Ranked Opponents and Record Chasers Focus Of Men's Hoops
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Men's Basketball Release No. 4
Long Beach State travels to No. 6 Louisville for an ESPNU matchup, UC Santa Barbara hosts No. 18 UNLV in a Thunderdome showdown, and two head coaches are attempting to either tie or break records for all-time victories in an important week for Big West men's basketball.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Phil Martin, UC Riverside
Martin steered the Highlanders to victory against Pac-12 foe Washington State in the final game of the 76 Classic for both teams on Sunday. The senior scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, including nine straight during a pivotal 14-0 run that leveled the score at 56-56 with 3:52 to play. Martin then cemented the 64-63 win as he converted a layup with 13 seconds remaining. He averaged 14.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in the three 76 Classic contests against Villanova, Boston College and Washington State. For the season, he ranks No. 11 in the Big West in scoring (14.3 ppg), is tied for No. 10 in rebounding (6.0 rpg) and places No. 7 in free throw percentage (.870).
Thunderdome Braces For UNLV Visit
UC Santa Barbara readies for a highly anticipated matchup against an old rival in UNLV on Wednesday at The Thunderdome. The Rebels crashed the national polls on Monday after posting a signature win against top-ranked North Carolina in the Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday. UNLV enters the game against UCSB ranked No. 18 by the Associated Press and No. 20 in the USA Today/ESPN poll. The Gauchos, which finish up a six-game homestand, are coming off a heartbreaking 76-75 overtime defeat to San Diego State on Saturday. UCSB has won the last four meetings against UNLV, with three of those victories occurring since 2006. In fact, the Gauchos went on the road last season to upend the No. 22-ranked Rebels, 68-62, in what represented UCSB’s first win over a nationally ranked team since defeating UNLV on Feb. 22, 1993. After the UNLV game, the Gauchos head out on the road for the entire month of December to play San Diego, Washington, California and BYU.
Long Beach State Prepares For Another Top 10 Foe
Long Beach State gets its second opportunity to knock off a top 10 opponent from the Big East Conference as the 49ers take on No. 6 Louisville at 4:00 p.m. (PST) Monday on ESPNU. The 49ers made a national splash on Nov. 16 when they invaded then-No. 9 Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center and walked away 86-76 winners. It was only Pitt’s second loss to a non-Big East team inside the Petersen Events Center and ended a 58-game home non-conference winning streak. Since that signature win, the 49ers have stumbled twice in closely contested road games, losing 77-73 in overtime to San Diego State and 73-71 to Montana. LBSU did well to get to the free throw line against both teams, recording more attempts against the Aztecs (32 to 27) and Grizzlies (36 to 23). However, they struggled from three-point territory, going a combined 9-of-30 (30.0%). In addition to Pittsburgh and Louisville, the 49ers will face No. 14/No. 15 Kansas (Dec. 6), No. 5 North Carolina (Dec. 10) and No. 11 Xavier (Dec. 23) as part of a brutal stretch of non-conference games.
|LONG BEACH STATE NON-LEAGUE OPPONENTS
||#9 AP/#9 USA Today
||#6 AP/#6 USA Today
||#14 AP/#15 USA Today
||at North Carolina
||#5 AP/#5 USA Today
||#11 AP/#11 USA Today
* Ranking at time that game was played
Revisiting The Pitt Win
Long Beach State’s victory against No. 9 Pittsburgh on Nov. 16 marked the highest ranked non-conference opponent to go down at the hands of a Big West program since UC Irvine dealt No. 13 Stanford a 79-63 setback on Nov. 19, 2005.
Highlanders Aim For Another Win Versus Pac-12
UC Riverside hosts USC this Wednesday with a chance to win its second straight game against a Pac-12 opponent. The Highlanders are coming off a 64-63 triumph against Washington State in the seventh place game of the 76 Classic on Sunday. It represented UCR’s third win all-time against a member of the Pac-12 Conference, and second as a member of Division I. The Highlanders won at Oregon State on Dec. 9, 2000. They also defeated Cal, 69-63, on Dec. 14, 1979. Big West teams are 2-3 against the Pac-12 this season, with Cal Poly registering the other win, a 42-36 triumph against USC on Nov. 19.
Thomason Takes Next Crack At Wins Record
Bob Thomason attempts to take over sole possession of the Big West record for most victories by a head coach when Pacific travels to Stanford on Monday. The Tigers also host Utah State on Saturday in the event they are unsuccessful against the Cardinal. Thomason currently shares the record of 405 wins with Jerry Tarkanian, who experienced his success at Long Beach State and UNLV. In his 24th season at Pacific, Thomason owns a 405-292 record.
|ALL-TIME VICTORY LEADERS - BIG WEST TENURE
||Bob Thomason, Pacific
||Jerry Tarkanian, Long Beach State & UNLV
||Neil McCarthy, New Mexico State
||Jerry Pimm, UC Santa Barbara
||Bob Williams, UC Santa Barbara
Bold denotes active Big West head coach
Williams Eyes Record Held By Legend Of The Dome
It would be only fitting for Bob Williams to amass career victory No. 222 at UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday at The Thunderdome against UNLV. On that night, the Gauchos will unfurl a banner at halftime to honor former UCSB head coach Jerry Pimm as a “Legend of the ‘Dome.” A win would tie Williams with Pimm for the school record. Williams is 221-171 in his 14th season at the helm. Pimm compiled a 222-202 mark in 15 seasons.
Hanson Sneaking Up On Career Points Milestone
Cal Poly senior David Hanson is next in line to join the club of 1,000 point career scorers in the Big West. Five current conference players already own membership – the Long Beach State trio of T.J. Robinson (1,382), Casper Ware (1,344) and Larry Anderson (1,187), and the UC Santa Barbara duo of Orlando Johnson (1,321) and James Nunnally (1,288). Hanson requires just 57 points to become the 17th player in Cal Poly history to notch 1,000 career points. After a slow start in which the forward scored a combined five points in the first two games, he has tallied double-digits in each of the last four.
Amoke Making Impact At Cal State Fullerton
Cal State Fullerton forward Omondi Amoke registered his second consecutive 20-point game in the Titans’ 73-66 loss to Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday. The senior transfer from California has made 15 of his last 25 field goal attempts for a 60.0% success rate in that two-game stretch. Amoke is tied for ninth in the Big West in scoring at 14.4 points per game.
Center Greg Somogyi produced six blocked shots in just 15 minutes in UC Santa Barbara’s loss to San Diego State on Saturday. Somogyi, who led the Big West in swats with 61 last season, owns 147 career blocks, just eight shy of passing Doug Muse for No. 2 in the school’s record book.