Toreros play at Vegas Holiday Hoops event Dec. 22 & 23

USDTOREROSDOTCOM Ken Rancifer averaging 19.7 ppg over last three games
Ken Rancifer averaging 19.7 ppg over last three games

Dec. 20, 2012

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GAMES #13 & #14: The USD Toreros (6-6) head to Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend for two games in the Vegas Holiday Hoops event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena (7,500 capacity). The Toreros take on Oregon State University (8-2) on Saturday, Dec. 22nd, at 6:00 pm, followed by Sunday's 3:30 pm contest against James Madison (4-6).

VEGAS HOLIDAY HOOPS SCHEDULE: (Sat., Dec. 22) - USD vs. Oregon State (6pm), James Madison vs. San Jose State (8pm). (Sun., Dec. 23rd) - New Orleans vs. Boise State (1pm), USD vs. James Madison (3:30 pm).

SERIES RECORD: This will just the third time USD and Oregon State have met with the series tied at 1-all... Oregon State won the last meeting during the 2001-02 season in Corvallis, Oregon (65-56)... The Toreros won the first-ever meeting during the 2000-01 campaign in San Diego (82-71). That contest was just the second game played by the Toreros in their newly constructed Jenny Craig Pavilion - the contest was billed as USD's "Torero Tip-off", with the Torero women hosting USC in the earlier contest that evening. Sunday's game with James Madison will be USD's first meeting against the JMU Dukes.

RADIO-TV: All USD home and away games will be broadcast live on XX 1090 AM or ESPN 1700 AM with Andy Masur (6th season) bringing you all the action; his pre-game show will air 15 minutes prior to tip-off. Both of these games will air on XX 1090 AM. Saturday's game will also be televised by the Pac-12 Networks with Ted Robinson (play-by-play) and Ernie Kent (color analyst).

A LOOK AHEAD: Following Christmas the Toreros will close out their nonconference slate with a home game against Morgan State on Saturday, Dec. 29th (7:30 pm).

WCC STANDINGS (thru Dec. 19th): Gonzaga (11-1), Santa Clara (9-2),Saint Mary's (8-2), BYU (8-3), Pepperdine (7-4), USF (5-4), San Diego (6-6), Portland (6-6), LMU (5-5).

COACH GRIER (6TH YEAR): Coach Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990) is in his sixth season at the helm of the USD program... He enters the Oregon State contest with a 6-6 mark this season... Last season's squad finished 13-18, but won 4 of its final 6 regular-season WCC games and then advanced to the quarterfinals of the WCC Championships before falling to BYU by just 5 points... The 2010-11 season was highlighted by a 74-66 home win over #23 Saint Mary's, along with a 67-64 win over Utah... The 2009-10 season was highlighted by wins over Stanford, #25 Oklahoma, Houston and Boise State... His 2008-09 campaign (16-16) was highlighted by road wins over Oregon and Mississippi State... In his rookie year (2007-08) he guided the Toreros to an overall mark of 22-14 and 3rd place finish in the WCC race at 11-3... He guided the Toreros to three wins and the championship title at the WCC Tournament with wins over Pepperdine, Saint Mary's and No. 20 Gonzaga... The Toreros then upset No. 15 UCONN in the NCAA Tournament opener with a 70-69 overtime victory, before falling to Western Kentucky in the second round... His 11 WCC wins were the second most for league wins in a single season in program history... Grier is USD's 11th head coach overall and just the 4th head coach since the Torero program moved to the NCAA Division I ranks in 1979-80... His 22 wins in 2007-08 were also the most by a Torero coach in his first season at USD. In addition to knocking off Kentucky on the road, 81-72, the Toreros earned three wins over Top-25 teams: #21 Saint Mary's, #20 Gonzaga and #15 Connecticut... Bill and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters, Giselle & Ashley.

TORERO TIDBITS: This weekend's games will be USD's first neutral site contests of the season... USD is currently 1-4 in away contests with their lone win being a 67-53 decision at Southern Utah back on December 4th... Senior forward Ken Rancifer is averaging 19.7 points over USD's last three contests - he has led the team in scoring in all three contests (16 vs. Tulane, 27 vs. Arizona Christian, 16 vs. SDSU)... Sophomore guard Johnny Dee (team-best 14.5 ppg) is the only WCC player this season to have earned two league player of the week honors (Nov. 19 & Dec. 10)... The Toreros are 4-1 this season with senior center Chris Manresa in the lineup (missed games 2-8 with back issues)... Sophomore guard Christopher Anderson dished out a season-high 9 assists vs. #15 SDSU; he ranks 3rd in the WCC in assists (6.2) and 2nd in steals (2.8).

TOREROS FALL IN CITY CHAMPIONSHIP, 72-56: The Toreros dropped a 72-56 decision to the 15th-ranked SDSU Aztecs at Viejas Arena last Saturday. Senior forward Ken Rancifer scored a game-high 16 points but it wasn't enough as the long and athletic Aztecs won their 8th straight game to improve to 8-1 on the year. The Toreros, who also received double-digit performances from Chris Manresa (11 points, 7 rebounds) and Christopher Anderson (11 points, 9 assists), saw their season record even up at 6-6. The Toreros played well out of the gates and held leads on six different times in the first half with the last coming at 18-16 with 10:16 to go on a Mike Davis (9 points) layup. Five straight Aztec buckets over the next 4:21, including the last two being three-pointers by Chase Tapley, gave SDSU a 28-18 advantage with 5:55 to go. The Toreros would get within six points at 32-26, but the Aztecs would close out the half 7-0 run and 39-26 intermission lead. In the second half the Aztecs would build their lead to as many as 22 points (59-37) and cruise to their 7th straight win in the series.

SCOUTING OREGON STATE & JAMES MADISON: Oregon State (8-2) of the Pac-12 conference heads to Las Vegas riding a four-game winning streak... In fact, their only two losses of the season have been by 3 points (vs. Alabama, Nov. 15th) and by 6 points (@ #10 Kansas, Nov. 30)... In their most recent win over Howard (69-53), 6-10 forward Eric Moreland notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds... Five Beavers average double-digit scoring led by junior guard Roberto Nelson (16.1 ppg); he is followed by 6-8 forward Devon Collier (15.1), junior guard Ahmad Starks (13.2), senior center Angus Brandt (11.3), and senior center Joe Burton (10.3)... Moreland averages 9.5 ppg, but averages 10.6 boards... Head Coach Craig Robinson is in his 5th year and owns a OSU record of 72-73. James Madison (4-6) of the Colonial Athletic Association, takes a record of 4-6 into their Saturday game with San Jose State (5-4)... The Dukes earned their 4th victory in their last outing, an 85-73 home win over UNC-Greensboro on Dec. 16th... Senior forward Rayshawn Goins led the way with 23 points and 11 boards, along with 22 points-9 rebounds from senior guard Devon Moore... Goins leads four Dukes in double-digit scoring at 14.4 ppg; he is followed by senior forward Andrey Semenov (11.6), Moore (10.9) and freshman guard Andre Nation (10.2)... Head Coach Matt Brady (5th season at JMU) owns a record of 71-73.