This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Jan. 8
UTAH STATE’S MEDLIN NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Utah State’s Preston Medlin has been named the Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 6.
Medlin, a junior guard from Carrollton, Texas (Hebron HS), led Utah State to a 3-0 record last week with wins over Texas State, Seattle U and Idaho. In Monday’s 81-57 win at Texas State, Medlin scored 21 points in netting a season-high five three-pointers on 5-of-10 shooting behind the arc as part of a 7-of-15 shooting effort, adding six rebounds. In Thursday’s 75-66 win over Seattle U, Medlin tallied 18 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including two threes and a 6-of-6 effort from the charity stripe. He also dished out five assists and recorded a season-high three steals against the Redhawks. In Saturday’s thrilling 82-75 overtime win against Idaho, Medlin drained a three-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to force the game into overtime, part of his game-high 22 points, including nine points in overtime. He ended the night against Idaho connecting on 5-of-14 shots from the field, including three makes from long range. He also hit 9-of-14 shots from the free throw line and collected seven rebounds, two steals and one assist. For Medlin, it marks the second time this year he has sent a contest into overtime as he hit the game-tying three at Santa Clara with 2.4 remaining. USU went on to win that game 80-78.
On the week, Medlin averaged 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He shot 41.5 percent (17-of-41) from the field, 41.7 percent (10-of-24) from three-point range and 73.9 percent (17-of-23) from the free throw line.
Other nominees included: Denver senior guard Chase Hallam averaged 10.0 points in three wins … Idaho senior center Kyle Barone averaged 14.5 points and 11.5 rebounds over two games … Louisiana Tech freshman guard Alex Hamilton tallied a career-high 20 points in a win over New Mexico State … New Mexico State senior forward Bandja Sy averaged 16.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in three games last week … San Jose State senior guard James Kinney averaged 21.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in three games … Seattle U freshman forward Deshaun Sunderhaus scored 23 points with 10 rebounds at Utah State.
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 NINE RECAP
Teams entered the second week of WAC play this past week. Denver and Utah State each went 3-0 last week. DU defeated UT Arlington on the road before returning home to defeat Texas State and UTSA. Chase Hallam led the Pioneers over the three games, averaging 10.0 points per game while shooting 55.0 percent fromt the floor. Utah State won at Texas State before defeating Seattle U and Idaho at home. Preston Medlin earned WAC Player of the Week honors after averaging 20.3 points per game last week. Louisiana Tech went a perfect 2-0 last week. The Bulldogs defeated New Mexico State at home before defeating UT Arlington on the road. Alex Hamilton led LA Tech, averaging 17.0 points and 3.5 assists per game over the two games. New Mexico State and San Jose State each went 2-1 on the week. NM State dropped an 81-72 decsion at LA Tech before defeating UTSA and Texas State at home. Daniel Mullings averaged a team-best 19.0 points per game last week for the Aggies. San Jose State won at UTSA before splitting a pair of home games, falling to Idaho and defeating Seattle U. James Kinney led the Spartans, averaging 21.7 points and 4.0 assists per game over the three contests. Idaho went 1-1 with a win at San Jose State and a loss at Utah State. Idaho had four players averaged double figure scoring last week. The Vandals hold a 2-1 record after playing all three WAC games on the road. Seattle U and UT Arlington went 0-2 last week, while UTSA and Texas State each went 0-3.
UTAH STATE FEATURED IN PAIR OF MID-MAJOR POLLS
Utah State ranks sixth in the latest collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 poll. The Aggies are sandwiched between No. 5 St. Mary’s and No. 7 BYU in the poll. Louisiana Tech is receiving the second-highest amount of points among others receiving votes in the poll. Creighton holds the No. 1 spot in the top-25 poll. Utah State is also featured in the ESPN.com Mid-Major Power Rankings. The Aggies rank 10th in the power rankings, ahead of BYU at No. 11 and behind Lehigh at No. 9. Gonzaga holds the top spot in the poll.
WAC TEAMS/PLAYERS AMONG NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
As of Jan. 6, teams from the WAC rank in the top-10 in two team statistical categories and two individual categories. UT Arlington holds the league’s top national ranking as the Mavericks rank third nationally in field-goal percentage defense at 35.2. Utah State ranks 10th in win-loss percentage at 92.9. San Jose State’s James Kinney holds the top individual national mark as he ranks eighth in the nation in scoring at 21.5 points per game. Louisiana Tech’s Michale Kyser ranks 10th in blocks per game at 3.07.
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.
LA TECH GOES PERFECT 3-0 AT CBE HALL OF FAME CLASSIC
Louisiana Tech picked up two wins last week at the CBE Hall of Fame Classic to up its record to a perfect 3-0 at the classic. The Bulldogs defeated Troy 70-46, Southeast Missouri State 67-63 and classic host Chattanooga 71-63 to make it a clean sweep at the event in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
WAC TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES
Denver Pioneers (7-7, 3-1 WAC)
The Pioneers head west to play at Idaho on Thursday and Seattle on Saturday ... Denver is 2-0 all-time against the Vandals, winning a home-and-home series in 1965 and 1966 ... DU is 2-4 all-time against the Redhawks with an 0-2 mark in Seattle ... however, the only meeting since 1970 was on Dec. 22, 2009, when Andrew Hooper hit a buzzer beater to give DU an 84-83 victory ... the Pioneers have won three-straight games and 6-of-8 since Dec. 5 ... Denver has won its seven games by an average of 22.4 points and none has been closer than 11 points ... the Pioneers dished out 24 assists on 26 made field goals against UTSA, giving them assists on 44-of-49 buckets in the past two games ... the 24 assists were the most by Denver since dishing out 25 against Louisiana-Monroe on Dec. 19, 2009 ... DU is 4-0 this season when hitting 10 or more three-pointers.
Idaho Vandals (6-7, 2-1 WAC)
Idaho won at San Jose State on Thursday by a 64-55 margin and started WAC play with a 2-0 record for the first time since joining the conference in 2005-06 … the Vandal men held a late lead at Utah State, but a last-second USU 3-pointer sent the game into OT and the Vandals fell by an 82-75 margin … Kyle Barone had a team-high 16 points and a season-best 13 rebounds on Thursday to lead Idaho to a road win at San Jose State … he followed it up with 13 points and 10 rebounds in a close overtime loss at Utah State on Saturday … Barone has tallied double-doubles in each of Idaho’s last four games, a career-best streak ... Idaho is 2-1 through three games in WAC play for the fourth time in head coach Don Verlin’s five seasons … Idaho is the only WAC team that is yet to play a conference home game ... this week, Idaho will host Denver on Thursday and New Mexico State on Saturday.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (12-3, 3-0 WAC)
Louisiana Tech went 2-0 last week ... the Bulldogs defeated New Mexico State 81-72 at home before downing UT Arlington 55-52 on the road ... New Mexico State had a seven-game winning streak over LA Tech before the Bulldogs ended it with the win last week ... the win marked the tenth straight home victory for the Bulldogs ... Alex Hamilton had a team-high and career-high 20 points off the bench against NMSU ... he also came off the bench at UT Arlington to record a team-high 14 points, including six points that came during a 10-0 run in the last 2:25 of the game to overcome a seven-point deficit for the win ... Hamilton became only the tenth player in Bulldog history to shoot 100 percent from the free throw line in a single game with a minimum of 10 attempts ... Brandon Gibson became only the fourth player in LA Tech history to shoot 100 percent from three with a minimum of five attempts.
New Mexico State Aggies (8-8, 2-2 WAC)
With three players in double figures, NM State beat Texas State, 78-67 at home on Jan. 5 ... Daniel Mullings led the Aggies with 22 points ... Sim Bhullar posted his second 20-point game of his career on a 9-for-9 shooting performance ... Bandja Sy recorded his second double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds ... the Aggies defeated UTSA, 82-62, Jan. 3 ... the Aggies broke the school record for team field goal percentage, which stood for 39 years ... NM State shot 68.6 percent from the field (35-of-51) and broke the previous record of 66.2 percent from Jan. 19, 1974 ... the Aggies were also one shy of tying the school record for blocked shots with 11 against the Roadrunners ... Sy scored a career-high 25 points ... the Aggies concluded their WAC opening road trip with an 81-72 loss at LA Tech ... the loss snapped a seven-game win streak over the Bulldogs.
San Jose State Spartans (8-6, 3-1 WAC)
San Jose State went 2-1 last week ... the Spartans won at UTSA 80-67 to open the week ... the team then dropped a 64-55 decision to Idaho before defeating Seattle U 76-71 ... Louis Garrett scored a season-best 21 points in the win over Seattle U ... for the week, he averaged 10.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game ... D.J. Brown dished out a career-best 11 assists in the win over Seattle U, one short of the Spartan Event Center record of 12 assists ... Chris Cunningham averaged 14.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the week ... he tied his season-best with 19 points at UTSA ... he also grabbed a team-best 11 rebound against Idaho ... he has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in seven games this season ... SJSU continues play this week at home against New Orleans on Tuesday ... the team also plays at Utah State on Friday.
Seattle U Redhawks (5-8, 0-3 WAC)
Seattle University held leads with six minutes remaining in regulation in both games over the weekend, but the Redhawks could not hold on in either contest, losing at Utah State (75-66) and at San Jose State (76-71) ... in frigid Logan, Utah, Deshaun Sunderhaus led the Redhawks with his third double-double of the season, finishing with a season-high 23 points as well as 10 rebounds ... Chad Rasmussen scored 11 points, and Prince Obasi contributed eight points, five rebounds, eight assists, and two steals ... Seattle U committed 18 turnovers in the game, leading to 26 points for Utah State. Saturday night at San Jose State, Rasmussen led the way with 15 points, while Louis Green came off the bench to collect a career-high 14 points, plus he pulled down nine rebounds ... Seattle U, still looking for its first Division I conference victory since 1980, welcomes New Mexico State (Jan. 10) and Denver (Jan. 12) to KeyArena.
UT Arlington Mavericks (6-6, 1-2 WAC)
UT Arlington went 0-3 at home last week ... the Mavericks dropped a 50-35 decision to Denver before falling 64-46 to Boise State ... the Mavericks ended the week with a 55-52 loss to Louisiana Tech ... against Denver, Karol Gruszecki led the Mavericks with a team-high eight points ... UTA shot just 27.7 percent from the field against DU ... against Boise State, forwards Brandon Edwards and Karol Gruszecki had nine points each for UTA ... in the loss to Louisiana Tech, the Mavericks were up 43-33 with less than 10 minutes remaining before falling 55-52 ... sophomore guard Jamel Outler led UT Arlington with 12 points off the bench ... Edwards had a season-high 15 rebounds, while junior forward Greg Gainey grabbed eight boards ... UTA travels to play UTSA on Thursday before play at Texas State on Saturday.
UTSA Roadrunners (4-9, 0-3 WAC)
UTSA will attempt to snap a four-game losing streak and secure its first WAC victory when it hosts former Southland Conference rival UT Arlington on Thursday … UTSA went 0-3 last week ... the team dropped an 80-67 decision at home to San Jose State ... the team then dropped a pair of road games to New Mexico State and Denver ... the Roadrunners have lost nine of their last 10 games after posting a 3-1 start to the season … WAC opponents are shooting 60 percent (117-195) against UTSA through the first four games … UTSA has played 11 of its first 14 games on the road in nine different states and four time zones and has racked up 16,444 miles of travel through the air or via bus … UTSA is the only WAC team with three players in the top 10 in scoring — Kannon Burrage (2nd/16.6), Michael Hale III (9th (14.1), Jeromie Hill (10th/13.9) … Hill ranks 13th in school history with 1,049 points and is seventh with 526 career rebounds and 80 starts
Texas State Bobcats (4-12, 0-4 WAC)
Texas State went 0-3 last week ... the team dropped an 81-57 decision to Utah State at home to open the week ... the team then dropped a 64-53 decision at Denver before falling 78-67 at New Mexico State ... against Utah State, Wesley Davis registered a career-high 22 points and junior guard Deonte’ Jones was solid for the Bobcats with 10 points ... junior forward Joel Wright chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds ... versus Denver, senior Vonn Jones led the Bobcat offense tonight as he tied his career high of 16 points, in addition to dishing out three assists ... Wright added 12 points and six rebounds, while Reid Koenen chipped in 10 points ... at NM State, Wright recorded 15 points for his 13th double figure scoring game of the season ... Jones scored a career-high 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting ... this week, Texas State looks to get back on track at home against Louisiana Tech on Thursday ... the team then hosts UT Arlington on Saturday.
Utah State Aggies (13-1, 4-0 WAC)
Utah State went 3-0 last week ... the Aggies defeated Texas State 81-57 on the road before returning home to defeat Seattle U (75-66) and Idaho (82-75, OT) ... USU has won 12 games in a row, and Utah State’s 13-1 start to the 2012-13 season is the third-best in school history, trailing the 2008-09 team that started the year with a 24-1 mark and the 2003-04 squad that began the year with a 20-1 record ... Preston Medlin led the Aggies last week, averaging 23.0 points per game over the three contests ... USU had all five starters score in double-figures for the first time this season ... USU is now 2-0 this season in overtime, getting a three-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation from Medlin both Saturday and against Santa Clara on Nov. 28. USU has now won seven of its last eight extra session games and Utah State improved to 54-40 (.574) all-time in overtime games ... USU hosts San Jose State on Friday.