This Week in WAC Men’s Basketball – Feb. 20

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NM STATE’S BAKER NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

NM State senior guard Ian Baker has been named Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 13-19. This is his third WAC Player of the Week honor of the season and the fourth of his career.

The Washington, D.C., native had a career night at UT Rio Grande Valley last week, finishing with a career-high 36 points on 61 percent shooting. Baker tallied 11 field goals, three of which came from beyond the arc. The NM State floor general was also 11-of-13 (85 percent) at the free throw line and added seven assists, four rebounds and one steal. Despite playing 39 minutes, Baker didn’t commit a single turnover in the victory.

Other nominees included: Chicago State’s Trayvon Palmer finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and one steal against UMKC … Kyle Steward of UMKC finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in a win over Chicago State … UT Rio Grande Valley’s Nick Dixon finished with 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals in a loss to the Aggies … Ivory Young of Utah Valley averaged 12.5 points, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 rebounds over two games last week.

WAC STAT LEADERS

NM State leads the WAC in scoring (78.7), scoring margin (11.0), field goal percentage (46.7), three-point field goal percentage defense (29.2), rebounding (39.6), rebounding defense (33.0) and rebounding margin (6.6), while CSU Bakersfield is tops in scoring defense (62.9), field goal percentage defense (38.0), steals (8.46), turnover margin (2.04) and offensive rebounds (12.96). Utah Valley leads the league in blocks (3.92), assists (16.15) and defensive rebounds (29.46), while UMKC is tops in three-point field goal percentage (37.6) and three-pointers per game (9.25). Seattle U leads the WAC in assist-turnover ratio (1.11) and UT Rio Grande Valley is tops in free throw percentage (72.3).

Individually, Grand Canyon’s DeWayne Russell leads the WAC in scoring (21.9), assists (5.12) and minutes per game (38.32), while Chicago State’s Trayvon Palmer is tops in rebounding (9.8) and defensive rebounds (6.71). NM State’s Eli Chuha leads the league in field goal percentage (59.4) and offensive rebounds (3.74), while teammates Ian Baker and Braxton Huggins are tops in free throw percentage (85.2) and three-point percentage (43.9), respectively. UT Rio Grande Valley’s Nick Dixon leads the league in steals (2.0) and teammate Antonio Green is tops in three-pointers per game (3.71). Utah Valley’s Isaac Neilson leads the WAC in blocked shots (1.73) and CSU Bakersfield’s Brent Wrapp is tops in assist-turnover ratio (2.97).

In WAC games only, NM State leads the WAC in scoring margin (9.0), three-point field goal percentage defense (27.3), rebounding (40.9), rebounding defense (31.7), rebounding margin (9.2), assists (16.45), assist-turnover ratio (1.26) and offensive rebounds (12.91), while CSU Bakersfield is tops in scoring defense (62.6), field goal percentage (46.0), field goal percentage defense (39.1), blocks (4.18), steals (8.09) and turnover margin (2.18). UMKC leads the league in scoring (78.8) and three-point field goal percentage (38.4), while Grand Canyon is tops in defensive rebounds (28.73), Seattle U leads the WAC in three-pointers per game (8.91) and UTRGV leads the way in free throw percentage (75.7).

Individually in WAC games, Dixon leads the WAC in scoring (21.6) and steals (2.27), while Chuha is tops in field goal percentage (61.7) and offensive rebounds (4.18). Russell leads the WAC in assists (6.18) and minutes per game (39.45), while Palmer is tops in rebounding (10.4) and defensive rebounds (7.64). Baker leads the WAC in free throw percentage (85.5), while Huggins is tops in three-pointers per game (2.73). Utah Valley’s Ivory Young leads the league in three-point percentage (43.9), while CSUB’s Moataz Aly lead the league in blocks (2.0) and Wrapp is tops in assist-turnover ratio (3.62).

GCU’S BRAUN NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT

Grand Canyon redshirt junior Joshua Braun was voted to the Academic All-District 8 Men’s Basketball Team and advances to the national ballot for Academic All-America® consideration, which will be announced on March 2. Braun, who earned his undergraduate degree in business management, is working on a master’s degree in business administration and carries a perfect 4.00 grade-point average. Last year he was honored as a first team Academic All-American®, becoming just the 23rd men’s basketball player in WAC history to earn the honor. The two-time Academic All-WAC honoree was Grand Canyon’s first-ever first team selection in men’s basketball. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA at his current institution.

UMKC WINS FIVE STRAIGHT FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2005

UMKC is currently on a five-game winning streak. The last time the Roos won five straight was during an 11-game run from Jan. 3–Feb. 3, 2005. In addition, UMKC won 11 games at home this season, the most for the program since the 2010-11 campaign.

BARNES RECORDS 100TH VICTORY AT CSU BAKERSFIELD

CSU Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes picked up his 100th victory at the school on Feb. 18 at Seattle U. In his sixth season with the Roadrunners, Barnes is 100-85 (.541). His overall record in 16 years as a head coach is 286-274 (.511).

NMSU’S WEIR BOASTS BEST RECORD OF FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACHES

NM State head coach Paul Weir currently has a 23-4 mark (.852), the best record of all first year head coaches in NCAA Division I. His record is also second to Tim Jankovich at SMU (24-4, .857) for the best mark of all coaches that are in their first year coaching at their current school.

UTRGV’S GREEN MOVING UP PROGRAM, WAC THREE-POINT LISTS

UT Rio Grande Valley sophomore Antonio Green currently ranks second nationally with 104 three-pointers made this season, which ranks fourth in the UTRGV record books, 10 shy of the all-time record, and seventh in the WAC record books, 19 away from the record. With a minimum of four games remaining this season, at his current pace of 3.71 three-pointers per game, Green would finish the season with a UTRGV record 119 treys, good for third all-time in WAC history.

CHICAGO STATE’S SIMS MOVING UP PROGRAM SINGLE-SEASON RECORD BOOKS

Chicago State sophomore Fred Sims Jr. has moved into CSU’s single-season record books in scoring average (seventh, 18.6), points (seventh, 521) and three-point field goals made (10th, 67).
GCU’S RUSSELL EXTENDS DOUBLE-FIGURE SCORING STREAK TO 30 GAMES

Grand Canyon senior guard DeWayne Russell has scored in double figures in 30 straight games, dating back to last season. He has led the Lopes in scoring in 18 of his 25 games played this season. Russell currently ranks 11th in the country in scoring (21.9) and first in minutes per game (38.32).

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