Jan. 24, 2014
Long Beach,Calif. -
Game: Long Beach State vs. Cal State Northridge
Date: Saturday, January 25, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m., PST
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Arena: Walter Pyramid (4,200)
TV Talent: None
Radio: KBEACH.org; HD 88.1-3
Ra,/dio Talent: Rob Brender
Live Stats: longbeachstate.com
The 49ers will have their first solo game week of the season, playing only on Saturday against Cal State Northridge. With the Big West back at nine teams, one team has the day off on each scheduled day of games. Saturday's game with Cal State Northridge is the first of two such dates for Long Beach State, the next coming Feb. 20 at UC Davis. The Thursday "bye" also gives the 49ers a full week to prepare for the Matadors.
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.
Rob Brender returns for his fifth season of play-by-play for Long Beach State. His audio call can be found at kbeach.org and on 88.1-3 HD Radio or via the KBEACH Radio App. All untelevised home games will also be streamed live at www.bigwest.org/tv.
Junior Mike Caffey received Preseason All-Big West honors, one of six players picked one season after earning First-Team All-Big West honors as a sophomore. Caffey is second on the 49ers in scoring with 16.2 points per game, ranking sixth in the Big West and has scored over 20 points five times on the year, including a game-high 26 at Nevada. Caffey is also leading the team with 77 assists, and is third in rebounding with 4.3 boards per game. His 34.56 minutes per game average is also the highest in the Big West this season. Finally, Caffey needs just 13 points against Cal State Northridge to reach 900 points scored in his career.
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 once again faced a grueling non-conference schedule. The 49ers faced No. 5 Arizona in their first road test on November 11, and continued to play two more Top 15 opponents in No. 14 Michigan and No. 10 VCU at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The 49ers also faced a Big East opponent into the Walter Pyramid when Creighton arrived December 3. The 49ers have also played Kansas State twice, beat USC at home, travelled to Washington and NC State, and closed out non-conference play with a trip to No. 25 Missouri.
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
Cal State Northridge enters Saturday's game with a 2-3 overall mark in Big West play, winning at home against UC Davis and Hawai'i before dropping three straight in its last three games. Most recently, the Matadors fell on the road at Big West leading UC Irvine 72-66.
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.
Long Beach State will hit the road for their longest trip of the conference season, heading to the Stan Sheriff Center in Hawaii to face the Rainbow Warriors on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 9 p.m. PT.
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