Long Beach State Begins Postseason Thursday Against Hawai'i
The Big West Quarterfinals begin for the Beach Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
Long Beach, Calif. -
Game: (4) Long Beach State vs. (5) Hawai'i
Date: Thursday, March 9, 2017
Time: 8:30 p.m.
Location: Anaheim, Calif.
Arena: Honda Center (18,336)
TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket
TV Talent: Mark Rogondino, Corey Maggette
Radio: KBEACH.org; HD 88.1-3
Radio Talent: Anthony Masterson
Webcast: Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: statbroadcast.com
It's a rematch to open the Big West Tournament for Long Beach State, as the Beach will face Hawai'i Thursday night in the quarterfinals. Tipoff will be at 8:30 p.m. in the final game of the day, and the contest will be televised live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
Hawai'i has won both meetings between the teams in the Big West Tournament. The Rainbow Warriors knocked out the Beach in the quarterfinals two seasons ago, and then last season, advanced to the NCAA tournament with a 64-60 win in the championship game.
Long Beach State won an 84-75 game against the Rainbow Warriors in the final game of the regular season. Temidayo Yussuf scored 23 points on 9-for-9 shooting to key the win. That shooting night was the second-best in school history, behind only a 13-for-13 performance from Mate Milisa in 1999.
Yussuf led the Big West in field goal percentage over conference play at .578 and averaged 13.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game over league action, helping the sophomore earn second-team All-Big West honors.
Junior point guard Justin Bibbins was a second-team All-Big West selection for the season straight season. The junior led the Big West in free throw percentage and assists in conference play, and second on the team in scoring for the Beach in 2016-17, averaging 12.6 points per game, while adding 4.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Leading scorer Evan Payne and leading rebounder Roschon Prince also both earned Honorable Mention All-Big West selection. With four 49ers garnering the honor in 2016-17, it matched the most for the Beach since the 2012-13 campaign.
LBSU has been fantastic from the free throw line in 2016-17, now shooting 72.2 percent from the charity stripe. That would be the third-best single-season mark in school history. Leading the way individually are Evan Payne and Justin Bibbins, who both rank in the league's Top 5. After the regular season, Bibbins and Payne ranked one/two in school history in single-season free throw percentage.
LBSU led the Big West in scoring in 2016-17, and had five players averaging double-figures in conference play. Evan Payne is averaged 15.3 points per game, just in front of Justin Bibbins who is averaged 14.6 points per game. Temidayo Yussuf was next, avearging 13.6 points per game while Roschon Prince averaged 13.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, Noah Blackwell was also averaging 13.0 points per game prior to his injury, and closed the year averaging 11.6 points per game.
Five different players for Long Beach State have recorded a double-double this season, the most in the Big West. Temidayo Yussuf joined Mason Riggins with one this season after scoring 14 points with 13 rebounds in the 49ers' last game against UC Davis, while Roschon Prince (9) and Gabe Levin (3) have recorded multiple double-doubles this season. Additionally, Justin Bibbins recorded the only double-double not with rebounds this season, making 11 assists with 11 points in Long Beach State's January 7 win over UC Riverside.
Justin Bibbins has now reached the Top 10 in career assists at Long Beach State, passing Bobby Sears with 335 assists in three seasons at LBSU, and will pass LBSU's top scorer Lucious Harris with eight assists in the Big West Tournament.
A transfer from LMU, Evan Payne has helped carry the scoring load in his first season at Long Beach State, leading the team in scoring 14 times and averaging 14.9 points per game, best on the team. Payne passed 1,000 points scored between his time at LMU and LBSU in week one, and is the career leader in Division I scoring on the team, now with over 1,400 points in three seasons.
Roschon Prince had a tremendous second half of the season. In Big West play, Prince was the league's No. 2 rebounder at 9.4 boards per game, and the junior led the league with seven double-doubles in 16 conference games. The forward finished the regular season third on the team averaging 9.6 points per game to go with 7.0 rebounds.
Long Beach State played without Noah Blackwell throughout most of February, but the sophomore returned Feb. 23rd following a foot injury that cost him six games. Blackwell was leading the conference in 3-pointers made, and averaging 13.0 points per game in Big West play prior to his injury.
The Beach has gotten an unexpected lift from Anson Moye and Quentin Shropshire. Moye, a former walk-on, has started six games this season with an emphasis on defense, while two-sport athlete Shropshire has worked his way into the rotation after previously competing with the Big West Champion Men's Track and Field program. Over his last three games, Shropshire is averaging nearly three points and rebounds per game.
Sophomore Mason Riggins and freshman Loren Jackson have been two of Long Beach State's most consistent bench players. Two of four players to play in every game this season, Jackson is averaging 6.3 points and 1.6 assists per game as the primary backup to Bibbins at the point guard position, while Riggins is averaging 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game as the team's first big man off the bench.
Junior college transfer Barry Ogalue has been a sparkplug off of the bench. The Yuba CC transfer scored a career high 21 points against the Master's, and is now averaging 4.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game in an average of just over 10 minutes per game.
Junior Gabe Levin had an outstanding start to the season, putting up three double-doubles, including two against back-to-back ranked opponents in North Carolina and Louisville. Scoring in double-figures in 12 games, Levin led the team in rebounding, but suffered a knee injury prior to conference play and is out for the season after undergoing successful surgery. Levin was one of seven players selected for the preseason All-Big West team before the start of the season along with Justin Bibbins.
Long Beach State announced the signing of Jordan Roberts in November period; a 6-8 guard out of Ridgeview High School in Bakersfield. An athletic wing player with Ridgeview High School, Roberts averaged just under 14 points and nine rebounds per game while adding 3.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game for the Central Section finalists that finished the 2015-16 campaign with a 28-3 overall record.
THIS AND THAT
In the last three years, Long Beach State has had a national broadcast of more than 20 games in each year, including a program record of 25 in 2014-15. That's more than any other program in the Big West, and an average of 70% of the 49ers' contests. This season, 25 of the team's regular season games will be televised, with the opening round of the Big West Tournament setting a new program record.
Head Coach Dan Monson is the winningest coach at Long Beach State, with more victories than basketball luminaries such as Jerry Tarkanian, Tex Winter, and Seth Greenberg who have also coached at the Beach. Now with 105 conference wins in 10 seasons, Monson is the 7th coach in Big West history to record 100 conference wins. Under Monson, Long Beach State has also made the postseason in four out of the last six seasons.
Over the past eight seasons, Long Beach State has ranked no lower than sixth in the nation in non-conference strength of schedule, and the Beach has ranked in the top four in each of the last five years, including leading the nation both in 2012-13 and last season.
The slate wasn't any easier in the non-conference schedule in 2016-17 for Long Beach State, ending up as the fourth strongest in the nation per Ken Pomeroy. The Beach played four teams currently in the Top 15 in Kansas, Louisville, UCLA and North Carolina and faced six teams that advanced to the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
LBSU's first return to the Walter Pyramid came after a nine-game road swing that totaled 15,125 miles in travel, and featured games against four teams now ranked in the Top 15: North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA and Kansas. In total, Long Beach State traveled 23,000 miles in the course of the non-conference slate.
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