Current Standings (Conference/Overall/Win Streak)
- Pacific (5-1) (12-6) W3
- UC Santa Barbara (5-2)(10-7) W2
- Cal Poly (5-2)(8-10) W3
- UC Davis (3-3)(7-11) L1
- Cal State Fullerton (3-4)(7-11) L1
- UC Irvine (3-5)(9-11) L1
- Long Beach State (2-4)(8-11) L2
- Cal State Northridge (2-4)(7-12) L2
- UC Riverside (2-5)(8-11) W1
Games of the Week
UC Santa Barbara defeated Cal State Fullerton 85-80 in overtime on Saturday night thanks in large part to Orlando Johnson, who hit a three-pointer with 3.4 seconds to tie the game at 72. Johnson finished with career high 27 points in the contest. His teammate, sophomore forward James Nunnally, also had a career day, scoring 25 points. Johnson is currently third in the conference in scoring, averaging 16.6 points a game. The Gauchos had defeated last place UC Riverside on Thursday night, but entered the week after a crushing 67-47 loss to UC Irvine on January 14th. The Titans had overcome a sixteen point second half deficit earlier in the game, but could not hold onto a late lead. Senior forward Jer’Vaughn Johnson also scored a career high 22 points. In addition, he grabbed seven rebounds. The loss marks the third straight for the Titans, who lost 80-73 to Pacific on Thursday night. With the win the Gauchos remain a half game back of Pacific for the lead of the Big West Conference. Santa Barbara is the only team to hand Pacific a conference loss this season.
In another great conference battle UC Riverside snapped its five-game losing streak by defeating Irvine 65-56 on Saturday night. Junior guard Dwight Gordon who finished with a game high 19 points led the Highlanders. Fellow junior Kyle Austin added 18 points. Riverside was able to get its second conference win because of a late 9-1 run, which gave them a nice cushion. As for the Anteaters, it was their second loss of the week and their fourth of their last five. It doesn’t look promising for them as they host Pacific on Thursday.
Pacific added two more conference wins to its resume this week by beating Fullerton 80-73 on Thursday and UC Davis 77-61 on Saturday. Currently, the Tigers do not have a player who averages above 10 points a game, but have seven players that average above five a game. The Tigers’ conference lead is thin as the Gauchos of Santa Barbara won both of their conference matchups this past week. UCSB is shooting a conference best 36.3% from the behind the three point arc.
Cal Poly is riding a three game win streak, which has landed them a half game behind Pacific for the conference lead. The Mustangs went on a late 9-0 run to barely squeeze by Cal State Northridge, defeating the Matadors 73-72. The Matadors’ senior guard Mark Hill led all scorers 24 points. Senior guard Lorenzo Keeler scored 23 points while sophomore forward David Hanson added 15. The Mustangs have won eight of their last 13 games.
UC Davis has lost three of four, but the Aggies have three of the conferences top scorers. Junior guard Mark Payne leads the Big West in scoring, averaging 17.6 points. Senior forward Dominic Calegari averages 16.4 points as well as grabbing 5.7 rebounds a game. Junior guard Joe Harden averages 13.9 points per game while snatching 7.1 rebounds per game. The Aggies have a half-game lead on the Titans for the fourth spot in the conference.
As for the bottom five teams in the conference only UC Riverside is coming off a win. The Highlanders are 2-5 in conference play this season yet are only a half game back of Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge. The Titans are first in the conference in field goal percentage shooting 45.0 percent. The 49ers have the Big West’s best scoring offense, averaging 72.6 point per game.
Lenny Daniel was named conference player of the week after he led Cal State Northridge to three straight wins a week ago. During the stretch, Daniel averaged a double-double scoring 13.7 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game. Daniel is currently third in the league in rebounding.
On Thursday night 1/28, UC Santa Barbara takes on Cal Poly for second place of the conference. The winner has an opportunity to move into second place if Pacific were to lose on the road to UC Irvine. With either the Gauchos or the Mustangs winning on Thursday, Pacific has a must-win game against the Anteaters if they want to maintain their conference lead. Both games have late tips at 10:00 E.T.