This Week in Pac-10 Men's Basketball
Dec. 20, 2004
The Pac-10 posted a perfect 11-0 record last week. Six of those contests were decided by five or fewer points... Non-conference action starts winding down as teams begin preparations for Pac-10 play. League play opens Dec. 31.
DIJON THOMPSON, UCLA
U.S. BANK PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Thompson, a senior from Inglewood, Calif., scored a career-best 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting, and pulled down 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, as UCLA defeated Michigan 81-79 on Saturday.
Thompson, playing with 13 stitches in his shooting hand and his index finger tapped to his middle finger, scored 17 of his points in the second half. Trailing 77-75, Thompson hit a three-pointer with :44 seconds remaining to give the Bruins the lead for good.
Thompson is UCLA's leading scorer (18.0) and rebounder (8.5). He has led UCLA in scoring four times this season and in rebounding on five occasions.
It's the first weekly honor for Thompson, UCLA's 41st honor all-time.
Pac-10 Player of the Week: Nov. 29 - Nate Robinson, WASH. Dec. 6 - Ike Diogu, ASU. Dec. 13 - Jordan Farmar, UCLA. Dec. 20 - Dijon Thompson, UCLA.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Mon., Dec. 20
Northwestern at Arizona State, 7 p.m.
Tue., Dec. 21
Manhattan at No. 15 Arizona, 7 p.m.
Oregon State at Prairie View, 7:30 p.m.
UCLA at No. 20 Michigan State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
USC vs. Indiana State, 7:30 p.m. (1)
Wed., Dec. 22
Santa Clara at Arizona State, 6 p.m.
Hampton at California, 7 p.m. (2)
Winthrop at Oregon, 7 p.m.
Dartmouth at Stanford, 7 p.m.
USC at Rainbow Classic, TBD (1)
Sacred Heart at No. 17 Washington, 7 p.m.
Washington State at Wyoming, 7 p.m.
Thur., Dec. 23
USC at Rainbow Classic, TBD (1)
Arkansas State or Pepperdine at California, TBD (2)
Montana at Stanford, 7 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 24
Houston at No. 17 Washington, 1 p.m.
Tues., Dec. 28
Coaches/Media Teleconference Call, 10:30 a.m. PT
(1) Rainbow Classic, Honolulu, Hawaii
(2) Office Depot Golden Bear Classic, Berkeley, Calif.
Game times local to site.
Rankings are from Associated Press.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Mon., Dec. 13
Oregon State 69, Bethune-Cookman 56 (DeWitz 16 pts/6 reb, Nash 13 pts)
Stanford 56, Denver 52 (Hernandez 14 points, Grunfeld 13 pts/10 reb)
Tue., Dec. 14
Oregon 73, Bethune-Cookman 65 (Taylor 18 pts, Hairston 17 pts, Crosswhite 15 pts/11 reb)
Sat., Dec. 18
Arizona 48, Marquette 43 (Rodgers 16 pts/6 reb, Adams 14 pts, Frye 11 reb)
Oregon 83, Fresno State 82 (Brooks 16 pts/7 asts, Taylor 15 pts, Leunen 10 reb)
Oregon State 90, Boise State 79 (Stephens 21 pts, DeWitz 17 pts/8 reb, Cuic 15 pts)
Stanford 72, UC Davis 62 (Grunfeld 18 pts, Little 14 pts, Morris 13 pts)
UCLA 81, Michigan 79 (Thompson 29 pts/10 reb, Farmar 11 pts/9 reb, Afflalo 9 pts)
USC 81, Western Michigan 74 (Stewart 21 pts, Guenther 20 pts/8 reb, Pruitt 13 pts)
Washington State 55, Portland 54 (Kelati 17 pts/7 reb, Varem 11 pts/9 reb)
Sun., Dec. 19
Washington 68, North Carolina State 64 (Conroy 12 pts/7 asts, Simmons 12 pts)
ARIZONA's 48 points in the win over Marquette was its lowest point total since a 50-41 loss to Alabama on March 15, 1985, in the first round of the 1985 NCAA Tournament, a span of 531 games. It was the fewest points scored in a UA win in the Lute Olson era and just the sixth time in 685 games under Olson that UA failed to score at least 50 points. Incidentally, the last time Arizona scored fewer than 50 points and won came on Dec. 23, 1982, in a 46-44 win over San Diego State... UA opponents are averaging just 63.9 points per game, the lowest such figure since 1985-86 as well. Arizona has held the opponent to less than 70 points in seven of nine games to date... Five of Arizona's last six games have been decided by five points or less... Arizona is just 7-14 in the final game before Christmas under Lute Olson, including a 5-4 mark in McKale Center.
ARIZONA STATE is 7-1 for the first time since the 1990-91 team went 9-1... Junior F Ike Diogu is now 82-of-91 (.901) from the free throw line on the year. He has made 505 career free throws - just the tenth Pac-10 player to make 500 free throws... Sophomore newcomer Bryson Krueger is averaging 18.5 points in his past two games...ASU is 19-0 in the past four seasons when it shoots 50 percent from the field... Diogu has been fouled when making a shot 66 times in his career and has made the ensuing free throw 48 times.
CALIFORNIA will have had a break of 11 days between games when it hosts Hampton in the Office Depot Golden Bear Classic. The Bears' last contest was a win at San Diego State on Dec. 11... Junior F Rod Benson is averaging 18.0 ppg over the last four games. On the year, Benson has scored 102 points in eight games (12.8 ppg). In the two seasons prior this year, he scored a total of 68 points in 37 games (1.8 ppg)... Junior G Richard Midgely became the 10th player in Cal history to record 100 three-pointers... Coach Ben Braun is 10 wins shy of reaching 500 for his career as a college coach.
OREGON freshman F Maarty Leunen just missed a double-double with career highs in points (9) and rebounds (10) vs. Fresno State... The Ducks were the first team this season to shoot over 40 percent from the floor vs. the Bulldogs. UO made 53.2 percent (33-of-62)... Sophomore G Aaron Brooks has had at least seven assists in five of seven games this season, including seven last week against both Bethune-Cookman and Fresno State... After four straight weekends away from Eugene, Ducks now will not leave Eugene until Jan. 13 (at Washington), and do not leave the Northwest until the end of January (Jan. 27 at Cal)... Ducks are 6-1 for the fifth time in Ernie Kent's eight seasons as head coach.... Freshman F Bryce Taylor is shooting 21-of-35 (.600) the last three games, averaging 17.3 points... The Ducks are riding a 29-game homecourt winning streak against non-conference opponents.
OREGON STATE junior F Nick DeWitz made quite an impact in only his second and third games in a Beaver uniform. In OSU's 69-56 win over Bethune-Cookman last Monday, the transfer from Iowa scored a career-high 16 points in just 13 minutes of work off the bench. In his first OSU start at Boise State on Saturday, DeWitz set several career highs with 17 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks in 27 minutes... OSU is 6-3, but is just six points away from being 8-1 due to a pair of two-point losses ... Freshman F Sasa Cuic, OSU's leading scorer at 14.9 ppg, broke out of a two-game mini-slump in which he only scored nine points by netting 15 at Boise State ... After missing three games with back spasms, junior G Lamar Hurd returned against Boise State ... OSU is shooting 74.9% from the free throw line, just off the school record of 75.0% set in 1965-66 ... Junior G Jason Fontenet has seen his playing time (and scoring) grow, as he averaged 15.4 minutes and 5.6 points the first five games, and 28.3 minutes and 13.0 points in the last four games ... Senior F Jim Hanchett will miss OSU's next two games, as the two-sport athlete rejoins the football team for the Insight Bowl against Notre Dame.
STANFORD junior F Dan Grunfeld led the way offensively in wins over Denver and UC Davis, scoring 13 points against the Pioneers and 18 versus the Aggies. He also collected 10 rebounds at Denver, good for his second season and career double-double. Grunfeld currently ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring (16.8 ppg), and 11th in rebounding (6.1 rpg)... The Cardinal's win over UC Davis was their first in the newly-renovated version of Maples Pavilion. Stanford had started the season with seven games away from home, including two road contests and five neutral court meetings... The win over the Aggies was Stanford's 16th straight on their home floor, dating back to the last weekend of the 2002-03 season.
Despite 13 stitches in his shooting hand and having his index finger taped to his middle finger, UCLA senior F Dijon Thompson connected on 12 of 14 shots against Michigan for a career-high 29 points... Thompson originally injured the hand before the season but aggravated it against Boston College, forcing him to sit out the Bruins' game versus Pepperdine... Freshman G Jordan Farmar came tantalizingly close to collecting his first career double-double against the Wolverines, scoring 11 points and dishing out nine assists. He averages 5.32 assists per game, fifth most in the Pac-10... UCLA leads the Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 25.4 percent from beyond the arc.
USC sophomore G Lodrick Stewart led USC in scoring and broke the 20-point barrier for the third time in the last four games in the Trojans' win over Western Michigan. USC's leading scorer and the Pac-10's eighth most prolific point-producer on the season (14.4 ppg), Stewart contributed 21 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in the Trojans' 81-74 win over the Broncos... Freshman G Gabriel Pruitt scored 13 points and collected two steals in the victory... He is now the Pac-10 steals leader, averaging 2.29 thefts per contest... USC leads the Conference in steals, averaging 10.86 per game, nearly three more on average than the second best Pac-10 team (Arizona - 7.89 spg), with three players (Pruitt - 2.29 spg - 1st, Errick Craven - 1.67 spg - t6th, and Stewart - 1.43 spg - t10th) among the Conference's top 10 for individuals.
WASHINGTON junior G Brandon Roy surprised both fans and No. 12 North Carolina State when he checked in late in the first half of Washington's 68-64 win. Projected to sit out 4-6 weeks with a meniscus tear in his right knee, Roy came back after only 19 days on the sideline, scoring 10 points and playing a key defensive role, guarding Wolfpack G Julius Hodge, the 2004 ACC player of the year, in the game's final minutes. In just 18 minutes Roy made all five of his field goal attempts, blocked a shot and collected two steals... The key to Washington's potent (87.1 ppg) scoring offense? Ball distribution. The Huskies lead the Pac-10 in assists, turnover margin, and assist-turnover ratio, thanks to senior G Will Conroy (6.75 apg) and junior G Nate Robinson (5.56 apg), who rank first and fourth in the Conference in assists.
WASHINGTON STATE senior G Thomas Kelati scored a Cougar season-high 17 points in the 55-54 win over Portland, including 12 points on four of seven three-point shooting. He also contributed seven rebounds, five steals, two assists and a block to the Cougar cause... Need further statistical proof that Dick Bennett is a defensive guru? He has been the Washington State men's basketball coach for 37 games - in 19 of those, the Cougar opponent has scored 55 points or less. WSU held opponents to 55 points or less just 17 times over the seven seasons prior to Bennett's arrival in Pullman... The Cougars have made a three-pointer in each of the last 261 games. The last time WSU did not make a three-pointer was Feb. 18, 1995 at Oregon.