullerton visits UC Riverside for a 7:30 p.m. tip.  The game will appear on Prime Ticket.  The Highlanders were the only Big West team besides Long Beach State to escape unscathed from defeat in the opening week of league play.  UCR earned a five-point victory at UC Irvine to begin the conference ledger 1-0.  The Titans kick off a four-game roadtrip at UC Irvine on Wednesday before their trip to the Inland Empire.

Peltier Hits Buzzer Beater
Senior Devon Peltier helped Cal State Fullerton stave off  a furious Pacific rally as his three-pointer with four-tenths of a second remaining bounced off the rim and backboard before trickling into the net, giving the Titans a 54-51 win.  The Titans had squandered a 19-point advantage and had failed to score after the 5:16 mark until Peltier’s heroics sealed the victory.  CSF committed a season-low three turnovers and overcame a 2-0 deficit before the game even officially began.  Titan reserve Sedric Martin was cited for a technical for dunking in pregame warmups.

Payne Close To Aggie Milestone
UC Davis senior Mark Payne is seven rebounds away from becoming the first player in school history to amass career totals of 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists.  Payne enters the week with 1,147 points, 493 rebounds and 405 assists.  He is the Big West active career leader in points and assists.

Double-Double Fiend
Pacific’s Sam Willard is tied for No. 2 in the nation with 11 double-doubles, according to the latest NCAA stats released on Monday.  The senior owns a current streak of five straight games with a double-double.  He had 17 points and 12 rebounds at Cal State Northridge, followed by 12 points and 11 boards versus Cal State Fullerton last week.  Willard trails only Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried, who has 13 double-doubles

NCAA LEADERS IN DOUBLE-DOUBLES
Name, School                                   Gms    Dbl Dbl
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State          15        13
Sam Willard, Pacific                            14        11
Jordan Williams, Maryland                    13        11
Keith Benson, Oakland                         17        10
8 tied with                                                            9   

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.

Lewis Nudges Closer To 1,000-Point Milestone
Cal Poly senior Shawn Lewis is 10 points shy of becoming the fifth Big West player to reach the 1,000-point career milestone this season.  UC Davis teammates Mark Payne and Joe Harden, Long Beach State’s T.J. Robinson and UC Irvine’s Eric Wise already have accomplished the feat.  Lewis scored seven points against Long Beach State on Saturday to up his career total to 990 points.  He looks to become the 15th Mustang to accomplish the feat.

Road Team Delight
The road team registered an impressive 5-2 record during the opening week of conference play, including a four-game sweep on the first night.

Weiner’s Heroics Give Gauchos New Year’s Eve Gift
Thanks to senior Jordan Weiner, UC Santa Barbara narrowly escaped a loss to NAIA school Fresno Pacific on New Year’s Eve.  With the Gauchos trailing 62-60 and the clock winding down, Weiner rebounded a missed three-point attempt from Orlando Johnson and reversed the ball off the backboard in one motion to knot the score at 62 as the buzzer sounded.  The Gauchos went on to outscore the Sunbirds 13-5 in overtime to win 75-67.

McLemore Stepping Up For Cal State Northridge
Senior Rashaun McLemore registered 20 or more points for the third time in the last four games after scoring a career-high tying 24 points against UC Davis on Saturday.  The Cal State Northridge guard also notched his fifth 20-point game of the season, which is tied for most among Big West players.  McLemore, who averaged 4.2 points per game as a junior in 2009-10, is No. 7 in the Big West in scoring (15.9 ppg) this season.

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!

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