Long Beach State Rides Five-Game Win Streak Into Rivalry Game
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This Week in the Big West - February 15-21, 2016
2015-16 Men's Basketball Release No. 15
Owners of the current longest win streak at five, Long Beach State hosts Cal State Fullerton this Saturday on Prime Ticket. An average of 4,658 fans have attended this game at the Walter Pyramid over the last seven seasons.
PRIOR TO TIPOFF
UC IRVINE AT CAL STATE FULLERTON (ESPN3) - UC Irvine has won the last eight meetings against Cal State Fullerton. The ‘Eaters are 13-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points and 14-1 when leading at halftime.
UC DAVIS AT CAL POLY (BIGWEST.TV) - Joe Callero goes for his 100th win at Cal Poly. The Mustangs rank No. 3 in scoring offense (73.4 ppg) in conference games, and face the top defense in UC Davis (62.3 ppg).
HAWAI‘I AT CSUN (ESPN3) - Hawai‘i is 4-0 in Big West road games, and looks to become the first conference squad to finish undefeated on the road since Pacific in 2004-05 (9-0). The ‘Bows hit the 20-win mark last week.
UC SANTA BARBARA AT UC RIVERSIDE (BIGWEST.TV) - UC Santa Barbara’s Bob Williams becomes just the third head coach in Big West history to reach 300 wins with a successful outcome in this game.
CSUN at CAL POLY (BIGWEST.TV) - CSUN senior Tre Hale-Edmerson is nine rebounds away from becoming the sixth player to 700 in school history. Cal Poly senior David Nwaba enters the week 28 points shy of 1,000.
UC DAVIS AT UC SANTA BARBARA (BIGWEST.TV) - UCSB senior Michael Bryson enters the week needing seven three-pointers to break the school’s career record.
CAL STATE FULLERTON AT LONG BEACH STATE (PRIME TICKET) - LBSU’s highest attended conference game in each of the last seven seasons. Average Walter Pyramid attendance versus the Titans over that span is 4,658.
HAWAI‘I AT UC IRVINE (ESPNU) - Rematch between the top two Big West squads. UH won round one on the strength of a program record-tying 14 three-pointers on Feb. 11.
Recovery: Cal Poly began the week with its fifth straight conference loss, a first in the Joe Callero era, as a comeback effort at Long Beach State fell short. However, the Mustangs halted the skid with an 86-78 win at UC Riverside as five players scored in double figures.
One To Go: Callero, in his seventh season at the helm of the Mustangs, recorded win No. 99 at UCR. He gets his first chance at No. 100 on Thursday at home versus UC Davis.
Numbers Game: Don’t be fooled by Cal Poly’s 3-8 conference record. The 73-70 loss to LBSU last week represented the team’s fourth loss by four points or less in Big West play. The Mustangs also lost a fifth game in overtime by six points.
Nwaba Revving Up: Senior David Nwaba posted back-to-back 20-point efforts against LBSU and UCR last week, averaging 22.5 points in the 1-1 split. He shot 64 percent (16-for-25). Nwaba is within 28 points of becoming the 23rd player in program history to reach 1,000 for a career.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Home Showdown: Cal State Fullerton was winless on a three-game roadtrip, returning home on Wednesday for an ESPN3 showdown against Orange County rival UC Irvine. The Titans have lost the eight meetings against the Anteaters, and last beat UCI at home on Feb. 9, 2012.
Ahmad Peers In On Record: Khalil Ahmad could break the CSF single-season freshman scoring record on Wednesday against UCI. With 356 points, he is No. 2 on the list, and 13 behind the record holder Bobby Brown, who scored 369 points during the 2003-04 season.
Active On The Boards: The Titans got outrebounded by both CSUN and Hawai‘i last week, but pulled down 14 and 15 offensive rebounds, respectively. CSF is averaging a conference-best 12.1 offensive boards per game through 11 Big West contests.
Key Cog: Junior Tre’ Coggins has scored in double figures in 18 of 23 games played this season.
Sweep: CSUN earned a season sweep of Cal State Fullerton for the first time since 2011 with Wednesday’s 75-67 victory. The Matadors posted their second-lowest opponent point total in Big West play – UC Davis scored 63 on Jan. 14.
Smith’s Impact: Junior Kendall Smith recorded his seventh 20-point game in 16 appearances as he finished with 21 points against UC Irvine. Smith is tied for fourth in the Big West for most 20-point performances despite playing no fewer than six games than anyone else above him on the list.
In The Passing Lanes: The Matadors tied their season high with 11 steals against UCI.
Creating His Own Category: Senior Tre Hale-Edmerson, one of the top all-around players in the Big West, is seeking to become the first player in CSUN history to accumulate career numbers of 700 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 steals. The 6-9 forward/center enters this week nine rebounds and 14 assists short of the milestone.
LONG BEACH STATE
Momentum: Long Beach State defeated Cal Poly and UC Davis last week to lengthen its winning streak to five straight games. It is the fifth time in the last six seasons under Dan Monson that the Beach has a conference win streak as long as five in a row.
Attention Monson Maniacs: Monson attempts to become just the 13th head coach in Big West history to win 150 games. In his ninth year, the school’s all-time winningest coach is 149-137. Monson can reach No. 150 on Saturday against Cal State Fullerton in front of the Walter Pyramid crowd. The game will be televised on Prime Ticket.
Extremes: The Beach experienced both ends of the free throw shooting spectrum in last week’s games. They nearly squandered a big lead against Cal Poly thanks to 51.4 (19-of-37) percent shooting at the stripe, but recovered to record a season-high 82.4 percent (14-of-17) mark against UC Davis.
Benchmark: LBSU needs to defeat Cal State Fullerton to reach the 15-win plateau for the eighth consecutive season under Monson.
Streak Ends: UC Davis’s 12-game home win streak against Big West opponents ended on Thursday as UC Santa Barbara emerged with a 72-66 win. The streak tied for the fourth-longest since 2007-08, the season the Aggies joined the Big West.
Taking On The Scoring Load: Senior Josh Fox nearly scored half of his team’s points in a 57-48 loss to Long Beach State. Fox notched 20 points, the fourth time this season he has had 20 or more. He is No. 8 in scoring during league play at 15.7 points per game.
Improvement: Fox, who shot 58.5 (62-of-106) percent from the free throw line in 2014-15, has made 49 of his last 62 attempts over an 11-game stretch, 79.0%.
Still On Pace: Junior Neal Monson remained on track to become the first Aggie in history to lead the Big West in rebounding. The 6-10 center registered 10 boards against LBSU for his league-leading ninth double-digit rebounding game. He has had 10 or more caroms in three of the last four games and five times overall during conference play.
Scoring Fever: UC Irvine had a season-high scoring output in Saturday’s 93-84 victory over CSUN. The Anteaters, after shooting a season-low 31.3 percent against Hawai‘i on Thursday, sizzled at 54.5 percent versus the Matadors. UCI is 7-0 this season when shooting better than 50 percent.
Twenty Time: UCI’s next victory will set a program standard for most consecutive 20-win seasons (4). Coach Russell Turner’s Anteaters have won 21, 23 and 21 games the past three years. Former Big West member Utah State was the last conference program to accomplish the feat, producing six straight 20-win campaigns from 1999-2005.
Milestone Watch: Junior Mamadou Ndiaye is five blocks shy of 200, which would make him just the fourth player in Big West history to reach that benchmark.
Forever Young: Senior Alex Young bombarded the stat sheet with a career-high 36 points on 14-of-19 shooting against CSUN. It was the most points scored by an Anteater since Mike Efevberha dropped 37 on Arkansas-Monticello on Dec. 6, 2003 at the McCaffrey Classic in Fresno.
Tough Road Ahead: UC Riverside lost its third straight game, all at home, falling 86-78 to Cal Poly on Saturday. The Highlanders now face their toughest stretch of schedule with the final five games consisting of UC Irvine, Hawai‘i, Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara twice.
Double-Doubling: Senior Taylor Johns recorded his league-high tying fifth double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds against Cal Poly. He is also the Big West’s active leader with 21 career double-doubles.
More On Johns: Johns has exceeded the 20-point mark in four of his last six outings. He has capitalized at the free throw line, where he has traditionally struggled. The 6-7 forward is shooting 83.7 (41-of-49) percent from the charity stripe over the last eight contests.
Century Club: Tied for third in the nation with 97 three-pointers, senior Jaylen Bland needs three more to become the 10th player in Big West history to make 100 in a season. He is seven away from entering the single-season top-10.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Road Warriors: UC Santa Barbara won its conference-high tying seventh road game, snapping UC Davis’s 12-game home court win streak against Big West opponents on Thursday. The Gauchos have a better road record (3-2) than home record (2-3) in Big West action.
Good Formula: The Gauchos held their last two opponents – Cal State Fullerton and UC Davis – under 70 points. UCSB is 8-2 this season when the opponent fails to reach at least 70 points.
Three-Point Record In View: Senior Michael Bryson enters this week with 215 career three-pointers made and is No. 4 on the UCSB all-time list. He could finish the week as the record holder, with Kyle Boswell (216), Mark Hull (217) and James Powell (221) all within his sights.
Accurate Beeler: Senior Sam Beeler hit 6-of-7 floor shots at UC Davis to improve his season field goal percentage to a Big West-leading .740 (74-for-100). The 6-10 forward has shot below 50 percent just four times all season. He has made 22 of his 28 field goals over the last six contests.
In The Polls: Hawai‘i is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today Sports top-25 polls this week. UH also rose to a season-best No. 8 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major rankings. The ‘Bows play four of their final six contests on the road.
Roadies: UH travels to CSUN (ESPN3) and UC Irvine (ESPNU) seeking to hold onto first place in the Big West as well as improve upon its 4-0 conference road record. The last Big West team to finish the league slate undefeated on the road was former member Pacific – 9-0 in 2004-05.
One Dimensional? No: The ‘Bows have received much attention about having the Big West’s top offense, which averages 76.0 points per game. Perhaps overlooked is UH’s solid defense, currently No. 3 in overall games at 66.1 per game allowed. The figure is lowered to 65.5 in Big West games, the second-lowest among conference teams.
Another Defense Note: During UH’s current four-game win streak, the team is averaging just 58.8 points to its foes – UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton.