This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Feb. 5

This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Feb. 5

Complete Release as a PDF

UT RIO GRANDE VALLEY'S LEVI NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
UT Rio Grande Valley sophomore guard Javon Levi has been named Western Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 3. This is his first-ever WAC Player of the Week honor.

The Killeen, Texas native averaged 12.0 assists, 8.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game last week as the Vaqueros went 2-0. Levi narrowly missed a triple-double last Thursday against Chicago State with a career-high 12 assists to go along with nine points and season-high-tying eight rebounds. He also added a game-high four steals. Levi followed it up with 12 assists, eight points, a game-high five steals and four rebounds vs. Kansas City. The back-to-back games with 10 or more assists against Division I opponents hadn't been accomplished in the WAC since 2015. The 12 assists in both games is also the highest single-game total in the WAC this season. Levi, who leads the WAC in assists (5.6), steals (2.7) and assist-turnover ratio (2.9), is one of just two players in the NCAA averaging at least 5.0 assists, 2.5 steals and less than 2.0 turnovers per game

Other nominees included: California Baptist's Milan Acquaah averaged 18.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.5 steals over two games last week ... Jarkel Joiner of CSU Bakersfield averaged 19.0 points, 2.5 steals, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists over two games last week ... Grand Canyon's Carlos Johnson finished with 20 points to along with four rebounds and two assists in a win at CSU Bakersfield ... Rob Whitfield of Kansas City averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists on the week ... NM State's Terrell Brown averaged 17.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists ... Baylee Steele of Utah Valley finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds in a win over California Baptist.

WAC QUICK HITS
UTRGV's Javon Levi is one of two players in the NCAA averaging at least 5.0 assists (5.6), 2.5 steals (2.7) and less than 2.0 turnovers (1.96) per game ... Grand Canyon is 9-0 at home this season and has won 16 consecutive regular-season home games ... UTRGV defeated Chicago State 77-46 on Jan. 31. The 31-point margin of victory was UTRGV's largest margin of victory ever in a conference game ... Grand Canyon's Carlos Johnson scored a team-best 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and hit 10-of-11 free throws in just 23 minutes of action as GCU handed CSU Bakersfield its first home loss of the 2018-19 season on Feb. 2 ... UTRGV had 11 three-pointers against both UMKC and Chicago State and it was the first time UTRGV has reached double figures in three-pointers in back-to-back WAC games since joining the league in 2013 ... CSU Bakersfield's Jarkel Joiner set the program single-game Division I records for points (34) and field goals made (14) against California Baptist on Jan. 24 ... GCU's Johnson scored a career-high 26 points in just 18 minutes at California Baptist on Jan. 26, scoring 18 consecutive points for the Lopes in the second half, including 12 unanswered points to break the game open ... Kansas City's Xavier Bishop, who finished with 22 points, scored six-straight points late in the second half against Seattle U on Jan. 26 after his team led by just one and ignited a game-ending 11-3 scoring run to seal the victory ... CSUB's Rickey Holden has made 29 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 on Jan. 19, UTRGV used a 10-0 run to beat Seattle U 67-62 for its first-ever victory at Seattle U in six tries ... 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 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 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 from Nov. 29-Dec. 6 ... 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 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
NM State leads the WAC in scoring defense (65.5), scoring margin (12.3), rebounding (37.8), rebounding defense (29.1), rebounding margin (8.7) and assist-turnover ratio (1.2), while California Baptist is tops in scoring (79.3), free throw percentage (77.8), defensive rebounds (27.9) and three-pointers per game (9.3). Seattle U leads the WAC in field goal percentage defense (41.1), three-point field goal percentage (39.5) and blocks (3.9), while UT Rio Grande Valley is tops in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.6), steals (9.7) and turnover margin (5.0). CSU Bakersfield leads the WAC in offensive rebounds (14.5), Grand Canyon is tops in assists (14.0) and Utah Valley leads the league in field goal percentage (48.8).

Individually, California Baptist's Milan Acquaah leads the WAC in scoring (21.1) and three-pointers per game (2.6), while teammate Dejon Davis is tops in rebounding (8.3) and defensive rebounds (6.3). NM State's Eli Chuha leads the league in field goal percentage (68.0), while Utah Valley's Jake Toolson is tops in both free throw percentage (87.5) and three-point percentage (47.3). UTRGV's Javon Levi leads the WAC in assists (5.6), steals (2.7) and assist-turnover ratio (2.9), while CSUB's James Suber is tops in offensive rebounds (3.4). Seattle U's Myles Carter leads the WAC in blocked shots (2.2) and teammate Morgan Means is tops in minutes per game (34.6).

In WAC games only, Grand Canyon leads the league in scoring defense (60.9), scoring margin (14.9), field goal percentage defense (40.4), assists (13.9) and defensive rebounds (27.0), while NM State is tops in scoring (76.5), rebounding defense (28.5), rebounding margin (8.9), assist-turnover ratio (1.2) and three-pointers per game (8.8). UTRGV leads the WAC in three-point field goal percentage (40.9), three-point field goal percentage defense (30.8), steals (9.3) and turnover margin (5.4), while CBU is tops in free throw percentage (78.7) and blocks (3.8). CSU Bakersfield leads the league in rebounding (38.0) and offensive rebounds (15.5), while Utah Valley is tops in field goal percentage (49.9).

Individually in WAC games, Acquaah leads the league in scoring (19.4) and minutes per game (36.4), while teammates Davis and Zach Pirog are tops in rebounding (8.4) and blocks (2.5). NM State's Johnny McCants leads the league in field goal percentage (65.0), while CSUB's Rickey Holden is still perfect in free throw percentage (1.000) and GCU's Gerard Martin leads the WAC in three-point percentage (61.5). Levi tops in assists (6.4), steals (3.4) and assist-turnover ratio (3.4), while NM State's Terrell Brown leads the WAC in three-pointers per game (2.4). CSUB's Suber is tops in offensive rebounds (3.8) and GCU's Trey Drechsel is tops in defensive rebounds (6.4).

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 305 career long balls, good for eighth 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

Three-point field goals attempted

4th

920

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

Three-point field goals made

8th

305

Matej Kavas

Seattle U

Three-point field goal percentage

10th

44.7

Ty Rowell

California Baptist

Three-point field goal percentage

16th

43.5

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

Three-pointers/game

28th

2.63

Jake Toolson

Utah Valley

Free throw percentage

27th

86.3

Eli Chuha

NM State

Double-Doubles

29th

21

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

Field goals attempted

27th

1,342

Rickey Holden

CSU Bakersfield

Free throw percentage

40th

85.2

Javon Levi

UTRGV

Steals/game

20th

1.85

Eli Chuha

NM State

Field goal percentage

41st

58

Javon Levi

UTRGV

Assists/game

39th

4.59

Jordan Heading

California Baptist

Three-point field goals attempted

50th

567


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.