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Men's Basketball

Anteaters, Gauchos Set For Rematch On ESPN2


Weekly Release No. 15


UC Irvine Remains Atop Big West
UC Irvine completed series sweeps of Cal State Fullerton and Hawai‘i last week, improving to 9-1 in Big West play and maintaining its solid grip on first place. The Anteaters have a commanding two and a half game lead on Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara – tied for second place at 6-3. Hawai‘i (5-4) is fourth in the league standings while CSUN and UC Davis are tied for fifth at 4-4.

Anteaters, Gauchos To Meet In ESPN2 Showdown
On Jan. 31, UC Santa Barbara met UC Irvine at the Thunderdome in a battle for first place. The Gauchos (4-1) trailed the ‘Eaters (5-1) by just a half game. UCI scratched out a four-point win in overtime to take control of the league standings, and since then has expanded the lead. When the two teams meet again Saturday in Irvine for a nationally televised battle on ESPN2, the Gauchos are in must win territory. UCSB trails UCI by 2.5 games and a loss would seriously wound its prospects for a regular season title.

Defensive Stance
UCI limited Cal State Fullerton and Hawai‘i to 53 and 59 points respectively last week. The ‘Eaters improved to 10-0 on the season when keeping the opponent to 60 points or less, and have now won 21 consecutive games when hitting that standard, a streak that dates back to the start of the 2017-18 season. Since 2012-13, the Anteaters are 89-5 when hitting that benchmark. UCSB is 8-0 this season when holding a foe under 60 points.  Unsurprisingly, UCSB is ranked No. 1 (63.9 ppg) and UCI No. 2 (65.2) in scoring defense in Big West contests.
A Reminder To Everyone
UC Davis is the reigning Big West regular season champion. And the recent play of the Aggies is a stark reminder of that fact. After a 1-4 Big West start, the Aggies have won three straight to reach the .500 mark. The second half of their schedule is favorable with six of the final eight games at The Pavilion. UC Davis is set up nicely to make a huge run in the second half. Since 2016-17, the Ags are 15-3 at home against Big West opponents.

One More Announcement
UC Davis senior TJ Shorts II also has a message for the rest of the Big West. The reigning Big West Player of the Year is poised to make life miserable for everyone. He has scored 18 or more in five of the first eight conference games. But if history serves as a guide, Shorts II could have a monstrous second half. In 2017-18, the guard averaged 21 points over the final eight games, leading the Ags to a 6-2 mark down the stretch as they captured the regular season crown.

Road Team Unite
Through the midway point of the Big West schedule, the road team has experienced the majority of the success. Road teams are a combined 22-18 so far. In fact, seven of the nine schools own a road record of .500 or better. UCI leads the way with its 5-0 mark. The Anteaters are the only school to record an above .500 conference road record in each of the last six seasons – 33-11 overall.


UC Irvine senior JONATHAN GALLOWAY compiled his 10th double-digit rebounding game of the year with 13 against Hawai‘i in Saturday’s victory, giving him 10 or more boards for the sixth time in the last 10 contests.  The forward needs one more rebound to enter the Big West career top 10 list and tie UNLV’s Armon Gilliam (890, 1985-87) for the No. 10 spot. Galloway’s 889 rebounds rank second all-time at UCI. He is 11 caroms away from becoming just the ninth player in conference history to collect 900 in a career.

Big West Career Rebounding Top 10 List
No. Name, School Rebs. Years 
1. T.J. Robinson, Long Beach State 1,208 2008-12
2. Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara 1,125 2011-15
3. Tony Neal, Cal State Fullerton 1,115 1981-85
4. Stacey Augmon, UNLV 1,005  1988-91
5.  Greg Grant, Utah State 1,003 1983-86
6. Stephen Maxwell, CSUN 976 2011-15
7. Ron Cornelius, Pacific 973 1979-81
8. Eric McArthur, UC Santa Barbara  904 1986-90
9. Francois Wise, Long Beach State 896 1977-80
10. Armon Gilliam, UNLV 890 1985-87
CSUN redshirt freshman LAMINE DIANE is having an monstrous season as the Big West leader in both scoring (24.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.7 rpg). He is in prime position to become just the eighth player in Big West history to lead in both categories. More impressively, he would become the first freshman to do so.

Player, School Years
Kevin Magee, UC Irvine 1980-81, 1981-82
Sidney Green, UNLV 1982-83
Larry Johnson, UNLV 1990-91
Michael Olowokandi, Pacific 1997-98
Ralphy Holmes, Cal State Fullerton 2004-05
Christian Maraker, Pacific 2005-06
Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara 2013-14

In addition to leading the Big West in scoring and rebounding, CSUN freshman LAMINE DIANE also tops the conference in blocks. The forward has blocked 50 shots in 23 games for a 2.2 per game average. Former NBA No. 1 draft pick and Pacific center Michael Olowokandi is the only player in Big West history to finish No. 1 in all three categories. In 1997-98, Olowokandi averaged 22.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game in his senior season. Diane’s numbers to this point are 24.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.


Long Beach State senior DEISHUAN BOOKER leads the Big West in free throws made (177), free throws attempted (199) and free throw percentage (.889). His 177 makes from the line leads the league by a landslide, as Cal State Fullerton’s Kyle Allman, Jr. is second with 94. Booker is inching toward the Big West single-season top 10 for made free throws. He needs eight more to tie UNLV’s Armon Gilliam (185, 1986-87) for the No. 10 spot, and he’s within range of moving past a few others in quick succession. Booker has had huge games this year from the line, including Menlo (11-12), Southern Utah (10-11), UC Davis (19-20), UC Irvine twice (15-16 and 11-11), UC Santa Barbara (12-15) and Cal Poly (18-19). The single-season top 10 list is as follows:

Big West Single-Season Free Throws Made Top 10 List
No. Name, School FTM Year 
1. Leon Wood, Cal State Fullerton 211 1983-84
2. Larry Johnson, UNLV 201 1989-90
3. Jerry Green, UC Irvine 196 2000-01
4. Christian Standhardinger, Hawai‘i 195 2013-14
  J.R. Rider, UNLV 195 1992-93
6. Lucius Davis, UC Santa Barbara 194 1991-92
7. Kevin Magee, UC Irvine 188 1981-82
8. Leon Wood, Cal State Fullerton 187 1981-82
  Gilbert Wilburn, New Mexico State 187 1985-86
10. Armon Gilliam, UNLV 185 1985-87


CSUN AT UC DAVIS (BIGWEST.TV) - The Big West’s top offensive club at 76.6 points per game, CSUN runs into a UC Davis squad that kept both Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara under 60 points last week. The Matadors have done a solid job taking care of the ball as they’ve averaged just 7.8 turnovers over the last five games. Freshman point guard DARIUS BROWN II has 19 assists and 0 turnovers spanning the last three games. Brown II has not committed a turnover since the 4:47 mark of the first half against Long Beach State (Jan. 23), a span of nearly 145 consecutive minutes. Aggie junior JOE MOONEY is 9-for-14 (64.3%) from three-point range over the last three games.

- Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson moved into a tie for seventh with Fresno State’s Boyd Grant (1978-86) on the all-time Big West victory list in Saturday’s eight point overtime triumph at Cal Poly. It was the 194th win for Monson at the Beach. Cal State Fullerton has won six of its last seven games. The Titans shot a season-best 61.5% (8-of-15) on three-pointers in their win at UC Riverside Saturday. They have shot 50 percent or better overall in five of the last seven contests. PxP: Trent Rush • ANALYST: Richie Schueler • SIDELINE: Courtney Sweet

UC SANTA BARBARA AT UC RIVERSIDE (ESPN3) - UC Santa Barbara has not lost back-to-back games all season.  In their three conference losses, the Gauchos have shot under 40 percent each time. UC Riverside junior DIKYMBE MARTIN enters the game just 13 points shy of 1,000 for his career. He would become the fifth Highlander in the school’s history (Larry Cunningham, Taylor Johns, Rickey Porter, Jaylen Bland) to score all of his points at the Division I level. PxP: Trent Rush • ANALYST: Richie Schueler • SIDELINE: Courtney Sweet

CAL POLY AT HAWAI‘I (BIGWEST.TV) - Cal Poly has played in a program record five overtime games this season. Senior JACK PURCHASE is one three-pointer away from tying Zane Johnson (2011-12) for the Hawai‘i career record (180).