Men's Hoops Continues Non-Conference Play
2015-15 Men's Basketball Release No. 2
Week two of men's basketball season features a intriguing matchup between two schools from Orange County, pitting 7-6 centers Mamadou Ndiaye of UC Irvine against Tacko Fall of UCF.
Making A Case: Cal Poly started out the season 0-2, but both losses came on the road to UNLV by two points and UCLA by five. The Mustangs averaged 77.5 points over the two contests, and, after failing to reach 80 points in any game last season, they put up 83 versus the Bruins.
Count ‘Em Five: For the first time under seventh-year head coach Joe Callero, five Mustangs are averaging in double figures. Reese Morgan (16.0 ppg), Joel Awich (12.5), Taylor Sutlive (12.5), David Nwaba (11.5) and Luke Meikle (11.0) have all fed into Callero’s promise to be a more uptempo team this year.
For Three: Cal Poly drained 13 three-pointers (on 27 attempts) against UCLA, including six from Morgan as he scored a team-high 20 points.
The Meikle Touch: Meikle, a transfer from Gonzaga, poured in a career-high 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting against UCLA. He also made a pair of three-pointers.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Win Column: Cal State Fullerton picked up a come-from-behind one-point win at Pacific on Tuesday, halting a nine-game road losing streak that dated back to last season. It also represented the first time CSF had defeated the Tigers since 2012.
Coggins Makes Impact: Junior Tre’ Coggins, an Air Force transfer, has proved to be a welcome addition to the Titan lineup as he collected a team-high 21 points against Pacific, shooting 7-of-14 from the field and knocking down four treys.
Board Machine: Senior Kennedy Esume corraled a career-high 19 rebounds in the season-opening 79-74 loss at Loyola Marymount. His previous career-best was nine boards.
Home Sweet Home: The Titans have won 11 straight home openers and hope to extend the streak on Saturday against San Diego. CSF has not lost a home opener since Nov. 29, 2003, a 78-71 setback in overtime to Sacramento State. Under head coach Dedrique Taylor, the Titans have beaten Santa Clara and San Jose State in home debuts.
In Review: The Matadors returned from the Northern Illinois Showcase with a 1-2 record after picking up an impressive 72-67 win over Wright State and sustaining a close 76-72 loss to South Dakota among last week’s competition.
New Faces Shine: Head coach Reggie Theus played seven individuals at the NIU Showcase, and four saw their first action as Matadors. Freshman guard Jason Richardson impressed in his debut, averaging a team-best 16.7 points while dropping 22 on South Dakota. Sophomores Tavrion Dawson (14.3 ppg) and Micheal Warren (13.3) also contributed solidly for the young squad.
Respite: Playing a rugged schedule to start the season, with six of their first seven games on the road, the Matadors welcome the opportunity to play their home opener Wednesday against Vanguard.
Record Book Watch: Senior Landon Drew is 24 assists shy of becoming the third CSUN player to reach 400 in a career.
LONG BEACH STATE
Foreshadowing?: Long Beach State opened the season with back-to-back victories over BYU-Hawai‘i and BYU, marking the first time since the 2011-12 season that the 49ers have began 2-0. That year, LBSU reached the NCAA Tournament.
De-Fense, De-Fense: The 49ers scrapped to hold a potent BYU team to 65 points and forced the Cougars into 24 turnovers, their highest number of miscues since 29 against Pepperdine during the 2007-08 season. LBSU also capitalized with 23 points off of those 24 turnovers.
Blackwell Stands Out: Freshman guard Noah Blackwell has had a productive start to his 49er career, averaging 12 points in the two wins and shooting 61.5 percent overall (8-of-13) and 75.0 percent (6-of-8) from three. Blackwell scored a team-high 11 points in the BYU victory.
Monson Watch: LBSU head coach Dan Monson is No. 15 in Big West history with 137 career wins. He is now just one victory shy of the No. 14 spot (Rod Tueller, Utah State, 138), while San Jose State’s Bill Berry (142) occupies the No. 13 slot.
Streak Snapped: UC Davis saw its 14-game home court winning streak end at the hands of North Dakota State, which overcame a late nine-point deficit to topple the Aggies in overtime in the season opener. However, the Aggies rebounded with a 13-point home win over Portland. The loss to North Dakota State snapped a four-game win streak in overtime contests.
Sly As A Fox: Senior Josh Fox shot 51.7 percent (15-of-29) over the first two games, keeping pace with his league-best field goal percentage from the 2014-15 season. Fox averaged a double-double of 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds to help UC Davis to a split of its first two contests.
Lemar Flirts With Career-High: Junior guard Brynton Lemar collected a game-high 18 points, just one off his career-high, in the win over Portland. Lemar scored in double figures just twice in 32 appearances last season.
Soak It In: The Aggies host Fresno Pacific on Wednesday before embarking on a stretch in which they play four of their next five games on the road.
Battle Of Giants: A much anticipated showdown between UC Irvine and UCF on Wednesday features an individual battle between 7-6 centers Mamadou Ndiaye of UCI and Tacko Fall of UCF. It is the tallest matchup in college basketball history.
Block Party: Ndiaye, the junior who made the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Watch List, blocked 10 shots through his first two games. He now has 141 blocked shots in his career, putting him within seven of entering the Big West top-10.
Pack Those Bags: The UCF game starts a stretch in which UCI plays 11 of its next 13 games away from home.
Career Best: Senior Mike Best busted out for a career-high 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, and added eight rebounds in UCI’s 77-53 victory over Loyola Marymount. His previous career-high was 17 in his freshman season.
Lock Down: UCI has won 49 of its last 51 games when limiting the opposition to 60 points or less.
Get It Done: UC Riverside, a winner in its season opener over William Jessup, seeks to go 2-0 for the first time since the 1998-99 season. The Highlanders face Santa Clara on Thursday.
Good Start: Picked to the preseason Big West all-conference team by the media, seniors Taylor Johns and Jaylen Bland responded with identical 23-point efforts against William Jessup. Bland, the Big West leader in threes with 91 in 2014-15, drained five from long distance.
Johns Moving On Up: Johns is No. 9 in UCR history with 1,065 points, and needs just four more to occupy seventh in the school record book. With some work, Johns could endanger the UCR career scoring record held by Larry Cunningham (1,502).
SRC Fever: The Highlanders have won 15 of their last 18 games at the SRC Arena.
Sharing Is Caring: UCR racked up 25 assists in the William Jessup win, including a game-high seven by junior Malik Thames in his Highlander debut.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Opening Act: UC Santa Barbara escaped Nebraska-Omaha with a one-point victory following an Eric Childress tip-in with three seconds remaining, giving the Gauchos a win in their season opener for the 11th time in the last 13 seasons. UCSB is 12-6 in season openers under head coach Bob Williams.
Bryson Returns: Senior Michael Bryson, who missed the season opener, returned for Monday’s game at Cal to contribute a team-high 23 points aided by four three-point baskets.
Double-Double: Senior John Green produced career-highs of 22 points, 13 rebounds and three steals in UCSB’s season-opening win over Nebraska-Omaha. It was his second career double-double.
Benchmark For Success: Looping in the win over Nebraska-Omaha, a 60-59 affair, the Gauchos have now won 19 straight games in which they held the opponent to 60 points or less. The last loss in that scenario occurred on Feb. 27, 2014 to UC Irvine (71-60).
Champs: Hawai‘i won the championship of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic with victories over Montana State, Coastal Carolina and Nevada. It was UH’s first tourney title since 2012. The Rainbow Warriors averaged 79.0 points over the three games. They have started a season 3-0 for the first time since 2012-13.
Bobbitt MVP: Senior guard Roderick Bobbitt earned Most Valuable Player honors of the Rainbow Classic with averages of 14.3 points, 7.0 assists and 3.3 steals. He notched the game-winner on a driving layup with seconds remaining against Nevada.
Steals King: Bobbitt, the nation’s leader in steals with 100 in 2014-15, is off to another strong start in that category. His 10 steals rank third nationally, behind only Omaha’s Tra-Deon Hollins (12) and Howard’s James Daniel (11).
Contributions From Everywhere: Hawai‘i boasts five players, including four starters, who are averaging in double figures in scoring. Junior Aaron Valdes is the team’s leader at 16.0 points per game.