This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Dec. 27
UTAH STATE’S REED NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Utah State’s Kyisean Reed has been named the Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 17-23.
Reed, a senior forward from Palmdale, Calif. (Antelope Valley JC), led the Aggies to a perfect 3-0 record at the World Vision Challenge, sponsored by Gossner Foods. Reed’s three impressive performances earned him World Vision Challenge MVP honors. He posted his first double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds in USU’s 79-72 win over Nicholls State, adding a career-high four blocks to go with three steals. After a nine-point, eight-rebound outing in a 73-61 win over UC Davis on Friday, Reed topped his season-high for the second time in three games with 21 points in a 70-58 win over Southern Illinois, helping the Aggies win the World Vision Challenge. He added three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.
Over his three games last week, Reed averaged 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He shot 57.1 percent (16-of-28) from the field and 78.3 percent (18-of-23) from the free throw line on the week.
Other nominees included: Denver junior forward Chris Udofia averaged 16.5 points in a pair of games last week … Louisiana Tech sophomore guard Raheem Appleby scored 17 points in a win at UALR … New Mexico State freshman center Sim Bhullar averaged 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in two games … Seattle U junior guard D’Vonne Pickett Jr. averaged 11.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in three games, including two wins last week … Texas State junior forward Joel Wright tallied his third double-double of the season and averaged 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games last week … UTSA senior guard Kannon Burrage scored 21 points and pulled down 7 rebounds in a win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
WAC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO LAS VEGAS
The 2013 WAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 12-16 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and will include all ten WAC teams. Ticket information and tournament format are available at www.wacbasketball.com
WEEK SEVEN RECAP
Utah State went a perfect 3-0 last week with wins over Nicholls State, UC Davis and Southern Illinois at the World Vision Invitational, sponsored by Gossner Foods. The Aggies won the invitational and Kyisean Reed was named MVP of the event after averaging 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. With the three wins, USU heads into WAC play this week with an impressive 9-1 record. Louisiana Tech and UTSA each went 1-0 last week. LA Tech defeated UALR on the road behind 17 points from Raheem Applebey, while UTSA defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi behind Kannon Burrage’s 21 points. Seattle U went 2-1 last week. The Redhawks fell to Jackson State before defeating both Northern Illinois and Campbell. D’Vonne Pickett Jr. averaged 11.7 points and 6.0 rebounds over the three games for SU. Denver and New Mexico State each went 1-1 on the week. DU dropped a road game at Wyoming before returning home to defeat Southern Utah. Denver’s Chris Udofia led the Pioneers, averaging 16.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game over the two contests. NM State fell at home to New Mexico before defeating Missouri State. NM State’s Sim Bhullar led the Aggies, averaging 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds over the two games. Idaho, San Jose State and UT Arlington each went 0-1 last week with losses to Boise State, James Madison and Oklahoma State, respectively. Texas State went 0-2 with losses to Northwestern and Central Michigan.
WAC TEAMS/PLAYERS AMONG NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
As of Dec. 23, teams from the WAC rank in the top-10 in two team statistical categories and four individual categories. UT Arlington holds the highest team mark. UTA ranks fourth nationally in field goal percentage defense, holding teams to a 34.7 percentage. Utah State ranks fifth in the nation in rebound margin at 11.5. Individually, Texas State’s Matt Staff holds the highest mark as he ranks first nationally with a 100 percent free-throw percentage. Staff is a perfect 34-for-34 at the charity stripe this season. San Jose State’s James Kinney ranks fourth in scoring at 22.6 points per game. UTSA’s Michael Hale III ranks second nationally with a 53.7 clip from long range. LA Tech’s Kenneth Smith ranks ninth in the nation with 2.83 steals per game.
TEXAS STATE’S STAFF PERFECT FROM FREE THROW LINE THIS SEASON
Texas State senior forward Matt State leads the nation from the free throw line this season as he is a perfect 34-for-34 from the charity stripe this season. Dating back to March of last season, Staff has made 35 straight free throws. The WAC record for consecutive free throws made is 52 set by New Mexico’s Rob Robbins during the 1989-90 season. The NCAA record is 73 consecutive free throws made by Villanova’s Gary Buchanan during the 2000-01 season.
LOUISIANA TECH WINS 30TH-STRAIGHT NON-CONFERENCE HOME GAME
Louisiana Tech won its 30th-straight non-conference home game in a win over Southern Miss last week. The last non-conference loss at the Thomas Assembly Center for LA Tech was on Dec. 11, 2007.
WAC TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES
Denver Pioneers (4-6, 0-0 WAC)
The Pioneers open WAC play this week when they travel to Louisiana Tech on Saturday and UT Arlington on Monday ... Denver is 1-2 all-time against La Tech in 1999-00 and 2000-01, when both teams were part of the Sun Belt Conference ... the Bulldogs won the only previous meeting in Ruston, La. ... the Pioneers are 3-1 all-time against the Mavericks but have never played UTA in Arlington, Texas ... the teams last met at the 2008 Grizzly Basketball Invitational in Missoula, Mt., when Kyle Lewis hitting a buzzer beater to give DU the 67-65 victory ... Chase Hallam scored 11 points against Southern Utah on Dec. 21, giving him exactly 1,000 points in his career ... Hallam also recorded a season-high four steals for the second-straight game, which leaves him two shy from moving to fourth on DU’s all-time career steals list ... the Pioneers defeated SUU 72-47.
Idaho Vandals (4-6, 0-0 WAC)
Idaho went 1-1 last week ... the Vandals defeated Walla Walla 91-47 before falling 78-68 to Boise State in Boise ... against Walla Walla, senior center Kyle Barone led the team with 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting, along with six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 17 minutes of play ... junior guard Stephen Madison put in 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while senior guard Mike McChristian scored a career-high 13 points ... against Boise State, Barone led Idaho with 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting, along with 10 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and one steal. It was his second 20-10 game of the season ... senior guard Mike McChristian added 14 points and six rebounds on 5-of-9 shooting, while Madison put in 12 points and grabbed five rebounds ... Idaho opens WAC play this Saturday at Seattle U ... the game will be televised on ROOT Sports.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (9-3, 0-0 WAC)
Louisiana Tech went 1-0 last week, defeating UALR on the road, 75-73 ... the victory at UALR was the first for LA Tech since January of 2001 ... the Bulldogs had previously lost their last three in Little Rock ... Raheem Appleby shot 42.8 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line ... Appleby scored 17 points in the game ... he has now scored at least 15 points in nine of 12 games played this season ... forward Michale Kyser grabbed 10 rebounds against the Trojans, making it the third time in the last four games he has registered double-digit rebounds ... the Bulldogs shot 72.2 percent from the free throw line for the game, including going 20-for-25 in the second half ... this week, Louisiana Tech opens WAC play at home against Denver on Saturday ... the game will be televised by ESPN regional television.
New Mexico State Aggies (6-6, 0-0 WAC)
NM State’s upset bid of in-state rival No. 16/17 New Mexico fell short with a 68-63 loss, Dec. 19 in Las Cruces ... it snapped an 11-game home winning streak for the Aggies dating back to last season. sophomore guard Daniel Mullings paced the Aggies with 13 points and five assists ... senior forward Tyrone Watson contributed 11 points, while junior guard Kevin Aronis tied a career-high mark with 12 points ... Aronis hit a career-best four 3-poitners (4-of-5), and the Aggies made a season-high 10 shots from beyond the 3-point line (10-of-17) ... the Aggies defeated Missouri State, 71-51, in its last tune-up before WAC play begins ... freshman center Sim Bhullar scored a career-high 25 points to pace the Aggies ... sophomore guard Daniel Mullings recorded his eighth game in double-digits this season with 11 points ... Watson contributed nine, and freshman forward Matej Buovac added eight points in his Aggie debut.
San Jose State Spartans (5-5, 0-0 WAC)
San Jose State dropped a 77-68 decision to James Madison at the Las Vegas Holidy Hoops at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last week ... LaVanne Pennington led all Spartan scorers with a career-high 16 points, but James Madison was perfect from three-point range in the second half ... Pennington made his first start of the season and led the team in scoring with a career-high 16 points ... he was 5-for-13 from the field including 3-of-7 from the three-point line ... Pennington suffered a left calf cramp with 8:05 left in the game and was unable to return ... three other Spartan players scored in double figures ... D.J. Brown had 15 points including 8-of-10 from the free throw line ... he added eight assists and just two turnovers ... Xavier Jones came off the bench and scored 11 points ... Chris Jones also came off the bench and scored 11 points ... SJSU opens WAC play at Texas State Saturday.
Seattle U Redhawks (5-5, 0-0 WAC)
Seattle University recovered from a loss to previously winless Jackson State last Monday, posting convincing victories over Northern Illinois (75-48) and Campbell (72-49) to even its record to 5-5 heading into conference season ... against Northern Illinois, Chad Rasmussen led the team with 14 points, while Prince Obasi finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three blocked shots, and two steals ... Saturday against Campbell, all five starters, plus reserve guard Jarell Flora, scored at least nine points apiece as the Redhawks outscored the Camels 42-17 after halftime to pull away ... D’Vonne Pickett Jr. notched his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Deshaun Sunderhaus earned his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds ... the team will prepare for its first D-I conference home game since Feb. 1980 when Idaho comes to KeyArena Saturday, Dec. 29.
UT Arlington Mavericks (5-3, 0-0 WAC)
UT Arlington dropped a 69-44 decision to No. 24 Oklahoma State last week at Gallagher-Iba Arena ... the Mavericks, 4-2 on the road, have suffered each of their three losses to Big 12 programs ... UT Arlington also dropped nonconference games to Oklahoma and Texas ... the Mavericks shot only 39.1 percent (18-46) and committed a season-high 31 turnovers ... the previous high was 22 in the season opener at CSU Bakersfield ... sophomore guard Jamal Outler paced UTA with 14 points, with senior forward Kevin Butler adding 11 ... senior center Jordan Reves scored eight and grabbed seven ... Butler had eight points for the Mavericks in the first half ... UTA suffered 20 turnovers and shot just 30.4 percent (7-23) over the first 20 minutes rebounds ... the Mavs open WAC play on Saturday at home against New Mexico State.
UTSA Roadrunners (4-6, 0-0 WAC)
UTSA snapped a five-game losing streak — its longest in two seasons — with a convincing 75-45 victory at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in its only action last week, wrapping up a season-long six-game road stretch in the process … head coach Brooks Thompson registered his 100th win at UTSA on Friday … UTSA racked up 10,435 miles and played games in six different states and four time zones during the six-game road swing … UTSA leads the WAC in 3-pointers per game (8.0) and rank second in 3-point field goal percentage (.370) … UTSA will host Utah State in its first-ever WAC game on Saturday … Jeromie Hill needs 11 points to become the 15th Roadrunner to reach 1,000 career points and one rebound to become the eighth player in school annals to reach 500 career rebounds … senior point guard Michael Hale III ranks in the WAC top 10 in eight different statistical categories, including first in 3-point field goal perc. (.537) and 3-pointers per game (2.8)
Texas State Bobcats (4-8, 0-0 WAC)
Texas State dropped a pair of road games to fall to 0-3 on the road ... Matt Staff is the nation’s top free throw shooter at a perfect 100 percent (34-of-34) ... he has a made free throws streak of 36, dating back to March 3, 2012 ... Wesley Davis is ranked 45th in the nation in steals per game (2.25) ... Joel Wright registered his third double-double of the season and finished the week with an average of 19.5 points per game ... Wright was the top scorer for Texas State in both games ... he was solid at both ends of the court, as he tallied six assists, three steals, and a pair of blocked shots to round out the week ... Wright also shot 90 percent from the free throw line, going 9-of-10 ... he made no less than 19 ppg and seven rebounds per game during the week ... Texas State opens WAC play on Saturday at home against San Jose State.
Utah State Aggies (9-1, 0-0 WAC)
Utah State won its eighth game in a row to improve to 9-1 to start a season for the first time since 2008-09, and the Aggies have now started a season 9-1 a total of just nine times in school history ... the Aggies went 3-0 last week at home with wins over Nicholls State, UC Davis and Southern Illinois to claim the World Vision Invitational, sponsored by Gossner Foods ... Kyisean Reed topped his season high in two of the three games on the way to earning MVP honors of the World Vision Challenge, sponsored by Gossner Foods, posting his first double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds in USU’s 79-72 win over Nicholls State ... Reed topped his season-high for the second time in three games with 21 points in a 70-58 win over Southern Illinois ... Utah State opens WAC play Saturday at UTSA.