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Men's Basketball

Men's Hoops Stretch Run Begins

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 14

2/7/2011

Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge sit two games back of men's basketball leader Long Beach State, which returns to action this week after an 11-day hiatus.  The 49ers and Matadors hook up for a Saturday showdown at The Matadome.

NOTEWORTHY

KEEP AN EYE ON

Shawn Lewis, Cal Poly
Lewis recorded his fourth straight game with 20 or more points when he dropped 23 on UC Davis Thursday.  The senior guard, who ranks 11th in the Big West in scoring (14.5 ppg), had that streak broken in Saturday’s 58-39 win against Pacific.  He scored 15 points in that game, but added a career-high 15 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.  A 36 percent shooter for the season, Lewis has been much more accurate of late, making 55.0% (22 of 40) in the last three games.  With 1,146 points, Lewis is only 11 shy of moving into Cal Poly’s career top 10 scoring list.

MORE NOTABLES

Stretch Run Begins
First place Long Beach State (13-10, 8-2) owns a two-game lead on Cal Poly (11-11, 6-4) and Cal State Northridge (9-14, 6-4) with six games remaining on its conference schedule.  The 49ers will head into Thursday’s game at UC Davis well rested after an 11-day break from competition.  LBSU has won eight of its last 10 contests.  After traveling to Cal State Northridge on Saturday in a crucial game for both teams, the 49ers encounter a favorable schedule that puts them at home for four of their last five games.

Cal State Northridge has won four of its last five games, but missed an opportunity to pull within a game of idle Long Beach State when the Matadors lost at UC Riverside on Thursday.  Cal Poly joined the title hunt after winning seven of its last 10 games.

Tied for fourth place with 5-5 records are UC Santa Barbara and Pacific.  The two enigimatic clubs are still in the race but need help from others.  Four of the five Tiger conference losses have come to Cal Poly and Long Beach State.  Conversely, Pacific won at UCSB on Thursday to sweep the season series.

Thomason, Williams Reach 400 Win Milestone
Bob Thomason and Bob Williams achieved head coaching milestones last week.  Thomason won his 400th career game at Pacific on Thursday when his Tigers beat none other than Williams’ UC Santa Barbara squad.  Thomason became the second coach in Big West history to amass 400 victories.  He currently stands at 400-285 (.584) and needs only six more wins to overtake Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State and UNLV) as the Big West overall wins leader.  Meanwhile, Williams claimed career win No. 400 two nights later when the Gauchos won an overtime thriller against his former employer UC Davis.  Counting previous stints with Menlo College and the Aggies, Williams is 400-265 in 23 seasons of total head coaching experience.

Willard Courts Top 10 Rebounding List
Pacific senior Sam Willard corraled the 800th rebound of his career in the Cal Poly game on Saturday, inching ever closer to moving into the Big West top 10.  With 802 rebounds, Willard has his sights set on former NBA players Tod Murphy (1983-86) and Larry Johnson (1990-91), who are tied for ninth in league history with 837 boards after putting together outstanding careers at UC Irvine and UNLV, respectively.  Willard has 16 games of 10 or more rebounds, and no fewer than eight caroms just four times this season.

Long Beach State Hosts Sears BracketBusters Game
Long Beach State will host one of 11 televised matchups as part of the Sears BracketBusters event.  The 49ers will play Montana of the Big Sky Conference on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2.  It marks the second time in the last three seasons that LBSU has earned a televised game, having hosted Green Bay in 2009.

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.

Johnson Ties UCSB Single-Game Record
It was an incredible performance for UC Santa Barbara junior Orlando Johnson as he willed the Gauchos to a 93-86 overtime victory over UC Davis on Saturday.  The guard scored 22 points in the final 14 minutes of the game (nine regulation, five overtime) to help UCSB complete a comeback from a 12-point deficit.  Johnson, the Big West’s leading scorer at 20.7 points per game, finished with a UCSB single-game record-tying 39 points.  The 39 points were also the most ever scored by a UCSB player in a home game, breaking the previous mark of 37 set by current Gaucho color commentator Don Ford.  Johnson leads the Big West with 10 performances of 20 points or more, and has scored in double figures in each of his 51 career games at UCSB.

Inflicting Payne
Equally impressive in that UC Santa Barbara-UC Davis showdown was Aggie senior Mark Payne.  The guard was a force, scoring a career-high 33 points on 11 of 16 shooting.  It was the second time in three games that he had established a new career-high after pumping in 32 points against UC Irvine on Jan. 29.  Payne is the Big West’s active career scoring leader with 1,249 points.

Bradshaw’s Dunk Gives Highlanders Wild Win
UC Riverside improved to 3-1 in conference games decided by five points or less after slamming home a 70-69 victory at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.  Literally.  Junior Kevin Bradshaw powered down a two-handed slam with three seconds left to mark the 20th and final lead change of the night in a game where neither team led by more than four points in the final 11 minutes.  The Highlanders, which have three conference road wins, attempt to win a single-season program record fourth Big West game on an enemy home court when they travel to Cal Poly on Saturday. 

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