ESPN3 Conference Coverage Begins At Cal State Northridge
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This Week in the Big West - January 5-12, 2014
Big West Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 10
Cal State Northridge holds the honors for ESPN3 coverage this week as the Matadors kick off Big West play with a pair of games on the network. They won't be the only team on the airwaves as defending regular season champion Long Beach State takes on preseason favorite UC Irvine in the Pyramid on Fox Prime Ticket.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Go East Young Men: Cal Poly made its furthest trip east since its Division I debut last week, a matchup against Delaware that ended in an 82-72 loss. The Mustangs fell to 0-7 on the road this season and lost their 12th straight non-conference road contest dating back to last season.
From Out Of Nowhere: Junior Anthony Silvestri started the first game of his collegiate career against the Blue Hens and delivered a career-best performance. Silvestri played 19 minutes and scored a career-best 14 points, knocking down a personal-high four three-pointers in the process. Silvestri’s barrage from deep was a pleasant surprise as he had hit five threes in his previous 12 contests combined.
Still Stingy As Always: The Mustangs have allowed 70+ points in four straight games, the longest streak since Joe Callero’s first season on the sidelines. Despite the recent struggles, Cal Poly is still a top-tier defensive club, ranking first in the Big West in points allowed per game at 65.2.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Midwest Jaunt: Cal State Fullerton dropped its final non-conference game of the season last week, a 73-57 setback to Tulsa on the road. The Titans dropped back-to-back road games for only the second time this season.
Gentry’s Instant O: Junior Josh Gentry had his second straight solid game off the bench against the Golden Hurricane, putting up a career-highs in points (15), minutes (30) and tying his career-best with three made shots from beyond the arc.
Mike The Titan: Senior Michael Williams scored a game-high 20 points against Tulsa, the third time he has scored at least 20 in his last five games.. He also hit multiple three-pointers for the ninth time in 14 games.
Home Cookin’: Cal State Fullerton plays three of its first five Big West games in the friendly confines of Titan Gym, a place where the club is a solid 3-3.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Streak Snapped: Cal State Northridge’s three-game win streak was snapped in a road loss to Stephen F. Austin, 74-67, prior to the New Year. 2014 also got off to a tough start for CSUN as the squad dropped a heart-breaker at South Dakota, 76-75.
The Threes All Me: Senior Josh Greene set the Matador school record for career three-pointers against the Lumberjacks. Greene hit his 183rd career trey in the second half against SFA, surpassing Ian Boylan (2001-05) who ended his career in the red and black with 182.
New Month, New Double: Junior Stephan Hicks picked up one double double in November and December. He didn’t have to wait long for his January double double as he scored 19 points and collected 10 rebounds against the Coyotes.
Look Ma I’m On The Tube: Both of Cal State Northridge’s home conference games this week are on ESPN3. Matador fans will get a chance to see the squad open up Big West play against UC Davis and Hawai’i. Join in on the discussion using #UCDvsCSUN and #HAWAIIvsCSUN on Twitter.
LONG BEACH STATE
End Of The Gauntlet: Long Beach State wrapped up its harrowing non-conference slate with a 69-59 road loss to Missouri. The game was the 49ers’ fourth against a ranked opponent and eighth against a power conference team.
Streak Snapped: LBSU’s season-high three-game win streak was snapped against the Tigers, as well as the first loss since transfer Tyler Lamb became eligible four games ago.
Iron Caffey: Junior Michael Caffey played 39 minutes against Missouri, the fifth straight game he registered 36 or more minutes in a game. In all, Caffey has played at least 32 minutes in all but four games this season and leads the Big West in minutes played (491) and minutes played per game (35.1).
Right In The Gulley: Kris Gulley had his best game of the season against the Tigers, scoring 13 points. He hit a pair of threes, five of his six free throws and added three rebounds.
Take A Split: UC Davis split a pair of home games last week, a 75-65 loss to Furman and a 93-69 win against Simpson.
That Was Easy: Senior Ryan Sypkens needed to make eight threes to pass Wilbert Hooker of Fresno State (1989-92) for sixth on the Big West career lost. Well all Sypkens did was hit 15 over his two games, including an incredible 10 against Simpson to give him sole possession of sixth on the career treys list with 269. Next up are the 283 Utah State’s Tony Brown (1999-02) and UNLV’s Anderson Hunt (1989-91) hit to tie for fourth. Oh and the 10 threes Sypkens hit against Simpson were a school record, tied for third on the Big West single game list, the most in the league this season and resulted in a career-high 30 points.
Rounding Into Form: Junior Corey Hawkins has had a productive last four contests, averaging 18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Plenty Of Points: The Aggies have been an offensive juggernaut of late, scoring 80 or more points in four of their last six games.
Coming Home: UC Irvine kicked off 2014 with two wins at the Bren Events Center. The club knocked off Morgan State, 75-63, and San Diego Christian, 91-56. The two home wins gave the Anteaters five on the season, tying for the second-most in the league
Grand Ol’ Time: Senior Chris McNealy scored 12 points against San Diego Christian to become the 23rd player in UCI history to reach 1,000 points. McNealy’s 1,007 points is fourth on the Big West active list
I Will Block You: Freshman Mamadou Ndiaye has blocked 55 shots this season, tops in the Big West. To put that number in perspective, Ndiaye has 32 less blocks than second through fourth place combined on the league leaderboard.
The II Is The X-Factor: Will Davis II has been the high-energy player UCI has needed as he averages 12.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Davis II is also shooting 61.7% from the field in 26.8 minutes per game.
New Year’s Split: UC Riverside began 2014 with a bang thanks to an 85-43 home win over Waldorf. The Highlanders couldn’t make it two for the new year though as the squad fell to North Texas on the road in another nailbiter, 76-72. It was the Highlanders’ sixth loss by four points or less this season.
And A New Offense: The Highlanders scored 70+ points in back-to-back games for the second time this season and topped the 80-point plateau for only the second time. The 72 points against the Mean Green was the most for UCR against a DI opponent since November 23 against Southern Utah.
Little Bit Of Everything: Sophomore Taylor Johns stuffed the stat sheet against North Texas with eight points, 15 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and one steal in 31 minutes.
They’re Close: UC Riverside is the lone club in the league to have a losing record but a positive point differential. UCR is averaging 67.1 points and allowing 66.5.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Streaking: UC Santa Barbara upped its win streak to three thanks to a pair of impressive wins around the New Year. The Gauchos topped Seattle on the road, 86-70, and defeated The Master’s College by an 81-52 count. The win over the Redhawks was the first by a Big West team against them this season, ending a five-game losing skid.
Complete Efficiency: Junior Alan Williams nearly averaged a point a minute with two dominating performaces. Williams put up 27 points in 30 minutes against Seattle and 23 points in 22 minutes against Master’s.
Magic Formula: The Gauchos have allowed only 65.3 points per game, just .1 behind Cal Poly for the top spot on the league leaderboard. UCSB has allowed only five of its 13 foes to surpass the 70-point mark.
E-Harmon: The point guard duo of junior Zalmico Harmon and freshman Eric Childress have run the Gaucho offense like a well oiled machine. They combined for nine assists against Seattle and 12 more against Master’s.
The Way To Finish: Hawai‘i wrapped up an impressive non-league slate with a pair of home wins. The Rainbow Warriors downed Norfolk State, 77-66, then put up the same number of points in a 77-73 win over Nebraska-Omaha. The two wins upped Hawai’i’s record to 11-3, the best mark in the league.
Second Half Explosion: Hawai’i stormed past the Spartans thanks to a 50-point second, turning a one-point deficit into an 11-point victory. UH scored 24 points off 19 turnovers in the game, forcing 13 of those miscues after halftime.
Big Efforts From The Bigs: Senior Christian Stanhardinger aided the comeback against Norfolk State with a 29-point performance which included a 12-for-14 effort from the foul line. Four days later, sophomore Isaac Fotu put up 26 points of his own against the Mavericks, highlighted by a 10-for-12 effort from the charity stripe.
Business Trip: The Rainbow Warriors are 2-1 in road/neutral site contests this season, a year after going 4-8 in such games a year ago.