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Men's Basketball

Big West Men's Hoops Looks To Build Off Strong Start


2017-18 Men's Basketball Release No. 2

Men's hoops started off non-conference play with a 9-5 record, seeking to build off the performance with a week two schedule that is decidedly road heavy.



Big West Off To Good Start
The Big West posted a 9-5 record against non-conference competition in week one of the 2017-18 season.  UC Riverside knocked off California on the road for its first win over a Pac-12 foe since 2011.  Hawai‘i upended a pair of 2017 NCAA Tournament teams in North Dakota and Troy en route to the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic title.  In all, seven of the nine Big West schools recorded at least one victory.

Taking On The Power Conferences
This week’s schedule features some matchups against the power conferences as UC Santa Barbara faces Pittsburgh (ACC) and Texas A&M (SEC), while UC Irvine travels to Kansas State (Big 12) and Long Beach State visits Oregon State (Pac-12).

Pasternack Wins First As UCSB Coach
UC Santa Barbara first-year head coach Joe Pasternack picked up his first win at the school as the Gauchos defeated North Dakota State, 85-66, on Saturday.  His squad steps up in class this week with two tough road matchups in Pittsburgh and No. 16 Texas A&M – both subregional games as part of the Legends Classic.

UC Riverside Enters Poll
For the first time in school history, UC Riverside has been included among the top-25 in the Mid-Major poll.  The Highlanders broke into the rankings this week at No. 24.  They won a season opening game on the road for the first time in their 17-year Division I tenure, leading start to finish in impressive fashion against California.  UCR plays twice this week – at Loyola Marymount on Wednesday and Saturday’s home opener versus Portland State.

Hawai‘i Wins Tourney Title
Hawai‘i is off to a 3-0 start thanks to a successful foray through the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic.  The Rainbow Warriors – 3-4 last year in games decided by 5 points or less – beat North Dakota by 3 and Troy by 5.

Moneke Earns Preseason Honors
UC Davis forward Chima Moneke is on the national radar for recognition as he enters his senior season.  Moneke was recently named to the preseason Watch List for both the Lute Olson Award and Lou Henson Award.  The Lute Olson Award recognizes the nation’s top Division I player who has played at least two seasons.  Moneke is featured on a list of 40 players from conferences including the Power 5.  The Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I mid-major player.

Letterwinner/Starter Package
Cal Poly 3 2 8 7
Cal State Fullerton 2 3 9 8
CSUN 2 3 5 11
Long Beach State 1 4 8 7
UC Davis 1 4 7 6
UC Irvine 2 3 10 3
UC Riverside 4 1 9 3
UC Santa Barbara 4 1 11 4
Hawai‘i 4 1 8 5


UC Irvine received 14 first-place votes and 216 points from the Big West men’s basketball media as the preseason favorite to win the title during the 2017-18 season.  The Anteaters, which return 10 letterwinners but do not have a senior on the roster, edged UC Davis with seven first-place votes and 189 points.  Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish third with 158 points and one first-place vote, while Long Beach State was fourth with 153 points and a first-place vote.  Hawai‘i also received two first-place nods for fifth place at 146 points.  UC Santa Barbara received the last first-place vote and had 94 points for sixth place.  CSUN was chosen seventh with 73 points, edging out UC Riverside and Cal Poly, which were selected eighth and ninth with 71 and 70 points, respectively.

The only returning member of the 2016-17 All-Big West First Team, UC Davis senior Chima Moneke headlined the six-player preseason media all-conference team.  Joining Moneke on the list was CSUN senior Tavrion Dawson, UC Santa Barbara senior Gabe Vincent, Cal State Fullerton sophomore Jackson Rowe, and Long Beach State teammates senior Gabe Levin and junior Temidayo Yussuf.


Big West squads have lined up another challenging non-conference slate which includes 33 games against opponents that advanced to the NCAA Tournament or National Invitational Tournament last season.  Thirteen of the 20 games against 2017 NCAA teams will be played on the road or at a neutral site.  The possibility for additional games against 2017 postseason teams exists depending on the outcomes of several tournaments within the first couple of months.

Games Against 2017 NCAA Tournament Teams
Nov. 10    Cal State Fullerton at USC
Nov. 10    UC Irvine at South Dakota State
Nov. 12    North Dakota at Hawai‘i
Nov. 13    Troy at Hawai‘i
Nov. 15    Cal State Fullerton at Saint Mary’s
Nov. 17    UC Irvine at Kansas State
Nov. 20    Long Beach State vs. West Virginia
Nov. 24    Nevada at Hawai‘i
Nov. 26    UC Irvine at UCLA
Nov. 26    UC Riverside at Michigan
Nov. 29    Long Beach State at Arizona
Dec. 2      Nevada at UC Irvine   
Dec. 16    Princeton at Cal Poly   
Dec. 16    UC Irvine at Saint Mary’s
Dec. 17    UC Santa Barbara at USC
Dec. 19    Cal Poly at SMU
Dec. 19    UC Davis at Nevada
Dec. 21    Long Beach State at Michigan State
Dec. 22    Miami (FL) at Hawai‘i
Dec. 28    New Mexico State at UC Irvine

Games Against 2017 NIT Teams
Nov. 10    UC Riverside at California 
Nov. 12    Cal Poly at California
Nov. 13    CSUN at Fresno State
Nov. 22    Cal Poly vs. College of Charleston
Nov. 23    Georgia at Cal State Fullerton
Nov. 28    CSUN at California
Dec. 2      Fresno State at Long Beach State
Dec. 2      Hawai‘i at Utah
Dec. 9      Fresno State at Cal Poly
Dec. 16    Cal State Fullerton at California
Dec. 20    Valparaiso at UC Riverside
Dec. 21    Cal Poly at UT Arlington
Dec. 23    Long Beach State at Colorado State


Long Beach State’s Dan Monson is the dean of Big West head coaches, in his 11th season on the sideline at the Walter Pyramid.  He ranks eighth all-time in conference history with 170 wins.  His 105 conference victories is good for seventh on the coaching leaderboard.  Only five Big West head coaches have accumulated 200 or more wins during their tenure with the conference – Bob Thomason (Pacific, 436), Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State & UNLV, 405), Bob Williams (UC Santa Barbara, 313), Neil McCarthy (New Mexico State, 248) and Jerry Pimm (UC Santa Barbara, 222).

Coach, Team Years (School/Career) School Big West Career
Dan Monson, Long Beach State 10/20 171-159 105-57 341-282
Russell Turner, UC Irvine 7/7 140-106 72-42 Same as school
Joe Callero, Cal Poly 8/18 111-141 59-71 250-271
Jim Les, UC Davis 6/15 88-103 47-51 242-243
Dennis Cutts, UC Riverside 4/4 46-78 22-42 Same as school
Eran Ganot, Hawai‘i 2/2 45-22 21-11 Same as school
Dedrique Taylor, Cal State Fullerton 4/4 47-78 20-44 Same as school
Reggie Theus, CSUN 4/6 39-82 19-41 80-105
Joe Pasternack, UC Santa Barbara 1/4 1-0 0-0 55-60

The newest head coach in the Big West is UC Santa Barbara’s Joe Pasternack.  He is the 13th head coach in school history and just the third in the last 35 years.  His previous stop was as Associate Head Coach under Sean Miller at the University of Arizona.  He also served as head coach at the University of New Orleans for four seasons.  Pasternack takes over a squad that returns four starters and 11 letterwinners, but uncharacteristically struggled last year with a 6-22 record.  


Returning players who were ranked in the top-10 of several Big West statistical categories are on the following lists.

Three of the top 10 scorers from 2016-17 are back, including UC Santa Barbara’s Gabe Vincent, who ranked fifth in the Big West in scoring (14.8 ppg).  Chima Moneke (6th, 14.6) and CSUN’s Tavrion Dawson (9th, 14.1) also return to the fold.

The top four rebounders and seven of the top 10 return.  Leading that group is Moneke, who ranked No. 1 in the Big West last year (9.5 rpg).  UC Irvine’s Jonathan Galloway (2nd, 7.6), Cal State Fullerton’s Jackson Rowe (3rd, 7.2) and Dawson (6.9) also are back.  Also returning is UC Santa Barbara’s Alex Hart (6th, 6.2), UC Irvine’s Tommy Rutherford (9th, 5.3) and UC Riverside’s Chance Murray (5.2).

Three of the top 10 assist leaders return, led by Hawaii’s Brocke Stepteau, who was seventh (3.0 apg) last year.  Rainbow Warrior teammate Sheriff Drammeh (8th, 2.8) is also back, as is UCR’s Dikymbe Martin (9th, 2.6).

Two of the top steals leaders come back in UCR teammates Martin (4th, 1.4 spg) and Murray (7th, 1.3).

Six of the top 10 blocked shots leaders are back, including four of the top five.  Moneke (1.4 bpg) was the league leader in 2016-17.  Galloway, the reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Year, was third overall (1.1).