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Big West Notebook

February 19, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big West Conference Notebook

by Shaan Hassan

UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine Shine in Crucial Week

During a week when all four of the top teams played one another, it was UC
Santa Barbara (10-3) and UC Irvine (9-4) that shined the brightest.

The biggest game of the week came in Logan, Utah as Utah State (9-4) hosted
UCI. Having lost to the Anteaters earlier in the season on guard Mike Hood’s
overtime jumper, the Aggies were looking for revenge and with just seconds
left they nearly had it. After guard Ronnie Ross was fouled by Hood with 3.9
seconds left, Ross hit both free throws to put the Aggies up by one. With no
timeouts left, UCI was bailed out when Utah State called a timeout to set up
their defense, which allowed UCI a chance to set up their offense.

The ball was inbounded to Hood and as he crossed halfcourt, he was fouled by
Ross with 1.3 seconds left. Having missed just one free throw all year, Hood
easily made both free throws. Utah State’s length of the court pass flew out
of bounds and UCI stunned the crowd with the victory.

Center Adam Parada led the Anteaters with 15 points, while forward Jordan
Harris scored 13. Forward Desmond Penigar led all scorers with 21 points on
10-15 shooting along with eight rebounds for the Aggies. Forward Toraino
Johnson had 13 points.

With their victory over Utah State, UCI just had to get by Idaho (6-7) for a
week’s sweep. They were down by one at halftime, but regrouped behind
Harris’ 18 points and six rebounds for the 65-52 win. Parada added 13 points
and eight rebounds. Forward Dwayne Williams’ 15 points led the Vandals. No
other Vandal scored in double digits.

Santa Barbara’s week started Feb. 13 at Pacific (6-6) in their 62-52 win
that kept the Gauchos in first place. Guard Nick Jones led the Gauchos with
15 points and eight rebounds. Despite shooting just 6-18 from three-point
range, UCSB was able to hold the Tigers in check by shutting out guard
Demetrius Jackson on 0-7 shooting. On Feb. 15, UCSB kept the pressure on the
rest of the league by defeating CSUN 67-58 in Northridge. Forward Branduinn
Fullove led all scorers with 19 points as he led the Gauchos along with
forward Mark Hull’s 13 points. Guard Ian Boylan guided CSUN (4-8) with 14
points.

With their stunning loss to UCI, Utah State had anger pent up that needed to
be released and poor, little Long Beach State (3-10) was next on their
schedule. The Aggies had no problem in their 95-61 win, Feb. 15. Apparently,
Penigar’s seven points on 2-10 shooting didn’t faze Utah State. Center
Spencer Nelson led the Aggies with 21 points and nine rebounds. Ross had 11
points.

However, even though Utah State was boiling over their earlier loss, Pacific
was simply mild mannered by theirs in their 67-64 loss to Cal Poly SLO
(7-6), Feb. 15. Center Shane Schilling led the Mustangs with 20 points and
14 rebounds. Forward Varnie Dennis had 19 points. Guard Christian Maraker
had 18 points for the Tigers. With the win, Cal Poly passed up Pacific for
fourth in the standings.

Week in Review

In other games played last week, Cal State Fullerton (5-7) defeated UC
Riverside 74-64, Feb. 12. Guard Ralphy Holmes led the Titans with 24 points
as center Pape Sow followed with 12 points and seven rebounds. Riverside
(4-8) was led by forward Kevin Butler’s 13 points.

Idaho defeated Long Beach State 75-67, Feb. 14 thanks to Williams’ 30 points
and six rebounds. Forward Tony Darden led the 49ers with 18 points.

Cal Poly completed their 2-0 week by defeating CSUN 62-59, Feb. 14. Guard
Jason Allen scored 23 points for Cal Poly, while CSUN had no players score
more than 12 points.

Previewing this Week

Of the nine games played this week, only two have significant impact on the
upper echelon standings. UCI hosts Pacific Feb. 22 as the Anteaters hope to
remain in second place, while the Tigers are now fighting to stay fifth in
the conference.

A sudden surge from Cal Poly, which has them in fourth place, means their
Feb. 20 match against UCSB at San Luis Obispo looms large. The Gauchos are
trying to stay on top of the rest of the teams, while Cal Poly is looking
for another upset.

Jordan Comes to the Rescue

He may not wear number 23, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have heroic
performances. After averaging 15.5 points, six rebounds and nearly two
steals per game, UCI forward Jordan Harris was named Big West Conference
Player of the Week.

In Irvine’s win over Utah State, Harris had 13 points, six rebounds, a block
and two steals. He made 50 percent of his shots as UCI has now won two
straight games in Logan for the first time in 17 years. Against Idaho,
Harris scored 18 points on 5-9 shooting from the field and 6-6 from the
stripe. He also added six rebounds.

     

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