Black and Blue Rivalry Matchup Tonight In The Big West Semifinals
The game tips off at 6:30 p.m.
Long Beach, Calif. -
Game: (4) Long Beach State vs. (1) UC Irvine
Date: Friday, March 10, 2017
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Anaheim, Calif.
Arena: Honda Center (18,336)
TV: ESPN3 (Live); ESPNU (Tape Delay)
TV Talent: Sam Farber, Mark Plansky
Radio: KBEACH.org; HD 88.1-3
Radio Talent: Anthony Masterson
Live Stats: statbroadcast.com
• The Black and Blue Rivalry takes center stage in the Big West Semifinals, as Long Beach State and UC Irvine meet up in the semis for the second year in a row. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Honda Center, with live coverage on ESPN3, and then a tape delayed viewing on ESPNU.
• The two teams split the season series, with both teams winning on their home court. Long Beach State won the last tournament meeting between the two teams in the conference semifinals last season behind 17 points from Justin Bibbins.
• Bibbins carried the Beach to a win with a tremendous effort that will live on as one of the better Big West Tournament performances for the 49ers. Bibbins scored a career high 27 points while making six assists in a 72-63 win over Hawai’i. Barry Ogalue also played a big role, putting up the second-best shooting performance for the Beach in BWT history, scoring 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting.
• 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 is second on the team in scoring for the Beach in 2016-17, averaging 13.1 points per game, while adding 4.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game.
• Temidayo 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 also earn second-team All-Big West honors.
• 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 72.3 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, and Bibbins has now made 21 straight after a 9-for-9 night against Hawai’i.
• LBSU led the Big West in scoring in 2016-17, and had five players averaging double-figures in conference play. Evan Payne averaged 15.3 points per game, just in front of Justin Bibbins who averaged 14.6 points per game. Temidayo Yussuf was next, averaging 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 341 assists in three seasons at LBSU, and will pass LBSU’s top scorer Lucious Harris with two more 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 14.4 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 the last three games of the year, Shropshire averaged 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 5.9 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 4.8 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in an average of 11 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, the team set a new program record with its 26th broadcast in the opening round of the Big West Tournament, and will grow with each win the rest of the season.
• 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 ranked in the Top 10 at the end of the year: 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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