This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Feb. 21
IDAHO’S BARONE NAMED VERIZON WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Idaho’s Kyle Barone has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 13-19. The honor marks the second career WAC Player of the Week for Barone.
Barone, a junior center from Garden Grove, Calif. (Pacifica HS), had a career game on Saturday in Idaho’s 77-68 Sears BracketBuster win over Portland State. Barone scored 25 points, connecting on 10-of-11 (.909) shots from the floor. He added eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in the win. He also went 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He connected on 9-of-10 shots in the first half to give Idaho its biggest halftime lead of the season at 42-25. His 10-of-11 shooting performance is the best single-game effort by a Vandal since 2008 and is tied as the third-best in Idaho single-game history. The game was Barone’s ninth in a row with at least seven rebounds and his sixth-straight double-figure scoring game. His 25 points and 10 made field goals are both career highs. During the team’s season-best active five-game win streak, Barone is averaging 17.6 points and 8.4 rebounds on 33-of-54 (.611) overall shooting and 22-of-28 (.786) from the free throw line.
Other nominees included: Fresno State junior forward Kevin Foster … Louisiana Tech freshman guard Kenneth Smith … Nevada senior forward Olek Czyz … New Mexico State senior guard Hernst Laroche … San Jose State sophomore guard Keith Shamburger … Utah State sophomore guard Preston Medlin.
WEEK 15 WAC HIGHLIGHTS
Teams in the WAC went a combined 10-3 last week in non-conference games. The WAC went 5-3 on ESPN Sears BracketBuster Saturday. The league split its two televised ESPN matchups with New Mexico State defeating Drake 71-55 on ESPNU and Nevada falling at Iona 90-84 on ESPN2. Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State each went 2-0 last week. LA Tech picked up wins over North Dakota (58-53) and Central Arkansas (84-62), while NM State defeated both Northern New Mexico (100-68) and Drake (71-55).
WAC TEAMS GO COMBINED 5-3 IN ESPN SEARS BRACKETBUSTERS GAMES
For an 10th-straight year, the WAC participated in BracketBusters -- a two-day men’s college basketball event pitting NCAA Tournament hopefuls. WAC teams went a combined 5-3 in those matchups. New Mexico State picked up a featured ESPN Sears BracketBuster televised matchup, defeating Drake 71-55 on ESPNU.
WAC Televised BracketBuster Games
New Mexico State def. Drake, 71-55 (ESPNU)
Iona def. Nevada, 90-84 (ESPN2/ESPN3)
WAC Non-Televised BracketBuster Games
Fresno State def. Cal State Northridge, 62-49
Montana def. Hawai‘i, 94-79
Idaho def. Portland State, 77-68
Louisiana Tech def. Central Arkansas, 84-62
San Jose State def. Sacramento State, 79-67
UC Santa Barbara def. Utah State, 72-64
WAC CONTINUES RISE ON RPI AND ESPN CONFERENCE POWER RANKINGS LIST
After starting the season as low as No. 28 on the conference RPI list, the WAC has surged its way to No. 12 this week, according to collegerpi.com. The league also comes in as the 12th-best conference in the nation according to ESPN’s conference power rankings. Nevada currently holds the highest team RPI in the league at No. 58, according to the NCAA.
WAC TEAMS/PLAYERS AMONG NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
As of Feb. 19, teams from the WAC rank in the top-25 in six team statistical categories. Individual players rank in the top-25 in six individual stat categories. New Mexico State holds the highest team mark as it ranks 5th nationally in rebound margin at 7.9. Idaho ranks 22nd nationally in field goal percentage at 48.1. Individually, New Mexico State’s Wendell McKines holds the WAC’s highest national ranking as he ranks seventh nationally with 15 double-doubles. Nevada’s Malik Story ranks 10th nationally in three-point field goal percentage at 44.7 percent.
WAC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO LAS VEGAS, TICKETS ON SALE NOW
The 2012 WAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 7-10 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and will include all eight WAC teams. All-session tickets for the 2012 Western Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament presented by Verizon are available for purchase now. All-session tickets include access to each men’s and women’s tournament game, totaling 14 games in eight sessions. All-session tickets are on sale Friday through the Orleans Arena Box Office. Tickets will also be available for purchase through each WAC school’s ticket office. Fans are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets from their institution’s ticket office or online to avoid service fees associated with ticket sales through the Orleans Arena. Single-session tickets, which allow access to the two games listed in the session will be sold only on the day of the respective game, and can only be purchased through the Orleans Arena. Fans who wish to attend only the women’s tournament games may purchase a women’s tournament all-session ticket through the Orleans Arena ticket office.
KENNETH SMITH SETS LA TECH’S SINGLE GAME ASSISTS RECORD
Freshman guard Kenneth Smith set the Louisiana Tech school record for assists in a game with 15 as the Bulldogs defeated Central Arkansas 84-42 Saturday afternoon in the Thomas Assembly Center in front of 3,977 fans that was a part of SEARS ESPN BracketBuster program. Smith’s 15th assist came at the 3:05 mark of the second half on a layup by freshman forward Stojan Gjuroski. Former Bulldog Bud Dean had held the assists record since Jan. 17, 1969 when he had 14 at Nicholls State. Smith’s 15 assists marks the most assists by a WAC player since Feb. 25, 2005 when UTEP’s Filiberto Rivera dished out 18 against Louisiana Tech. Smith’s 15 assists marks the second-best single-game assist mark in the NCAA this season.
SJSU’S CARTER NAMED TO ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT FIRST TEAM
Wil Carter, a senior forward on the San Jose State University men’s basketball team, is one of five NCAA Division I players named to the Capital One Academic All-District VIII first team. Voted on by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), the Academic All-District team is the first qualifying stage for Academic All-America honors. A co-captain of the 2011-12 San Jose State team, Carter is in his second year with the Spartans after transferring from Salt Lake Community College. The resident of Pocatello, Idaho ranks fourth in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in rebounding with an 8.2 per game average. He is third on the San Jose State team in scoring with an 11.3 average.
NMSU’S MCKINES BECOMES WAC’S 12TH MEMBER OF 1,000 PT/1,000 REB. CLUB
New Mexico State’s Wendell McKines became a member of the 1,000-career point and 1,000-career rebound club and led the New Mexico State men’s basketball team to a 78-57 win over CSU Bakersfield on Feb. 1. With his 12th rebound of the game with 7:45 minutes remaining, McKines joined the elite club. He is only the second player in NM State history along with Sam Lacey, second active player in the NCAA (T.J. Robinson, Long Beach State) and 12th player in the WAC history to achieve the feat.
WAC All-Time 1,000 point/1,000 rebound List
Keith Van Horn, Utah (1993-97) 2,542 points/1,074 reb.
Nick Fazekas, Nevada (2003-07) 2,464 points/1,254 reb.
Bob Elliot, Arizona (1973-77) 2,131 points/1,083 reb.
Michael Harris, Rice (2001-05) 2,014 points/1,111 reb.
Josh Grant, Utah (1988-93) 2,000 points/1,066 reb.
Kenny Thomas, UNM (1996-99) 1,931 points/1,032 reb.
Micahel Cage, SDSU (1980-84) 1,846 points/1,317 reb.
Reginald Slater, UW (1988-92) 1,809 points/1,197 reb.
Al Fleming, Arizona (1973-76) 1,765 points/1,190 reb.
Paul Millsap, LA Tech (2003-06) 1,708 points/1,172 reb.
Mitch Smith, Utah (1985-89) 1,628 points/1,036 reb.
Wendell McKines, NMSU (2007-) 1,363 points/1,042 reb.
NEVADA’S WIN STREAK ENDS AT 16 GAMES
Nevada’s 16-game school record tying win streak was snapped on Saturday as the Wolf Pack fell 72-68 to Idaho on Feb. 4. The streak was the second longest in country when it ended to undefeated Murray State. The Wolf Pack’s 12-game home court win streak also ended and it was tied for 19th longest in the nation. The 16-game win streak is tied with the 1965-66 team for the longest in school history. The 1965-66 squad went on to post a 21-6 record for head coach Jack Spencer. The 19-4 start is the best since the 2006-07 squad began the year 21-2 on the way to a 29-5 record. Nevada has won 19-of-21 after starting the season 0-2.
SAN JOSE STATE’S CARTER RECORDS FIRST WAC 20-20 GAME SINCE 2006
San Jose State senior forward Wil Carter scored 21 points and pulled down 20 rebounds in a loss at Hawai‘i on Jan. 7. Carter becomes the first WAC player to score at least 20 points and pull down 20 boards since Louisiana Tech’s Paul Millsap did it in 2006. It also marked the first 20-rebound game by a SJSU player since Chris McNealy did it against Utah in December of 1981. It marks only the eighth 20-rebound performance by a Division I player this season.
SAN JOSE STATE AND NEVADA SET SCHOOL RECORDS WITH 16 THREES IN A SINGLE GAME, RANKS AS FOURTH-BEST SINGLE GAME PERFORMANCE IN THE NATION
San Jose State set single-game school records with 16 three-point baskets made and 40 three-point baskets attempted in the December 29 victory over Coppin State at the Elgin Baylor Classic. The previous records in these categories were 14 made 3-pointers in a 2005 game against Louisiana Tech and 32 three-point tries in a 2011 game versus Boise State. Nevada set a single game school record of their own with 16 made thres and 32 attempts to break the old school record of 15 made threes against Cal State Fullerton in 1999. The 16 made threes ranks as the fourth-best single-game performance in the nation this season.
INDIVIDUAL WAC SINGLE-GAME PERFORMANCE RANKS NATIONALLY
Utah State’s Preston Medlin hit eight three-point field goals in a win at Idaho State on Nov. 26. The eight threes is the third-most scored in the nation this season. USU’s Kyisean Reed connected on 11-of-12 shots for a 92.3 field goal percentage against Kent State on Dec. 22. Reed’s performance ranks as the second-best field goal percentage performance in the nation this season. Fresno State’s Jonathan Wills hit a perfect 13-of-13 free throws in a Nov. 22 game against UTSA. Wills’ night ranks him with the fifth-best performance nationally this year.
WAC TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES
Fresno State Bulldogs (12-16, 3-8 WAC)
Fresno State defeated Cal State Northridge 62-49 on the road in the Bulldog’s ESPN Sears BracketBuster game ... the game marked Fresno State’s lone game of the week ... Fresno State chipped away from a nine-point deficit, stifled a potent Matador attack and pounded its way to a non-conference road victory ... the ‘Dogs have faced bigger deficits this season, like the 17-point first half hole before stunning Arizona State in the final minute for their first road win ... but this time, the Bulldogs shot just 8-for-28 (28.6 percent) in the first half and sorely needed a spark ... enter junior forward Kevin Foster, who had one of the best nights of his Bulldog career as he tallied team-highs in both points (17) and rebounds (7) in just 24 minutes of action ... Tyler Johnson added 11 points and Olekaibe netted 10 (all in the second half) for the ‘Dogs ... Fresno State hosts Seattle U and Nevada this week.
Hawai‘i Rainbow Warriors (15-11, 6-4 WAC)
Hawai‘i went 1-1 last week ... the team defeated New Orleans 82-58 at home before taking a 94-79 road loss at Montana ... in the win over New Orleans, UH raced out to a 20-point lead just eight minutes into the game and staved off a pair of Privateer rallies before picking up a comfortable non-conference win ... ten Rainbow Warriors got in the scoring column as the UH starters got limited minutes ... Vander Joaquim took full advantage of an undersized Privateer squad notching 19 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes ... Joston Thomas poured in 16 points, while Shaquille Stokes provided 11 points off the bench ... Jeremiah Ostrowski tallied 10 assists ... in the loss at Montana, the Grizz shot a sizzling 58 percent from the game, including 11-of-23 from three-point range to race past the Rainbow Warriors ... Joaquim led UH with 17 points and 10 rebounds ... UH travels to NM State and LA Tech this week.
Idaho Vandals (16-11, 7-4 WAC)
Idaho defeated Portland State 77-68 in its ESPN Sears BracketBuster game at home on senior night ... the Vandals won for a third time in their last four Sears BracketBuster series outings, extended their overall win streak to five and their home winning stretch to a season-best four straight in front of a crowd of 3,081 ... junior center Kyle Barone scored a career-high 25 points with the third-best shooting performance (10-of-11) in school history ... sophomore Stephen Madison went for his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds ... Madison and Barone combined on an alley-oop dunk to open then game, then pretty much owned the first half after that ... the duo shot a combined 14-of-16 for 30 of Idaho’s 42 first-half points and had eight of the team’s 16 rebounds in the first 20 minutes ... Idaho takes its winning streak to Utah State on Friday, Feb. 24.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (13-14, 3-7 WAC)
Louisiana Tech went a perfect 2-0 at home last week with wins over North Dakota (58-53) and Central Arkansas (84-62) .... freshman guard Raheem Appleby scored 17 second half points to lead Louisiana Tech to a come-from-behind win over North Dakota ... for the contest, Appleby had a game-high 19 points and two steals ... Trevor Gaskins and Brandon Gibson both reached double-figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively ... Kenneth Smith grabbed 10 rebounds, tying his career-high, and dished out four assists to give him 100 on the season ... in the win over Central Arkansas in its ESPN Sears BracketBuster game, Smith set the Louisiana Tech school record for assists in a game with 15 ... Tech shot a season-high 50.8 percent (31-61) from the field while making eight three-pointers ... the team also made 14-of-18 (77.8 percent) shots at the free throw line ... LA Tech returns to WAC play Thursday against SJSU.
Nevada Wolf Pack (22-5, 10-1 WAC)
Nevada went 1-1 last week in non-conference action ... the Pack defeated CSU Bakersfield 61-47 before traveling falling 90-84 at Iona in an ESPN Sears BracketBuster game ... in the win over CSU Bakersfield, Olek Czyz scored 16 points to lead Nevada ... Jordan Burris had 11 points and Dario Hunt 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Wolf Pack, who rallied from six points down in the second half ... Nevada hit 18 of 45 shots (40 percent) from the field, but was only 2 of 12 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range ... at Iona, Olek Czyz scored 28 points and Deonte Burton 21 ... Dario Hunt had a 15-point, 14-rebound double-double ... trailing 71-58 midway through the second half, Nevada whittled it to 82-77 with 4:04 left ... Iona’s two foul shots with 28 seconds left clinched it ... this week, Nevada returns to conference play, traveling to play Fresno State on Saturday.
New Mexico State Aggies (20-8, 7-3 WAC)
New Mexico State went a perfect 2-0 last week in non-conference play ... the Aggies defeated Northern New Mexico 100-68 before taking down Drake 71-55 on ESPNU in the team’s Sears BracketBuster game ... in the win over Northern New Mexico, all five Aggie starters were in double-figures with Bandja Sy leading the way with a career-high 19 points ... Hamidu Rahman added 18 points and eight rebounds ... with the first basket of the second half, Rahman became the 30th member of the 1,000-career point club at NM State ... the Aggies improved to 6-1 in the BracketBuster series for their 25th 20-win season in school history with the win over Drake ... Wendell McKines posted his 15th double-double of the year and 42nd of his career with 25 points and 12 rebounds, which were both game-high marks ... NMSU hosts Hawai‘i and San Jose State this week.
San Jose Spartans (9-17, 1-9 WAC)
For the fourth time this season, San Jose State overcame a double-digit deficit to win ... in a non-conference game at Sacramento State, the Spartans were down, 46-34 with 16:01 remaining, found their offensive rhythm and went on to post a 79-67 victory ... SJSU countered a 7:57 scoreless span of the first half with its best second-half field goal shooting of the season, 68.2 percent, for its second win in its last three outings ... the Spartans were 6-of-7 from three-point range in the final 20 minutes with all six 3-pointers coming in a run of 16 consecutive scoring possessions ... Wil Carter and James Kinney each scored 19 points for the Spartans ... Keith Shamburger poured in all 15 of his points after halftime and was credited with eight assists ... Shamburger accounted for three of the 3-pointers ... San Jose State heads out a road trip to Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State next week.
Utah State Aggies (14-14, 5-6 WAC)
Utah State went 1-1 in non-conference action at home last week ... the Aggies defeated Montana Tech 70-58 before falling 72-64 to UC Santa Barbara ... against Montana Tech, Preston Medlin netted a game-high 22 points and was one rebound shy of his first double-double of the season with a career-high tying nine boards ... Brockeith Pane tallied all 16 of his points in the second half, spearheading USU’s rally from a 34-30 halftime deficit, as the Aggies improved to 2-10 this season when trailing at intermission ... in the loss to UCSB, Medlin led three Aggies in double-digit scoring with 14 points, and tied his career-high by dishing out a game-high eight assists ... Pane netted all 13 of his points in the second half and junior forward Kyisean Reed tallied 10 points ... Jordan Stone led USU on the glass with a career-best eight rebounds ... this week, USU hosts Idaho on Friday.