This Week fin WAC Basketball: March 20

Las Cruces, NM - Half of the WAC’s men’s basketball teams participated in postseason play this year, with three of the four still alive. NM State earned the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and fell to third-seeded Baylor last Friday. As WAC regular-season champion, CSU Bakersfield received an automatic berth into the National Invitational Tournament, where it defeated top-seeded California in the first round and plays at Colorado State tonight. Utah Valley and UMKC both won their first-ever postseason games in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) last week and play in the quarterfinals on Monday. Utah Valley plays at Rice, while UMKC plays at Wyoming.

 

NM STATE FALLS TO BAYLOR IN NCAA TOURNAMENT

NM State saw its season come to a close last Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 91-73 loss to third-seeded Baylor. The Aggies led 40-38 at halftime, but were outscored 53-33 in the second half. After NM State scored the first basket in the second stanza, the Bears went on a 30-6 run to go up 68-48 and put the game out of reach. Baylor out-rebounded the Aggies 39-27 and shot 57 percent on the game compared to the 44 percent of NM State. Ian Baker led NM State with 19 points, five assists, three steals and two rebounds. Braxton Huggins also scored 19 points, while Eli Chuha added 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go with six rebounds and Jemerrio Jones dished out a team-high seven assists.

 

CSU BAKERSFIELD DEFEATS TOP-SEEDED CALIFORNIA, ADVANCES IN NIT

CSU Bakersfield defeated No. 1-seed California 73-66 in the first round of the NIT last Tuesday for its first-ever postseason victory at the Division I level. The Roadrunners opened the game on an 8-0 run, holding the Golden Bears scoreless for the first 4:02 of the game, and outscored Cal 44-19 on the half. The Golden Bears slowly chipped away at the CSUB lead in the second half and used an 11-3 run to make it a 10-point game with 3:18 remaining. Cal, which outscored CSUB 47-29 in the second half, got as close as six, but the ‘Runners made free throws when needed to secure the victory. Dedrick Basile led CSU Bakersfield with 18 points, including four three-pointers, to go with five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Shon Briggs added 17 points and nine rebounds, while Damiyne Durham chipped in 13 points and Brent Wrapp finished with 11. CSUB now faces fourth-seeded Colorado State in the second round on Monday. The game will air on ESPN2.

 

UMKC BEATS GREEN BAY IN CBI, ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS TO FACE WYOMING

In its first-ever appearance in a postseason tournament, UMKC defeated Green Bay 92-82 last Wednesday in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational. While both teams shot around 50 percent on the game, the difference came from beyond the arc, where the Roos were 13-of-23 (57 percent), while the Phoenix connected on just 4-of-21 (19 percent) from downtown. LaVell Boyd led all players with 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Kyle Steward added 19 points, while Isaiah Ross and Darnell Tillman finished with 11 points each and Broderick Newbill chipped in 10. The Roos now advance to the quarterfinals of the CBI to face Wyoming on Monday.

 

UTAH VALLEY CRUISES TO WIN OVER GEORGIA SOUTHERN IN CBI, FACES RICE IN QUARTERS

The Wolverines cruised to their first-ever postseason victory, a 74-49 road win over Georgia Southern in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational last Wednesday. Utah Valley out-shot Georgia Southern 45 percent to 29 percent and out-rebounded the Eagles 50-31. The Wolverines had assists on 21 of 30 field goals in the victory, while Georgia Southern had just three. Jordan Poydras and Brandon Randolph both scored a team-high 12 points, while Connor Toolson finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Zach Nelson added 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and Isaac Neilson grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Utah Valley advances to the quarterfinals, where it will travel to Rice for a 7 p.m. (CT) game on Monday.

 

NM STATE WINS WAC TOURNAMENT

After defeating seventh-seeded Chicago State 67-53 in the first round and No. 3-seed UMKC 78-60 in the semifinals, NM State rallied in the second half to beat top-seeded CSU Bakersfield 70-60 in the championship game of the 2017 WAC Tournament title game to earn its seventh tournament title Saturday. Eli Chuha posted his WAC-leading 15th double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Tournament MVP Ian Baker added 15 points and six assists.

 

All-Tournament Team

Jaylin Airington, CSU Bakersfield

Dedrick Basile, CSU Bakersfield

Eli Chuha, NM State

Braxton Huggins, NM State

MVP: Ian Baker, NM State

 

ALL-WAC HONORS

The 2017 All-WAC teams were named, following a vote of the WAC’s eight head coaches. NM State’s Ian Baker headlined the awards, earning WAC Player of the Year honors, while Seattle U’s Matej Kavas was named WAC Freshman of the Year and CSU Bakersfield’s Rod Barnes earned Don Haskins WAC Coach of the Year honors for the second year in a row.

 

Baker was named WAC Player of the Year after ranking second in the league in conference play in assists (5.14) and assist-turnover ratio (2.48), fourth in free throw percentage (82.8), fifth in scoring (17.3) and minutes per game (34.64), ninth in three-pointers per game (1.79) and 12th in rebounding (4.9). He scored in double-digits in 13 of 14 WAC games. Baker was named WAC Player of the Week three times this season.

 

Kavas earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors after scoring in double figures in nine of 14 WAC games with a season-high 24 points. In conference games only, he ranked fifth in the WAC in three-point field goal percentage (41.3), sixth in three-pointers per game (1.86), 10th in blocked shots (0.57) and 16th in scoring (11.6).

 

Barnes was named WAC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row after leading the Roadrunners to their first-ever WAC regular-season title. During its 14 WAC games, CSU Bakersfield only allowed its opponent to score more than 65 points three times, holding opponents under 50 points twice and under 60 points six times. Barnes picked up his 100th win at the school this year in just his sixth season at the helm.

 

First Team All-WAC

Jaylin Airington         CSU Bakersfield           R-Sr.            F             6-4                                East Chicago, Ind. (Ventura College)

Ian Baker                 NM State                       Sr.             G             6-0                                Washington, D.C. (Arlington Country Day)

LaVell Boyd              UMKC                           Sr.             G             6-0                                Chicago, Ill. (South Suburban CC)

Joshua Braun           Grand Canyon              R-Jr.            G             6-4                                Anthem, Ariz. (Westwind Prep Academy)

DeWayne Russell     Grand Canyon              R-Sr.           G            5-11                                Peoria, Ariz. (Northern Arizona)

 

Second Team All-WAC

Dedrick Basile           CSU Bakersfield             Sr.             G            5-10                                Houston, Texas (Trinity Valley CC)

Eli Chuha                 NM State                     R-So.           F             6-7                                Redlands, Calif. (Redlands East Valley)

Nick Dixon                UTRGV                        R-Jr.            G             6-2                                Hillside, Ill. (Morton College)

Fred Sims Jr.            Chicago State                So.             G             6-4                                Chicago, Ill. (North Lawndale)

Matt Smith               CSU Bakersfield           R-Sr.            F             6-6                                Jackson, Tenn. (Columbia State CC)

 

All-Defensive Team

Jaylin Airington         CSU Bakersfield           R-Sr.            F             6-4                                East Chicago, Ind. (Ventura College)

Moataz Aly               CSU Bakersfield             Jr.             C            6-10                                Alexandria, Egypt (Hutchinson CC)

Gerard Martin           Grand Canyon             R-So.           G             6-6                                Manly, Australia (Australian Institute of Sport)

Isaac Neilson            Utah Valley                   R-Jr.            F            6-11                                Mission Viejo, Calif. (Brigham Young)

Matt Smith               CSU Bakersfield           R-Sr.            F             6-6                                Jackson, Tenn. (Columbia State CC)

 

All-Newcomer Team

Moataz Aly               CSU Bakersfield             Jr.             C            6-10                                Alexandria, Egypt (Hutchinson CC)

Shon Briggs              CSU Bakersfield             Jr.            G/F           6-6                                Brentwood, Calif. (City College of San Francisco)

Nick Dixon                UTRGV                        R-Jr.            G             6-2                                Hillside, Ill. (Morton College)

Jemerrio Jones         NM State                       Jr.              F             6-5                                Memphis, Tenn. (Hill Junior College)

Matej Kavas             Seattle U                      R-Fr.           G             6-8                                Ljubljana, Slovenia (Gimnazija Bezigrad)

 

Player of the Year: Ian Baker, NM State

Freshman of the Year: Matej Kavas, Seattle U

Don Haskins Coach of the Year: Rod Barnes, CSU Bakersfield

 

SIX WAC TOURNAMENT RECORDS FALL

Six WAC Tournament records were broken in Las Vegas. The records are listed below.

 

Free throws made – game            32                      CSU Bakersfield (vs. Utah Valley)

Free throws attempted – game     45                      CSU Bakersfield (vs. Utah Valley)

Most rebounds – game                 68                      Utah Valley (vs. CSU Bakersfield)

Most personal fouls – game          34                      UT Rio Grande Valley (vs. UMKC)

Most turnovers caused – game     28                      CSU Bakersfield (vs. Utah Valley)

Longest tournament game            4OT (3:13)         CSU Bakersfield vs. Utah Valley

 

WAC STAT LEADERS

NM State leads the WAC in scoring (78.8), scoring margin (10.8), field goal percentage (46.7), three-point field goal percentage defense (29.4), rebounding defense (33.1), rebounding margin (6.3) and offensive rebounds (12.82), while CSU Bakersfield is tops in scoring defense (63.1), field goal percentage defense (37.1), blocks (4.06) and steals (8.38). UMKC leads the WAC in three-point field goal percentage (37.6) and three-pointers per game (9.06), while Seattle U is tops in assists (15.87) and assist-turnover ratio (1.09). Utah Valley  leads the WAC in rebounding (39.7) and defensive rebounds (30.84), Grand Canyon is tops in turnover margin (2.23) and UT Rio Grande Valley leads the league in free throw percentage (71.7).

 

Individually, Grand Canyon’s DeWayne Russell leads the WAC in scoring (21.2), assists (5.39) and minutes per game (38.29), while Chicago State’s Trayvon Palmer is tops in rebounding (9.4) and defensive rebounds (6.47). NM State’s Eli Chuha leads the league in field goal percentage (61.0) and offensive rebounds (3.62), while UT Rio Grande Valley’s Nick Dixon leads the league in steals (1.88) and teammate Antonio Green is tops in three-pointers per game (3.47). Seattle U’s Brendan Westendorf leads the WAC in free throw percentage (83.3), while UMKC’s Broderick Robinson is tops in three-point percentage (42.2). CSU Bakersfield’s Moataz Aly leads the WAC in blocked shots (1.82) and teammate Brent Wrapp is tops in assist-turnover ratio (2.74).

 

In WAC games only, NM State led the WAC in scoring (88.0), scoring margin (10.4), three-point field goal percentage defense (28.3), rebounding (41.6), rebounding defense (31.6), rebounding margin (10.1), assists (16.43), assist-turnover ratio (1.34) and offensive rebounds (13.64), while CSU Bakersfield was tops in scoring defense (61.3), field goal percentage defense (37.3), blocks (4.93), steals (8.14) and turnover margin (1.86). UMKC led the league in field goal percentage (45.9) and three-point field goal percentage (37.3), Seattle U was tops in three-pointers per game (8.93), UTRGV led the way in free throw percentage (75.4) and Utah Valley led the WAC in defensive rebounds (29.14).

 

Individually in WAC games, Dixon led the league in scoring (21.4) and steals (2.0), while Chuha was tops in rebounding (9.9), field goal percentage (63.5) and offensive rebounds (4.29). Russell led the WAC in assists (6.5) and minutes per game (39.14), while teammate Joshua Braun was tops in three-pointers per game (3.0). Green led the WAC in free throw percentage (84.8), while Utah Valley’s Ivory Young led the league in three-point percentage (45.7). CSU Bakersfield’s Moataz Aly was tops in blocks (2.17), Wrapp led the league in assist-turnover ratio (3.24) and Palmer was tops in defensive rebounds (7.07).

 

UMKC’S BOYD SETS PROGRAM ASSISTS RECORD

With seven assists in his team’s win over Green Bay on March 15, UMKC senior LaVell Boyd moved his season assist total to 133, breaking the program single-season record. Boyd, passed the previous mark of 131 set by Quinton Day during the 2006-07 season.

 

CSU BAKERSFIELD’S AIRINGTON SCORES 1,000TH CAREER POINT

In the championship game of the WAC Tournament on March 11, CSU Bakersfield senior forward Jaylin Airington scored the first eight Roadrunner points of the second half and earned his 1,000th career point on a three-pointer with 16:22 to go in the second half. Airington became the 12th member of the 1,000-Point Club at CSUB and now has 1,009 points over three seasons.

 

BOYD BECOMES FIRST UMKC JUCO TRANSFER TO SCORE 1,000 POINTS

In UMKC’s quarterfinal game of the WAC Tournament against UT Rio Grande Valley on March 9, senior guard LaVell Boyd drained a three-pointer to tie the score at 43 with 17:20 left in regulation to became the 11th member of the program’s 1,000-Point Club. He is the first junior college transfer to achieve the feat. Boyd now has 1,056 career points.

 

NMSU’S WEIR BOASTS BEST RECORD OF FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACHES

NM State head coach Paul Weir closed out his first season with a 28-6 mark (.824), the best record of all first year head coaches in NCAA Division I. His record is also second only to Tim Jankovich at SMU (30-5, .857) for the best mark of all coaches that are in their first year coaching at their current school. Weir set school record for wins in a season, surpassing the 1969-70 Final Four team (27-3) led by legendary Aggie head coach Lou Henson.

 

CSU BAKERSFIELD WINS FIRST-EVER WAC REGULAR-SEASON TITLE

With its wins over UMKC and Chicago State on Feb. 23 and 25, CSU Bakersfield secured its first-ever outright WAC regular season title in any sport. The Roadrunners earned the No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament.

 

GCU’S BRAUN REPEATS AS FIRST TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN

For the second year in a row, Grand Canyon redshirt junior Joshua Braun was voted to the Academic All-America® men’s basketball first team, becoming the 24th first team Academic All-American® in WAC men’s basketball history and just the eighth two-time first team selection in WAC history. Braun is working on a master’s degree in business administration and carries a perfect 4.00 grade-point average. He is one of two repeat first team selections on the team this year. The WAC Preseason Player of the Year and a first team All-WAC pick, Braun led the league in WAC play in three-pointers per game (3.0), ranked fourth in scoring (18.6) and minutes per game (36.36), eighth in three-point percentage (39.3) and ninth in free throw percentage (77.8).

 

DEFENSE REALLY DOES WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS

During its 14 WAC games, CSU Bakersfield only allowed its opponent to score more than 65 points three times. The Roadrunners held WAC opponents under 50 points twice and under 60 points six times. CSUB leads the league in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, blocks and steals.

 

UVU SNAPS NM STATE’S 39-GAME WAC HOME WINNING STREAK

When it defeated NM State 84-72 on Feb. 23, Utah Valley snapped the Aggies’ 39-game WAC home winning streak, the second-longest conference home win streak in the country. The last time NM State had lost a WAC home game was to a 68-60 defeat to Nevada on Jan. 26, 2012. The Aggies had also won 23-straight home games, the third-most in the NCAA.

 

UTRGV’S GREEN FINISHES SECOND ON PROGRAM THREE-POINT LIST

UT Rio Grande Valley sophomore Antonio Green currently ranks sixth nationally with 111 three-pointers made this season. He finished the season ranked  second in the UTRGV record books, three shy of the all-time record, and fifth in the WAC record books, 12 away from the all-time record.

 

CSUB BREAKS PROGRAM DIVISION I RECORD FOR BLOCKS

In its win over Chicago State on Feb. 25, CSU Bakersfield broke its program Division I single-game record for blocks with 13, surpassing the previous record of nine. Moataz Aly and Fallou Ndoye had three apiece, while James Suber and Damiyne Durham blocked two shots each. Matt Smith, Brent Wrapp and Shon Briggs each had one block for the 13. The all-time record is 14 vs. UC Davis in 1999.

 

BARNES RECORDS 100TH VICTORY AT CSU BAKERSFIELD

CSU Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes picked up his 100th victory at the school on Feb. 18 at Seattle U. In his sixth season with the Roadrunners, Barnes is 103-87 (.542). His overall record in 16 years as a head coach is 290-276 (.512).


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