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Men's Basketball

Surging Cal State Northridge Moves Into Second Place

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 13

1/31/2011

Cal State Northridge, winners of four straight league games, has moved into second place in the Big West men's basketball conference standings.  The Matadors travel to UC Riverside and host UC Irvine this week as league-leading Long Beach State is idle.

NOTEWORTHY

KEEP AN EYE ON

Mark Payne, UC Davis
Payne scored a career-high 32 points and hit the game-winning bucket with two seconds to play, giving the Aggies a 108-107 double overtime victory against UC Irvine on Saturday.  Payne made a breakaway layup, completing a 10-point effort in the second extra stanza, and finished the night 10 of 16 from the field and 10 of 12 at the free throw line.  It was Payne’s third game back from injury after missing three games.  Payne’s first rebound against the Anteaters gave him 500 for his career and etched his name in the UCD record book as the first player to amass 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists.  The senior guard enters this week with career totals of 1,202 points, 504 rebounds and 412 assists.

MORE NOTABLES

First Place Long Beach State Idle This Week
Long Beach State gets a break from the action this week with a league-leading 8-2 record.  The 49ers have played more league games than anyone else in the Big West, and are idle until traveling to UC Davis on February 10.  Last week, LBSU narrowly defeated Pacific by one point, then avenged an earlier loss to rival Cal State Fullerton to recover nicely from a brief two-game skid.  The 49ers have won eight of their last 10 games.

However, LBSU’s dormancy gives other teams an opportunity to make up ground on the leaders.  Second place Cal State Northridge (8-13, 5-3) could pull within a game of the 49ers with successful outcomes at UC Riverside on Thursday, and again at home versus UC Irvine on Saturday.  The Matadors have won four straight conference games and have recovered from a sluggish 4-12 start.  CSUN is getting it done with defense, holding the opponents below 70 points in the four straight league wins.

It’s also a key week for three teams tied for third in the league standings with 4-4 records - Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific.  The Tigers travel to the Central Coast this week to face both the Gauchos and Mustangs, the former matchup an ESPNU game that will tip at 8:30 p.m. (PST) on Thursday.  UCSB is on the tube twice this week, hosting UC Davis on Prime Ticket on Saturday. 

Milestone Matchup
Someone is getting a milestone 400th career win when Pacific heads to UC Santa Barbara on Thursday.  Tiger head coach Bob Thomason is 399-284 in his 23rd season at Pacific.  He aims to join Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State and UNLV) as only the second coach in Big West history to amass 400 victories.  Tarkanian is the all-time Big West overall wins leader with 405.  Meanwhile, Bob Williams is 210-164 in his 13th season as the Gaucho mentor.  Counting previous stints at Menlo College and UC Davis, Williams is one win away from No. 400 as a collegiate head coach.  He owns a 399-264 overall record in his 23rd season of coaching.

Three More Gain Entrance To Exclusive Club
A total of eight Big West players have reached the career 1,000-point milestone this season after Long Beach State junior Casper Ware, Pacific senior Sam Willard and UC Santa Barbara junior James Nunnally earned their badge during last week’s games.  Ware became the 19th player in school history to hit the millenium mark, entering this week with 1,030 points.  Willard was the 26th Tiger to surpass 1,000 points after an 18-point performance against Long Beach State.  The senior now has 1,020 career points.  Nunnally hit the mark on the button, scoring seven points versus Cal State Northridge to reach exactly 1,000.  He’s the 24th player in UCSB annals to accomplish the feat.  With 961 career points, Long Beach State junior Larry Anderson is next in line to reach the mark.

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.

Don’t Knock The Road Team
Home court advantage does not exist in the Big West - at least so far this season.  The road team owns a 17-18 record in conference games midway through the league schedule, and is on pace to post the best winning percentage since the Big West moved to nine teams with the addition of UC Davis in 2007-08.

ROAD TEAM WINNING PERCENTAGE
(in conference games)
Year          Record    Pct.
2010-11    17-18       .486
2009-10    30-42       .417
2008-09    33-39       .458
2007-08    30-42       .417

Wise-ing Up
Junior Eric Wise became the 15th player in UC Irvine history to compile at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in his career after recording his 12th and final carom against Cal State Northridge on Thursday.  He corraled 12 more against UC Davis on Saturday to mark the fifth time in the last six games he has totalled double figure rebounds.  In fact, Wise has five double-doubles in the last six outings, seven for the season and 13 for his career.

Wild Week
Four of the eight conference games last week were decided by one point, and a fifth by just four points.  James Nunnally hit a buzzer beater to give UC Santa Barbara a 71-70 win at Cal Poly.  Larry Anderson made a shot with 9.7 seconds remaining as Long Beach State eked out a 67-66 victory at Pacific.  Cal State Northridge held off host UC Santa Barbara in the closing seconds to win 70-69, and Mark Payne’s breakaway layup with two seconds on the clock gave UC Davis a 108-107 double overtime win versus UC Irvine.

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 the action on BigWest.TV!