This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Nov. 13
UTSA’S HALE III NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
UTSA’s Michael Hale III has been named the Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 5-11.
Hale III, a senior guard from Federal Way, Wash. (Federal Way HS), led the Roadrunners to a 2-1 record to claim the team title at the Liberty Tax Classic in Norfolk, Va. In the Sunday finale against host Old Dominion, the senior point guard poured in a career-high 29 points behind a 10-for-14 performance from the floor, including a 4-of-7 mark from long range. He also added three rebounds, three assists and a steal in the victory. It marked the most points by a Roadrunner since Melvin Johnson III scored 29 in UTSA’s historic 70-61 win against Alabama State in the NCAA First Four in 2011. Hale III posted 17 points, four steals and three treys to help UTSA down Holy Cross, 60-56, on Saturday and he added 15 points in Friday’s season-opening setback to Morgan State. Hale III was named the Liberty Tax Classic MVP.
Over the three games, Hale III averaged 20.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He shot 54.3 percent (9-of-19) from the floor and 77.8 percent (14-of-18) from the free throw line.
Other nominees included: Denver junior forward Chris Udofia scored 20 points in a setback to Iona … Louisiana Tech sophomore guard Raheem Appleby scored 20 points in a loss at Texas A&M … New Mexico State senior forward Tyrone Watson scored 14 points with eight rebounds at Oregon State … Seattle U junior forward Clarence Trent scored 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds in a win over Montana State … UT Arlington senior center Jordan Reves registered a 13-point, 14-rebound double-double in a win at CSU Bakersfield … Texas State junior forward Joel Wright tallied 19 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Fordham … Utah State junior guard Preston Medlin scored 14 points in a win over Idaho State.
UTSA WINS LIBERTY TAX CLASSIC IN NORFOLK, VA.
Senior Michael Hale III scored a career-high 29 points and UTSA won the Liberty Tax Classic title on Sunday with a 79-70 victory at Old Dominion. The Roadrunners and Holy Cross each finished the season-opening tournament with a 2-1 record, but UTSA won the tiebreaker by virtue of its 60-56 triumph over the Crusaders on Saturday. Hale III, who was tabbed the event’s Most Valuable Player, was 10-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-7 from the 3-point line, and his point total was the most since Melvin Johnson III tallied 29 against Alabama State in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
SEATTLE U CLAIMS ELGIN BAYLOR CLASSIC TITLE, TRENT NAMED MVP
The Seattle University men’s basketball team opened the 2012-13 season with an 87-72 victory over Montana State in the ninth annual Elgin Baylor Classic Sunday evening at KeyArena at Seattle Center. Clarence Trent (Tacoma, Wash.) was named MVP of this year’s classic after leading all players with 18 points, plus he pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Seattle University (1-0) heads to Charlottesville, Va., for a game against the Virginia Cavaliers next Saturday, Nov. 17, at 4 p.m. local time (1 p.m. Pacific time). The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.
WAC TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES
Denver Pioneers (0-1, 0-0 WAC)
The Pioneers open their home schedule at Magness Arena on Wednesday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, followed by a meeting with the Pac-12’s California, which was awarded an at-large berth in the 2012 NCAA Tournament ... Denver is 3-1 all-time against the Islanders and has won the last two matchups, including a 65-58 win in Corpus Christi, Texas, last season ... the Golden Bears have won all three meetings with the Pioneers, including an 80-59 loss in Berkeley, Calif., last year ... DU is 78-30 all-time in home openers and 9-5 since returning to NCAA Division I in 1999-00 ... junior Chris Udofia (Irving, Texas) scored a game-high 20 points in the season opener at Iona on Nov. 9, while adding six rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots in the 65-58 setback ... senior guard Chase Hallam (Mesquite, Texas) scored nine of his 14 points in the second half and had three steals in the game at Iona.
Idaho Vandals (0-1, 0-0 WAC)
Friday’s 80-70 loss to Wright State was Idaho’s first loss in a home opener under head coach Don Verlin ... the Vandal men had won their first four home openers under Verlin and five in a row overall … the loss also ended a streak of 16-consecutive wins when shooting 50 percent or better from the field … Idaho’s .535 (23-43) shooting performance was the best in the WAC in the season’s opening weekend, while junior Stephen Madison’s 9-10 (.900) free throw shooting and senior Kyle Barone’s 7-8 (.875) field goal shooting were both the top individual performances in the conference last week ... Barone led Idaho with 18 points and nine rebounds of 7-of-8 shooting, while senior guard Mansa Habeeb came off the bench for 14 points, five rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in 26 minutes ... the Vandals will host Montana on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at Memorial Gym.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (0-1, 0-0 WAC)
Raheem Abbleby led all players with 20 points but Texas A&M used a 10-2 run in the second half to pull away from Louisiana Tech for the 71-59 victory in both teams season opener Friday night at Reed Arena ... Brandon Gibson scored 13 points and Cordarius Johnson added 10 points for Louisiana Tech ... newcomers Chris Anderson, Alex Hamilton and Jaron Johnson each scored in their first regular season game action as a Bulldog ... point guard Kenneth Smith recorded three steals, all in the first half ... this tied his personal best for most steals in a single game ... Gibson score his13 points despite only playing 19 minutes of action ... forward Michale Kyser had a game-high four blocks against the Aggies ... Louisiana Tech returns home to host its home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 14 as the Bulldogs host UALR at 7 p.m.
New Mexico State Aggies (0-1, 0-0 WAC)
The Aggies opened the season at Oregon State with a 71-62 loss in Corvallis, Oregon in the Sports 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project ... senior forward Tyrone Watson and sophomore Daniel Mullings scored 14 points each for the Aggies ... senior forward Bandja Sy nearly contributed double-double with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds ... junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe added nine points and seven rebounds ... the Aggies had a 46-33 rebounding advantage and attempted 32 free throws ... NM State didn’t go away and kept fighting and trimmed Oregon State’s lead to seven, 68-61, with less than two minutes to play on dunk from junior forward Renaldo Dixon. On the next possession, Sy hit a free throw to bring it within six, 68-62 ... NM State returns home to start a span of three games in four days with the home opener against Southeastern Louisiana, Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.
San Jose State Spartans (0-1, 0-0 WAC)
James Kinney picked up his scoring from where he left off last season, leading the Spartans in scoring with 23 points, but missed free throws and dunks and foul problems contributed to San Jose State’s 72-68 loss at New Orleans Friday night ... Kinney led all scorers with his 23 points ... he was 10-of-16 from the field including 3-for-6 from three-point range ... he added five rebounds, three assists and three steals in 37 minutes played ... San Jose State was just 7-of-17 from the free throw line and committed 20 turnovers in the loss ... the team did shoot 51.8 percent from the field for the game ... LaVanne Pennington came off the bench and scored a career-best 13 points as he was 6-for-10 from the field ... SJSU begins a three-game home stint with games against Houston on Tuesday, Weber State on Thursday, and UC Santa Cruz on November 20.
Seattle U Redhawks (1-0, 0-0 WAC)
For the first time in the Cameron Dollar era, Seattle U hosted its season opener, and the Redhawks won their first game of the season for the first time in four years with an 87-72 victory over Montana State ... it is the third straight season that Seattle U has defeated Montana State ... it was the ninth annual Elgin Baylor Classic, with the legendary player in attendance for the game ... playing in his first collegiate game after redshirting last season, Deshaun Sunderhaus collected 14 points and eight rebounds, including seven points in a row early in the first half ... Seattle U will head across the country to face ACC school Virginia Saturday, Nov. 17 ... the Redhawks defeated the Cavaliers in Charlottesville two years ago and played Virginia tough last season at KeyArena.
UT Arlington Mavericks (1-0, 0-0 WAC)
Jordan Reves made a layup and blocked a shot in the closing seconds as UT Arlington opened the season with a dramatic 62-60 victory over CSU Bakersfield on Friday night at the Icardo Center ... the Mavericks found themselves down 60-59 with 34.6 seconds left ... the Roadrunners applied full-court pressure, which was broken by a Shaquille White-Miller pass to Jamel Outler ... taking it hard to the basket, Outler passed up a good shot for a better one, passing it to Reves under the basket ... the senior center laid the ball in for the win ... Reves blocked a potential game-tying layup with less than a second remaining ... Outler led UT Arlington in scoring with 15 points ... Reves had 13 points and 14 rebounds ... junior forward Brandon Edwards also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
UTSA Roadrunners (2-1, 0-0 WAC)
UTSA has posted its third straight 2-1 start … the Roadrunners captured the Liberty Tax Classic title for their first regular season tournament crown since winning the 2005 FIU Holiday Classic … senior point guard Michael Hale III earned Liberty Tax Classic honors, while junior forward Jeromie Hill was named to the all-tournament team … seventh-year head coach Brooks Thompson now is just two victories shy of 100 for his UTSA tenure … UTSA has won 17 of its past 28 games away from home, including a 7-3 mark on neutral courts … senior guard Michael Hale III scored 29 points in the 79-70 win against Old Dominion on Nov. 11, the most points by a Roadrunner since Melvin Johnson tallied 29 in UTSA’s historic 70-61 victory against Alabama State in the NCAA First Four on March 16, 2011 … junior forward Jeromie Hill, posted his seventh career double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds).
Texas State Bobcats (1-0, 0-0 WAC)
Texas State had five players score in double figures in the win over Fordham for the first time since Nov. 15, 2011 ... Joel Wright registered a double-double in his Texas State debut ... the junior transfer scored 19 points, in addition to grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out three assists ... Wright led Texas State in both points and rebounds and shot 69 percent from the free throw line to help lift Texas State to an 86-76 victory over Fordham ... Matt Staff had a strong performance of 17 points and nine rebounds, while Corey Stern added 16 points and nine rebounds ... the Bobcats shot .714 percent from the free throw line and .422 percent from the floor ... Staff recorded a pair of blocked shots to tie for fourth all-time on the Texas State career charts ... Texas State will continue its three-game home stint when it plays UT-Tyler on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. CT
Utah State Aggies (1-0, 0-0 WAC)
Utah State defeated Idaho State 56-48 in the team’s season opener last week ... junior guard Preston Medlin scored in double-figures for the 32nd time in his career with 14 points Saturday ... with two three-pointers Saturday, Medlin has now made multiple three-pointers in a game six-straight times and 38th for his career ... Utah State has won 18 of its last 19 season openers dating back to the 1993-94 campaign ... the Aggies also are 79-29 (.731) all-time in season openers ... under head coach Stew Morrill, Utah State is now 14-1 (.933) in season openers including an 8-0 mark at home ... USU is now 36-13 (.735) all-time against Idaho State, winning the last 14 match-ups ... Utah State will continue its four-game homestand to start the season by hosting WCC member Saint Mary’s on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m., in a game that will be televised regionally on KMYU TV.