Finals Week Features Ranked Matchup
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This Week in the Big West - December 7-13, 2015
2015-16 Men's Basketball Release No. 5
With a handful of schools tackling fall exams this week, the schedule is light but not bereft of intriguing matchups. UC Riverside hosts its first ranked opponent in 10 years when No. 28 UNLV visits the SRC Arena on Saturday.
Bulldogs Bounced: Cal Poly recorded its first home victory over Fresno State since Feb. 4, 1971, taking a 77-65 decision over the Bulldogs before 2,861 on Saturday. The Mustangs won for the 16th time in their last 19 non-conference games at home.
Offensive Uptick Continues: Cal Poly surpassed the 70-point mark for the eighth time in eight games this season. The Mustangs scored 70 or more points just seven times in 29 games last season.
Taking Offense: The Mustangs rank third in the Big West in scoring offense at 76.5 points per game. In contrast, Cal Poly finished last in the league in scoring offense in each of the last two seasons.
Close Calls: Cal Poly’s three losses have come by a combined nine points.
On Tap: The Mustangs embark on a season-long six-game roadtrip beginning on Dec. 14 against Saint Mary’s.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Superlatives: In defeating Seattle on Friday, Cal State Fullerton won its sixth game in a row, the program’s longest winning streak since a six-gamer during the 2011-12 season. The win also upped the record to 6-1, marking the best start by a Titan squad since a 7-1 beginning to the 1986-87 season.
Brooks Shines On Roadie: Senior Malcolm Brooks posted back-to-back career-high 20-point performances on last week’s roadtrip to play Seattle and Washington. He also made 14 of his 25 field goal attempts in the two games.
One Last Chance: Cal State Fullerton attempts to win its eighth straight home non-conference game when Loyola Marymount visits Titan Gym on Saturday. The Lions are 3-1 against Big West teams this season, including a season-opening 79-74 home win against the Titans on Nov. 13.
Easy Recipe: The Titans are 5-0 this season when limiting their opposition to less than 70 points. In contrast, CSF has allowed its two highest scoring outputs in its two defeats.
Take A Break: The Matadors lost their fifth straight game, a 65-61 setback at San Francisco on Monday, and have 10 days to regroup before resuming play on Dec. 17 at Portland State.
They’re Due: The Matadors seek to snap a 15-game road non-conference losing streak in their next matchup at Portland State. CSUN’s last non-conference road win occurred on Dec. 20, 2013 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Tre-Hale On The Doorstep: Senior Tre-Hale Edmerson, with at least one steal in seven straight games, is now up to 121 career steals. That puts him just one short of tying Davin White (2003-05) and Brian Heinle (1997-2001) for No. 10 all-time at CSUN.
Dawson’s Double-Double: Coming off the bench for the first time this season, sophomore Tavrion Dawson responded with his first career double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds, both game-highs in the loss at San Francisco. He has seven or more boards in seven straight games.
LONG BEACH STATE
Strong Week: Long Beach State completed four games in six days with a 2-2 record, earning solid wins over Colorado State and New Mexico State while nearly upsetting San Diego State and UCLA. The Beach closes out its non-conference slate with four of the next five games on the road.
Perimeter Party: The Beach is shooting 45.5 (55-for-121) percent from three-point land over the last five games. The team has made 10 or more treys four times in that span. LBSU ranks No. 2 in the Big West in three-point accuracy (.402).
The Farther The Better: LBSU has three players sporting better shooting percentages on threes than twos – Nick Faust (.456-.406), Justin Bibbins (.375-.350) and Noah Blackwell (.457-.333). The trio has combined to hit 62 of LBSU’s 90 made threes on the season.
Bibbins The Distributor: Sophomore point guard Justin Bibbins has dished out six or more assists in seven games. Over the last six contests, he has recorded 40 assists against just eight turnovers, a 5-to-1 ratio.
So Far, So Good: UC Davis heads into the fall finals break with a 4-3 mark. The Aggies avenged their earlier defeat to Causeway rival Sacramento State with a 66-61 victory on Wednesday, before giving undefeated Saint Mary’s a tussle in an eventual 81-67 loss.
Berry Nice: Sophomore Nolan Berry, a transfer from Butler, is playing effectively off the bench for the Aggies. The 6-10 center/forward is shooting 58.3 percent (14-for-24) from the floor over the last three games.
Fox In Favor: Senior Josh Fox is hitting shots at an impressive rate. In the last six contests, the forward has knocked down 37 of his 55 field goal attempts, or 67.3 percent. Fox has scored in double figures in all seven games, including 19 points against Saint Mary’s on Saturday.
Better Ball Control: After a three-game stretch in which the Aggies committed 61 turnovers, the last three outings have yielded nearly half the number of miscues – 33 to be exact. UC Davis turned the ball over a season-low eight times in the Saint Mary’s game.
Carry On: UC Irvine is 2-3 in its seven-game stretch away from the Bren Events Center, splitting a pair of road games last week with Pacific and Saint Mary’s. The Anteaters clawed out a three-point win at Pacific, and face another former Big West school in Utah State on Saturday.
Forever Young: Senior Alex Young is No. 8 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (+5.0), with 40 assists against just eight turnovers through nine games. Over the last five contests, Young has dished out 21 assists with only two turnovers.
Record Watch: Young is now at 454 career assists, which is just 21 shy of tying the Anteater record held by Raimonds Miglinieks (1994-96).
Mamadou’s Climb: Junior Mamadou Ndiaye moved into a tie for No. 8 on the Big West career blocked shots list with 154, alongside UC Santa Barbara’s Doug Muse (1991-95). Utah State’s Gilbert Pete (1985-89) is next on the top-10 list with 155. Ndiaye also posted back-to-back double-doubles against Pacific and Saint Mary’s last week.
Not Again: UC Riverside suffered its second one-point loss to a WCC opponent this season, falling 77-76 at Loyola Marymount on Sunday. The Highlanders carry a 5-3 record into Saturday’s home showdown against No. 28 UNLV. It is the first ranked opponent UCR is hosting since No. 17 Pacific visited the SRC Arena on March 5, 2005.
SRC Fever: The Highlanders have won 18 of their last 21 games at the SRC Arena, dating back to the tail end of the 2013-14 season. UCR is 4-0 at home this season.
Johns Factor: Senior Taylor Johns turned in a huge performance against Loyola Marymount with 24 points and a career-high tying 17 rebounds. The rebounds total represented the second highest in the Division I history of the program.
Nine Is Fine: The Highlanders have knocked down exactly nine three-pointers in five consecutive games, which also happens to be the fewest amount they’ve made in any game this season. UCR’s 81 makes from three rank No. 2 in the Big West behind only Long Beach State (90).
UC SANTA BARBARA
Tough Road: All four UC Santa Barbara losses have come to Pac-12 opponents, as the Gauchos dropped a 75-63 decision to USC at home last Thursday. The Gauchos are off this week for fall finals, before resuming play at South Dakota State on Sunday.
Vincent Finding His Range: Sophomore Gabe Vincent seems to have fought out of an early slump with three straight solid efforts from the perimeter. The 6-3 guard began the year just 4-for-15 from three-point range, but over his last three games, has improved his accuracy to 10-for-20 (.500).
As A Whole: The Gauchos have shot particularly well from long distance over their last two games against Pac-12 foes Arizona State and USC. They are a combined 18-for-35 (.514). UCSB struggled from three in its first four outings, hitting at just a 28.0 percent (28-for-100) clip.
About That Free Throw Line: UCSB has managed just 14 free throw attempts in its last two games, and has attempted more than 20 free throws in just one contest this year.
Regrouped: Hawai‘i returned to its winning ways with a resounding 28-point victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday. The Rainbow Warriors are 5-0 at home this season with an average margin of victory of 15.2 points.
Jankovic Doubles Up: Junior Stefan Jankovic recorded his second double-double of the 2015-16 campaign with 14 points and 12 rebounds against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He did not commit a foul in 27 minutes, while in the previous game, he fouled out in 15 minutes versus Texas Tech.
League Leaders: The ‘Bows lead the Big West in three categories – total offense (80.8 ppg), field goal percentage (.487) and steals per game (9.5). The latter figure has positioned UH as 13th-best in the nation in steals.
Home Stand Continues: UH is in the midst of playing 10 consecutive games inside the Stan Sheriff Center. The ‘Bows face fellow island opponents Hawai‘i-Hilo and Hawai‘i-Pacific this week before readying for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic the week of Christmas. UH does not play a road game until Jan. 14 at UC Riverside.