Long Beach State Tips Off Big West Package On Prime Ticket
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This Week in the Big West - December 16-22, 2013
Men's Basketball Release No. 7
The first of nine regular season men's basketball games on Prime Ticket – the official regional telecast home of the Big West Conference – airs Thursday as Long Beach State meets USC in a showdown at The Pyramid. Read about the Big West's lineup on Prime Ticket HERE.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Two In A Row: Cal Poly won its second straight game, scoring a season-high in points to defeat Cal State Dominguez Hills, 85-49, on Saturday. The Mustangs were victorious for the 15th time in their last 16 contests played at the Mott Athletics Center.
Long Range Loving: The Mustangs set season highs for three-pointers made (12) and three-point field goal percentage (.500) in the win over Cal State Dominguez Hills. In six minutes off the bench, freshman Taylor Sutlive hit all five of his shots, including four treys, for a career-high 14 points.
Nwaba Outstanding: Sophomore Dave Nwaba posted his second consecutive 20-point game, scoring a game-high 22 points against the Toros. Nwaba leads the Mustangs with seven double-digit scoring games. He is also shooting 73.7 percent (42 of 57) from the field over the last seven games.
Ball Control: Cal Poly is tied for 12th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (9.9).
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Titans Set Highs: Cal State Fullerton tallied a season-best in points in its 87-80 home win over Texas Southern on Sunday. Two Titans scored 20 points for the first time in a game this season as senior Michael Williams had 24 and junior Alex Harris 21.
Williams Keeps Rolling: Williams delivered his 11th straight game with double-digit points in the Texas Southern victory. His 24 points was the most by a Titan this season. The point guard ranks eighth in the Big West with 15.5 points per game.
Definite Correlation: Cal State Fullerton improved to 4-0 this year when shooting better than 50 percent. The Titans knocked down 54.4 (31 of 57) percent from the field against the Tigers. CSF also shot above 50 percent in victories against Montana State, Santa Clara and Pepperdine.
Value The Ball: In committing just nine turnovers against Texas Southern, the Titans won for the third time when finishing with single-digit miscues.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
On A Break: Cal State Northridge is in the midst of a two-week hiatus to take fall finals, and resume action this Friday at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. It will be the first time the Matadors take the court since losing on Dec. 5 to Seattle.
Greene Eyes Scoring Top 10: Currently No. 12 in the Matador annals with 1,121 career points, senior Josh Greene is just 38 shy of joining the top 10 list. Calvin Chitwood (2004-08) and George Robnett (1970-74) are tied for 10th.
Maxwell Preparing For 500 Club: Junior Stephen Maxwell, who has five games with double-digit rebounds to his credit, ranks No. 2 in the Big West in rebounds (8.8 rpg). The 6-7 forward is also approaching a career milestone, as he needs just eight more boards to reach 500. He would become the 15th player in CSUN history to accomplish the feat.
Road Win Needed: CSUN is looking for its first non-conference road win in a year. The Matadors defeated Utah, 76-71, on Dec. 21, 2012 for their last such triumph.
LONG BEACH STATE
Big Game Ahead: Long Beach State hopes a 12-day break in between games is the elixir to snap a nine-game losing streak. For the first time since 2001, the 49ers are hosting USC on Thursday in a game televised on Prime Ticket. LBSU’s skid is the longest in one season since dropping 10 straight in 2003-04.
Previous Success: LBSU’s last home date against USC resulted in an 86-68 loss on Dec. 12, 2001. But prior to that, the 49ers have had success at home against the Trojans, winning three straight in 1988, 1997 and 1999.
Caffey Steps Up: Junior Mike Caffey has scored in double figures in six straight games, averaging 15.8 points over that span. The point guard had a solid game in his last outing against North Carolina State as he posted 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting with six assists.
Free Throws Improving: The 49ers have exhibited much better accuracy at the free throw line the last two games, connecting at 75.0 (30-of-40) percent. In LBSU’s first eight games, the team shot below 70 percent in all of them.
Streak Stopper: The Aggies hope to slay a six-game losing streak when they invade San Jose State on Wednesday. During the streak, UC Davis has lost three home games by six points or less and three more on the road – all by double digits.
Funtarov Finding His Way: Freshman Georgi Funtarov played a career-high 34 minutes in just his second start at Stanford on Saturday. The 6-8 forward had 13 points and six rebounds, and made 6-of-11 floor shots. It was his second straight game with 13 points and six rebounds. Funtarov has made 11 of his last 21 field goal attempts as well.
Lemar Carving Out Starting Lineup Spot: Freshman guard Brynton Lemar made his second straight start, and came up with 11 points, a career-high five rebounds and four assists at Stanford.
Trey Watch: With 247 three-pointers, senior Ryan Sypkens is ninth in the Big West record book. He needs five more to move into a tie for seventh on that list.
Another Road Win: UC Irvine earned its third road win of the season with Sunday’s 70-61 triumph at Eastern Washington. The Anteaters, who previously knocked off Washington and Sacramento State on the road, continue their four game roadtrip this week at No. 11 Oregon and Denver.
On The Hunt: The last time UCI defeated two Pac-10/Pac-12 opponents in one season was in 2000-01. That Anteater squad toppled California (56-52) and Washington (56-55) on the way to a 25-5 overall record and a Big West regular season championship with a 15-1 mark. In addition to playing Oregon this week, UCI also takes on Arizona State on Dec. 28.
Consistency: Freshman Luke Nelson made all five of his shot attempts and notched his fifth straight game in double figure scoring with 13 points against Eastern Washington.
D Is The Key: UC Irvine is 4-0 this season when it limits the opposition to less than 70 points. The Anteaters are 2-5 when the opponent scores more than 70 points.
Close Encounters: UC Riverside finished off a two-game roadtrip to the state of Colorado with a tough 63-60 loss to Northern Colorado on Monday. It was UCR’s fourth loss by four points or less. Holding a 60-56 lead, the Highlanders were scoreless in the final 3:12 against the Bears to come up short.
Patton Leads Charge: Senior Chris Patton came off the bench for the first time this season, and led the Highlanders with 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots in 24 minutes against Northern Colorado.
More On Patton: Patton had seven blocked shots on the two-game road swing versus Air Force and Northern Colorado. The total more than doubles the three blocks he accumulated through the first seven games of the season.
Blocked Shots Brigade: Sophomore forward Taylor Johns had three blocks apiece against the Falcons and Bears, and now has a team-leading 19 swats on the season. Johns ranks third in the Big West with 2.1 blocks per game.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Gauchos Do It Again: The Gauchos won for the third time in the last four games, knocking off a tough San Diego squad on the road, 72-61, on Sunday. UCSB shot better than 50 percent for the fifth straight game, hitting at a 53.5 (23 of 43) percent clip against the Toreros.
Among The Best: UC Santa Barbara is ranked No. 8 in the country in field goal percentage (.510). The Gauchos have shot 50 percent or better against UNLV, Colorado, South Dakota State, UCLA, Cal and San Diego.
Bryson From Downtown: Sophomore Michael Bryson knocked down a season-high five three-pointers versus the Toreros, and is now shooting 48.8 (20-of-41) percent for the season from distance. He ranks third in the Big West in three-point field goal percentage.
Impressive Debut: Taking over the starting point guard duties, junior Zalmico Harmon has run the offense efficiently and has been an excellent decision maker. His 4.3 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks No. 4 nationally.
Streak At Five: Hawai‘i is riding a five-game winning streak after picking up a 94-84 victory against Chaminade on Saturday. The Rainbow Warriors trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half but eventually wore down the Silverswords with superior depth and size. UH returns to action on Saturday versus Boise State in the opening round of its own Diamond Head Classic.
Standhardinger Comes Up Big: Senior Christian Standhardinger tied his career high with 31 points against Chaminade, and did most of his damage at the free throw line. In fact, he did so much damage that his name now appears in the Big West record book. His 22 free throw attempts tied a Big West single-game record initially set by Cal State Fullerton’s Leon Wood on Dec. 19, 1981. His 16 makes tied for the seventh-most in league annals.
Balanced Attack: The high-powered UH offense, which has scored 80 or more points six times this season, features five players who average in double figures in scoring. Newcomer Garrett Nevels is second on the team (14.2 ppg).