Cal Poly Matches Best Division I Start
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Men's Basketball Release No. 6
Cal Poly tied the program's best start at the Division I level, matching the 2001-02 squad which won six of its first nine games, and looks to improve on that mark with games against Menlo College and Fresno State this week.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Larry Anderson, Long Beach State
Anderson ranks in the Big West top 10 in six statistical categories as the senior continues to show his overall versatility. The 6-5 guard is seventh in scoring (15.2 ppg), third in field goal percentage (.519), sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.417), fourth in assists (3.9 apg), and fifth in steals (1.2 spg) and assist to turnover ratio (+1.4). He has exhibited marked improvement from the perimeter after shooting just 28.9% (14 of 62) as a sophomore and 29.4% (15 of 51) as a junior from three-point range. In fact, Anderson’s 15 three-pointers made through nine games already ties the career high he set last season in 28 contests. Anderson has scored in double figures in all but one game and has equalled his career high of seven assists on three occasions.
Thomason Reaches Another Milestone
Bob Thomason became the Big West record holder for most victories by a head coach with No. 406 against Utah State on Dec. 3, moving him past Jerry Tarkanian on the list. In the very next game at home against Hawai’i on Saturday, the 24th-year mentor achieved another milestone as he coached his 700th game at Pacific. He is the first in Big West history to coach that many games. More importantly, the Tigers handed Thomason career win No. 407 with a 64-54 triumph over the Rainbow Warriors.
|ALL-TIME VICTORY LEADERS - BIG WEST TENURE
||Bob Thomason, Pacific
||Jerry Tarkanian, LBSU & UNLV
||Neil McCarthy, New Mexico State
||Jerry Pimm, UC Santa Barbara
||Bob Williams, UC Santa Barbara
Bold denotes active Big West head coach
Williams Looks To Tie UC Santa Barbara Record
Bob Williams takes his second shot at tying the UC Santa Barbara all-time wins record when his team faces San Diego on Tuesday. The Gauchos have been dormant for nearly two weeks to take care of fall exams, and have been itching to return to action since a heartbreaking defeat in double overtime to UNLV on Nov. 30. Williams, who ranks fifth in Big West history with 221 victories, is chasing his predecessor in Jerry Pimm, who compiled a 222-202 mark in 15 seasons. Williams is in his 14th season with a 221-172 record. The Gauchos also play at Washington on Friday.
Burton Climbs Cal State Fullerton Coaching Summit
In keeping with the theme of coaching records, Cal State Fullerton’s Bob Burton got in on the act last week too. The ninth-year head man secured the school record for victories with Sunday’s 91-76 home triumph against Eastern Washington. It was win No. 140 for Burton, who surpassed the old mark of 139 that the late Alex Omalev accomplished in 12 seasons from 1960-72. In Burton’s eight previous seasons, he has led the Titans to a winning record five times, including three seasons of 20 wins or more.
Big West Claims Third Victory Over Pac-12 Conference
Cal State Fullerton picked apart Utah, 81-50, last Wednesday for its third road win of the 2011-12 season. In addition, Utah suffered its worst loss ever in the Huntsman Center with the 31-point setback. The triumph over the Utes gave the Big West three wins over the Pac-12 Conference, adding to previous victories by Cal Poly over USC and UC Riverside over Washington State. It is the first time since the 2003-04 season that the Big West won three games versus the Pac-10/12. That year, Cal Poly knocked off California and USC while UC Santa Barbara defeated UCLA.
Cal State Northridge Picks Up First Road Win
Cal State Northridge picked up its first road win in six tries with a 73-70 comeback decision against Pepperdine on Saturday. The Matadors overcame a six-point halftime deficit thanks to 61.9% (13 of 21) shooting in the second half and 78.8% (26 of 33) accuracy from the free throw line for the game. It was a solid win for the Matadors, which defeated a Pepperdine team that had a road win against Arizona State earlier in the year. Freshman Stephan Hicks posted his eighth straight game with double-digit points, finishing with a game-high 18 and upping his season average to 17.5 points per game. He is the fourth leading scorer in the Big West.
Smith Pays Immediate Dividends For Highlanders
UC Riverside needed a second scorer to pair with senior Phil Martin, who ranks sixth in the Big West with 15.5 points per game. The Highlanders, who are last in the conference in scoring (55.5 ppg), may have found that individual on a trip up to the northwest and an encounter with Montana State. Junior Robert Smith, making his UC Riverside debut after transferring from Santa Clara, scored 14 points off the bench but none bigger than the three-pointer he hit with 0.7 seconds to go that gave his team a 74-73 lead. The Highlanders went on to beat the Bobcats, 75-73, in a game where Montana State enjoyed a 52-22 edge in free throw attempts. Smith sat out the first seven games of the season due to NCAA transfer rules, but wasted no time making an impact as he scored nine of UCR’s final 12 points. The winning three-pointer took place after he corraled a missed UCR free throw.
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. He is 28 points shy from becoming the 17th Mustang to achieve the milestone. Hanson, who has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games, could hit the mark against Menlo College on Wednesday or Fresno State on Saturday. Five current conference players already own membership in the 1,000 point club – the Long Beach State trio of T.J. Robinson (1,437), Casper Ware (1,415) and Larry Anderson (1,251), and the UC Santa Barbara duo of Orlando Johnson (1,357) and James Nunnally (1,302).
Threes Company For Cal Poly’s Royer
Cal Poly junior Dylan Royer would be the nation’s top three-point shooter for the second consecutive week if not for the fact that he is slightly below the NCAA minimum threshold of 2.5 threes made per game this week. Royer has drained 21 threes through nine games for a 2.33 average. His success rate of 61.8% (21 of 33) would rank ahead of national leader Doug McDermott of Creighton. McDermott is the current No. 1 after hitting 60.6% (20 of 33) through eight contests.
Ware Closing In On Assists Record
Long Beach State senior guard Casper Ware is nearing the school record for career assists. With 467 assists, Ware is 40 short from tying the mark held by Billy Walker (1984-88). Walker also happens to rank 10th in the Big West record book for career assists. Ware is 10 assists away from tying San Jose State’s Michael Dixon (1982-85) for 12th place on the conference list.
Miller Making Most Of Playing Time
UC Davis senior Eddie Miller is slowly making his way back into the lineup after battling injuries in the early portion of the season. He didn’t score a point in a combined 14 minutes versus UC Santa Cruz (Nov. 15) and Stanford (Nov. 18). But the Aggies’ third-leading scorer (12.5 ppg) in 2010-11 found his groove in the ensuing two games. Miller scored 22 points in just 19 minutes against Idaho on Dec. 3, then dropped 16 points on Hawai’i in a 24-minute stint on Sunday. He hit 7 of 10 from three-point range in the two games.