Finals Week Produces Light Schedule In Men's Hoops
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This Week in the Big West - December 9-15, 2013
Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 6
All night study sessions, notebooks and textbooks – it must be Finals Week. Only seven games are on this week's docket as men's basketball student-athletes prepare for their exams. Hawai‘i looks for its fifth straight win as it takes on Chaminade on Saturday.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
On The Rebound: Cal Poly extinguished a brief two-game losing streak, holding Santa Clara to 38.0 percent shooting in a 64-53 victory on Saturday. The Mustangs won at home for the 14th time in the last 15 games, and remain idle until Saturday’s game against Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Nwaba Breaks Out: Sophomore Dave Nwaba scored a career-high 21 points in 20 minutes to pace the Mustangs to victory against Santa Clara. It was the sixth time in eight games that Nwaba reached double figures in scoring.
Eversley Equals Career Rebounding High: Senior Chris Eversley matched his career high with 15 rebounds against the Broncos, and notched double-digit boards for the third time in the last four games. Eversley ranks third in the Big West with 8.6 rebounds per game.
Ball Control: The Mustangs continue to handle the ball with care. They have committed 11 or fewer turnovers in seven of the eight games.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Streak Stopped: The Titans snapped a five-game losing streak with a 78-64 win at Pepperdine on Wednesday. CSF made 30 of 59 floor shots in the game and improved to 3-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better.
Williams Hits Career Mark: Senior guard Michael Williams extended his streak of consecutive double-digit scoring contests to 10 straight with a career-best 21-point effort Saturday against Seattle. Williams made a Titan career-high nine field goals (in 16 attempts). He ranks ninth in the Big West with 14.6 points per game.
Horne Spurs Titans To Victory: Senior Marquis Horne collected a career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting against Pepperdine.
McClellan Emerges: Junior Steve McClellan made a combined 10-of-13 shots in last week’s games and notched his first double-double as a Titan with 10 points and 12 rebounds versus the Redhawks.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Ups And Downs: Cal State Northridge looked impressive in a 27-point blowout of Southern Utah on Tuesday, shooting 50.0 percent or better for the third time in four games. However, two nights later against Seattle, the Matadors were held to their lowest point total of the season in a 58-53 loss.
Hicks Hits Milestone: Cal State Northridge junior Stephan Hicks knocked down two free throws early in Tuesday’s game against Southern Utah to cement his standing as the 17th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Hicks finished with his fifth consecutive game of 20 points or more. He sits at No. 2 in the Big West in scoring (18.4 ppg).
Nice Company: Senior Josh Greene (1,121) and Hicks (1,031) make CSUN the only school in the Big West with two active career 1,000-point scorers.
Edmerson Protecting The Rim: Sophomore Tre Hale-Edmerson has blocked 10 shots over the last three games, and now ranks fourth in the league with 1.8 blocks per game.
LONG BEACH STATE
Stop The Streak: The 49ers take a break from their brutal non-conference schedule with a 12-day break, before taking on local rival USC on Dec. 19. LBSU has lost nine straight games, the program’s longest in one season since dropping 10 straight in 2003-04.
Samuels Stands Out: Junior David Samuels produced his first career double-double as a 49er with 15 points and 11 rebounds against North Carolina State. The 6-7 forward has scored in double figures two of the last three outings.
Jennings Keeps It Coming: Senior Dan Jennings is averaging 16.7 points and 6.0 rebounds over the last three games and is shooting .575 (23-of-40) during that same span. He stands fourth in the conference in rebounds per game (8.3).
Shooting Struggles: Improvement in overall and three-point shooting is among the top items on the LBSU holiday wish list. The 49ers rank last in the Big West in field goal percentage (.399) and are tied for last in three-point marksmanship (.267).
Skid Reaches Five: UC Davis dropped its fifth straight game, three coming by six points or less, as the Aggies fell, 87-81, in overtime on Saturday to Nevada. It was also the third straight home loss for the Aggies.
Hawkins Explodes: Junior Corey Hawkins, the Big West scoring champion last year at 20.3 points per game, had scored in double figures in eight straight games to open the 2013-14 season. But in only one of those games did he exceed the 20-point mark. Hawkins gutted the Wolf Pack for a season-best 34 points, making 12 of 20 shots overall.
More Playing Time, Please: Freshman guard Brynton Lemar made his second career start – and first since Nov. 11 against Holy Names – in the Wolf Pack game and responded with a career-best 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He also played a career-high 34 minutes.
Up Next: The Aggies turn their attention toward the Bay Area as their next two games take place on the road against Stanford and San Jose State.
Rebound Time: UC Irvine lost its second consecutive game on Saturday, falling 75-69 against Pepperdine in a game that also represented the third home loss for the Anteaters. The road gets no easier for UCI, which must play its next four games on the road – Eastern Washington, Oregon, Denver and Arizona State.
Assists Keep Coming: Sophomore Alex Young dished out a season-high eight assists, one short of his career-high, against the Waves. The 6-1 point guard has 29 assists against just 10 turnovers over the last six contests.
Boarding: The Anteaters have corralled 10 or more offensive rebounds in six straight games. UCI leads the Big West in overall rebounding, pulling down 41.0 on average.
Solid Backcourt Addition: Freshman guard Luke Nelson has scored in double figures in eight of the last nine games. After making five three-pointers through the first six contests, Nelson has drained 13 in his last four. Nelson is shooting 52.0% (13-of-25) from long range during that span.
Free Throw Special: UC Riverside shot a season-best 92.6 percent from the free throw line in last Thursday’s win against La Verne. The Highlanders made 25 of 27 at the stripe, tying for the eighth-highest single-game percentage in program history.
Patton Heating Up: Senior Chris Patton is averaging 17.8 points over his last four games, including a 20-point effort against La Verne. It’s a huge upgrade over the first three games when Patton scored a combined 21 points against San Diego State, Pepperdine and Montana State.
Big Bench Production: The Highlander bench outscored the starters 50-42 in the win over La Verne. Sam Finley and Nick Gruninger established career highs of 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Chill Factor: The Highlanders, who shot 54.2% from the field against La Verne, hope to take the hot shooting with them to the cold weather climate they’re about to face in Colorado. UCR’s next two foes are Air Force and Northern Colorado.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Statement Win: The third attempt against a Pac-12 opponent was a charm. The Gauchos, who put scares into both Colorado and UCLA on the road, broke through last week with a 72-65 victory against Cal at the Thunderdome. The Gauchos beat the Bears for the first time in 10 all-time meetings.
Shooting Prowess: UCSB shot 50.9% (27 of 53) against Cal, including 59.3% in the decisive second half to spur the team to victory. The Gauchos shot 50 percent or better for the fourth straight game, and fifth time overall this season. UCSB leads the Big West and ranks No. 13 in the nation in field goal percentage (.507).
Beast Mode: Junior Alan Williams has scored 20-plus points in all five games he has played this season. In the last three games alone, Williams is averaging 28.7 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 61.4% (35 of 57) from the field.
Taran’s Time: Making his first start of the season, sophomore Taran Brown scored 14 points and had four key blocks against Cal.
Keep It Going: Hawai‘i moved its winning streak to four straight and overall record to 6-2 with Saturday’s 76-66 triumph at Northern Arizona. All six of UH’s victories have come by double digits.
More On The NAU Win: The Rainbow Warriors picked up their first road win of the season against the Lumberjacks. It also represented UH’s first non-conference road win on the mainland since Feb. 19, 2011 against UC Davis.
Shamburger Joins Record Book: Junior guard Keith Shamburger hit all 10 of his free throw attempts against NAU, becoming the 13th player in UH history to go at least 10-for-10 from the line. Zane Johnson was the last Rainbow Warrior to accomplish the feat, doing so on Mar. 15, 2011 against Portland.
Nevels Paces Bows: Junior guard Garrett Nevels scored a game-high 24 points, his second 20-point performance of the season, to lead UH in last week’s win. He tied his season best with four three-pointers (in seven attempts) and added three steals.