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This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Jan. 22

This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Jan. 22

Complete Release in PDF

NM STATE'S CHUHA NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
NM State senior forward Eli Chuha has been named Western Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 14-20. This is his first WAC Player of the Week honor of the season and the second of his career.

The Redlands, Calif. native helped guide the Aggies to a 2-0 mark on the road with a pair of double-doubles, averaging 16.5 points on 80 percent shooting, 12.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.0 assists and 1.0 blocks per game. In a dominant 87-60 victory over Seattle U, Chuha finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in just 21 minutes of action. He was 6-of-8 from the field. Chuha followed it up with a season-high 20 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds as the Aggies snapped Utah Valley's 22-game home winning streak, the second-longest active streak in the nation. He was 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) from the field and 8-of-10 (80 percent) from the free throw line on the game and also nabbed three steals. Chuha currently leads the WAC in field goal percentage (68.7) and ranks fourth in rebounding (7.1).

Other nominees included: CSU Bakersfield's Jarkel Joiner averaged 19.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals as the 'Runners went 2-0 on the week ... Carlos Johnson of Grand Canyon averaged 16.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal as the Lopes went 2-0 on the week ... Kansas City's Xavier Bishop averaged with 15.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game last week ... Myles Carter of Seattle U averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.0 block per game on the week ... UT Rio Grande Valley's Lesley Varner II averaged 13.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game on the week ... Jake Toolson of Utah Valley averaged 21.0 points on 78.9 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists as the Wolverines went 1-1 on the week.

WAC QUICK HITS
Grand Canyon is 9-0 at home this season and has won 16 consecutive regular-season home games ... UTRGV's Javon Levi is one of two players in the NCAA averaging at least 4.9 assists (4.9), two steals (2.6) and less than two turnovers (1.95) per game ... CSUB's Rickey Holden has made 27 consecutive free throws dating back to Dec. 20 at Portland State ... NM State's ended Utah Valley's 22-game home win streak, the second-best active home win streak in the nation, when it defeated the Wolverines on Jan. 19 ... Down 53-49 with seven minutes left, UTRGV used a 10-0 run to beat Seattle U 67-62 for its first-ever victory at Seattle U in six tries on Jan. 19 ... Grand Canyon's Carlos Johnson scored a career-high 21 points vs. Kansas City on Jan. 19 ... Seattle U's Myles Carter posted career highs of 28 points and 15 rebounds against UTRGV on Jan. 19 ... Utah Valley's Jake Toolson tied the school record for consecutive free throws made with 41 before missing one against the Aggies on Jan. 19 ... On Jan. 17, CSUB's Jarkel Joiner was fouled on the last shot of the game with CSUB trailing UMKC by two points and sank all three free throws to clinch the victory ... After UTRGV went down 16 at California Baptist on Jan. 5, Tyson Smith scored 18 of his career-high 21 points over the final 24 minutes to secure the victory ... California Baptist's Milan Acquaah scored a career-high 36 points in a win over preseason favorite NM State on Jan. 3 ... CBU picked up the 1,000th victory in the history of the program by defeating La Verne 97-46 on Dec. 29 ... NM State's C.J. Bobbitt scored a career-high 22 points in a win at Colorado State on Dec. 30 ... Utah Valley handed Fresno State its first home loss of the season in a 64-60 victory on Dec. 29 and notched its best non-conference mark (11-4) in school history ... UVU's Conner Toolson scored his 1,000th career point in his team's win over Sam Houston State on Dec. 22 to become the second active player in the WAC with 1,000 career points ... CSUB's Joiner grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds on Dec. 18 against Cal Poly and scored a career-high 24 points on Dec. 20 at Portland State ... Grand Canyon's Alessandro Lever scored a career-high 26 points vs. Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 22 ... UTRGV scored 26 points off of 18 turnovers to beat McNeese State 68-64 on Dec. 22 ... CSUB'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 ... Chicago State's Anthony Harris scored a career-high 27 points against Trinity Christian ... Kansas City won two-straight true road non-conference games (at Fort Wayne and at South Dakota) 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 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 ... NM State defeated Washington State on Dec. 1 to take down its first Power-5 program at home since 2002 ... Kansas City's Rob Whitfield scored a career-high 23 points and drained a career-high seven three-pointers in a win at Fort Wayne on Dec. 1. He also dished out a career-best six assists ... 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 ... 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 ... CBU's Acquaah was named to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team ... GCU's Lever was named to the Wooden Legacy All-Tournament Second Team ... 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 ... CSUB's Damiyne Durham was named to the all-tournament team at the Junkanoo Jam ... 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 first double-double of the season scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 14 ... CSUB's 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 (80.7), free throw percentage (78.4), three-point field goal percentage defense (32.3), rebounding (38.8), defensive rebounds (29.3) and three-pointers per game (9.3), while NM State is tops in scoring margin (10.9), rebounding defense (30.2), rebounding margin (7.4) and assist-turnover ratio (1.2). Grand Canyon leads the WAC in scoring defense (66.6) and assists (14.3), while Seattle U is tops in field goal percentage defense (41.5) and blocks (3.8). UT Rio Grande Valley leads the league in steals (9.8) and turnover margin (4.9), Utah Valley is tops in field goal percentage (48.9) and three-point field goal percentage (38.7), while CSU Bakersfield leads the WAC in offensive rebounds (14.1).

Individually, California Baptist's Milan Acquaah leads the WAC in scoring (21.6), while Seattle U's Myles Carter is tops in rebounding (8.4) and blocked shots (2.2). NM State's Eli Chuha leads the league in field goal percentage (68.7), while Utah Valley's Jake Toolson is tops in both free throw percentage (88.9) and three-point percentage (48.0). Chicago State's Rob Shaw leads the WAC in assists (5.5), while UTRGV's Javon Levi is tops in steals (2.6) and assist-turnover ratio (2.5). Kansas City's Rob Whitfield leads the WAC in three-pointers per game (2.7), while CSUB's James Suber is tops in offensive rebounds (3.3) and CBU's Dejon Davis leads the league in defensive rebounds (6.4). Seattle U's Morgan Means is tops in minutes per game (34.3).

In WAC games only, Grand Canyon leads the league in scoring defense (59.2), scoring margin (14.8), field goal percentage defense (39.3), three-point field goal percentage defense (29.3), rebounding (38.8), rebounding margin (6.8), assists (14.7) and defensive rebounds (27.7), while NM State is tops in scoring (79.2), assist-turnover ratio (1.2) and three-pointers per game (8.2). CBU leads the WAC in free throw percentage (81.5) and blocks (4.5), while CSUB is tops in rebounding defense (31.8) and offensive rebounds (14.8). UTRGV leads the league in steals (9.2) and turnover margin (5.2), while Utah Valley is tops in field goal percentage (51.1) and three-point field goal percentage (43.7).

Individually in WAC games, Acquaah leads the league in scoring (20.0), while teammates Davis and Zach Pirog are tops in rebounding (8.3) and blocks (2.8). UVU's Jake Toolson leads the league in field goal percentage (63.8), while CSUB's Rickey Holden is still perfect in free throw percentage (1.000) and UVU's Wyatt Lowell and GCU's Gerard Martin are tied for the lead in three-point percentage (66.7). Chicago State's Shaw is tops in assists (5.5), while UTRGV's Levi leads the league in steals (3.2). CSUB's Damiyne Durham leads the WAC in three-pointers per game (2.3), while teammate Suber is tops in offensive rebounds (3.5). NM State's AJ Harris leads the league in assist-turnover ratio (3.2), while Grand Canyon's Trey Drechsel is tops in defensive rebounds (6.5). Meanwhile, Shaw and Acquaah are tied for the lead in minutes per game (35.5).

CBU'S ACQUAAH NAMED TO LOU HENSON MIDSEASON WATCH LIST
California Baptist sophomore guard Milan Acquaah was one of 50 players named to the Lou Henson Award Mid-Season Watch List. The award is presented annually to the nation's top mid-major player in Division I college basketball. Acquaah, a transfer from Washington State, currently leads the WAC and ranks in the top 15 nationally in scoring. The Bakersfield, Calif., native is a two-time WAC Player of the Week and was the Lou Henson National Player of the Week on Dec. 24. He was also named to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team. The Lou Henson Award will be presented at the College Insider Awards in April at the site of the Men's Division I National Championship in Minneapolis, Minn.

CSUB'S DURHAM BECOMES WAC'S ALL-TIME THREE-POINT LEADER
In his team's win over Utah Valley on Jan. 5, CSU Bakersfield senior Damiyne Durham drained his 291st career three-pointer to become the WAC all-time leader. Durham surpassed Utah State's Jaycee Carroll (2004-08), who finished his career with 290. Durham now has 300 career long balls, good for sixth in the nation in active career leaders.

EIGHT WAC PLAYERS RANK AMONG NCAA ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS
Eight 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

902

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

3FGM

6th

300

Matej Kavas

Seattle U

3FG%

9th

44.7

Jake Toolson

Utah Valley

FT%

23rd

86.7

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

FGA

24th

1,312

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

Three-pointers/game

25th

2.65

Eli Chuha

NM State

Double-Doubles

26th

21

Ty Rowell

California Baptist

3FG%

27th

42.6

Eli Chuha

NM State

FG%

36th

57.8

Rickey Holden

CSU Bakersfield

FT%

36th

85

Javon Levi

UTRGV

Steals/game

37th

1.75

Jordan Heading

California Baptist

3FGA

50th

552


WAC WINS #SummitVsWAC CHALLENGE
The WAC won the first-ever Summit League/WAC Challenge 6-3. 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

L, 52-81

 
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.