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Men's Basketball

Thanksgiving Tournaments Take Center Stage In Men's Hoops

11/25/2014

2014-15 Men's Basketball Release No. 3

The Great Alaska Shootout, Gulf Coast Showcase, Spartanburg Marriott Upstate Classic and Wooden Legacy all feature Big West representatives in a busy week of conference men's hoops, of which 18 of 22 games will be played at road or neutral sites.

BIG WEST AT A GLANCE

CAL POLY

Home Improvement: The Mustangs improved to 15-6 all-time at the Division I level in home openers after defeating San Francisco State, 65-44, on Tuesday.  Saturday’s 18-point win against Delaware represented Cal Poly’s first against a team from the Colonial Athletic Association.

Shipley Records Career High: Sophomore guard Ridge Shipley poured in a career-high 21 points and hit five of the team’s 12 three-pointers in the win against Delaware.

Mine, All Mine: Cal Poly continues to demonstrate that sharing the ball with others is not one of the team’s personality traits.  For the second time this season, the Mustangs committed just four turnovers in a game, doing so against Delaware, and have a total of 19 miscues through three games, an average of just 6.3 per contest.

Road Warrior Ready: The Mustangs embark on a stretch in which they will play nine of their next 10 games on the road, beginning this week with a matchup at California.

CAL STATE FULLERTON

altInto The Win Column: Cal State Fullerton eked out a four-point win over San Jose State on Saturday, hitting 9-of-12 free throws down the stretch to move to 1-2 on the season.  The Titans, which play nine of their first 11 games on the road, take the court four times over the next five games starting at USC Tuesday.

Home Opener Extraordinaire: The Titans have now won their home opener for 11 straight seasons.

Harris In Double Figures Again: Senior Alex Harris produced the 10th 20-point game of his career in the win over San Jose State while extending his streak of consecutive double-figure games to 20.  He is averaging 15.0 points to rank No. 8 in the Big West.

Morgan For Three: Senior transfer Moses Morgan has connected for at least a trio of treys in all three games.  He shot 3-of-6 from three-point range to help the Titans hold off San Jose State.  His 11 threes on the year is tied for second in the Big West.

CSUN

Two For Three: The Matadors won two of three games last week, knocking off Montana State and Samford while losing a hard fought double-overtime decision to Arkansas-Little Rock.

Hicks Free Throw Watch: Senior Stephan Hicks, who got to the free throw line just nine times in the first two games, averaged nearly nine attempts over the next three.  The guard/forward made 22-of-26 (84.6%) from the stripe last week. Hicks now has 466 free throw makes for his career, which is No. 6 in Big West history.  He’s 11 away from the fifth spot, occupied by UC Santa Barbara’s Alex Harris (476, 2004-08).

Home Opening Dominance:
  CSUN won its home opener for the 12th consecutive season in defeating Montana State last week.

Shooting Stars: The Matadors shot a season-best 61.4% (27 of 44) in the win over Samford.  It was their best shooting performance since hitting at a 62.0% (31 of 50) clip against UC Davis on Jan. 9, 2014.

LONG BEACH STATE


#BigWin: The 49ers notched another signature win in the Dan Monson era when stifling defense and clutch free throw shooting led to a 69-60 win over the Big 12 Conference’s Kansas State on Friday.  Long Beach State held the Wildcats to 32.8% shooting and made 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch in front of a sellout crowd of 4,256.

Add Another To The List: Long Beach State has defeated some well known programs from upper echelon conference during the Monson era.  In addition to Kansas State, the 49ers have toppled Temple, UCLA, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Xavier, Auburn and USC.

Monson Wins Watch:
Head coach Dan Monson has won 121 games at Long Beach State, needing one to tie and two to surpass Hall of Famer Jerry Tarkanian for the distinction of winningest coach in program history.

Caffey’s Accuracy: A career 41 percent shooter from the field, senior Mike Caffey is No. 5 in the Big West through five games with a 58.6% (34-of-58) success rate, including 11-of-22 from three-point range.

UC DAVIS

altBest D-I Start: UC Davis is 3-0 to start a season for the first time in its Division I history.  The Aggies have not enjoyed this successful a beginning to a campaign since opening up 4-0 during the 1999-2000 season when they then competed on the Division II level.

Winning The Close Games: In 2013-14, the Aggies posted a 4-3 record in games decided by five points or less.  They have started this season on the plus side in the close games category, knocking off Eastern Illinois by two points and Furman by three on last week’s roadtrip.

Ritchart About To Achieve Millenium Club Status:
Senior Josh Ritchart needs – count em – ONE point to reach the 1,000 career point mark.  His next free throw or basket will make him the 21st Aggie to join the millenium club.

Efficiency: The Aggies have shot 50 percent or better in all three of their victories, ranking No. 35 nationally in field goal percentage at .507.  Making each possession count, UC Davis is the Big West’s only undefeated squad despite ranking last in scoring offense (59.3 ppg).

UC IRVINE

Roadtrip Continues: UC Irvine began the opening leg of its four-game roadtrip with tough losses to No. 2 Arizona and Saint Mary’s.  The Anteaters led the Wildcats by five with 10:30 left to play before Arizona went on a 30-8 run to close the game.  Against the Gaels, UCI led by one with 1:16 remaining but Saint Mary’s scored the final four points.

Turnaround At The Line: Mamadou Ndiaye, who shot 42.6 percent (49-of-115) from the free throw line his freshman season, is off to a fantastic start at the stripe this season.  The 7-6 center has made 9-of-11 attempts, 81.8%, through four games.

Davis II Approaches 1,000 Points: Senior Will Davis II has scored 976 career points entering Saturday’s road tilt at Loyola Marymount.  He is closing in on becoming the 24th player in UCI history to compile 1,000 points.

Drawing A Line At The Line:
Anteater opponents have attempted more free throws than UC Irvine in all four games so far.  Overall, UCI is 49-of-63 (77.8%) while its foes are 68-of-97 (70.1%).

UC RIVERSIDE

Tale Of Two Games: After sustaining a 46-point loss at No. 25 Utah earlier in the week, UC Riverside routed Saint Katherine by a 53-point margin, 102-49, on Sunday.  It was the largest margin of victory by a Highlander squad on the Division I level, surpassing the 51-point, 108-57 victory over Southern Oregon on Dec. 20, 2003.

Bland Perfect From Distance:
Junior guard Jaylen Bland drained a perfect 5-of-5 on three-pointers to lead the Highlanders to the 20-point win over Saint Katherine.  He scored a game-high 20 points, leading UCR and ranking No. 9 in the Big West in scoring at 14.5 points per game.

Bland Among Big West Leaders:
Bland’s 11 threes on the season is tied for No. 2 in the Big West, and his three-point field goal percentage (.478) is good for No. 6.

Gruninger Dishes:  Senior Nick Gruninger has registered a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio with 15 assists against just five turnovers.  His strong play at the point guard spot was punctuated by a career-high nine assist effort versus Sacramento State on Nov. 17.

UC SANTA BARBARA

A Master Plan: UC Santa Barbara tallied season highs in field goals made (34), three-pointers made (10), assists (20) and steals (14) in a dominating 91-45 victory over The Master’s College Saturday.  Ten Gauchos got into the scoring column in the team’s first win of the season.

Going Green: What a relief for junior John Green to be playing...and playing well.  Limited to just three games over his first three seasons thanks to a litany of injuries, Green is tied for second on the team in scoring (13.3 ppg) while coming off the bench in each of the Gauchos’ first three contests.  He’s also shooting 16-of-31, 51.6%, from the field.

Seeking Road Turnaround:
The Gauchos are 0-2 on the road this season, with both losses coming to tough teams in No. 5 Kansas and Florida Gulf Coast.  UCSB hopes to find road success this week in the Great Alaska Shootout, as it opens with Washington State on Thanksgiving.  The Gauchos tied for the Big West lead in 2013-14 with a combined 11 victories in road and neutral site games.

HAWAI‘I

East Coast Hello: Hawai‘i has ventured out to the east coast for the first time in two decades as it is currently playing in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla.  The Rainbow Warriors have not played on the east coast since a trip to North Carolina on Dec. 1, 1993.

#BigWin: The Rainbow Warriors knocked off Pittsburgh of the Atlantic Coast Conference, 74-70, on Friday night in Maui.  The Panthers were among the “others receiving votes” teams in both the Associated Press and USA Today Sports polls.

Bobbitt Pulls Off Triple-Double: Junior Roderick Bobbitt posted a triple-double of 12 points, 10 assists and 10 steals against Hawaii-Hilo for the first such performance by a Big West player since Mark Payne of UC Davis did it versus Sacramento State on Mar. 1, 2008.

More On Bobbitt:
Bobbitt’s 10 steals ranked in a tie for second in Big West single-game history.  The last Big West player to record that many steals was CSUN’s Joseph Frazier on Dec. 7, 2002 against Bethany College.