UC Riverside Hosts Pair Of ESPN3 Games
Links associated with this release:
This Week in the Big West - February 1-7, 2016
2015-16 Men's Basketball Release No. 13
UC Riverside hosts CSUN in an ESPN3 showdown on Wednesday with the goal of achieving its first four-game Big West win streak since the 2011-12 season. The Highlanders appear again on ESPN3 Saturday when UC Davis visits the SRC Arena.
Hits And Misses: Cal Poly had a season-low scoring output in a 66-52 loss at UC Davis on Saturday, but have still scored at least 70 points in 16 of 20 games this season after scoring 70-plus points just seven times last year.
Callero Hones In On 100: Seventh-year head coach Joe Callero remains two wins away from reaching 100 at Cal Poly.
Bench Mob: Through seven conference games, bench scoring production is equal to the starting unit. Of the 519 points the Mustangs have scored in Big West play, reserve players have accounted for 260 of them.
Right Combination: In the loss at UC Davis, Cal Poly used its eighth different starting lineup combination this year.
Bennett In Elite Company: Senior Brian Bennett is just the 10th player in school history with career numbers of at least 1,000 points and 500 boards.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Keep Grinding: Cal State Fullerton has lost six straight and 11 of its last 13 contests, entering a stretch in which five of its next seven games are on the road. The Titans have held second half leads in three of their last five losses.
Bright Future: Leading all Big West freshmen in scoring at 14.8 points per game, Khalil Ahmad already has imprinted his name in the Titan record book. His 296 points scored ranks as the fourth-most on the Cal State Fullerton freshman list, and puts him just 74 short of breaking the school record set by Bobby Brown (369) in 2003-04.
Bright Future, Part II: Sophomore Jamah Akoh recorded his first career double-double with a career-best 14 points and 10 boards in CSF’s loss at UC Davis on Wednesday. He averaged 13.5 points in two games last week.
Active On The Glass: The Titans tied their season high with 20 offensive rebounds against UC Riverside. They also pulled down 20 against Washington on Dec. 6.
Capacity Crowd: CSUN played in front of a capacity crowd of 2,157 in Saturday’s game against UC Irvine, the largest in The Matadome since CSUN re-added the upper level seats that were lost in the 1994 earthquake.
Hale-Edmerson’s Mark: Senior Tre Hale-Edmerson moved up to No. 9 on the CSUN career list in steals with three against UCI. The 6-9 forward/center has 130 career steals, just five shy of the eighth spot occupied by Brooklyn McLinn. Hale-Edmerson is also the school’s all-time blocked shots leader with 173.
O-Board Ignite: The Matadors went nine straight games without recording double-digit offensive rebounds, then went off for a season-high tying 15 against UC Irvine, one of the conference’s top clubs at cleaning up the glass.
TV Time: Four of CSUN’s next five games will appear on ESPN3. The Matadors already have appeared on E3 in three previous Big West games.
LONG BEACH STATE
Statement: Long Beach State knocked off the two teams who were picked to finish second and third in the preseason Big West media poll – UC Santa Barbara and Hawai‘i – last week. The Rainbow Warriors were an unbeaten 5-0 in Big West play as well as 14-1 at home when the Beach invaded the islands for a 14-point win.
Boarding: LBSU enjoyed a 47-28 rebounding advantage against the ‘Bows, featuring 14 offensive rebounds and 22 second chance points in recording its third Big West road victory.
Faust For Three: Senior Nick Faust is No. 2 in the Big West in made three-pointers (62), tying him for 16th in LBSU single-season history. Faust, who hit five threes in the win at UH, needs to make 13 more to move into the school’s career top-10.
Levin On The Mark: Sophomore Gabe Levin is shooting 60 percent (36-for-60) in Big West play to rank third in field goal percentage. He also has recorded double figure points in six of the eight conference games. The all-time single-season mark is 97, set by Greg Plater in 2010-11.
Heating Up: UC Davis has won four of its last five conference games – all four victories coming at home – and now sit alone in fourth place in the Big West standings. The Aggies are 0-3 in league road games and look to change those fortunes with games at Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside this week.
Twelve And Counting: In improving to 4-0 at home in Big West home games, the Aggies have now won 12 straight games at The Pavilion against conference opponents. Other recent conference home successes include UCI winning 12 straight from 2011-14, while LBSU had a 26-game streak from 2010-13.
D’Ing Up: UC Davis ranks No. 2 in Big West games only for scoring defense (63.7 ppg). In their four league wins, the Aggies are giving up just 58.3 points on average.
Fox Trot: Senior Josh Fox recorded his fourth double-double of the year with 18 points and 10 rebounds against Cal Poly. He is averaging 20.5 points over the last four contests and has an eight-game double figure scoring streak.
Start A New One: UC Irvine saw its seven-game winning streak end in Saturday’s loss to UC Santa Barbara, but the Anteaters have still won 10 of their last 12 games. They also have not lost back-to-back games the entire season and look to continue that trend at Cal Poly on Wednesday.
Looking Ahead: UCI needs three more wins to set a program standard for most consecutive 20-win seasons with four. Coach Russell Turner’s Anteaters have won 21, 23 and 21 games the past three seasons. Former Big West member Utah State was the last conference program to accomplish the feat, producing six straight 20-win campaigns from 1999-2005.
Young Eyes Top-10: With 509 career assists, senior Alex Young is now 11th in Big West history, and just seven shy from entering the top-10.
Top Spot: Junior 7-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye owns a career field goal percentage of 66.9 (275-for-411) in 72 games, making him the Big West’s all-time leader and ahead of former ‘Eater great Kevin Magee (.656), now No. 2 on the list.
Watch Out: UC Riverside earned its third straight Big West victory following Saturday’s 81-71 triumph at Cal State Fullerton. The Highlanders play their next four conference games at home, and seek their first four-game Big West win streak since the 2011-12 season. UCR host CSUN on Wednesday.
Chasing History: With 13 wins, the Highlanders are within range of equalling and exceeding the program’s Division I record for victories, which was 17 in 2008-09.
Heating Up: It’s not much a coincidence that UCR’s mini roll has paired up with three straight 20-point plus performances from senior Taylor Johns. After going a 12-game stretch without hitting the 20-point mark, Johns has reeled off 26, 21 and 22 points against Long Beach State, Cal Poly and CSF, respectively. He’s the Big West’s fifth-leading scorer (15.1 ppg).
Freebies: UCR established season-highs in free throws made (30), free throws attempted (34) and free throw percentage (.882) in the win against CSF.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Big Win: UC Santa Barbara used a game-ending 20-4 run that led to a 76-60 win on Saturday, knocking UC Irvine from the ranks of the Big West unbeatens. It was the first time in four years that the Gauchos won in Irvine.
Top 10 Countdown: Senior Michael Bryson became the 11th player in Gaucho history to eclipse the 1,400-point barrier with a game-high 18 points against UCI. He enters Thursday’s game against Hawai‘i with 1,408 career points, needing four to pass Branduinn Fullove (2000-2004) and enter the top-10. Bryson has scored in double figures in 19 straight contests, with 18 or more in each of the last four outings.
Tightened Up: The Gauchos committed a season-high 24 turnovers in a heartbreaking overtime loss to Long Beach State on Thursday, then turned around two nights later to tie their season low with just eight miscues in the win over UCI.
Barometer: The Gauchos are a perfect 7-0 this season when they score more than 70 points. Coincidentally, they are 0-2 when scoring exactly 70 points.
Role Reversal: Hawai‘i, which had won 12 games by double-digit points entering Saturday’s sellout home game versus Long Beach State, lost just its third of the season – and first by double digits – succumbing 78-64. The loss halted UH’s eight-game overall win streak and 5-0 conference start.
Low Mark: UH’s 64 points against LBSU represented a season-low. The ‘Bows still remain the Big West’s top offensive club with 79.6 points per game.
Thomas Guides: Junior Mike Thomas had a standout effort versus LBSU, delivering a career-high 20 points on 7 of 11 shooting.
Thievery: The trio of seniors Roderick Bobbitt and Quincy Smith, along with sophomore Isaac Fleming, rank first, second and fourth in Big West steals per game. Bobbitt is bidding to lead the conference in steals for the second consecutive year, entering this week at 2.3 steals per game. Smith has 11 steals in the last three games and 17 over the last five.
COUNTDOWN TO 300 FOR WILLIAMS
Bob Williams is three victories away from becoming just the third head coach in Big West history to reach career milestone No. 300. In his 18th year at UC Santa Barbara, Williams has compiled a 297-235 record, including five 20-win seasons. The only other two coaches to attain the landmark 300 have actually gone over the 400 mark – Pacific’s Bob Thomason (436) and Jerry Tarkanian, who collected 405 victories between Long Beach State and UNLV. Williams is the longest tenured Division I head coach west of the Mississippi River.
ALL-TIME WINS LEADERS – BIG WEST HEAD COACHES
||Bob Thomason, Pacific
||Jerry Tarkanian, Long Beach State & UNLV
||1970-73 & 1983-92
||Bob Williams, UC Santa Barbara
||Neil McCarthy, New Mexico State
||Jerry Pimm, UC Santa Barbara
YOUNG GETS TO 500 CAREER ASSISTS
Only 11 players in Big West men’s basketball history had accumulated 500 career assists entering the 2015-16 season. Add UC Irvine senior Alex Young as the 12th. His six assists against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 16 allowed him to join the exclusive club. The school’s all-time assist leader, Young is having an outstanding year with 95 assists against just 23 turnovers. His 4.13 assist-to-turnover ratio is seventh-best in the country.
BIG WEST CAREER ASSIST LEADERS
||Greg Anthony, UNLV
||Leon Wood, Cal State Fullerton
||Mark Wade, UNLV
||Sam Crawford, New Mexico State
||Danny Tarkanian, UNLV
||Dedan Thomas, UNLV
||Casper Ware, Long Beach State
||Wayne Williams, Cal State Fullerton
||Bobby Brown, Cal State Fullerton
||Ray Kelly, UC Santa Barbara
||Alex Young, UC Irvine
||Billy Walker, Long Beach State
CALLERO NEARS 100 VICTORIES
Cal Poly’s Joe Callero is two victories away from becoming the 19th head coach in Big West history to record 100 career wins at his institution. The seventh-year mentor is 98-111 overall. Hitting the milestone would also make Callero Cal Poly’s winningest head coach at the Division I level. Current UC Santa Barbara assistant coach Kevin Bromley owns that distinction as he went 99-145 from 2001-09.
BLOCK PARTY AFICIONADOS
Three of the top shot blockers in Big West history are all playing at the same time, looking to imprint their names on the record book. All three are chasing the career milestone of 200 blocked shots, a mark that only three other Big West players have accomplished. UC Irvine junior Mamadou Ndiaye, UC Riverside senior Taylor Johns and CSUN senior Tre Hale-Edmerson are ranked in succession in the Big West career top 10.
CAREER BLOCKED SHOTS LEADERS
||Player , School
||Eric McArthur, UC Santa Barbara
||Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara
||Will Davis II, UC Irvine
||Greg Somogyi, UC Santa Barbara
||Mamadou Ndiaye, UC Irvine
||Taylor Johns, UC Riverside
||Tre Hale-Edmerson, CSUN
||Michael Olowokandi, Pacific