Tough Matchups Greet Men's Hoops For The Holidays
Men's Basketball Release No. 8
A smattering of games dot the men's basketball schedule during this holiday week, highlighted by Hawai‘i hosting Oregon State, and UC Irvine and Cal Poly traveling to Arizona State and Stanford, respectively.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Road Woes: Cal Poly dropped a pair of games at Loyola Marymount and Pittsburgh last week, falling to 0-5 in road games this season. The Mustangs have lost 10 straight non-conference road games since upsetting UCLA, 70-68, at Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 25, 2012.
Eversley Tops 20: Senior Chris Eversley posted his second 20-point effort of the 2013-14 campaign in Cal Poly’s 79-59 loss at Loyola Marymount on Tuesday. The forward notched 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting against the Lions. Eversley is now 117 points away from reaching the 1,000 point mark for his career.
Tough Boarder: In addition to his scoring prowess, Eversley ranks fifth in the Big West in rebounding (7.7 rpg). He registered a season-low three caroms in the loss at Pittsburgh.
Upcoming: The Mustangs continue their four-game roadtrip against Stanford this Saturday. The Cardinal represent Cal Poly’s third Pac-12 opponent this season.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Winning Time: Cal State Fullerton has won two in a row and three of its last four. The Titans toppled Sacramento State on Saturday by a 59-51 score. The 51 points allowed was the second-fewest for CSF this season, as the Titans held the Hornets to just 34.5 (19 of 55) percent shooting.
Williams Keeps Rolling: Senior Michael Williams scored in double figures for the 12th straight game with 10 points against Sacramento State. Williams is the only Titan to have reached double-digit points in every game this season.
Harris Finding Rhythm: After missing four games with a injury, guard Alex Harris took a few games to get back into a rhythm, but he seems to have found it. Harris followed up his 21 points against Texas Southern with team-highs in points (12), rebounds (7) and assists (4) versus Sacramento State.
Looking For Another Road Win: The Titans have collected road wins against Montana State and Pepperdine, and hope for a third against UNLV on Saturday.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Big Road Win: Cal State Northridge upended Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 67-66, on Friday to secure the program’s first non-conference road win in a year. The Matadors defeated Utah on Dec. 21, 2012 for their previous non-league road win. CSUN shot a season second-best 52.3 (23-of-44) percent against the Islanders. CSUN has won four of its last five contests heading into this Friday’s home matchup with Morgan State.
Maxwell Joins 500 Club: Junior Stephen Maxwell yanked down 11 rebounds in a 79-69 victory over Idaho on Sunday to increase his career total to 505 boards. He became just the 15th player in Matador history to surpass 500 rebounds for his career. Maxwell recorded 10 or more boards for the sixth time this season.
Tre-Hale Storm: Sophomore Tre-Hale Edmerson played a big role in the win over Idaho. The 6-7 forward gobbled up a career-high 13 rebounds to help the Matadors to a 47-33 advantage in that category, and he added five assists and three blocked shots.
LONG BEACH STATE
Streak Silenced: Long Beach State stopped a nine-game losing streak in a big way last week with a win over local non-conference rival USC. The 49ers knocked off the Trojans in a 72-71 thriller, securing the program’s first home win over a Pac-12 school since Dec. 16, 1999. That last win also happened to be against USC.
Lamb Chopped: UCLA transfer Tyler Lamb infused a huge chunk of all around production for the 49ers in his first two games of the season. He had 20 points against USC and 29 more versus Montana State-Billings, and he pestered on defense to help LBSU win back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Monson Moves Up: The win over USC gave head coach Dan Monson his 106th victory at LBSU, making him the second-winningest coach at the school. He is now 107-100 in his seventh season.
Free Throw Parade: LBSU set season-highs for free throw makes (21) and attempts (33) versus Montana State-Billings.
Streak Smothered: UC Davis played its first triple overtime game in eight years and was on the wrong end of an agonizing 89-85 decision at San Jose State last Wednesday, but showed its collective fortitude in rebounding with a six-point win over Air Force on Saturday. The win over the Falcons halted a seven-game losing streak.
Scoring Spree Alert?: Corey Hawkins, who led the Big West with 15 games of 20 points or more last year, tallied his third such game in 2013-14 with a team-high 20 against Air Force.
Sypkens Launches Up Chart: Senior Ryan Sypkens continues his ascent up the Big West career chart in three-pointers made. The 6-4 guard canned seven threes in two games last week, and now has 254 in his career. Sypkens vaulted past Cal State Fullerton’s Josh Akognon (2007-09) and Long Beach State’s Jibril Hodges (2002-06) for the No. 7 spot in Big West history. Next up for Sypkens is Wilbert Hooker of Fresno State (1989-92), in the No. 6 slot with 262 treys.
Tale Of Two Games: UC Irvine scored 63 points in both of its games last week, with varying results. The Anteaters lost 91-63 at No. 11 Oregon, then recovered to stifle Denver in a 63-50 road victory. The 50 points allowed was a season-low for a UCI opponent. The ‘Eaters are 5-0 this season when allowing 70 points or less.
More On That Win: UCI shot a season-best 61.5 (24-for-39) percent while holding the Pioneers to just 34.0 (17-for-50) percent shooting.
Gearing Up For 1,000: Senior Chris McNealy is on the cusp of becoming the 23rd player in Anteater annals to score 1,000 career points. The 6-4 guard enters the week with 982 points. McNealy has reached double figures in points in six straight games.
And What About That 500 Rebound Club: Junior Will Davis II is primed to connect with his own career milestone. The 6-8 forward stands at 498 rebounds, two short from becoming the 20th UCI player to hit 500 career boards.
Stress Test: UC Riverside seems to be quite fond of playing in close games. The Highlanders competed in their sixth game decided by five points or less, ekeing out a 57-56 victory over Illinois-Chicago on Friday. UCR is now 2-4 in those tight games. The four losses were by a combined 11 points.
He Will Have A Double-Double: After zero double-double games in his freshman campaign, Taylor Johns is getting accustomed to them in year number two. The 6-7 forward secured his third double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in the one-point triumph over UIC.
Another Johns Rebounding Note: Johns added 12 more boards against Northern Illinois on Sunday, securing his fourth double-digit rebounding effort in the last six games.
Downtown Is Deserted: The Highlanders have made the fewest number of three-pointers (44) among Big West teams and own the second-worst three-point field goal percentage (.288).
UC SANTA BARBARA
Gauchos Keep It Going: UC Santa Barbara won two of its three games in the Basketball Travelers Classic last week, with the lone loss coming in overtime to host Utah State. The Gauchos knocked off Troy and Western Illinois, and have five wins in their last seven contests.
What Might Have Been: UCSB lost both ends of a home-and-home series against Utah State, but missed key players in each game. At home on Nov. 16, UCSB was without leading scorer and rebounder Alan Williams, and came up short in a 71-64 loss. Last Friday, the team’s second-leading scorer Michael Bryson sat out due to injury, and his 11.8 points per game were missed in a 77-71 setback.
Boswell Bombs Away: Senior Kyle Boswell tied career highs with 27 points and seven three-point baskets against Utah State. Boswell and Williams combined for 50 of the team’s 71 points in the game.
Sights On Twenty: Williams has scored more than 20 points in seven of nine games played this season.
Breakthrough Win: Hawai‘i picked up an impressive two-point win over Saint Mary’s on the second day of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Monday. The Gaels are listed in the “others receiving votes” category in both the USA Today and Associated Press polls. UH earned its league-best eighth win of the season.
Standhardinger’s Heroics: Senior Christian Standhardinger dropped in a baseline jumper with one second remaining to give the Rainbow Warriors the 76-74 win over Saint Mary’s. Standhardinger, who finished with a game-high 22 points, did most of his damage at the free throw line on 14-of-17 shooting. Two games earlier, he tied the Big West single-game record with 22 free throw attempts against Chaminade.
Shooting Stars: UH shot exactly 50 (25-for-50) percent against Saint Mary’s to improve to 4-0 on the year when making half or more than half of its shots. In fact, all four of those wins have come within the last seven games. UH is 6-1 during that stretch.