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Big West Notebook

December 31, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments



Big West Conference Notebook

by Shaan Hassan

Douglass Does it Again for UC Irvine

In a classic example of why many consider UC Irvine head coach Pat Douglass
the best coach in the conference, Douglass has recently gone to a new lineup
that’s working well. The lineup features first team all-conference hopeful
center Adam Parada coming off the bench. Since UCI’s 84-57 embarrassing
loss to Stanford, Dec. 19, when Parada had just seven points and one rebound
before fouling out after only 15 minutes of play, Douglass made the
following changes in his lineup:

Before Stanford: Jeff Gloger and Mike Hood at guard, Stanislav Zuzak and
Jordan Harris at forward and Parada at center. After Stanford: Mike
Efevberha and Gloger at guard, Matt Okoro and Harris at forward and Greg
Ethington at center.

Those moves helped spark the Anteaters to a 62-50 win over Saint Mary’s,
Dec. 22 in Moraga, CA. Six days later in Irvine, Douglass altered the lineup
again starting guard Ross Schraeder in place of Harris for a three guard-two
forward look. That move helped UCI defeat Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne 96-79 as
the Anteaters had six players score in double figures, two of them off the
bench (Harris and Parada with 18 and 14 points, respectively). The 96 points
scored by Irvine was the most since their 96-93 double overtime victory over
Pepperdine, Nov. 20, 2001.

UCI’s two-game win streak has pushed the Anteaters to a 5-3 record, settling
them into second place behind 9-2 Utah State and right in front of Cal State
Northridge at 6-4.

Thanks to Douglass’ move and Parada’s inconsistent play, the center may not
win any player of the year awards, but how about a personal consolation
prize…Sixth Man Award, anybody?

Up next for Douglass and Co. is Florida Atlantic in Irvine, Dec. 30, before
they visit Long Beach State, Jan. 4, to start conference play.

Tournament Troubles and Tribulations

If defending conference champions UC Santa Barbara and current Big West
leader Utah State are both aiming for the conference prize, they are taking
two completely different roads towards it.

In the azcentral.com/ASU Hoops Classic, the Gauchos fell in their
third-place game 67-60 to Bucknell, Dec. 28. Forwards Mark Hull and
Branduinn Fullove combined for 38 points, but no one else scored more than
seven.

UCSB’s last home game came Dec. 3 when they defeated USC and have since lost
five games in a row, all away from the cozy, beachy confines of Santa
Barbara.

Meanwhile, Utah State, in their own Gossner Foods Classic, defeated Idaho
State 66-59. They won the championship to extend their winning streak of
the tourney to 18 games. Forward Desmond Penigar led the Aggies with 24
points and 15 rebounds, while center Spencer Nelson added a double-double of
his own with 13 points and 14 rebounds. No other Aggie scored more than six,
but that didn’t seem to matter.

What is worth noting is that Utah State is well on their way to an excellent
season and a hopeful NCAA bid if this keeps up, while defending conference
champs Santa Barbara sit on their 3-7 record, wondering where it went wrong.

No Surprise: Desmond Penigar Earns an Award

Due to his 21 point and nearly 6 rebound per game average for the week,
forward Desmond Penigar of Utah State was honored as the Big West Conference
Player of the Week, in what should be one of many honors this season.

Last Tuesday, the star forward scored 13 points and had seven rebounds in
his team’s 59-54 win over Utah. Last Saturday, in a 66-64 nail-biter over
Weber State, Penigar dropped a season-high 29 points, including the
game-winner with five seconds left for the victory. Penigar shot over 59
percent from the field during the week.

In addition to conference weekly honors, Penigar has been predicted to win
conference player of the year by many magazines in addition to being an NBA
draftee.

     

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