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Men's Basketball

Long Beach State Travels To No. 13 Kansas, No. 4 North Carolina

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 5


Long Beach State appears twice on television this week in men's basketball showdowns against No. 13 Kansas (ESPNU) and No. 4 North Carolina (ESPN3) while Pacific and Bob Thomason, the Big West's record holder for head coaching victories, hosts Hawai‘i on ESPN3 as part of the conference's digital distribution package in conjunction with the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.



Michael Wilder, UC Irvine
Wilder, a junior, provides much needed contributions in rebounding for a UC Irvine squad that is getting outboarded by four per game on average.  The 6-2 guard plays much bigger than his height, as he did last year when injuries forced him to play on the Anteater front line.  As a result, he averaged 5.7 rebounds per game to rank No. 11 in the Big West last season.  Wilder has taken on more of a rebounding role once again.  After pulling down just 10 caroms through the first four games, he has grabbed 24 in the last three.  Wilder had a season-high 10 rebounds against Central Michigan on Nov. 25, followed by six versus Alaska-Anchorage.  In UCI’s first win of the season last Saturday versus San Diego, Wilder hauled in eight boards to go along with 19 points and a career-high tying seven assists. 


Thomason Becomes All-Time Big West Wins Leader
Bob Thomason achieved another milestone in a decorated career as head coach at Pacific.  The 24th-year mentor became the Big West’s record holder for most victories by a head coach with 406 when the Tigers defeated an old rival in Utah State on Saturday.  Thomason surpassed Jerry Tarkanian’s mark of 405 with the 65-57 win against the Aggies.  Thomason, the five-time Big West Coach of the Year, already owns the record for most conference wins with 229.  He has led the Tigers to 20 or more wins in seven of the last 10 seasons.  Thomason will become the first person in Big West history to coach his 700th game when Pacific hosts Hawai’i on ESPN3 Tuesday.

Rk. Coach, School No.
1. Bob Thomason, Pacific 406
2. Jerry Tarkanian, LBSU & UNLV 405
3. Neil McCarthy, New Mexico State 248
4. Jerry Pimm, UC Santa Barbara 222
5. Bob Williams, UC Santa Barbara 221

Bold denotes active Big West head coach

Record-Tying Win For Williams Put On Hold
The scene was set perfectly for Bob Williams to tie the record for most victories in UC Santa Barbara head coaching victory on the night the school honored the man Williams succeeded at the Thunderdome.  The Gauchos unfurled a banner at halftime of the UNLV game last Wednesday to designate Jerry Pimm as the newest “Legend of the Dome.”  Pimm amassed a 222-202 record in 15 seasons, and oversaw perhaps the biggest win in school history when the Gauchos toppled No. 2 UNLV, 78-70, on Feb. 26, 1990.  It was another instant classic against a longtime rival, but this time the Gauchos did not come out on the winning end as the Rebels eked out a 94-88 win in double overtime, denying Williams career win No. 222.  Williams, who has a 221-172 record in his 14th season, must wait until Dec. 13 at San Diego for his next crack as the team prepares for finals this week.

Hanson Draws Closer To 1,000 Points
Cal Poly senior David Hanson is next in line to join the list of active 1,000 point career scorers in the Big West.  His team-high 15 points against Saint Mary’s on Saturday moved him to within 33 points of becoming the 17th player in Mustang history to reach the millenium mark.  Five current conference players already own membership in the 1,000 point club – the Long Beach State trio of T.J. Robinson (1,406), Casper Ware (1,370) and Larry Anderson (1,220), and the UC Santa Barbara duo of Orlando Johnson (1,357) and James Nunnally (1,302).  Hanson ranks No. 14 in the league in scoring at 11.0 points per game.

Close Encounters Of The Unkind
Big West teams have been involved in an abundance of close games in the early portion of the 2011-12 season, and unfortunately have been on the wrong end of most of those outcomes.  In games decided by five points or less, the conference has managed just a 2-11 record.  Cal Poly and UC Riverside have accounted for the two wins, and both were of the signature variety, taking place against Pac-12 schools.  The Mustangs defeated USC 42-36 on Nov. 19 and the Highlanders topped Washington State 64-63 on Nov. 27.  On the flip side, the 11 losses have occurred by one point (3 times), two points (2 times), four points (3 times) and five points (3 times).  In addition, the Big West is 0-5 this season in overtime games.

Trekking Down Memory Lane

Long Beach State revisits the scene of the program’s most memorable win on Tuesday when it takes on No. 13 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse.  The game will be televised on ESPNU at 6:00 p.m. (PST).  On Jan. 25, 1993, the 49ers defeated the No. 1 Jayhawks by a score of 64-49 behind 24 points from Big West all-time leading scorer Lucious Harris.  It was LBSU’s lone victory against a No. 1 ranked team in 10 attempts.  It was also the 49ers’ only win against a top 10 team until LBSU knocked off No. 9 Pitt earlier this season.  The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Long Beach State as its next game takes place at No. 4 North Carolina on Saturday on ESPN3.

Date Opponent *Ranking Result
Nov. 16 at Pittsburgh #9 AP/#9 USA Today W, 86-76
Nov. 28 at Louisville #6 AP/#6 USA Today L, 66-79
Dec. 6 at Kansas #13 AP/#13 USA Today  
Dec. 10 at North Carolina #4 AP/#6 USA Today  
Dec. 23 vs. Xavier #8 AP/#8 USA Today  

* Ranking at time that game was played
Stephan or Stephen?
Despite a 1-6 start, the future looks bright at Cal State Northridge with a host of young talent providing optimism for the future.  The face of the future is redshirt freshman Stephan Hicks.  Just seven games into his collegiate career, he is one of the top players in the Big West.  Among the conference leaders, Hicks ranks third in scoring (17.4 ppg) and second in rebounding (9.1 rpg) and free throw percentage (.900).  The 6-5 guard/forward has scored in double figures in all seven games and has corraled at least eight rebounds in all but one contest.  He had 22 points and 17 rebounds against Hawai’i on Nov. 14.  Hicks may not require any further introduction, but teammate Stephen Maxwell does.  In his first collegiate game last Thursday against Cal State Bakersfield, Maxwell posted a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.  Quite the debut for the 6-5 forward who tallied those numbers in 22 reserve minutes.

UC Irvine With Offensive Onslaught In First Win
UC Irvine halted a season-opening six-game losing streak in emphatic fashion, notching a 99-79 win over San Diego on Saturday.  The Anteaters made a sizzling 74.2 percent of their shots in the first half to build a commanding 20-point lead at the break, and ended up shooting 61.9 percent for the game.  UCI dished out 29 assists, which was one short of the school’s single-game record against Drury College on Jan. 6, 1982.

Familiar Roles
The UC Santa Barbara duo of Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally ranked one-two in Big West scoring for most of the 2010-11 season.  Johnson won the league’s scoring title at 21.1 points per game, while Nunnally eventually settled to No. 5 (16.3 ppg).  In the early going of 2011-12, Johnson leads the circuit at 23.8 ppg while Nunnally is No. 2 at 18.7 ppg.