New Mexico State topples Utah Valley 72-49
Who is the best team in the WAC?
That question was on the minds of many coming into Saturday night. After New Mexico State dropped games to Texas-Pan American and UMKC a couple of weeks ago, it looked like the Aggies might not be as dominant in the WAC as originally expected.
Such doubts may have been silenced tonight when NMSU cruised to a win against the previously undefeated Wolverines. The Aggies' victory can be largely attributed to their inside scoring, where Tshilidzi Nephawe and Daniel Mullings were able to do some damage together, scoring 15 and 21 points respectively. While Nephawe bullied his way into the paint, Mullings drove to the hoop and drew a lot of fouls, converting all 12 of his free-throw attempts. Add in the fact that NMSU shot 56.8 percent as a team and you have a recipe for a shellacking like this one.
The Wolverines were undersized and worn out in the second half. The amount of playing time that Utah Valley gives to its starters has its positives and negatives. Tonight, NMSU exploited a weakness in the system by playing a quicker tempo, thus tiring out Utah Valley's players.
Grand Canyon utilizes a barrage of threes to dispatch UMKC 72-53
As if New Mexico State and Utah Valley didn't have enough to worry about, Grand Canyon is suddenly looking like a possible contender in the WAC.
Two days after beating Chicago State in a nail-biter, the Antelopes came into Kansas City and poured in bucket after bucket from downtown. Grand Canyon attempted 28 total three-pointers, but if you were watching it seemed like even more than that. The 'Lopes did an excellent job finding the open man behind the three-point line, where the Kangaroos neglected to defend for much of the game. Jerome Garrison tallied 20 points for the Antelopes while the versatile Daniel Alexander provided 18 points and eight rebounds.
The win pushes Grand Canyon to 11-10 and 6-2 in the WAC, where they are tied with New Mexico State for second place.
Seattle comes back, defeats Idaho 68-67
Talk about a tale of two halves.
Seattle trailed Idaho at the break 28-40, and then dominated Idaho in the second half 40-27. The Redhawks trailed by as much as 16 points (33-49 with 14:33 to go) during the game. Seattle would then go on a 19-2 run where the game would remain close until the final seconds.
Emmanuel Chibuogwu was the hero of the night, tallying five points in the last nine seconds of the game to give Seattle a win over the Vandals. Jarell Flora gave the Redhawks 16 points in the game and Stephen Madison scored 27 points for the Vandals.
The win draws Seattle back at an even record (10-10) and hopefully provides some momentum for the Redhawks going forward.
Cal State Bakersfield take care of Texas-Pan American, 72-64, on the road
Looks like it's back to the drawing board for the Broncs, who haven't managed to repeat their success from a couple of weeks ago when they blew out Chicago State and UMKC.
Meanwhile, Cal State Bakersfield snaps a four-game losing streak and gets a much-needed win against a flailing UTPA team. The Broncs turned the game into a foul-fest and sent the Roadrunners to the line 34 times. Teams seem to be catching on to the lack of discipline the Broncs have on the defensive end, attacking the basket and taking the trips to the line with pleasure.
UTPA has plenty going for it, with a great offensive attack that distributes the ball to its various scorers excellently. They just aren't able to make up for their defensive woes.
Issiah Grayson notched 27 points including a trio of three-pointers. He has scored at least 15 points in every WAC conference game so far this season and could be competing for more serious conference accolades if the Roadrunners can figure things out and climb the standings after tonight.