This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Feb. 15
Boise State Broncos (14-11, 7-6 WAC)
Boise State went 2-0 last week at home with wins over Fresno State (75-61) and Idaho (69-63) ... against Fresno State, Paul Noonan had 19 points and seven rebounds off the bench to lead Boise State to the victory ... Noonan made 7 of 10 shots from the floor, including five 3-pointers ... versus in-state rival Idaho, Robert Arnold scored 16 points and La’Shard Anderson added 13 to lead the Broncos to the win ... Anderson scored 10 of the Broncos’ points during the pivotal stretch ... Idaho led 62-61 with 1:44 to play but the Bronco defense clamped down and Idaho did not hit another field goal ... the in-state rivals played in front of 12,193 fans, the largest attendance at a Boise State men’s basketball game in at least the past 16 seasons.
Fresno State Bulldogs (11-14, 5-8 WAC)
Fresno State went 0-2 on the road this past week with losses to Boise State (75-61) and Utah State (71-55) ... at Boise State, Tim Steed scored 13 points for the Bulldogs, Smith had 12 points and six rebounds ... freshman Bracken Funk came off the bench with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists ... at Utah State, Nedeljko Golubovic led the Bulldogs with a 15-point effort, while Funk (who earned his first start of the season), schored 14 points in the loss ... Funk also led Fresno State with six rebounds and added two steals and two assists ... this week, Fresno State will host UC Riverside in a non-televised ESPN BracketBuster game on Saturday at 7 p.m. (PT).
Hawai‘i Rainbows (14-10, 5-7 WAC)
Hawai‘i had a bye week this past week but did play on Monday evening, defeating Nevada 69-67 in overtime ... Jeremiah Ostrowski’s jumper with 21 seconds left in overtime proved the game winner ... it was the second straight home game that UH found itself in an overtime tangle ... Ostrowski, who again saw extended time at the point, missed his first seven shots only to nail two huge baskets in the final minute, including the game-winner ... . Vander Joaquim poured in a career high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including two huge baskets in overtime ... Bill Amis recorded 15 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks in an inspired effort ... this week, UH travels to play UC Davis for BracketBusters.
Idaho Vandals (14-11, 7-6 WAC)
Idaho went 1-1 last week with a win over Utah State at home before a loss at in-state rival Boise State ... Idaho ended an 11-game losing streak to Utah State on Wednesday in a 64-56 win … the win over #21/17 Utah State gives Idaho a home win over a ranked opponent for the second year in a row … the win over USU gives Idaho at least one victory over every other WAC school under Don Verlin … the Vandals shot 47.8 percent from the floor during the week … Saturday’s loss at Taco Bell Arena was Idaho’s first against BSU on their home floor under Don Verlin ... Jeff Ledbetter led all scorers with 19 points on his third career game with six made 3-pointers ... this week, Idaho travels to play Montana State for BracketBusters.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (11-15, 2-10 WAC)
Louisiana Tech went 0-2 on the week with both losses coming to New Mexico State ... DeAndre Brown scored 18 points in Tech’s 75-57 loss in Las Cruces and Kenyon McNeaill led Tech with 17 in a 50-49 loss in Ruston ... in that meeting, Tech held a 31-26 lead at halftime and scored just 18 points in the second half ... however, the Bulldogs did hold the Aggies to 50 points, a season low for a Tech opponent ... it was the first time that Tech has faced the same team in back-to-back games during the regular season since 2003 when Tech played Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 ... the Bulldogs step out of WAC play this week as they play at North Dakota on Wednesday and host Georgia State as part of ESPN BracketBusters on Saturday.
Nevada Wolf Pack (10-15, 7-5 WAC)
Nevada went 1-1 this past week in a pair of overtime decisions ... Nevada defeated San Jose State, 84-76, in overtime on the road before falling 69-67 in overtime at Hawai‘i ... at SJSU, Malik Story scored 23 of his career-high 29 points after halftime and Nevada rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit to beat the Spartans ... Story scored 12 points in a five-minute stretch of the second half that brought the Wolf Pack back from the brink ... Olek Czyz added 15 points ... at UH, Czyz missed a shot with 8 seconds remaining, and the Wolf Pack also came up short on a heave at the buzzer ... Deonte Burton led the Wolf Pack with 21 points, and Jerry Evans Jr., added 15 points ... this week, Nevada hosts UC Irvine in an ESPN BracketBusters game.
New Mexico State Aggies (14-12, 8-4 WAC)
The Aggies defeated Louisiana Tech, 75-57, Feb. 7, to extend its home WAC win streak to 12 games ... junior forward Troy Gillenwater scored a game-high 19 points, while sophomore forward Tyrone Watson added 17 ... junior guard Hernst Laroche was also in double figures with 13 points ... NM State escaped Louisiana Tech with a 50-49 victory to record its second WAC road win of the year after junior guard Hernst Laroche made two free throws with 12.2 seconds remaining in regulation ... junior center Hamidu Rahman led the Aggies with a team-high 14 points ... this week, New Mexico State hosts Northern Colorado on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. (MT) as part of ESPN’s BracketBusters event.
San Jose Spartans (11-12, 3-9 WAC)
San Jose State played just one game last week, falling at home to Nevada, 84-76 in overtime ... San Jose State came into its second match with Nevada in a week as the leading free throw shooting team in the WAC ... the Spartans had one of their best free throw shooting nights of the season going converting 18-of-19 for the first 39 minutes of the game ... Adrian Oliver scored a conference-best 30 points to lead San Jose State ... Keith Shamburger added 14 points and Justin Graham scored 13 despite going just 4-of-21 from the field ... Oliver, whose 1,512 career points places him second on the San Jose State career scoring list ... this week, SJSU hosts a pair of Big Sky Conference teams in Montana State and Weber State.
Utah State Aggies (23-3, 12-1 WAC)
Utah State went 1-1 last week with a loss at Idaho (64-56) and a win at home against Fresno State (71-55) ... with its win over Fresno State in its last game, Utah State won a share of its fourth-straight regular season Western Athletic Conference championship ... overall, it is the 16th regular season conference championship in school history including the seventh under head coach Stew Morrill ... against Fresno State, four players reached double-digits led by the senior duo of guard Brian Green and forward Nate Bendall, who scored 13 points each ... Pooh Williams and Tai Wesley each scored 10 ... this week, Utah State will hosts Montana-Western on Tuesday before traveling to play an ESPN2-televised BracketBuster game at #23 St. Mary’s.
NEVADA’S STORY NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nevada’s Malik Story has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for Feb. 7–13. The honor marks the first career WAC Player of the Week award for Story.
Story, a sophomore center from Pasadena, Calif. (Indiana), scored a career-high 29 points to lead Nevada to just its second road win of the season in its first overtime game of the year, 84-76 at San Jose State.
Story’s 29 points are the most scored in a single game by a Wolf Pack player this season. He made 11-of-21 (52 percent) shots from the field, including three baskets from three-point range. He also made 4-of-5 free throws. Story dished out a career-high six assists and grabbed four rebounds with two steals. He scored 21 of his 20 points after halftime, including three in overtime.
Other nominees included : Boise State senior forward Paul Noonan … Fresno State freshman forward Bracken Funk … Idaho senior guard Jeff Ledbetter … New Mexico State junior forward Troy Gillenwater … Uta
2011 ESPN SEARS BRACKETBUSTER EVENT TO TAKE PLACE THIS FRIDAY-SATURDAY
For an ninth-straight year, the WAC is participating in BracketBusters -- a two-day men’s college basketball event pitting NCAA Tournament hopefuls. WAC teams have secured one of the 11 television games, featuring Utah State at Saint Mary’s.
WAC Televised BracketBusters Games
Sat., 2/19, #17 Utah State at #23 Saint Mary’s, 6 p.m. (ESPN2 HD / ESPN3.com)
WAC Non-Televised BracketBusters Games
Boise State at UC Santa Barbara, 7 p.m. PT (Sat., Feb. 19)
Hawai‘i at UC Davis, 2 p.m. PT (Sat., Feb. 19)
Idaho at Montana State, 7 p.m. MT (Sat., Feb. 19)
UC Riverside at Fresno State, 7 p.m. PT (Sat., Feb. 19)
Georgia State at Louisiana Tech, 2 p.m. CT (Sat., Feb. 19)
UC Irvine at Nevada, 2 p.m. PT (Sat., Feb. 19)
Northern Colorado at New Mexico State, 6:30 p.m. MT (Sat., Feb. 19)
Weber State at San Jose State, 7 p.m. PT (Fri., Feb. 18)
IDAHO UPSETS 17th-RANKED UTAH STATE, ENDS AGGIES RECORD-SETTING WIN STREAKS
Idaho junior Deremy Geiger had a team-high 12 points, leading the Vandals to a 64-56 victory over No. 21/17 Utah State at the Cowan Spectrum on Feb. 10. Utah State entered the game with a 17-game overall winning streak and a WAC-record 25 consecutive conference wins. That 17-game winning streak for Utah State ranked as the third-longest winning streak in the nation and was tied with the 2003-04 and 2009-10 teams for the third-longest winning streak in school history.
IDAHO AND BOISE STATE PLAY IN FRONT OF RECORD CROWD
The in-state rivals played in front of 12,193 fans on Feb. 12, the largest attendance at a Boise State men’s basketball game in at least the past 16 seasons. Boise State defeated Idaho 69-63 at a near-capacity Taco Bell Arena.
UTAH STATE RANKED 24th IN ESPN/USA TODAY COACHES’ POLL, 25th IN AP POLL
Utah State continued its presence in the national polls this week and is now ranked 24th in the nation in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll released Monday and 25th in the latest Associated Press poll. USU was ranked 17th in last week’s coaches’ poll and 23rd in the AP poll.
WAC WEDNESDAY NIGHTS ON ESPN2
ESPN2 will host WAC basketball games on Wednesday nights hoops five times this season. Wednesday night, Feb. 23, will mark the fourth of five Wednesday night WAC games featured on ESPN2 when San Jose State hosts New Mexico State.
UTAH STATE BREAKS WAC RECORD FOR CONSECUTIVE WAC GAMES WON
Utah State won a WAC record 25 straight league games before losing at Idaho on Feb. 10. USU’s 25-game win streak breaks Utah’s mark of 19 straight during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.
UTAH STATE HOLDS NATION’S THIRD-LONGEST HOME WIN STREAK
Utah State has won 29 straight home games, which is the third-longest active winning streak in the nation behind Duke (33) and Kentucky (30). Overall, USU has won 81 of its last 83 home games, including 14 straight non-conference games at home. The Aggies last home loss came against Saint Mary’s (68-63) on Dec. 5, 2009 as the Gaels snapped USU’s school-record 37-game home winning streak.
BOISE STATE AND SAN JOSE STATE TIE WAC RECORD WITH FOUR-OVERTIME GAME
Boise State defeated San Jose State 102-101 in four overtimes on Jan. 6. The four overtime game ties the WAC record for most overtimes played in a single game. The only other time two teams played a game that went into four overtimes was on March 3, 1983 when New Mexico defeated Hawai‘i 63-61 in Honolulu.
WAC TEAMS AMONG NATIONAL STAT LEADERS
As of Feb. 13, teams from the WAC rank in the top-25 in six team statistical categories. Individual WAC players rank in the top-25 in six individual categories. Utah State holds the highest team mark as it ranks fifth in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 58.3 points per game. Individually, San Jose State’s Adrian Oliver ranks fourth nationally in scoring at 24.0 ppg.
WAC TOURNAMENT HEADS TO LAS VEGAS, TICKETS NOW ON SALE
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 is available at www.wacbasketballtournament.com.