Jan. 19, 2013
The Long Beach State men's basketball team ended its three-game losing skid in Titan Gym on Saturday night as the 49ers defeated Cal State Fullerton 81-71. Behind double-double performances from James Ennis and Keala King, LBSU extended its win streak to five games and remained in first-place in the Big West (10-8, 6-1). Fullerton falls to 10-8 (3-3 Big West).
Ennis notched his third double-double of the season and extended his double-digit scoring streak to 23 games with tonight's performance where he led the team with 23 points, 19 of which came in the second half. Ennis also had three assists, two steals and was 11-of-12 from the free throw line. He and King led the team with 11 rebounds each, while King posted his second double-double of the season, adding 12 points. Tonight's performance is the second straight game King has scored in double-digits.
For the fifth consecutive game, four 49ers scored in double digits. Mike Caffey tallied his seventh straight game in double-digit scoring with 14, while adding five rebounds and five assists. Deng Deng rounded out the top scorers, chipping in 15, while grabbing six boards.
Long Beach absolutely dominated the rebound game, grabbing a season-high 51 compared to CSUF's 31. They held a Fullerton team that averaged over 80 points per contest to just 71 points and 39% shooting.
"This team grew a lot this week," said Head Coach Dan Monson. "These were character wins for these guys. In both games, we got behind on the road and lost momentum, but they were able to trust each other and pull together to win. This is only the third week these guys have played together as a team and I think their chemistry is really starting to show.
"It was great to see James have such an impressive performance since he's been a little frustrated lately. He showed why he's our best player down the stretch."
The game saw 16 lead changes, six of those coming in the second-half. With 7:39 left in the game, the Titans would take the lead at 60-59, but LBSU didn't let that lead last long as they went ahead 62-60 after a free throw by Deng and layup by King.
Fullerton tied the game at 62 all with 6:24 remaining, but LBSU retook the lead after a three by Deng (65-62). The 49ers then went on a 13-6 run to push their lead to 10 (78-68) with just over one minute to play. CSUF would close to within seven, but the 49ers proved to be too much as they would go on to win by 10, 81-71.
The 49ers led by as many as nine in the first half (34-25), assisted by threes from Peter Pappageorge and Deng. They out-rebounded the Titans 25-15 in the first-half, while holding Fullerton to just 34% shooting from the field (LBSU shot 44%).
Long Beach State will return home next Saturday to face UC Irvine in a Black & Blue Rivalry Series game, presented by Duke's Restaurant and Barefoot Bar. Tip-off is slated for 4:05 pm.
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