Tournament Action Continues In Men's Hoops This Week
Men's Basketball Release No. 3
Tournaments dot the men's basketball landscape this week, including UC Irvine hosting the 2K Sports Classic Subregional and Long Beach State travelling to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The 49ers square off with No. 14 Michigan in Thursday's opener.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Tough Setbacks: Cal Poly, which is 0-2 for the first time since the 2009-10 season, returns to action after a seven-day break this Wednesday at Fresno State. Cal Poly hopes to avoid an 0-3 start, which would also be the longest since that 2009-10 squad opened with five straight defeats.
Marksman: Senior Kyle Odister has engineered a solid start to the 2013-14 season from the perimeter. The guard has knocked down 10 of his 24 three-point attempts for a 41.7 percent success rate. Ten of Odister’s 11 made field goals have come from behind the arc.
Start A New Streak: Cal Poly’s loss to Nevada on Nov. 12 was the first in 13 games at the Mott Athletics Center. The Mustangs look to begin a new win streak when Bethesda visits this Saturday.
Round The Corner: Senior forward Chris Eversley sits 16 rebounds shy of compiling 400 for his career.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Nice Recovery: After squandering a 14-point lead with just over four minutes remaining to lose 75-71 to Seattle last Wednesday, the Titans came back home three nights later and walloped Santa Clara, 86-73, thanks to 53.8 percent shooting from the field.
Shooting Stars: Cal State Fullerton has shot better than 50 percent overall in two of its first three games. In addition, in both wins over Montana State (9-18) and Santa Clara (7-14), the Titans connected at 50.0 percent from three-point territory.
Consistency: The Titans have trotted out the same starting five for the first three games, with the trio of junior Alex Harris (17.7), senior Michael Williams (15.3) and senior Marquis Horne all averaging double figures in points.
Upcoming: Cal State Fullerton encounters a pair of road games this week – at USC on Tuesday and at San Jose State on Saturday.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Road Journey: The Matadors continue a difficult six-game road trip – with trip being the operating word this week. CSUN plays in the Central Michigan Tournament with Montana State, Austin Peay and the host Chippewas on tap.
We Meet Again: After playing Montana State in the Central Michigan Tournament, the Matadors suit up against the Bobcats for the second time in five days as the two teams meet again in Bozeman on Nov. 26.
Three Amigos: The trio of senior Josh Greene and juniors Stephen Maxwell and Stephan Hicks contributed prominently to the Matador stat sheet in 2012-13, and this year is no different. All three are averaging double figures in scoring, and have combined for 150 of the team’s 229 points. Maxwell is currently tied for fourth in the Big West at 17.7 points and third in rebounds at 9.3 per game. Hicks is now just 108 points away from reaching the milestone 1,000 for his career.
LONG BEACH STATE
Tough Week: Long Beach State lost three in a row last week, falling to No. 6 Arizona and Kansas State on the road and Loyola Marymount at home. The loss to the Lions was particularly excruciating as the 49ers held a five-point lead with under a minute to play, but conceded the last six points to fall, 74-73.
Puerto Rico Bound: The 49ers continue their formidable non-conference schedule with an appearance in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off this week. LBSU faces No. 14 Michigan in its tournament opener, and draws either No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth of Florida State in the next game.
Monson Tied For Second: Head coach Dan Monson sits at 105 career wins while at Long Beach State. He currently shares the No. 2 spot for most wins with Seth Greenberg (1990-96).
Mr. Jennings: The most consistent player for LBSU early on is senior Dan Jennings. The forward has recorded three double-doubles in his first four games, including 14 points and 12 rebounds at Kansas State.
Back To Drawing Board: UC Davis endured a 34-point loss on the road to Utah in its last outing, but gets a shot to rebound this week with three games at the Portland State Tournament. The Aggies play SIUE, Loyola-Chicago and the host Vikings. It is UCD’s second trip to the northwest after the Aggies lost to Portland in the season opener Nov. 8.
Lemar’s Coming Out Party: Freshman guard Brynton Lemar has had an impressive start to his collegiate career. He has scored in double figures in all three games, including a team-high 14 points against Utah. He ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 12.0 points per game.
Sypkens Still Sinking The Trey: Senior guard Ryan Sypkens is tied for the Big West lead with 12 three-pointers. After leading the conference with 106 treys in 2012-13, the eighth-highest single-season total all-time, Sypkens now has 232 threes for his career. He needs one more to tie former UC Irvine player Ross Schraeder (2002-06) at No. 12 on the Big West career list. Sypkens is five short from entering the top 10.
Strong Statement: UC Irvine took an 0-2 record into Seattle last Thursday to face the Pac-12’s Washington, and came away with an impressive 14-point win. It was the second straight year that the Anteaters knocked off a Pac-12 club after defeating USC during the 2012-13 season.
Mamadou Sets Blocks Record: Mamadou Ndiaye, a 7-6 freshman center, took all of three games in his fledgling collegiate career to establish a Big West record. Ndiaye collected a Big West single-game record nine blocked shots against Washington, eclipsing the previous record of eight that twice had been reached by teammate Will Davis II.
Hitting On All Cylinders: UC Irvine has pieced together four straight games of 50 percent shooting or better. The Anteaters shot a season-high 59.6 (34 of 57) percent in the win over the Huskies.
Free Is Free: After making just 53.9 percent (55 of 102) of its free throws through three games, UCI hit at an 84.6 (22 of 26) clip against Pacifica in its last outing on Sunday.
In The Win Column: UC Riverside settled for a split of two home games last week, losing a three-point squeaker to Pepperdine and outlasting Montana State (72-67) on Homecoming Day in front of 2,355 fans at the SRC Arena.
Johns With Career-Best: Sophomore Taylor Johns poured in a career-high 31 points on 13 of 16 shooting to pace the Highlanders in the win over the Bobcats. It was the third straight game that Johns has reached double-digits in points, after hitting that mark just five times during his freshman season.
Pace Setter?: Johns currently ranks second in the Big West in scoring at 19.3 points per game. He is the only Highlander to average in double figures.
Improvement: UCR steadily improved its free throw percentage in each of its first three games, going from 34.8 (8 of 23) percent against San Diego State, to 64.7 (11 of 17) versus Pepperdine and 73.5 against (25 of 34) against Montana State.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Big Al Sidelined: UC Santa Barbara’s quest to open the season with three straight wins got derailed on Saturday in a 71-64 loss. However, the team’s top scorer and rebounder, 6-7 forward Alan Williams, suffered back spasms during pregame warmups and did not play against the Aggies. His return is hopeful for this Thursday’s game at Colorado.
Boswell Rising Up The Ranks: Senior Kyle Boswell has hit 10-of-20 shots from three-point range and now ranks No. 10 in UCSB career history with 153. He looks to move up the list with Mark Flick (162) and Branduinn Fullove (163) his next targets.
Ball Control: Junior point guard Zalmico Harmon has proved to be an excellent addition to UCSB’s lineup. Through three games, Harmon has dished out 13 assists against just one turnover.
Get Ready: UCSB’s game against Colorado is the first of three against Pac 12 foes – UCLA (Dec. 3) and Cal (Dec. 6).
Bounce Back: Hawai‘i has followed two season-opening wins with a pair of losses after dropping a 92-80 decision against Missouri on Saturday in Kansas City. The ‘Bows have allowed their last two opponents to average 93.5 points, and their first four opponents have combined to shoot 49 percent from the field. UH hosts Hawaii-Hilo on Thursday in hopes of reversing the trend.
On The Other Hand: Offense is not an issue for UH. Five different players are averaging double-digit points, led by senior Christian Standhardinger with 17.0 per game. Junior newcomer Garrett Nevels is second on the team at 15.5 points per game. He poured in 26 points versus New Mexico State and added 17 against Missouri.
Stand Up: Standhardinger, who tied for third in the Big West last season with 11 games of 20 points or more, already has two such games to his credit this season. He notched 20 points in the opener against Tennessee State, and had a season-high 22 versus Missouri in the last outing. He also made 9 of 12 shots against the Tigers.