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This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - March 4

This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - March 4

Complete Release in PDF

GRAND CANYON'S MICHAEL FINKE NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Grand Canyon senior forward Michael Finke has been named Western Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 24-March 3. This is his second WAC Player of the Week honor of the season and of his career.

The Champaign, Ill., native led the WAC in scoring last week, averaging 32.0 points on 67.7 percent shooting to go with 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists as the Lopes went 2-0 on the week. Finke opened the week with a career-best 38 points vs. Eastern New Mexico last Wednesday. He hit 14-of-20 shots from the field, including a career-high six three-pointers, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. Finke's 38 points were the second-most by a GCU player in the Division I era and the most points scored in a game by a WAC player this season. On Saturday vs. CSU Bakersfield, he scored 24 of his team-high 26 points in the second half after the Lopes rallied from a nine-point deficit with 12:28 left in the game. When he tied the game at 51 on a layup, he scored 14 consecutive Grand Canyon points in a span of 3:39. With 10 rebounds against the Runners, Finke also recorded his first double-double of the season and just the fourth of his career.

Other nominees included: California Baptist's Milan Acquaah averaged 22.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals over two games last week ... Jarkel Joiner of CSU Bakersfield finished with 29 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal in a loss to Grand Canyon ... Chicago State's Travon Bell finished with 26 points, two rebounds and one assist in a five-point loss to UT Rio Grande Valley ... Brandon McKissic of Kansas City averaged 13.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds over two games last week ... NM State's Ivan Aurrecoechea averaged 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals as the Aggies went 2-0 on the week and won the WAC regular-season title outright ... Morgan Means of Seattle U averaged 18.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists as the Redhawks went 1-1 on the week ... UT Rio Grande Valley's Javon Levi averaged 14.0 points, 8.0 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.5 rebounds as the Vaqueros went 2-0 on the week ... Jake Toolson of Utah Valley averaged 16.0 points and 4.0 rebounds as the Wolverines went 2-0 on the week.

NM STATE WINS WAC REGULAR-SEASON TITLE
NM State won its second-straight outright WAC regular-season title and fifth regular-season title since joining the conference for the 2005-06 season. The Aggies have won 15 straight games since dropping their WAC season opener.

WAC QUICK HITS
For the seventh time this season, UTRGV came back from a double-digit deficit, this time from down 12 with 6:01 remaining, to beat Kansas City 75-70 on March 2 ... Grand Canyon's Michael Finke posted his first double-double of the season and just the fourth of his career with a team-high 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds against CSU Bakersfield on March 2 ... Kansas City's Xavier Bishop became the 12th Roo to surpass 1,000 career points at the 7:09 mark of the second half against NM State on Feb. 28. He is the fourth active player in the WAC to join the 1,000 point club ... GCU's Michael Finke scored a career-best 38 points, including a career-high six three-pointers, vs. Eastern New Mexico on Feb. 27 ... UTRGV finished 6-2 in WAC road games, breaking the 14-year-old program record for conference road wins (5-4 in the Sun Belt in 1994-95). UTRGV is now 8-7 on the road this season, the team's highest road win total since 1975-76 (8-3). With 18 wins, UTRGV has its highest overall win total since 2007-08 (18-13) and the nine conference wins are the program's most since winning a program record 10 Sun Belt contests in 1994-95 ... UTRGV needs six steals to tie the program record (315) for steals in a season set in 1977-78 ... NM State's Eli Chuha became the third active WAC player to surpass 1,000 career points on Feb. 23 against UTRGV. He now has 1,002 career points and 673 career rebounds ... On Feb. 21, Grand Canyon used a 30-4 second half run to defeat California Baptist ... When NM State defeated Seattle U on Feb. 16, it was Chris Jans' 50th victory at the helm making him the fastest head coach to 50 wins in program history. It was also the program's 15th-straight home WAC victory ... NM State's Trevelin Queen blocked six shots against Seattle U on Feb. 16, the most by an Aggie since Pascal Siakam had seven against CSUB in 2016 ... UTRGV's Levi nabbed a career-high seven steals on Feb. 14 vs. Seattle U ... Kansas City outscored Grand Canyon 16-4 in overtime on Feb. 14 to snap a six-game losing skid against the Lopes ... When California Baptist defeated Chicago State 94-44 on Feb. 7, it was the largest margin of victory in a WAC game in the 57-year history of the league ... UTRGV's first three road wins in WAC play were against the only three teams UTRGV had never previously beaten on the road, California Baptist, Seattle U and Grand Canyon ... UTRGV's Levi is one of three players in the NCAA averaging at least 5.0 assists (5.6), 2.5 steals (3.0) and 2.0 turnovers or less (1.9) per game ... Grand Canyon dropped its first two home games on Feb. 7 to UTRGV and Feb. 9 to NM State, snapping a nine-game home winning streak ... 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 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 ... 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 ... CBU'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 ... 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 (64.7), scoring margin (12.9), rebounding (38.1), rebounding defense (28.8) and rebounding margin (9.3), while California Baptist is tops in scoring (78.7), free throw percentage (78.6), defensive rebounds (27.5) and three-pointers per game (9.4). UT Rio Grande Valley leads the WAC in three-point field goal percentage defense (32.1), steals (9.7) and turnover margin (5.2), while Grand Canyon is tops in assists (15.0) and assist-turnover ratio (1.2). Seattle U leads the WAC in field goal percentage defense (40.6) and blocks (3.6), while Utah Valley is tops in  field goal percentage (48.4) and three-point field goal percentage (38.7) and CSU Bakersfield leads the league in offensive rebounds (14.4).

Individually, California Baptist's Milan Acquaah leads the WAC in scoring (20.0), while teammate Dejon Davis is tops in rebounding (9.0) and defensive rebounds (6.3). NM State's Eli Chuha leads the league in field goal percentage (64.8), while Utah Valley's Jake Toolson is tops in free throw percentage (86.1) and three-point percentage (47.6). UTRGV's Javon Levi leads the WAC in assists (5.6), steals (3.0) and assist-turnover ratio (2.9), while Kansas City's Rob Whitfield is tops in three-pointers per game (2.6). CSUB's James Suber leads the WAC in offensive rebounds (3.6), while Seattle U's Myles Carter is tops in blocked shots (1.9) and teammate Morgan Means leads the WAC in minutes per game (34.8).

In WAC games only, Grand Canyon leads the league in scoring defense (64.2), scoring margin (12.1), field goal percentage defense (41.5), assists (14.6), assist-turnover ratio (1.1) and defensive rebounds (26.8), while NM State is tops in rebounding defense (28.1), rebounding margin (9.3) and three-pointers per game (8.8). UTRGV leads the WAC in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.7), steals (9.3) and turnover margin (5.5), while Utah Valley is tops in scoring (77.4), field goal percentage (48.5) and three-point field goal percentage (40.4). CBU leads the league in free throw percentage (79.8) and blocks (3.5), while CSUB is tops in rebounding (37.6) and offensive rebounds (14.9).

Individually in WAC games, CSUB's Jarkel Joiner leads the league in scoring (19.9), while CBU's Davis is tops in rebounding (9.4) and defensive rebounds (6.1). NM State's Chuha leads the league in field goal percentage (62.3), while CSUB's Rickey Holden is tops in free throw percentage (90.7) and UVU's Isaiah White leads the WAC in three-point percentage (59.1). Levi tops in assists (6.1), steals (3.6) and assist-turnover ratio (3.1), while Chicago State's Travon Bell leads the WAC in three-pointers per game (2.6). CBU's Zach Pirog is tops in blocks (2.3), while teammate Acquaah leads the league in minutes per game (35.5) and CSUB's Suber is tops in offensive rebounds (4.1).

UTRGV'S LEVI APPROACHING MULTIPLE PROGRAM, WAC STEALS RECORDS
With 96 steals this season, UT Rio Grande Valley sophomore Javon Levi needs nine more to tie the program record for steals in a single season (105) set by Mire Chatman in 2001-02. His current total also ranks tied for third in the WAC record books, 12 away from second place. He already broke the record for steals in a season during WAC play (54) and has one WAC game remaining. Meanwhile, his 3.60 steals per game average in WAC play will be a new record and his 3.00 overall average ranks third in WAC history. Levi also ranks eighth in UTRGV history in career steals with 131.

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 315 career long balls, good for 11th 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

959

Matej Kavas

Seattle U

Three-point field goal percentage

6th

44.9

Javon Levi

UTRGV

Steals/game

10th

2.11

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

Three-point field goals made

11th

315

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

Field goals attempted

30th

1,403

Ty Rowell

California Baptist

Three-point field goal percentage

30th

42.4

Eli Chuha

NM State

Double-Doubles

35th

22

Jake Toolson

Utah Valley

Free throw percentage

35th

85.7

Eli Chuha

NM State

Field goal percentage

44th

58

Javon Levi

UTRGV

Assists/game

46th

4.71

Jake Toolson

Utah Valley

Three-point field goal percentage

46th

41.9

Damiyne Durham

CSU Bakersfield

Three-pointers/game

48th

2.58

Rickey Holden

CSU Bakersfield

Free throw percentage

49th

84.5

Jordan Heading

California Baptist

Three-point field goals attempted

50th

610