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WAC Notebook

January 16, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

WAC Notebook

The WAC continues to turn heads as four of the five conference games played on Saturday went down to the wire. Hawaii beat Boise State, 64-62, behind Predrag Savovic’s two free throws with 10.4 seconds left. In Fresno State’s one-point victory against Tulsa, Chris Jefferies converted a three-point play with 10 seconds left. Against San Jose State, UTEP’s Roy Smallwood tipped in a miss with one tenth of a second left for a one-point victory. And finally, SMU’s Quinton Ross hit a three-point basket as the buzzer sounded to give the Mustangs a 74-71 victory at Louisiana Tech.

The WAC’s player of the week was also named ESPN.com’s National Player of the Week. Fresno State’s center Melvin Ely set career-highs in scoring in each of his last two games, netting 31 against Rice, and then 35 in a win over Tulsa. In Ely’s three games since returning from suspension, he is averaging 31.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.7 blocked shots and is shooting .633 from the floor. Almost as impressive, Ely has managed to score at least 22 points in each of his last six games.

After the second weekend of conference play, two teams remain undefeated in WAC play. Hawaii remained undefeated with two-point victories over both UTEP and Boise State on the road, and after Thursday’s 20-point mauling of Louisiana Tech, the Rainbow Warriors improved to 5-0. SMU improved to 4-0 with a three-point victory over Louisiana Tech, and then a 68-66 win over San Jose State. Only one undefeated will remain as the two teams are set to meet one another on Saturday night in Honolulu. By the time this article is read, the game will have taken place, and I have to expect that Hawaii will have a relatively easy time disposing of SMU.

Tulsa continues to lead the WAC in all three shooting categories. The Golden Hurricane is shooting 46.5 percent from the field, 79.5 percent from the free throw line and 39.8 percent from three-point range. Tulsa’s free throw success is currently the best in the nation.

No WAC teams are currently ranked in the Top 25, but Fresno State, Hawaii, and Tulsa are all capable of earning top slots by the end of the season.

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