2014-15 Mountain West Men's Basketball Weekly Release - Feb. 23

 

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UPCOMING MOUNTAIN WEST MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Tuesday, February 24 Broadcast Time
UNLV at Utah State* CBSSN 7:30 p.m. MT
New Mexico at Boise State* ESPNU 9 p.m. MT
Wednesday, February 25 Broadcast Time
Nevada at Air Force* ROOT/MWN 7 p.m. MT
San Jos&eacute State at Colorado State* MWN 7 p.m. MT
Fresno State at Wyoming* CBSSN 7:30 p.m. MT
Saturday, February 28 Broadcast Time
Utah State at Air Force* ROOT/MWN Noon MT
San Jos&eacute State at Nevada* MWN 3 p.m. PT
Boise State at 24/22 San Diego State* ESPN2 5 p.m. PT
Wyoming at UNLV* CBSSN 5 p.m. PT
New Mexico at Fresno State* ESPNU 7 p.m. PT
*Mountain West game

 

MW CHAMPIONSHIP RETURNS TO LAS VEGAS
The Mountain West Basketball Championship returns to Las Vegas, Nevada, for 2015. The Thomas & Mack Center has a seating capacity of 18,500 and will play host to the MW championship for the 13th time in the 16-year history of the league.

Seeds for the Mountain West Basketball Championship are determined by the finish of each team in an 18-game regular-season schedule. The winner of the 2015 Mountain West Basketball Championship receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Please visit the Mountain West website TheMW.com for additional information.

To order tickets for the 2015 Mountain West Basketball Championship, contact your local institution’s athletic ticket office.

 

MOUNTAIN WEST IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
After a nine-week absence, San Diego State returned to the Associated Press Top-25 rankings, garnering the No. 24 spot in this week’s listing. The Aztecs remained in the USA Today Coaches’ poll, moving up three spots to No. 22. Boise State and Colorado State continue to receive votes from the Coaches’ panel.

Colorado State, San Diego State and Wyoming have each spent time in the AP Top-25 poll in 2014-15, marking the fifth time in six years that three different MW squads have been ranked in that poll at some point during the season.

 

BRONCOS BECOME FOURTH MW TEAM TO 20 WINS
Boise State joined Colorado State, San Diego State and Wyoming in reaching the 20-win milestone this season. This marks the ninth consecutive year (11th overall) the Mountain West has been home to at least four 20-win programs. A league-record six teams hit the 20-win benchmark in 2012-13.

Boise State has hit the 20-win mark for the third straight season, and fourth time overall, in head coach Leon Rice’s five-year tenure. Rice joins Bobby Dye as the only coaches in program history to register four 20-win seasons. This marks the second time Boise State has strung together three straight 20-win campaigns (1986-89). It is the Broncos’ 11th 20-win season as a Division I program.

Colorado State has compiled the program’s ninth 20-win campaign, and second in three years under head coach Larry Eustachy. Eustachy joins Boyd “Tiny” Grant and current Utah State head coach Stew Morrill as the only coaches in CSU history to lead the team to multiple 20-win campaigns.

San Diego State has posted its 20th 20-win campaign, including its 11th under head coach Steve Fisher, and 10th consecutive.

Wyoming has reached the 20-win threshhold for the third time in five years under head coach Larry Shyatt. The Cowboys have 21 20-win campaigns overall, with this year marking the earliest the Pokes have reached the mark since the ‘51-52 season.

UNLV leads the league with 11 20-win campaigns as a MW member, followed by San Diego State (11), New Mexico (nine), Wyoming (four), Air Force, Boise State and Colorado State (three each) and Fresno State (one).

 

AGGIE COACH PICKS UP MILESTONE VICTORY
Utah State’s victory over Fresno State on Feb. 23 marked the 400th win at USU for head coach Stew Morrill. Morrill, who announced his retirement earlier this season, holds a 400-152 record in 17 years at the helm of the Aggie program. He becomes just the eighth active coach in the NCAA to register 400 wins at his current institution.

 

HOME SWEET HOME
San Diego State has won 29 consecutive games at Viejas Arena and enters the week with the nation’s fifth-longest active home win streak. The Aztecs’ last loss in Viejas Arena was a 69-60 setback to then-No. 6/5 Arizona on Nov. 14, 2013. The 29-game streak is the longest in school history, surpassing a 22-game run from 1966-68.

 

GETTING DEFENSIVE
San Diego State (53.5) ranks third nationally in points allowed this season. The Aztecs have limited 21 of their 28 opponents to fewer than 60 points, including 13 who have been held under the 50-point mark. Wyoming sits just outside the Top 5 on that same list, coming in at No. 6 with a defensive scoring average of 55.2. The Cowboys have held 16 opponents under 60 points, including nine who have been limited to 50 points and three who have surrendered no more than 40. The Mountain West is the only conference with two teams ranked in the Top 6 nationally. Below is a look at the nation’s top six scoring defenses through games of Feb. 22.

 

WOLF PACK ON THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
Nevada ranks sixth nationally in offensive rebounds per game, averaging 14.96 per game. The Wolf Pack has pulled down 10 or more offensive boards in 23 of 26 games this season, including 14 contests with 15 or more.

 

PROTECTING THE RIM
UNLV has registered 187 blocks as a team for a 6.9 per-game average in 2014-15, ranking third nationally in both categories. The Runnin’ Rebel tandem of sophomore forward Christian Wood and freshman forward/center Goodluck Okonoboh accounts for 80 percent of the team’s rejections, boasting 79 and 72, respectively.

 

UNLV’S GOODLUCK OKONOBOH SETS MW FRESHMAN BLOCK MARK
UNLV’s Goodluck Okonoboh continues to add to his Mountain West freshman class record for blocked shots. The freshman forward has 72 rejections through games of Feb. 22, surpassing the 51 tallied by San Diego State’s Skylar Spencer in 2012-13. Okonoboh has amassed 34 of those in MW play, which is also a new freshman class record, eclipsing the 29 collected by former Utah Ute and current Golden State Warrior Andrew Bogut during the Conference portion of the 2003-04 campaign.

 

CSU’S DANIEL BEJARANO IN ELITE GROUP
Colorado State’s Daniel Bejarano became the seventh player in Mountain West history to record 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 200 assists in a career. The senior guard, who hit the milestone on Feb. 7, currently has 1,051 points, 643 rebounds and 217 assists through games of Feb. 22.

 

WYOMING’S LARRY NANCE JR. CLIMBING MW REBOUNDS CHART
Wyoming’s Larry Nance Jr. is closing in on the Mountain West’s Top 5 list for career rebounds (all games). The senior forward, who has missed the last four contests due to illness, has 748 rebounds in his career to rank eighth on the league’s all-time list.

 

CLASS OF THEIR CLASSES
UNLV’s Christian Wood has moved into the Top 5 of the Mountain West’s list of all-time sophomore rebounders. Through games of Feb. 22, Wood has 264 rebounds, which ranks fifth among the league’s sophomore class leaders. Teammate Rashad Vaughn, who is out indefinitely with a knee injury, currently ranks seventh on the freshman class list for scoring with 410 points.

 

INDIVIDUAL BLOCK PARTY
Just a junior, San Diego State forward Skylar Spencer has already moved into the Top 5 on the Mountain West list of career shot-blockers, ranking third with 211 rejections to his credit through games of Feb. 22. Spencer has amassed 104 of those blocks in Conference play to also rank fifth on that career chart.

 

CLEARING THE (OFFENSIVE) GLASS
Nevada’s AJ West is the nation’s top offensive rebounder through games of Feb. 22, boasting 148 boards for a 5.92 average on the offensive end of the glass.

West’s 2014-15 tally of 148 offensive rebounds ranks as the second-best single-season performance in Mountain West history. Boise State’s Ryan Watkins set the league record just last year with 170 offensive boards.

West has amassed 98 offensive rebounds in Mountain West play in 2014-15, which ranks as the second-most in a single season of Conference-only games. He trails Watkins, who racked up a league-record 104 offensive boards in MW-only games last season. West, whose 72 offensive rebounds in 2013-14 rank fourth on the league’s single-season chart, is the only player in MW history to register 70 or more offensive boards in Conference-only games in multiple seasons.

In just two seasons of Conference play, West has amassed 170 rebounds on the offensive end of the glass, ranking him second on the league’s career list for most in Conference-only games. San Diego State’s JJ O’Brien is fourth on that same list, collecting 161 offensive rebounds in a four-year MW career that includes one season at Utah (2010-11). Watkins holds the career mark for most offensive rebounds in MW-only games with 179.

 

30-POINT MAN
Boise State’s Derrick Marks has scored at least 30 points in a game nine times in his career, the most by a Bronco in program history. Marks has reached the 30-point plateau five times in 2014-15, surpassing his tally of three from the 2012-13 campaign. He is just the fourth Bronco to eclipse 30 points three times in a season and the first to do so in two different seasons. Marks’ five 30-point games in 2014-15 rank fifth on the league’s all-time chart, while his nine career 30-point performances is third.

 

ICE AT THE CHARITY STRIPE
Wyoming’s Riley Grabau enters this week’s action as the nation’s top free throw shooter, converting 74-of-78 attempts for a 94.9 rate at the charity stripe through games of Feb. 22. Players must average 2.5 made free throws per game in order to be ranked.

 

MW TRIO ON INAUGURAL AWARD WATCH LISTS
Wyoming’s Larry Nance Jr. and UNLV teammates Christian Wood and Rashad Vaughn are among those vying for a pair of inaugural awards being presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Nance and Wood have been named to the 16-member watch list for the 2015 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award, while Vaughn is one of 16 candidates for the 2015 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.

Named after the Hall of Famer and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, the Malone Award will recognize the top power forward in Division I men’s college basketball. The West Award, named after the Hall of Famer and 1959 NCAA Final Four Most Valuable Player, will honor the top shooting guard in Division I men’s college basketball.

A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch lists for both awards. Each watch list will be narrowed down to five players by early March, and the five finalists will be presented to West, Malone and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winners of the West and Malone awards will be presented at ESPN’s new College Basketball Awards in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 10. The Awards will be televised live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET.

 

DIALING FROM LONG DISTANCE
UNLV currently holds the NCAA record for consecutive games with at least one made 3-pointer. Since the official adoption of the 3-point rule at the start of the 1986-87 season, the Runnin’ Rebels have connected on at least one trey in all 934 of their games. UNLV, Princeton, Vanderbilt are the only three teams in the country to have made at least one 3-pointer in every one of their games since the rule was implemented.

 

WORKING OVERTIME
There have been 15 overtime games played by Mountain West teams in 2014-15. Five MW teams are perfect in overtime outings this season (Boise State 3-0; Wyoming 2-0; Air Force 1-0; Colorado State 1-0; Nevada 1-0). The Wolf Pack was the last MW team this season to play an overtime contest, earning a 66-63 victory over New Mexico on Feb. 14.

 

400 WINS AND COUNTING
The Mountain West is home to three 400-win head coaches. Through games of Feb. 22, Utah State’s Stew Morrill has amassed a 618-291 (.680) record over a 29-year head coaching career. San Diego State’s Steve Fisher is 518-264 (.662) in 25 seasons as a head coach, while Colorado State’s Larry Eustachy has compiled a 467-288 (.619) career record over a 24-year span.

 

RAMS STRONG OUT OF THE GATE
Colorado State opened the season with a 14-game win streak before seeing the run end with a Jan. 3 loss at New Mexico. The 14-0 start marked the best undefeated opening to a campaign in program history, surpassing the previous record of 6-0, which was accomplished three times (1970-71; 2005-06; 2012-13). The 14-game win streak was also the longest in program history, eclipsing the previous school record of 11, set during the 1988-89 season.

Colorado State went 13-0 in non-conference play, becoming the third team in the 16-year history of the Mountain West to end its non-league slate undefeated. The Rams join San Diego State, who entered the 2010-11 MW slate with a perfect 15-0 record in non-conference action, and Wyoming, who brought a 13-0 mark against non-league opponents into its 2012-13 Conference opener. The Cowboys added a 14th non-conference victory in early February of that season, making the Rams, Aztecs and Pokes the only three teams in MW history ever to go undefeated in regular-season non-conference play.

 

MOUNTAIN WEST NETWORK