Long Beach State Overtakes First Place in Men's Hoops
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This Week In The Big West - January 14-20, 2013
Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 11
Full strength Long Beach State is off to a 4-1 Big West start to command first place, and faces road tests against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton in search of continued success. The Titans share second place with Pacific, which has won its last three conference matchups by double-digits.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
• The standings shifted as previous conference unbeatens Cal Poly and Hawai’i lost twice last week to fall out of the Big West top spot. That paved the way for preseason league favorite Long Beach State to overtake first place after the 49ers toppled Cal State Northridge and UH. The 49ers have won all four conference contests by single digits. LBSU hits the road this week with games at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton.
• Long Beach State extended its winning streak at the Walter Pyramid to 20 straight against Big West opponents with last week’s triumphs versus CSUN and UH. The 49ers have not lost a Big West game at the ‘Mid since Feb. 17, 2010. LBSU returns home on Saturday, Jan. 26 against UC Irvine.
• UH senior Vander Joaquim is on the cusp of surpassing the 1,000-point career mark. The 6-10 center has 991 career points and could reach the milestone as soon as this Thursday against Pacific. He would become the 15th player in Rainbow Warrior history to reach 1,000.
• Late game heroics was the theme last week as three games were decided at the buzzer or in the final seconds. Corey Hawkins of UC Davis knocked down a put back jumper as time expired to lead the Aggies to a 69-67 triumph over Cal Poly last Thursday, handing the Mustangs their first Big West loss. On Saturday, two contests went down to the wire. Cal State Fullerton’s Kwame Vaughn threaded a step-back jumper through the net as the clock hit zero in a 71-69 thriller versus UC Riverside, while Long Beach State guard Mike Caffey connected on a teardrop floater with less than two seconds left to power his side to a four-point win against UH.
• The level of competition through three weeks of league play has been revealed by the number of tightly contested games. Ten of the 23 Big West contests, or 43.4 percent, have been decided by five or less points.
• Two changes have been made to the Big West basketball television schedule on FOX PRIME TICKET that occurred due to the settlement of the National Hockey League lockout, and were facilitated to avoid conflicts with Anaheim Ducks telecasts. Hawai’i at UC Santa Barbara replaces UC Irvine at Long Beach State on Saturday, January 26 with the tip time remaining 4:00 p.m. (PST). On Saturday, February 2, Cal Poly at Long Beach State replaces Hawai’i at Cal State Fullerton. Tipoff for that game is also 4:00 p.m. (PST).
• UC Santa Barbara sophomore Alan “Big Al” Williams leads the Big West and ranks No. 8 nationally with nine double-doubles. Last week, he had 22 points and 12 rebounds against Pacific followed by 28 and 11 versus UC Davis. The 6-7, 240-pound center is on full display this Saturday when the Gauchos host Central Coast rival Cal Poly on FOX PRIME TICKET.
• Cal State Fullerton senior Sammy Yeager is shooting 61.5 percent (24 of 39) from three-point land over the last five games.
• For the eighth year, institutions will air all home and conference matches on BigWest.TV. For the 2012-13 season, all BigWest.TV events will air free of charge. Head to thisweek for weekly event schedules.
Big West.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West’s 10 member institutions. Now in its eighth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women’s volleyball as well as men’s and women’s basketball. Also covered are select contests in men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball and Big West Championships.