This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Nov. 23
LOUISIANA TECH’S BROWN NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Louisiana Tech’s DeAndre Brown has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 15-21. The honor marks the first career WAC Player of the Week award for Brown.
Brown, a senior guard from Fort Worth, Texas (Navarro JC), led Louisiana Tech to four wins last week, scoring double-digits in all four games. He scored 10 points in a 60-54 win over Houston, 18 in an 85-72 win over Seattle, 15 points with a career-high five three-pointers in an 80-65 win against Navy and a career-high 26 points in a 76-72 win over UC Irvine. For his performance over the weekend, he was named MVP of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer Irvine subregional.
Over the four games, Brown averaged a team-high 17.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He also shot 42.6 percent (26-of-61) from the field, including nine makes from three-point range.
Other nominees included: Boise State senior guard La’Shard Anderson … Hawai‘i senior forward Bill Amis … Idaho senior forward Luiz Toledo … Nevada junior forward Dario Hunt … San Jose State senior guard Justin Graham … Utah State senior guard Brian Green.
LOUISIANA TECH CLAIMS 2K SPORTS COACHES VS. CANCER IRVINE SUBREGIONAL
Behind a career-high 26 points by senior guard DeAndre Brown, Louisiana Tech beat UC-Irvine 76-72 Nov. 21 at the Bren Center in Irvine, Calif. The win marked Tech’s fourth win in five days and third win in the three games in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer and was named MVP of the Irvine subregional.
HAWAI‘I WINS 2010 RAINBOW CLASSIC TITLE, OFF TO BEST START IN SIX YEARS
Hawai‘i captured the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic title with a hard-earned 65-62 victory over Central Michigan in the championship game on Nov. 15. With the win, UH improved to 3-0 on the season for its best start in six years. The nationally-televised game—which tipped of at 11:00 p.m. local time—was emotionally charged from the get-go with the Rainbow Warriors eventually grinding out the win. The lead changed hands 11 times, including seven times in the second half, before UH took the lead for good at the four-minute mark and held off the Chippewa squad. Senior guard Hiram Thompason was named the Tournament MVP. The win gave UH its 12th all-time Rainbow Classic title and first since the tournament went to a four-team, round-robin format in 2009.
For the ninth year in a row, the WAC has partnered with ESPN and several other top college basketball conferences for ESPNU BracketBusters, a weekend men’s basketball event matching potential NCAA tournament hopefuls against each other. All nine WAC teams will be a part of this year’s pool of teams. The event will be held February 19. The match-ups for Bracket Buster Saturday will be determined by ESPN in conjunction with the conferences about three weeks before the event.
WAC TOURNAMENT HEADS TO LAS VEGAS
The 2011 WAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 9-12 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and will include the top eight teams in the regular-season standings. Ticket information will be available soon at www.wacsports.com.
WAC ANNOUNCES TOURNAMENT FORMAT CHANGE
The WAC will change its postseason men’s and women’s basketball tournament format, effective for the 2011 tournament. The change was recommended by both the WAC men’s and women’s basketball coaches and approved by the WAC Board of Directors. The change will reward teams based on regular season success, giving the top two teams byes into the tournament semifinals. Under the format, the tournament will begin on Wednesday with two men’s and two women’s games featuring the No. 5 seed against the No. 8 seed and No. 6 versus No. 7. The winners then advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups to play the No. 4 and No. 3 seeds. The winners of those games then advance to Friday’s semifinals against the top two seeds. The change also results in two men’s and two women’s games being played each day of the tournament except for Saturday, which will feature the men’s and women’s championship games.
WAC TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES
Boise State Broncos (3-0, 0-0 WAC)
Boise State is now 3-0 for the first time since the 2003-04 season, and Leon Rice is the first Bronco head coach to start his career 3-0 since the school became a four-year institution prior to the 1968-69 season ... the Broncos went 2-0 last week with road wins at San Diego (65-60) and at UC Davis (67-47) ... La’Shard Anderson led the Broncos on the week, scoring 17 points against San Diego in Boise State’s 65-60 victory, and a game-high 18 points against UC Davis in the Broncos’ 67-47 victory ... Anderson also had nine assists and five steals in the two games, and went 2-of-4 from 3-point range and 9-of-10 from the free throw line on the weekend.
Fresno State Bulldogs (1-2, 0-0 WAC)
Fresno State split a pair of games last week ... the Bulldogs defeated Vanguard 74-42 in the team’s home opener ... the team then dropped a 69-54 decision at UC Santa Barbara ... against Vanguard, junior guard Bennie Rhodes, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, made an impressive home debut and led the Bulldogs with 17 points and eight rebounds ... true freshman Tyler Johnson chipped in 10 points on 5-8 shooting from the field, his first double-digit game as a Bulldog ... in the loss at Santa Barbara, Greg Smith led the Bulldogs with a team-high 15 points,reaching double-figures for the first time this season, which marked the 21st double-digit scoring affair for the Fresno native in his Bulldog career.
Hawai‘i Rainbows (4-0, 0-0 WAC)
After opening play last week with three-straight wins to earn the Rainbow Classic title, UH continued its winning ways with an 83-69 win over Central Arkansas ... all 12 players who suited saw action by halftime as the Rainbow Warriors used a balanced attack and some hot shooting early on to coast to the win ... Zane Johnson tallied 15 points and Bo Barnes added 14 as the pair combined to nail eight of UH’s 10 three-pointers ... Bill Amis also scored 15 points with 11 of those coming in the first half ... meanwhile, Joston Thomas was one rebound short of a double-double, posting 12 points and nine rebounds ... UH returns to action on Wednesday when the team hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Idaho Vandals (1-1, 0-0 WAC)
Idaho went 0-2 over its past two matchups ... the Vandals dropped a 66-53 decision at home to Portland before falling 75-33 at Montana ... against Portland, senior guard Shawn Henderson led Idaho with 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting, with a 5-for-6 day at the free throw line, three rebounds, three assists and one steal ... junior forward Luiz Toledo earned his second career double-double with 10 points and 10 boards, but no other Vandal hit double-figure scoring ... at Montana, Idaho shot just 6-of-50 (.120) from the floor, committed 16 turnovers and allowed the Grizzlies to hit their shots at 48.3 percent (29-of-60) clip in their worst loss since a 92-42 setback at Gonzaga on Nov. 25, 2000.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (5-1, 0-0 WAC)
Louisiana Tech went an impressive 4-0 last week with wins over Houston (60-54), Seattle (85-72), Navy (80-65) and UC Irvine (76-72) ... behind a career-high 26 points by senior guard DeAndre Brown, Louisiana Tech beat UC-Irvine 76-72 Sunday evening at the Bren Center in Irvine, Calif. ... Tech’s win was its fourth in five days as it improved to 5-1 ... Brown’s 26 points was off of 10-of-18 shooting from the field including two three-pointers. The Fort Worth, Texas native averaged 19.6 points over the three games in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer and was named MVP of the Irvine subregional ... Ashaolu was also named to the all-tournament team.
Nevada Wolf Pack (1-2, 0-0 WAC)
Nevada went 0-1 over the past week with a 58-56 setback to George Washington ... against GW, the Wolf Pack led 50-44 with 8:18 left after a Derrell Conner 3-point field goal, but failed to make another field goal until Malik Story’s 3-pointer with less than one second remaining ... Nevada was held scoreless for over seven minutes before Hunt’s two free throws pulled the Wolf Pack to within three points, 56-53, with 40.3 seconds remaining ... Dario Hunt scored 16 points to lead the Wolf Pack (1-3), who have lost three straight ... Nevada now gears up to face Boston University in Washington, DC on Tuesday in its final game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
New Mexico State Aggies (2-3, 0-0 WAC)
After starting the season with a 2-0 record, New Mexico State dropped three in a row over the past week ... the Aggies dropped matchups at Arizona (83-57), against UMass (71-57) and versus USC (80-61) ... the Aggies are 2-3 after falling to UMass and USC in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off, Nov. 20-21 ... junior forward Troy Gillenwater leads NM State with a team-high 18.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game ... junior guard Hernst Laroche is averaging 11.0 points and 5.4 assists per contest, while junior center Hamidu Rahman adds 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game ... the Aggies face UTEP on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
San Jose Spartans (3-0, 0-0 WAC)
San Jose State went 2-0 last week with wins over San Francisco (74-64) and Oregon (75-72) ... in the win at home against USF, the Spartans’ Adrian Oliver led all players in scoring with 25 points as he moved into tenth place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,066 points in just his 51st game at San Jose State ... three more Spartans joined Oliver in double figures ... at Oregon, Justin Graham hit a shot with 2.8 seconds remaining to give the Spartans a 75-72 win at Oregon ... Graham ended the game with 12 points, nine in the first half and the final three points of the game in the second half ... he also had two assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 37 minutes of action.
Utah State Aggies (2-1, 0-0 WAC)
Utah State went 1-1 last week with a 78-72 setback at Brigham Young and a 66-53 victory at Southern Utah ... at BYU, junior forward Brady Jardine recorded his first career double-double at Brigham Young with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds ... at Southern Utah, senior guard Brian Green scored a career-high 19 points against Southern Utah off the bench as he was 5-of-7 from the field, 4-of-5 from three-point range and 5-of-6 from the free throw line ... this week, Utah State hosts in-state rival Utah on Wednesday before welcoming Northeastern on Saturday.