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This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Jan. 8

This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Jan. 8

Complete Release in PDF

CALIFORNIA BAPTIST'S ACQUAAH NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
California Baptist sophomore guard Milan Acquaah has been named Western Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 6. This is his second WAC Player of the Week honor of the season and of his career.

The Bakersfield, Calif. native averaged 28.0 points on 55.6 percent shooting from the field and 91.7 percent shooting from the free throw line to go along with 5.5 rebounds per game as the Lancers went 1-1 on the week to open WAC play. Acquaah opened the week with a career and WAC season-high 36 points as California Baptist knocked off WAC preseason favorite NM State. He was a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line and also grabbed seven rebounds and a steal. Two nights later against UT Rio Grande Valley, Acquaah battled through foul trouble the majority of the game and finished with 20 points, four rebounds and an assist. He is currently tied for 13th nationally at 22.9 points per game.

Other nominees included: Jarkel Joiner of CSU Bakersfield averaged 16.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists as the 'Runners went 2-1 on the week ... Grand Canyon's Alessandro Lever averaged 14.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals in a pair of wins ... Brandon McKissic of Kansas City finished with 21 points, four rebounds and one steal in a win over Chicago State ... NM State's Terrell Brown finished with 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in a loss at CBU ... Tyson Smith of UT Rio Grande Valley averaged 18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals as the Vaqueros went 1-1 on the week ... Utah Valley's Isaiah White averaged 8.0 points and 7.5 rebounds over two games last week.

WAC QUICK HITS
CBU's Milan Acquaah scored a career-high 36 points in a win over preseason favorite NM State to open WAC play ... After UTRGV went down 16 at California Baptist, Tyson Smith scored 18 of his career-high 21 points over the final 24 minutes to secure the victory ... Grand Canyon is now 7-0 at home this season and has won 14 consecutive regular-season home games ... CBU completed its 2018 portion of the schedule with the 1,000th victory in the history of the program by defeating La Verne 97-46 on Dec. 29 ... NM State's C.J. Bobbitt scored a career-high 22 points in a win at Colorado State on Dec. 30 ... Seattle U's Myles Carter scored a career-high 26 points and added 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season in a win over California on Dec. 29 ... Utah Valley handed Fresno State its first home loss of the season in a 64-60 victory on Dec. 29 and notched its best non-conference mark (11-4) in school history ... UVU's Conner Toolson scored his 1,000th career point in his team's win over Sam Houston State on Dec. 22 to become the second active player in the WAC with 1,000 career points ... CSUB's Jarkel Joiner grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds on Dec. 18 against Cal Poly and scored a career-high 24 points on Dec. 20 at Portland State ... Kansas City's Jamel Allen scored a career-high 18 points against Elon on Dec. 22 ... Grand Canyon's Alessandro Lever scored a career-high 26 points vs. Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 22 ... UTRGV scored 26 points off of 18 turnovers to beat McNeese State 68-64 on Dec. 22 ... CSUB's Rickey Holden dished out a career-high nine assists against Lamar on Dec. 13 ... Utah Valley's Jake Toolson grabbed a career-high 12 boards at Weber State on Dec. 15 when the Wolverines won for the first-ever time in Ogden ... CSUB's James Suber grabbed a career-high 19 boards against UC Merced on Dec. 4, two shy of the CSUB single-game record, and scored a career-high 20 points at Idaho on Dec. 8 ... Chicago State's Anthony Harris scored a career-high 27 points against Trinity Christian ... Kansas City won two-straight true road non-conference games (at Fort Wayne and at South Dakota) for the first time since 2010 ... On Dec. 5 against North Dakota, UTRGV grabbed 21 steals, the third-highest single-game total in program history and most since Jan. 5, 1981, when the team grabbed a program record 24 steals against Texas Southern. UTRGV also forced 30 turnovers, the team's highest total since forcing 30 at Texas State on Dec. 5, 2009 ... Chicago State won three-straight games for the first time in more than five years ... Utah Valley boasts a 20-game home win streak, the fourth-best active home win streak in the nation ... NM State defeated Washington State on Dec. 1 to take down its first Power-5 program at home since 2002 ... Kansas City's Rob Whitfield scored a career-high 23 points and drained a career-high seven three-pointers in a win at Fort Wayne on Dec. 1. He also dished out a career-best six assists ... Chicago State's Rob Shaw posted his first career double-doubles in back-to-back games with 18 points and 10 assists against East-West and 14 points and a career-high 11 assists against Eastern Illinois ... On Dec. 1, UTRGV beat UT Arlington for the first time since Nov. 27, 2006, and won in Arlington for the first time since Jan. 11, 1989 ... CBU's Acquaah was named to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team ... GCU's Lever was named to the Wooden Legacy All-Tournament Second Team ... Seattle U's Morgan Means scored a career-high 26 points, including a career-high six three-pointers, against Denver on Nov. 23 ... Kansas City's Xavier Bishop scored a career-high 28 points against Eastern Washington on Nov. 17 ... CSUB's Damiyne Durham was named to the all-tournament team at the Junkanoo Jam ... NM State's AJ Harris exploded for a career-high 31 points on 9-of-11 shooting at New Mexico on Nov. 17. He also went 6-for-6 from beyond the arc in the game the first Aggie to be perfect from three-point land (minimum 5) since Jahmar Young on Dec. 23, 2009 ... UTRGV's Lesley Varner II posted his first double-double of the season scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 14 ... CSUB's Holden did not miss a shot (8-for-8) on the way to a team-high 25 points against Antelope Valley on Nov. 9 to tie CSUB's Division I record for field goal percentage ... Grand Canyon had 51 rebounds against Delaware State, the third-most ever in Division I play and just the fifth time it has recorded 50-plus rebounds in a game ... UTRGV sophomore Greg Bowie II scored a career-high 19 points on Nov. 6 against Texas A&M Commerce ... Utah Valley's Baylee Steele pulled down a school-record 19 rebounds at BYU on Nov. 9.

WAC STAT LEADERS
California Baptist leads the WAC in scoring (81.8), free throw percentage (78.5), three-point field goal percentage defense (31.4), rebounding (39.1), defensive rebounds (29.7) and three-pointers per game (9.4), while NM State is tops in scoring defense (67.3), scoring margin (10.7), rebounding defense (30.0), rebounding margin (8.5) and offensive rebounds (13.9). Seattle U leads the WAC in field goal percentage defense (40.0), three-point field goal percentage (39.9) and blocks (3.9), while Grand Canyon is tops in assists (14.5) and assist-turnover ratio (1.2). UT Rio Grande Valley leads the league in steals (9.9) and turnover margin (4.9) and Utah Valley leads the WAC in field goal percentage (47.9).

Individually, California Baptist's Milan Acquaah leads the WAC in scoring (22.9), while Seattle U's Myles Carter is tops in rebounding (8.2) and blocked shots (2.3). NM State's Eli Chuha leads the league in field goal percentage (68.3), while Seattle U's Morgan Means and Aaron Nettles are tops in free throw percentage (86.9) and three-point percentage (52.9), respectively. Chicago State's Rob Shaw leads the WAC in assists (5.7) and UTRGV's Javon Levi is tops in steals (2.5). Kansas City's Rob Whitfield leads the WAC in three-pointers per game (2.9), while CSUB's James Suber is tops in offensive rebounds (3.0) and California Baptist's Dejon Davis leads the league in defensive rebounds (6.6). Seattle U's Terrell Brown and Means are tops in assist-turnover ratio (2.8) and minutes per game (34.6), respectively.

In WAC games only, Grand Canyon leads the league in scoring defense (58.5), scoring margin (12.5), field goal percentage defense (35.7) and assist-turnover ratio (1.5), and is tied with UTRGV for the lead in defensive rebounds (29.0). NM State is tops in rebounding (46.0), rebounding margin (11.0), turnover margin (8.0) and offensive rebounds (26.0), while UTRGV leads the WAC in scoring (81.0), three-point field goal percentage defense (26.9) and steals (9.0). CSUB is tops in rebounding defense (28.0) and three-pointers per game (9.0) and is tied with Chicago State for the lead in field goal percentage (48.4). CBU leads the WAC in blocks (4.5), Chicago State is tops in assists (20.0), Seattle U leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (43.3) and Utah Valley is tops in free throw percentage (88.6).

Individually in WAC games, Acquaah leads the league in scoring (28.0), while teammate Zach Pirog is tops in blocks (3.5). NM State's Johnny McCants leads the WAC in rebounding (16.0) and offensive rebounds (10.0), while teammate AJ Harris is tops in assist-turnover ratio (999.0). Chicago State's Travon Bell leads the league in three-pointers per game (4.0), while teammate Shaw is tops in both assists (8.0) and minutes per game (38.0). Seattle U's Matej Kavas and Chicago State's Christian Jacob are tied for the lead in field goal percentage (77.8), while Kavas is tied with Kansas City's Aleer Leek for the lead in three-point percentage (100.0). UTRGV's Levi is tops in steals (5.0) and Seattle U's Brown is tops in defensive rebounds (7.5).

CSUB'S DURHAM BECOMES WAC'S ALL-TIME THREE-POINT LEADER
In his team's win over Utah Valley on Jan. 5, CSU Bakersfield senior Damiyne Durham drained his 291st career three-pointer to become the WAC all-time leader. Durham surpassed Utah State's Jaycee Carroll (2004-08), who finished his career with 290. Durham now has 292 career long balls, good for fifth in the nation in active career leaders.

SIX WAC PLAYERS RANK AMONG NCAA ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS
Six WAC players currently rank among the NCAA active career leaders in several statistical categories. The players, schools, categories and rankings are listed below. 

Name

School

Category

Rank

Amount

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

3FGA

4th

869

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

3FGM

5th

292

Matej Kavas

Seattle U

3FG%

7th

44.7

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

FGA

23rd

1,264

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

Three-pointers/game

24th

2.68

Ty Rowell

California Baptist

3FG%

24th

43

Jake Toolson

Utah Valley

FT%

25th

85.7

Eli Chuha

NM State

Double-Doubles

33rd

18

Eli Chuha

NM State

FG%

40th

57.1

Jordan Heading

California Baptist

3FGA

47th

541


WAC WINS #SummitVsWAC CHALLENGE
The WAC won the first-ever Summit League/WAC Challenge 6-3. The Challenge features head-to-head competition between all nine teams. Matchups were set based upon factors including the previous year's achievements, records and RPI rankings, as well as projected rankings in the upcoming season.

The complete list of 2018 matchups and results is below.

Nov. 6

Grand Canyon at South Dakota State

L, 74-79

Nov. 6

North Dakota State at NM State

W, 73-56

Nov. 13

California Baptist at Oral Roberts

W, 70-69

Dec. 1

Kansas City at Purdue Fort Wayne

W, 90-73

Dec. 1

CSU Bakersfield at South Dakota

L, 56-68

Dec. 1

Denver at Utah Valley

W, 98-75

Dec. 5

North Dakota at UT Rio Grande Valley

W, 70-56

Dec. 6

Omaha at Seattle U

W, 90-71

Dec. 20

Chicago State at Western Illinois

L, 52-81


GCU'S LEVER NAMED TO CENTER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
Grand Canyon sophomore Alessandro Lever was one of 21 college centers named to the preseason watch list for the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. A national committee selected the candidates, which is presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The list will be narrowed to 10 centers in mid-February and then five finalists in March. Lever, the WAC Preseason Player of the Year, averaged a team-high 12.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season as a freshman.