Jan. 8, 2013
The LBSU men's basketball team returns to the Pyramid on Wednesday night to face off with Cal State Northridge after a two-game road swing in Central California in which the 49ers went 1-1. The game tips off at 7:05 pm.
The Matadors come to the 'Mid with a 9-6 record, although they are winless in conference this season (0-3). The 49ers are 2-1 in the Big West and 6-8 overall. LBSU leads the all-time series 32-20 and are riding a six-game win streak over the Matadors.
THE 49ERS ON THE INTERNET: Rob Brender will provide play-by-play for the fourth consecutive season. All games can be heard on longbeachstate.com.
LAST TIME OUT | LBSU 77, UCSB 70: The 49ers got back in the win column after an impressive performance versus the Gauchos in which they tallied 10 dunks, four players in double-digit scoring and a field goal percentage of 54.2%. For only the second time this season, they out-rebounded a Div. I opponent (32-31). Mike Caffey led the way in points (19), rebounding (9) and assists (5), while committing zero turnovers.
SCHEDULE STRENGTH: With the non-conference schedule in the rear-view mirror (outside of the BracketBuster), Long Beach State's strength of schedule once again ranked as the most diffi cult in the nation, coming in at No.1 in the Ken Pomeroy SOS rankings. That makes it four years in a row that at least one ranking has put the 49ers on top, reinforcing a philosophy by Dan Monson to play the best. The 49ers have played four ranked teams in 2012-13, and three in this week's Top 10 in Arizona, Syracuse, and Ohio State. Long Beach State has also faced six teams from the power conferences, the most recent coming on Tuesday, December 18 during the 49ers' trip to UCLA.
LOGGING BIG MINUTES: Running a 7-8 man rotation through the fi rst half of the season means that there were plenty of minutes to be had, and the 49ers have two players that rank in the Top 10 in the Big West in average minutes played, led by point guard Mike Caffey, who leads the league, averaging 34.6 minutes per game. Senior forward James Ennis also ranks among the leaders, with Ennis ranking fourth at 32.8 minutes per game. Outside of Long Beach State, only Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge have more than one player averaging more than 30 minutes per contest.
ENNIS FILLING IT UP: Senior James Ennis is currently riding an 18-game streak of scoring in double-figures, and is one of the leading fi gures for Long Beach State. Ennis' 17.5 points per game average is tied for 65th in the nation, and in 2012, Ennis has scored over 20 points four times, including back-to-back games to close out non-conference play against BYU-Hawaii and UCLA. Ennis is fi fth in the league in scoring, and also ranks among the best in the Big West in rebounding, averaging 7.2 boards per game, eighth in the conference while ranking third in blocked shots at 1.9 per game.
CAFFEY PILOTING THE 49ERS: Sophomore guard Mike Caffey has taken the reins of the 49er offense this season, replacing two-time Big West Conference Player of the Year Casper Ware at point guard. As a true freshman, Caffey averaged 5.9 points and 2.2 assists in 21.8 minutes per game. The Riverside, Calif. product finished with a 1.76 assist-to-turnover ratio, handing out 76 assists while only turning the ball over 43 times in 2011-12. This season, Caffey leads the 49ers with 60 assists and is averaging 11.9 points per game, third on the team. Caffey also leads the 49ers in steals with 21, and has a 1.5 assist to turnover ratio through 14 games, helped greatly by a career-high nine assists at No. 4 Syracuse. Caffey is also averaging 17.0 points per game in Big West action.
JENNINGS IN THE POST: Junior center Dan Jennings is in his fi rst season playing for Long Beach State after transferring from West Virginia, and has thrived in the Long Beach lineup, scoring in double-figures in five of the last seven games. On the season, Jennings is averaging 10.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, and has had some of his best performances of the season on the biggest stage. At No. 4 Syracuse, Jennings led the 49ers with a career high 20 points and three blocks while adding seven rebounds, and then scored 16 points and grabbed eight boards at No. 7 Ohio State. Jennings was also one point away from a double-double against No. 11 North Carolina, scoring nine points with a career-best 10 rebounds. In his highest-scoring effort, Jennings scored a career-high 27 points on 13-of-15 shooting at UCLA. He was hampered by a bum ankle and a stomach bug in the road contest with Cal Poly, tallying just two points and two rebounds in the game.
THE TRANSFERS ARE IN: Long Beach State had two more players make their debut in Black and Gold against Pacifi c on 12/29, as both Tony Freeland and Keala King became eligible after sitting out the time required due to NCAA regulations. Freeland scored 15 points while picking up his first start as a 49er, going 4-for-5 from the fl oor and 7-for-8 from the line in over 35 minutes, while King played 19 minutes off of the bench, and grabbed fi ve rebounds, second-most on the team. King had a huge game against Cal Poly, notching a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, a performance that would move him into the starting lineup against UCSB. Freeland comes to Long Beach State from DePaul, while King led Arizona State in scoring last season before departing, averaging 13.7 points per game. Dan Jennings (West Virginia) has played all season for the 49ers, while Edgar Garibay (LMU) saw time against UCLA and Cal Poly.
FINDING THE RANGE: Sophomore guard Kris Gulley shot over 50 percent in the fi rst three games for Long Beach State, and is averaging 6.2 points per game. On Nov. 29 at LMU, Gulley tied a career-high with 12 points, shooting 66 percent and grabbing 10 rebounds, making the team's fi rst double-double of the season, and Gulley has now shot 50% or better in seven of the team's games this season. In 2012-13, Gulley is tied for third on the team with 16 3-pointers, and is shooting 41.3 percent overall while adding 4.1 rebounds per game. Gulley missed the UCSB game due to a concussion, but will be available for the game on Wednesday.
PAPPAGEORGE SPOTTING UP: Senior Peter Pappageorge made the most of his starting opportunities nine straight following his insertion to the lineup at Arizona. One of the team's captains, Pappageorge scored a career high 16 points against the Wildcats, and then topped that effort with 23 points at Fresno State, leading the 49ers in a win over the Bulldogs. Pappageorge made four 3-pointers in each of those games, and is on the team with 20 3-pointers made on 31.0% shooting, averaging 6.9 points per game.
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