Long Beach State Returns To Action Against Cal State Northridge Saturday
Jan. 24, 2014
Long Beach,Calif. -
Game: Long Beach State vs. Cal State Northridge
Tyler Lamb, a junior transfer from UCLA, became eligible for the 49ers on December 19, and has immediately had a huge impact. Lamb scored 20 points off of the bench against USC, helping the 49ers earn their first win over a Pac-12 opponent at home since 1999 in a 72-71 win. Lamb has scored in double-figures in seven of eight games he's played with the 49ers, and is averaging a team-high 16.9 points per game.
Since the arrival of Travis Hammonds and Tyler Lamb, success hasn't been too far away; defensively, the team has been competitive, making the team's offensive output the key to victory. The key number is shooting 35%; Since Dec. 19, the team is 5-0 when passing that number while going 0-3 when shooting under that mark.
The 49ers have cleaned up their ball-handling over their last 13 games, and it has resulted in better success on the floor. After averaging almost 15 turnovers per game in the first five contests, Long Beach State has averaged 10.1 turnovers per game, nearly five less per game after their 1-4 start.
Senior Dan Jennings continues to put up big numbers for the 49ers in his final season. Jennings ranks fourth in the Big West in rebounding with 7.6 rebounds per game, and is third on the 49ers with 10.0 points per game. Three times Jennings has led the 49ers in scoring, and has topped the team in rebounding ten times in 2013-14, including recording his fourth double-double of the year last Saturday at Cal Poly with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
After scoring 12 points against Loyola Marymount, junior A.J. Spencer has secured a spot in the starting lineup, scoring in double-figures in eight of the last 13 games. The junior college transfer scored a career-high 19 points against Montana State-Billings, and is fourth on the team with an 8.5 ppg average.
Originally serving as a backup to Mike Caffey, Branford Jones forced his way into the starting lineup as an extra ball-handler against VCU, and responded with a breakout game, scoring 19 points in 37 minutes with just one turnover against VCU's havoc defense. The redshirt freshman is continuing to showcase much of the promise the guard showed before going down with an ankle injury in the first game of the year last season. Jones currently ranks seventh on the team in scoring, averaging 4.8 points per game and is second on the team with 39 assists.
Junior college transfer David Samuels picked up his second double-double of the year against UC Davis, putting up 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Aggies. Samuels finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds at NC State while recording his first double-double earlier in the season. His 5.6 rebounds per game rank 14th in the Big West, and second on the team behind Jennings.
The 49ers also bring in freshman Travis Hammonds, who will join Long Beach State after enrolling for the spring semester. Hammonds is a 6-6 guard who hails from Columbia, S.C., and had an outstanding game against UCI, leading The Beach with 12 points. His true breakout came Saturday against UC Davis however, scoring 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting with six rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead the 49ers over the Aggies.
Charles Lockett remains on a redshirt year, and senior forward Edgar Garibay is out for the year with an ACL tear. Nick Shepherd is the latest injury casualty, out with a wrist fracture, and will remain on the sidelines indefinitely.
THIS AND THAT
Long Beach State's strength of schedule is also objectively among the highest - the 49ers closed out non-conference rank as having the No. 3 Non-Conference SOS as ranked by kenpom.com. The LBSU schedule was also ranked No. 2 by WarrenNolan.com at the conclusion of non-conference play.
Unlucky is the only word for it -- the 49ers lost the first three games that the team shot over 50% to start the season, contributing to the team's slow 1-9 start. The 49ers won their first hot shooting game Saturday against UC Davis, hitting a season-high 55.9% of the team's shots (38-68).Meanwhile, the team is just under .500 while shooting under 50% at 5-9.
With Long Beach State's win Dec. 19 against USC, Dan Monson moved into second-place in coaching wins at Long Beach State with 106, passing Seth Greenberg. Monson currently has 110 wins at Long Beach State. The top spot is held by Jerry Tarkanian, who won 122 games as the coach of the 49ers from 1968 to 1973.
ABOUT CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
The Matadors have a trio of dangerous scorers in Stephen Maxwell, Stephan Hicks and Josh Greene, that carry the offensive load for CSUN. All three average over 15 points per game, led by Maxwell at 17.3 points per game.
Greene (1,294) and Hicks (1,173) have both passed the 1,000 point plateau in their careers at Cal State Northridge, and with four points Saturday against the 49ers, Maxwell will join them, giving the Matadors three of their 18 1,000 point scorers playing together at the same time.
Long Beach State leads the series 32-20, and has had great success recently. Long Beach State has won eight straight, dating back to the 2009 season. The 49ers have also won five games in a row in the Walter Pyramid, with Dan Monson losing to Cal State Northridge in his first season at the helm of Long Beach State.
Mike Caffey had a big game for Long Beach State, scoring 22 points to lead the 49esr with five assists as the 49ers held off the Matadors on the road 83-80 in the last meeting between the teams. James Ennis added a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, helping LBSU hold off a CSUN squad that had five players score in double-digits, led by Stephen Maxwell who scored 20.