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This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Dec. 17

This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Dec. 17

Complete Release in PDF

CSU BAKERSFIELD'S HOLDEN NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CSU Bakersfield senior guard Rickey Holden has been named Western Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 10-16. This is his first-ever WAC Player of the Week honor.

The Laurel, Miss. native was the spark that ignited CSU Bakersfield's second half surge to defeat Lamar and extend CSUB's win streak to three games. With the Roadrunners leading by just one point at halftime, Holden recorded 18 of his 20 points and eight of his nine assists in the second half to lift the Roadrunners over the Cardinals. Bakersfield's point guard posted 20+ points for the second time this season while dishing out a career-high nine assists. Holden also added three steals and a block while going a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. He entered the week averaging 10.3 points and 4.6 assists per game.

Other nominees included: Grand Canyon's Michael Finke finished with 17 points and three rebounds at Texas ... Rob Whitfield of Kansas City averaged 17 points on 64.7 percent shooting from the field and 69.2 percent shooting from three-point range as the Roos went 1-1 on the week ... UT Rio Grande Valley's Lesley Varner II finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and three steals in a loss to Texas State ... Jake Toolson of Utah Valley finished with 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in a win at Weber State.

WAC QUICK HITS
CSU Bakersfield's Rickey Holden dished out a career-high nine assists against Lamar on Dec. 13 ... Utah Valley's Jake Toolson grabbed a career-high 12 boards at Weber State on Dec. 15 when the Wolverines won for the first-ever time in Ogden ... CSUB's James Suber grabbed a career-high 19 boards against UC Merced on Dec. 4, two shy of the CSUB single-game record, and scored a career-high 20 points at Idaho on Dec. 8 ... California Baptist's Milan Acquaah has scored 20 or more points in seven of 10 games played this season ... Chicago State's Anthony Harris scored a career-high 27 points against Trinity Christian ... The Roos won two-straight true road non-conference games for the first time since 2010 ... On Dec. 5 against North Dakota, UTRGV grabbed 21 steals, the third-highest single-game total in program history and most since Jan. 5, 1981, when the team grabbed a program record 24 steals against Texas Southern. UTRGV grabbed 18 steals in the first half, more than any WAC institution had in a full game this season. Javon Levi led the team with a career-high and NCAA season-best six steals. UTRGV also forced 30 turnovers, the team's highest total since forcing 30 at Texas State on Dec. 5, 2009 ... Chicago State won three-straight games for the first time in more than five years ... Utah Valley boasts an 18-game home win streak, the fourth-best active home win streak in the nation ... NM State defeated Washington State on Dec. 1 to take down its first Power-5 program at home since 2002. It is the third-consecutive year the Aggies have taken down a Power-5 foe ... Kansas City's Rob Whitfield scored a career-high 23 points and drained a career-high seven three-point field goals in road win at Fort Wayne on Dec. 1. He also dished out a career-best six assists and a career-high-tying three steals to help the Roos to their first road victory since Feb. 22, 2018 ... Chicago State's Rob Shaw posted his first career double-doubles in back-to-back games with 18 points and 10 assists against East-West and 14 points and a career-high 11 assists against Eastern Illinois ... Grand Canyon's Carlos Johnson scored 12 of GCU's 19 points in a stretch which helped the Lopes overcome an 11-point deficit in a win over Boise State on Dec. 1 ... On Dec. 1, UTRGV beat UT Arlington for the first time since Nov. 27, 2006, and won in Arlington for the first time since Jan. 11, 1989 ... UTRGV became the 28th team in NCAA history and second in WAC history to come back from a 24 or more point deficit by beating Lamar 77-75 on Nov. 23 ... CBU's Milan Acquaah was named to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team after scoring 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting against UAPB and adding 24 points and six rebounds against Howard ... Grand Canyon's Alessandro Lever was named to the Wooden Legacy All-Tournament Second Team after averaging 17.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in three games vs. Seton Hall, Utah and La Salle ... Seattle U's Morgan Means scored a career-high 26 points, including a career-high six three-pointers, against Denver on Nov. 23 ... Kansas City's Xavier Bishop scored a career-high 28 points against Eastern Washington on Nov. 17 ... CSU Bakersfield's Damiyne Durham was named to the all-tournament team at the Junkanoo Jam after averaging 11.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists ... NM State's AJ Harris exploded for a career-high 31 points on 9-of-11 shooting at New Mexico on Nov. 17. He also went 6-for-6 from beyond the arc in the game the first Aggie to be perfect from three-point land (minimum 5) since Jahmar Young on Dec. 23, 2009 ... UTRGV's Lesley Varner II posted his second-career double-double and first of the season, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 14 ... CSU Bakersfield's Ricky Holden did not miss a shot (8-for-8) on the way to a team-high 25 points against Antelope Valley on Nov. 9 to tie CSUB's Division I record for field goal percentage ... Grand Canyon had 51 rebounds against Delaware State, the third-most ever in Division I play and just the fifth time it has recorded 50-plus rebounds in a game ... UTRGV sophomore Greg Bowie II scored a career-high 19 points on Nov. 6 against Texas A&M Commerce ... Utah Valley's Baylee Steele pulled down a school-record 19 rebounds at BYU on Nov. 9.

WAC STAT LEADERS
California Baptist leads the WAC in scoring (82.2), free throw percentage (75.9), rebounding (39.9),  defensive rebounds (29.6) and three-pointers per game (10.3), while Seattle U is tops in scoring margin (11.9), field goal percentage defense (39.1), blocks (4.7) and assist-turnover ratio (1.2). NM State leads the WAC in scoring defense (67.0), rebounding defense (30.9) and rebounding margin (7.2), while UT Rio Grande Valley is tops in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.2), steals (9.8) and turnover margin (5.0). Utah Valley leads the WAC in field goal percentage (47.6), three-point field goal percentage (39.4) and assists (14.5), and CSU Bakersfield is tops in offensive rebounds (13.2).

Individually, California Baptist's Milan Acquaah leads the WAC in scoring (21.2), while Utah Valley's Baylee Steele is tops in rebounding (8.3). NM State's Ivan Aurrecoechea leads the league in field goal percentage (68.2), while Seattle U's Matej Kavas and Aaron Nettles are tops in free throw percentage (87.5) and three-point percentage (51.7), respectively. Chicago State's Rob Shaw leads the WAC in assists (6.1) and UTRGV's Javon Levi is tops in steals (2.4). Kansas City's Rob Whitfield leads the WAC in three-pointers per game (3.3), while CSUB's James Suber is tops in offensive rebounds (3.1) and CBU's Dejon Davis leads the league in defensive rebounds (6.3). Seattle U's Myles Carter leads the WAC in blocked shots (2.8), while teammates Terrell Brown and Morgan Means are tops in assist-turnover ratio (3.7) and minutes per game (34.9), respectively.

CSUB'S DURHAM 11 THREE-POINTERS AWAY FROM ALL-TIME WAC RECORD
In his team's win over Lamar on Dec. 13, CSU Bakersfield senior Damiyne Durham became the Roadrunners' career record holder with 280 three-pointers. He is now chasing the all-time WAC record of 290 held by Utah State's Jaycee Carroll (2004-08). At his current pace of 2.78 treys per game, Durham would break the record in the team's WAC opener against Seattle U on Jan. 3.

WAC WINS #SummitVsWAC CHALLENGE
The WAC clinched the first-ever Summit League/WAC Challenge and now leads 6-2 after eight games. The Challenge features head-to-head competition between all nine teams. Matchups were set based upon factors including the previous year's achievements, records and RPI rankings, as well as projected rankings in the upcoming season.
The complete list of 2018 matchups and results is below.

Nov. 6

Grand Canyon at South Dakota State

L, 74-79

Nov. 6

North Dakota State at NM State

W, 73-56

Nov. 13

California Baptist at Oral Roberts

W, 70-69

Dec. 1

Kansas City at Purdue Fort Wayne

W, 90-73

Dec. 1

CSU Bakersfield at South Dakota

L, 56-68

Dec. 1

Denver at Utah Valley

W, 98-75

Dec. 5

North Dakota at UT Rio Grande Valley

W, 70-56

Dec. 6

Omaha at Seattle U

W, 90-71

Dec. 20

Chicago State at Western Illinois

2 p.m. CT


FOUR WAC PLAYERS RANK AMONG NCAA ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS
Four WAC players currently rank among the NCAA active career leaders in several statistical categories. The players, schools, categories and rankings are listed below.

Name

School

Category

Rank

Amount

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

3FGA

4th

832

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

3FGM

5th

280

Matej Kavas

Seattle U

3FG%

14th

43.7

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

Three-pointers/Game

20th

2.69

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

FGA

23rd

1,209

Eli Chuha

NM State

Double-Doubles

35th

17

Eli Chuha

NM State

FG%

42nd

56.3

Jordan Heading

California Baptist

3FGA

48th

521


GCU'S LEVER NAMED TO CENTER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
Grand Canyon sophomore Alessandro Lever was one of 21 college centers named to the preseason watch list for the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. A national committee selected the candidates, which is presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The list will be narrowed to 10 centers in mid-February and then five finalists in March. Lever, the WAC Preseason Player of the Year, averaged a team-high 12.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season as a freshman.