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WAC Notebook

December 19, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments



WAC Notebook

by Phil Dailey

The season is nearly a month old and the Western Athletic Conference is in
the process of finding out who are the contenders and who are the pretenders.

Seven WAC teams were in action last weekend including Hawai’i (2-1) and
Fresno State (5-1) both of whom lost their first games of the year. The Warriors
came to the mainland to do battle with San Diego State only to be sent home
with a 60-49 loss to the Aztecs. After going into the half tied at 22, the
Warriors were out-played in the second half. The Warriors will be able to
avenge their loss this weekend as they welcome Eastern Illinois and New
Orleans to Honolulu.

Fresno State took on the Big XII’s Oklahoma State Cowboys to try and
continue its winning streak. Ray Lopes and the Bulldogs left Stillwater with a
10-point loss against OSU. That might have been the good news for the Bulldogs after
placing itself on probation last Friday for violations such as receiving
money from agents as well as practice violations. As reported by ESPN.com, Fresno
State responded to its violation by reducing the number of scholarships by a
total of three thru 2004-2006. Violations occurred between 1998 and 2002.
However, the NCAA still might get involved when it meets in February.

Bryan Defares was named WAC Player of the Week for his 21-point performance
against Wyoming as well as 28 points against in-state rival Idaho. Along
with Defares, Boise State (5-2) is off to an impressive start under first-year
head coach Greg Graham. The Broncos tune-up for their WAC schedule with three
more non-conference games against Eastern Washington, Portland State and Weber
State-all at home. Along with Defares, senior C.J. Williams has stepped up
his game this season with 14.3 ppg.

After stumbling against Kansas last week at home, Tulsa (5-1), bounced back
with another dominating win over SW Missouri, 62-46. Kevin Johnson
continues to impress with 16 points and 12 boards in the victory. The Golden
Hurricane look to their showdown with cross-town rival Oral Roberts on Thursday night.
Johnson is averaging 17.3 points and 8.8 boards per game.

Southern Methodist (2-3) found out what it was like to play in a big time
ACC environment as they traveled to Winston-Salem and took on Wake Forest. The
Demon Deacons lit up SMU 73-49. Quintin Ross had a bit of a let down
against Wake Forest, but continues to lead the WAC in scoring with 24.6 ppg. Maybe
a little less Ross and a bit more team could help the Mustangs as they battle
Baylor this week.

Louisiana Tech (1-3) has had some time to recover from its early season
beatings. No doubt the Bulldogs are playing top-notch completion, but at
the same time getting worked over. Last week they lost to Arkansas 72-60.
Antonio Meeking is leading the team in scoring (16ppg) and rebounds (8 rpg).
The Bulldogs take on some weaker competition in Jackson State this weekend.

The slide to the cellar continues for Nevada (2-5) after dropping another
game to Santa Clara. Kirk Snyder (15 ppg) was off for the Wolf Pack and there
was no one else to step it up in the loss. Nevada looks to rebound against
Seattle Pacific and Portland this week.

San Jose State (3-4) continued to struggle last weekend against CS
Northridge, losing 92-67. Oudie Baker continues to be the go-to-guy for the Spartans
leading the way with 16.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Up next for
SJSU is Pacific this Saturday.

UTEP (1-4) and Rice (3-2) both have had some time to rest as they prepare to
get back into the swing of things this week, with games against New Mexico State and
Saint Edwards, respectively.

     

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