Hawaii Hosts Diamond Head Classic In Busy Holiday Week
2014-15 Men's Basketball Release No. 7
Tied for the most wins (8) among Big West schools, Hawai‘i hosts the sixth annual Diamond Head Classic with Nebraska as its first round opponent. No. 11 Wichita State is a possible opponent in the next round.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Good Showing: Cal Poly went 2-1 last week, knocking off San Francisco on the road and Colonial Athletic Association preseason favorite Northeastern, before giving No. 8 Gonzaga a fight in an eventual 63-50 loss. The Mustangs continue a seven-game roadtrip on Tuesday at Santa Clara.
Squeaker: The Mustangs have been involved in just one game decided by five points or less this season – and they were victorious in that lone opportunity. Cal Poly shot 65.4 (17-for-26) percent to overcome a 14-point second half deficit against Northeastern and emerge with a 60-58 win.
Bennett Factor: Cal Poly is 5-1 this season when junior Brian Bennett scores in double figures. The forward had a season-high 19 points and added a season-best nine rebounds in the win over Northeastern.
Nwaba On A Roll: Junior wing David Nwaba led all players with a season-high 21 points in the loss to No. 8 Gonzaga. He has scored in double figures in nine straight games.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Two In A Row: Cal State Fullerton won back-to-back games for the first time this season after dispatching Cal State Dominguez Hills, 72-50, to launch a four-game homestand. The Titans face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Monday.
Harris Creeps Closer To 1,000: Senior guard Alex Harris notched his sixth straight game with double-digit points, finishing with 16 in the win over CSDH. He upped his career scoring total to 931 points, moving closer to becoming the 23rd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
McDouble: Senior Steve McClellan registered a season-high 15 points and added 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year in the win over CSDH. McClellan ranks fifth in the Big West with 7.1 rebounds per game.
Highs And Lows: The Titans tied a season high in points scored (72) while allowing a season low to an opponent (50) in defeating the Toros.
This Week: The Matadors have lost seven of their last eight games heading into Tuesday’s matchup against their third ranked opponent of the season – No. 4 Louisville. CSUN previously had matchups against No. 16 San Diego State and No. 2 Arizona.
History: CSUN head coach Reggie Theus was an assistant to Louisville head coach Rick Pitino from 2003-05, and helped the Cardinals reach the 2005 Final Four.
Hicks Makes History: Senior Stephan Hicks became CSUN’s all-time career scoring leader with 19 points against Oregon last week. Hicks, who added 14 more against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, has 1,658 points as he surpassed previous record holder Brian Heinle (1,641).
More Records Talk: Senior Stephen Maxwell more than likely will become the career rebounding leader at CSUN during the Louisville game. With 804 boards, Maxwell needs four more to unseat Jerry Joseph (1967-70) from the top spot and end a four-plus decades-long reign.
LONG BEACH STATE
Gauntlet Continues: The 49ers look to end a three-game losing streak at No. 19 St. John’s on Monday. Long Beach State held second half leads in their last two matchups against No. 16 San Diego State and No. 9 Texas, but could not hold on.
Feasting On The Three: Long Beach State leads all Big West teams with 91 three-pointers made and ranks second in three-point field goal percentage (.392). The 49ers ranked next-to-last in the conference last year in three-point efficiency (.312). LBSU hit 11 threes against San Diego State and added eight more versus Texas.
Caffey Undeterred: Senior Mike Caffey posted his fourth and fifth 20-point games of the season against SDSU and Texas, and ranks No. 2 in the Big West in scoring (18.2 ppg). A career 32.2 percent (115-for-357) three-point shooter entering his final year in the black and gold, the guard ranks No. 2 in the conference from distance – 50.9% (28-for-55).
Line Unkind: As solid as LBSU has been from the three-point line, the same cannot be said for free throws. The team is last in the league in free throw percentage (.643).
Seeking History: With an 81-75 victory over Air Force, UC Davis improved to 8-1. The Aggies need to win at Northern Colorado on Monday to equal the best 10-game start in school history. The 1997-98 Division II national championship squad dropped just one of its first 10 games.
Climbing That Mountain: The win over Air Force boosted UC Davis to 3-0 against teams from the Mountain West Conference this season. The Aggies also toppled Utah State (Nov. 26) and San Jose State (Dec. 3) earlier on the schedule.
Free Throws Are Fabulous: The Aggies have generated their three best totals in terms of free throw attempts in their last three outings, tying their season high of 28 tries against Eastern Illinois and Air Force. Even better, UC Davis is taking advantage of its freebies, hitting at a 85.7 (48-for-56) percent clip in those two victories.
Sly Fox: In his first career Aggie start, junior Josh Fox did not disappoint as he sprung for 19 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in the Air Force win.
Rediscovered: UC Irvine found its defensive mojo – in a big way – suffocating Bradley into 10.3 (3-for-29) percent shooting in the second half of a 55-47 victory to open the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas. The Anteaters erased a 13-point first half deficit with a 29-4 run.
Young Eyes No. 4 Spot In Assists: Junior point guard Alex Young enters this week with 335 career assists, just seven shy from tying Aaron Fitzgerald (2004-06) for No. 4 in the UCI record book.
Martin Emerges: Sparingly used in his debut season, sophomore guard Jaron Martin made his first two career starts last week and responded with 11 points against Morgan State and 10 versus Bradley. He has scored in double figures in three of the last five contests.
Davis II Watch: With 669 career rebounds, senior Will Davis II needs just two more to move up into the No. 8 spot in UCI annals. Ben McDonald (1980-84) currently occupies that slot. Davis II also is seeking to become just the sixth ‘Eater to amass 700 career boards.
Moving Along: UC Riverside improved to 6-4 after enjoying an 11-point victory against Houston Baptist on Saturday. It represents the best record through 10 games for the program since the 2008-09 season when it began 7-3. Coincidentally, the Highlanders finished that season with their first winning record of the Division I era.
Getting To The Line: The Highlanders posted a season-best 29 free throw attempts against Houston Baptist.
Johns On Rampage: Junior Taylor Johns wore out Houston Baptist to the tune of a season-high 28 points and career-high 17 rebounds. The 17 caroms represent the second most in the Division I history of the program. The forward also hit a career-best 10 free throws, eclipsing his previous highwater mark of seven.
Upcoming: UC Riverside plays three of its final four non-conference games on the road, starting on Monday night against No. 23 San Diego State. The Highlanders also make a trip to Northern Illinois and Grand Canyon to start out 2015.
UC SANTA BARBARA
That Was Quick: UC Santa Barbara made quick work of San Diego Christian, taking just 1 hour, 27 minutes to win last Friday’s game by a 69-46 score. The Gauchos broke a short two-game losing streak in the process.
Big Al Boards: Senior Alan Williams leads the Big West in rebounding (11.8 rpg) – good for No. 3 in the nation – and he is the active career leader in all of NCAA Division I with 935 caroms. Williams has had no fewer than eight rebounds in any game this season.
Green Consistent: Junior John Green continues to provide consistent production for the Gauchos after three consecutive seasons of battling one injury after another. His 10 points against San Diego Christian gave him double figures for the fourth time in the last five games and seventh in 10 this season.
Sharing Is Caring: The Gauchos top the Big West in assists per game (16.6) and have dished out 20 or more in four games this season, including 22 versus San Diego Christian.
Diamond Head: The Rainbow Warriors open up the seventh annual Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic against Nebraska of the Big Ten Conference. Hawai‘i will face either No. 11 Wichita State or Loyola Marymount in the next round. UH is tied for the most wins among Big West programs with eight.
Pouring On The Scoring: Leading the Big West in scoring at 74.8 points per game, Hawai‘i erupted for a season-high 94 points in a 31-point rout of Chaminade on Friday. The Rainbow Warriors managed the offensive outburst despite shooting just 16.7 (4-of-24) percent from three-point land.
Balanced: All five starters scored in double figures to help the ‘Bows to the win over Chaminade. Sophomore Aaron Valdes eclipsed the 20-point barrier for the fourth time this season as he dropped a game-high 23 points.
Bobbitt Bee Bop: Junior Roderick Bobbitt posted a double-double with 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds against Chaminade.