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Men's Basketball

Men's Basketball Begins #MarchToMarch This Week

Links associated with this release:
This Week In The Big West - January 5-11, 2015

1/6/2015


2014-15 Men's Basketball Release No. 9

Long Beach State at UC Irvine (Prime Ticket), Long Beach State at UC Davis (ESPNU) and UC Riverside at UC Irvine (ESPN3) rings in the start of conference play and the journey toward the 40th annual Big West Men's Basketball Tournament in March at Honda Center.

BIG WEST AT A GLANCE


CAL POLY

Momentum: Cal Poly has won five of its last seven contests heading into the Big West opener Wednesday at Hawai‘i.  The Mustangs are seeking to win their third straight conference opener after knocking off UC Riverside and Hawai‘i in the previous two seasons.

The Turnover Skinny: Cal Poly remains No. 1 in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (8.4).  The Mustangs have committed just 101 miscues through 12 games.  In eight of those games, they have turned the ball over nine or less times.

Emboldened: Senior wing Michael Bolden provided a unexpected boost on offense in Cal Poly’s 71-57 win at IPFW last week as he poured in a career-high 20 points, aided by five three-point makes.  Bolden’s previous high this season was eight points.

Nwaba Keeps It Going: Junior David Nwaba has scored in double figures in all 11 games he has appeared in.

CAL STATE FULLERTON

On A Roll: Cal State Fullerton is riding a five-game winning streak, the program’s longest since reeling off six consecutive victories during the 2011-12 season.  The Titans finished 4-0 on their homestand with wins against Cal State East Bay and Seattle.

Opening Time: The Titans are hunting for their fourth consecutive win in a Big West opener when they travel to UC Riverside on Thursday.  CSF defeated the Highlanders at home, 78-73, in last year’s Big West debut.

Harris Creeps Closer To 1,000: Unless he turns in a sub-par outing, well below his current 15.5 points per game average, senior guard Alex Harris should surpass the 1,000-point career mark against UCR.  He enters the game 13 points shy of becoming the 23rd player in school history to achieve the milestone.

Starter Success: The starting lineup of Harris, Josh Gentry, Moses Morgan, Joe Boyd and Steve McClellan is now 5-1. CSF is just three wins shy of matching last year’s total.

CSUN

Much Needed “W”: CSUN halted a four-game losing streak with a 78-62 triumph against Morgan State on Friday, with the 16-point margin of victory its largest of the season.  The Matadors posted 17 assists against a season-low five turnovers to help their cause.

Heavy Workload: Playing predominantly seven or eight individuals, the Matadors have leaned heavily on the senior tandem of Stephan Hicks and Stephen Maxwell.  The duo has scored 499 of the team’s 983 points, or 50.8 percent of the total offense.  Hicks recorded his sixth 20-point game of the season with 22 against Morgan State, while Maxwell’s 20 gave him his fifth such performance.

Seeking Déjá Vu: CSUN hopes to topple UC Davis in a Big West opener for the second straight year when the two teams clash on Wednesday.

Random Stat: CSUN is 4-1 this season when scoring 70 points or more.

LONG BEACH STATE

Fresh Start: Long Beach State snapped a six-game losing streak, putting forth its second-highest point total of the season in an 81-46 victory over Fresno Pacific on Saturday.  The 49ers open up Big West play with television appearances at UC Irvine (Prime Ticket) and UC Davis (ESPNU) this week.

For Perspective: In playing the nation’s toughest non-conference schedule, the 49ers either were tied with or held a lead in the second half against five teams ranked in the top 50 of the latest NCAA RPI – BYU (No. 29), Washington (37), San Diego State (44), Texas (21), St. John’s (25).

Caffey Nears 400 Assists: Senior Mike Caffey is four assists shy of 400 for his career.  Only six previous 49ers have hit that mark.  Caffey also seeks to become just the fifth player in school history with 1,000 career points and 400 assists.

Big West Openers: The 49ers are 4-3 in Big West openers under head coach Dan Monson.  They begin league play on Thursday against media preseason favorite UC Irvine, which has won four straight against LBSU.

UC DAVIS

Moving On Up: UC Davis finished the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 10-3 record.  The 10 wins prior to the start of league play represented a Division I program best for the Aggies. 

Looking For Another Fast Start: The Aggies began the season 6-0 en route to a 9-1 start, and hope to replicate that success in conference play.  UC Davis has opened up 0-2 in Big West action in each of the last three seasons.

Ritchart Drains 200th Career Trey: Ranked No. 8 in the Big West in three-point field goal percentage (.429) and No. 5 in total three-pointers made (30), senior Josh Ritchart reached a milestone as he nailed career three-pointer No. 200 in last week’s win over Cal Maritime.

Lights, Camera, Action: UC Davis hosts Long Beach State on Saturday in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPNU.  The Aggie faithful has flocked in droves to be in front of the ESPN cameras, drawing 5,227 fans for last year’s game against UC Santa Barbara and 5,670 for the Mar. 7, 2013 tilt versus Long Beach State.  Both games were aired on ESPN2.

UC IRVINE

Rough Going: UC Irvine’s 70-67 loss to New Mexico State last Saturday represented its fourth setback by three or less points.  The Anteaters have had close encounters with Saint Mary’s, Morgan State, Oregon and now NMSU.  The last three teams on that list conveniently played the Anteaters without their two top scorers in sophomores Mamadou Ndiaye and Luke Nelson.

Davis II Stepping Up: The short-handed Anteaters have received an uptick in production from senior Will Davis II, who provided a season-high 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and three blocked shots versus NMSU.  The forward has scored in double figures in three of the last four games after doing so just four times through the first 10.

Davis II Moves Past A Legend: With eight rebounds against New Mexico State, Davis II surpassed former All-American Kevin Magee for seventh place on the UCI career rebounding list.  Davis II now has 692 boards.

Big West Openers: UCI hosts Long Beach State on Thursday, looking to win its fourth consecutive Big West opener.

UC RIVERSIDE

Not Again: The Highlanders were involved in a league-high 16 games decided by five points or less last year, and finished 5-11 under that scenario.  Last week, UC Riverside dropped a pair of heartbreakers on the road to Northern Illinois (72-67 in OT) and Grand Canyon (71-69).  UCR fell to 2-4 on the season in the “close game” category.

Onward And Upward:
UC Riverside finished 7-7 in non-conference play, marking the first time in five seasons that the program posted a .500 or better record prior to Big West play.  The Highlanders were 6-6 in 2009-10 and 7-4 in 2008-09 prior to the start of the conference schedule.

Bland Continues Solid Play: Junior Jaylen Bland notched a career-high 26 points against Grand Canyon, marking the 10th time in the last 11 contests that the guard has reached double figures in scoring.  His six threes in the game were the most by a UCR player since Javon Borum made a half dozen versus Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 8, 2011.

Big West Openers: UCR looks to end a streak of three straight league-opening losses against CSF on Thursday.

UC SANTA BARBARA

Measuring Stick: UC Santa Barbara improved to 7-0 when limiting an opponent to 60 points or less in Monday’s 63-50 triumph against Florida Gulf Coast.  The Gauchos finished non-conference play 7-7 and avenged their Nov. 17 overtime loss to the Eagles in Fort Myers, Fla.

Double-Double King: Senior Alan Williams, who compiled 22 points and 13 rebounds against Florida Gulf Coast for his 10th double-double of the season, increased his career total to 43 double-doubles.  That leads all active Division I players.

Good Start Please: The Gauchos enter Saturday’s Big West opener against rival Cal Poly seeking to reverse a recent trend.  They have dropped five of their last six Big West openers.

No Longer Green:  Junior John Green is UCSB’s third leading scorer and top reserve, averaging 11.1 points per game.  The 6-5 guard has reached his career-high of 18 points twice in the last four games, and set career bests in field goals made (7) against Oregon and Vermont.  He has been a double-digit scorer in 10 of the last 13 games.

HAWAI‘I

Opportunity: Hawai‘i, which is 9-2 at home this season, hopes to build momentum in Big West play immediately as four of its first five conference games are slated for the Stan Sheriff Center.  The ‘Bows host Cal Poly and CSUN this week.  UH is 1-1 in Big West openers, and looks to avenge last year’s setback to Cal Poly.

Balance Wins The Day: The Big West’s top offensive club at 74.0 points per game, the Rainbow Warriors have depended on balance to accrue the league’s highest win total (12) to this point.  Sophomore Aaron Valdes is No. 8 in the Big West in scoring (14.9 ppg), but there are seven regulars total who average at least seven points per contest.  UH boasts six different players who have led the team in scoring. 

Bobbitt And Weave: Junior Roderick Bobbitt is proving to be one of the more stealthy players in the nation.  He leads the Big West and ranks 11th in the country in steals per game (2.56), while his 41 total steals is third-most.

Big Effort: Sophomore Mike Thomas tied his career high with 14 points in UH’s 76-68 win versus Prairie View A&M.

BIG AL BOARDS
With 13 rebounds against Florida Gulf Coast, UC Santa Barbara’s Alan Williams moved into fifth place all-time in the Big West record book with 983 career boards.  The Phoenix, Ariz. native surpassed Pacific’s Ron Cornelius (973, 1978-81) in breaking into the top-5.  Williams now focuses his attention on becoming just the fifth player in Big West history to collect 1,000 career rebounds.  Earlier this season, Williams unseated Eric McArthur (904, 1986-90) for the distinction of all-time school rebounding king when he gobbled up 12 caroms against Seattle University on Dec. 4.  UNLV’s Stacey Augmon and Utah State’s Greg Grant are next up on the list for Williams.  Augmon accumulated 1,005 rebounds from 1988-91 for the Rebels while Grant finished his Aggie career with 1,003.

REBOUNDS - BIG WEST CAREER
Rk. Team, Player No. Years
1. T.J. Robinson, Long Beach State 1,208 2008-12
2. Tony Neal, Cal State Fullerton 1,115 1981-85
3. Stacey Augmon, UNLV 1,005 1988-91
4. Greg Grant, Utah State 1,003 1983-86
5. Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara 983 2011-15

FREE THROW FACTOIDS
CSUN senior Stephan Hicks has been one of the most prolific players in Big West history at getting to the free throw line, as he ranks fourth in the conference record book in both free throws made and attempted.  He has made 520 free throws made, and is just 30 shy from surpassing record holder Lucious Harris of Long Beach State (549, 1989-93).  Hicks, who leads the Big West in free throw attempts (107) this season, has 646 career attempts, and trails No. 3 Jerry Green of UC Irvine (1998-2002) by just 13.

FREE THROWS MADE - BIG WEST CAREER

Rk. Team, Player No. Years
1. Lucious Harris, Long Beach State 549 1989-93
2. Leon Wood, Cal State Fullerton 540 1981-84
3. Jerry Green, UC Irvine 533 1998-02
4. Stephan Hicks, CSUN 520 2011-15
5. Tod Murphy, UC Irvine 488 1982-86
                                                
FREE THROWS ATTEMPTED - BIG WEST CAREER
Rk. Team, Player No. Years
1. Lucious Harris, Long Beach State 755 1989-93
2. Leon Wood, Cal State Fullerton 666 1981-84
3. Jerry Green, UC Irvine 658 1998-02
4. Stephan Hicks, CSUN 646 2011-15
5. T.J. Robinson, Long Beach State 642 2008-12

         
         
          
           
         
           


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