The WAC has created quite a stir this season as both Hawaii and Tulsa reached the 20-win plateau (each is at 20-4, 11-2 in conference play) last week. Tied for third in wins are Fresno State and Louisiana Tech with 15 apiece, though Tech has three less losses and a better record against conference opponents. Hawaii had held the top spot most of the season, until its loss to Louisiana Tech on Saturday, 61-57. Gerrod Henderson led the way for the Bulldogs with 20 points, while Zach Johnson managed 10 boards in the upset.
Nevada forward Corey Jackson was named WAC player of the week for February 4-10. Jackson recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds in a 66-57 win at Fresno State last Thursday. Jackson leads the WAC in rebounding with 10.9 boards per contest.
Other nominees: Seniors Abe Jackson (Boise State), last week’s winner Predrag Savovic (Hawaii) Gerrod Henderson (Louisiana Tech), and Shawn Tyndell (Rice). The only non-seniors nominated were junior forward Kevin Johnson (Tulsa), and Quinton Ross (SMU).
From Way Downtown
Tulsa’s Dante Swanson leads the nation in three-point shooting. The junior guard has made 53.8 percent (57-106) of his three-pointers this season, currently the second highest percentage in WAC history. The record is 56.3 percent set by Colorado State’s Joel Tribelhorn during the 1988-89 season.
Still no teams in the WAC have broken into the Top 25, but both Hawaii and Tulsa are receiving votes in the AP and USA Today-ESPN polls, with Fresno State earning consideration in the AP poll.
Fresno State senior center Melvin Ely has scored 1,736 points in his career, and is only 4 points shy of becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer. The record of 1,739 points is held by Wil Hooker who played from 1989-92. Ely is currently averaging 23.1 points per game, and will look to break the record at home against UTEP on Thursday night. Ely is also now alone in second on the WAC’s all-time list for blocked shots with 342. The WAC record is 425 set by Wyoming’s Theo Ratliff (1991-95).