Light Men's Hoops Schedule During Busy Fall Exams Week
2014-15 Men's Basketball Release No. 5
Fall exams for some schools have produced a limited men's basketball slate with a total of eight games this week, but among the highlighted matchups are Long Beach State traveling to No. 16/18 San Diego State and UC Riverside visiting UCLA.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Long Trip Ahead: Cal Poly embarks upon a season-high seven-game roadtrip, and does not return to the Mott Athletic Center until Jan. 10 against UC Santa Barbara. The Mustangs play three games in a five-day stretch, beginning with a matchup Saturday at Fresno State.
Nation’s Leader: The Mustangs continue to lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game (6.0), almost three less than the No. 2 school in the NCAA rankings. Cal Poly has had five or less miscues in four of its first six games.
Bennett’s Line: Junior forward Brian Bennett had an impressive game against Menlo College, scoring 15 points on 7-of-7 shooting with eight rebounds and a blocked shot in 24 minutes. Bennett ranks third in the Big West in field goal percentage at 63.3% (31-of-49).
D-Fense: Cal Poly held Menlo College to just 35 points in Saturday’s 37-point victory. It was the lowest scoring total by a Cal Poly opponent in the Joe Callero era.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Back At It: Cal State Fullerton dropped back-to-back contests against UCLA and Pepperdine last week to fall to 3-6 on the season. The Titans look to rebound with a pair of road games against Sacramento State and Nevada this week.
Harris Heats Up: Senior guard Alex Harris has produced two 20-point efforts in the last three games as he seeks to become the eighth current Big West player to reach 1,000 for his career. He’s currently at 881. Harris collected 26 points against Pepperdine on Saturday after equalling that mark against Florida International on Nov. 29.
At The Line: The Titans shot a season-best 77.3% (17-of-22) from the charity stripe against Pepperdine last week. They have shot over 20 attempts in seven of their first nine contests.
Double-Double: Senior Steve McClellan’s 12 points and 10 rebounds versus the Waves represented the first double-double by a Titan this year, and was the fourth of his career.
Wiped Clean: CSUN’s losing streak reached a season-high five straight games after setbacks earlier last week to South Dakota and Pepperdine, but in their third game in five days, the Matadors reversed their fortunes with a 12-point win over Vanguard on Saturday. CSUN is off this week for final exams.
Hicks On Cusp Of History: Senior Stephan Hicks, who averaged 22.0 points over three games last week, increased his career total to 1,625 points, tops among active Big West players. He is now within clear range of the school’s all-time leader – Brian Heinle, who scored 1,641 points from 1997-2001. Hicks could break the record in CSUN’s next game – Dec. 17 at Oregon.
More Records Talk: Senior Stephen Maxwell also is eyeing a CSUN career record. With 789 career rebounds, Maxwell needs 19 more to break Jerry Joseph’s more than 40-year-old record of 807. Joseph played at CSUN from 1967-70. Maxwell has four games of 10 or more rebounds this season, including a season-high 13 versus UALR on Nov. 23.
LONG BEACH STATE
One Up, One Down: Long Beach State had mixed results last week, notching an 11-point win against Nevada at home before losing by 29 at Stephen F. Austin. The 49ers are 5-5 with signature wins over Kansas State and Xavier. They continue a season-long six-game roadtrip at San Diego State on Wednesday.
Successful Return Home: Sophomore Branford Jones, a native of Missouri City, Texas, returned to his home state to pour in a season and team-high 15 points against Stephen F. Austin last Friday. It was the first time in four games this season that Jones scored in double figures while the 49ers lost.
Caffey Climbs: Senior guard Mike Caffey is 16 points shy from eclipsing Francois Wise for No. 11 on the LBSU career scoring list. Wise scored 1,305 points for the 49ers from 1976-80.
Get Ready: In addition to facing No. 16 SDSU, the 49ers will tangle with No. 9 Texas, St. John’s (receiving votes), Syracuse and No. 4 Louisville all in the next five contests.
Best In A Century: UC Davis knocked off San Jose State last Wednesday to build a 6-0 record, the best start in over a century for the program. The 1912-13 team opened up 6-0 and played eight games total while finishing 7-1. Unfortunately, the Aggies lost the following game at Idaho to miss forging the best start in school history.
Hawkins On A Roll: Senior Corey Hawkins erupted for a season-high 33 points against Idaho, marking his first 30-point game of the season and sixth of his career. It was the fourth time in seventh games that the guard hit or exceeded the 20-point mark. Leading the Big West at 20.3 points per game, Hawkins is now 14th in Aggie history with 1,250 points.
From Distance: Hawkins has been especially lethal from three-point range. A career 36 percent shooter from distance, Hawkins is tied for No. 7 nationally at 55.6% (25-of-45), with more than half of his field goals coming from distance. Hawkins drained a season-high six treys against the Vandals.
Win Column: After allowing four straight opponents to exceed 70 points, UC Irvine clamped down on defense and enjoyed a 74-62 win over Sacramento State on Saturday. The ‘Eaters look to move to 4-0 at home this season when they host Texas-Arlington Saturday.
In Contrast: In UCI’s four wins, the team is shooting 54.7% (122-of-223). In its three losses, the figure drops to 38.5% (67-of-174).
Davis II Reaches Milestone: Senior Will Davis II notched a team-high tying 12 points in Wednesday’s loss at Fresno State and became the 24th player in school history to clear the 1,000-point mark in the process. He enters this week with 1,013 career points.
Young Joins Top Five In Assists: Junior Alex Young dished out a combined seven assists in last week’s games versus Fresno State and Sacramento State, and in so doing became a part of UCI’s all-time top five in career assists. He is now ranked No. 5 with 327 helpers.
On A Roll: UC Riverside has won three straight and four of its last five games to move to 5-3 on the season. It is the first time the Highlanders have had a winning record through eight games since the 2009-10 squad also opened up 5-3. UCR looks to continue its solid play of late at UCLA on Wednesday.
Dismantled: UCR recorded the third-best single-game field goal percentage in school history in a 28-point demolition of Portland State on Saturday. The Highlanders shot 64.8% (35-of-54), including a torrid 71.4% (20-of-28) clip in the second half.
Bland Stays Steady: Junior transfer Jaylen Bland remains a steady force in the Highlander lineup as he registered double-digit points for the fifth straight game with 17 against Portland State. He is No. 8 in the Big West in scoring (14.6 ppg), giving the Highlanders a strong one-two punch with teammate Taylor Johns sitting at No. 6 overall (15.5 ppg). UCR is one of three Big West schools with two players nestled in the top 10 in scoring.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Complete Game: The Gauchos played perhaps their most complete game of the year in an 87-46 demolition of Seattle University on Thursday. They shot 59.0% overall, including 12-of-22 (54.5%), from three-point range, committed just seven turnovers, and limited the Redhawks to 32.1% shooting.
Breath Of Fresh Air: Even more impressive for the Gauchos in their victory over Seattle was they only had three free throws for the game, the fewest attempted in any victory since four against Idaho in 2002. Lack of free throw attempts usually spells trouble for UCSB. In UCSB’s four losses this season, opponents have taken a combined 54 more (127-73) free throw attempts than the Gauchos.
Big Al Breaks Record: The nation’s rebounding leader at 13.3 per game, senior Alan Williams broke the school record for career rebounds with 12 against Seattle. That brought his total to 910, allowing him to surpass Eric McArthur (904, 1986-90) for the rebounding king mantle. With eight more boards in Monday’s loss to SMU, Williams is now No. 6 in Big West career annals with 918.
Through Ten: Hawai‘i has enjoyed a 7-3 start through 10 games as it takes a break for finals. The Rainbow Warriors do not return to action until Dec. 19 against Chaminade at Blaisdell Arena.
Valdes Chugging Along: Sophomore guard Aaron Valdes extended his double-digit scoring streak to seven straight games as he turned in 19 and 24-point performances against Delaware State and BYU, respectively. The effort against BYU marked the third time this season that Valdes had eclipsed the 20-point mark. He ranks fifth in the Big West in scoring (16.2 ppg).
Bobbitt Among Best In Steals: Junior guard Roderick Bobbitt had five steals against BYU to increase his league-leading total to 28. Bobbitt is tied for No. 12 in the nation in steals per game (2.80).
Ball In The Basket: The ‘Bows are among the best offenses in the Big West as they currently rank second in scoring at 72.9 points per game. UH only twice has failed to reach at least the 70-point mark in a game.