Men's Basketball Opens Season Saturday Against Hawaii Pacific
Nov. 4, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
Long Beach State has opened at home in each of the last four seasons in the Walter Pyramid, and has won two in a row. The 49ers have won three of those games, beating Alaska Anchorage 86-65 in 2009-10, and after an 81-65 loss to San Diego State, beat Idaho 69-61 in 2011-12 and won against North Alabama 75-65 last season.
Saturday marks Homecoming on the Long Beach State Campus; the 49ers are 2-0 in the last two seasons while capping Homecoming festivities.
Long Beach State is 7-0 against opponents outside of Division I under Dan Monson. The closest game came against BYU-Hawaii in 2010, a 90-83 win, while the largest win for the 49ers also came against the Sea Warriors, a 36-point 79-43 victory.
Redshirt freshman Branford Jones was injured in last season's home opener, but returns for the 2013-14 season for the 49er backcourt. Jones scored eight points with three assists in his 15 minutes of action against North Alabama.
Senior Dan Jennings is set to have a big season for the 49ers. Jennings averaged 8.4 points per game a season ago for Long Beach State, and lost 25 pounds of weight to help his endurance from a year ago, where he averaged 24.8 minutes per game. Jennings was second on the team behind Ennis in both blocked shots (29) and rebounds (204) on the year, averaging 6.4 rebounds per game.
Despite winning the regular season title outright for the last three seasons, the first Big West team to do so since UNLV in the `80s, Long Beach State was not tabbed to finish first in the Big West, but instead was picked 4th overall in a very close Preseason Media Poll. The 49ers were just one point behind third place Cal Poly and three points behind UC Santa Barbara, while also tallying five first place votes. UC Irvine was picked to finish on top, earning nine first-place votes.
Long Beach State is scheduled to play at least 12 games on national television this season, and could play as many as 17 depending on TV choices. After starting off with a game on the Pac-12 network at Arizona, the 49ers will also play on TV at Kansas State, Washington, NC State, and Missouri. Additionally, all three games of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off will be televised. Long Beach State's Dec. 19 meeting with USC will be carried live on Fox Sport Prime Ticket, as will two home games against Cal Poly and Hawaii. Additionally, five other Big West dates could feature the 49ers in "Wild Card" TV choices from the broadcast partners.
Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Long Beach State ranks fourth among all 24 Division I schools in the state of California in total wins with 66 over that time. Only San Diego State (83), Saint Mary's (80) and UCLA (67) have more in the same time frame.
THIS AND THAT
Long Beach State will again face a grueling non-conference schedule. The 49ers will face two teams ranked in the preseason Top 10, as the 49ers will face No. 5 Arizona in their first road test on November 11. The 49ers will also play No. 9 Michigan in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on November 21. A second Top 25 team could await the 49ers in No. 15 VCU on day two of that tournament, and while unranked currently, any or all of the three teams receiving votes on the 49ers schedule could reach the Top 25 before the teams play: at Kansas State (11/17), at home against Creighton (12/3) and at Missouri (1/4). Also on the schedule are trips to Washington, NC State, and Nevada as well as a home meeting with USC in games against Power Six conferences.
Long Beach State is receiving votes themselves in a poll; Collegeinsider.com's Mid-Major Top 25, where the 49ers stood just outside of the Top 25 with 100 points. From the Big West, UC Santa Barbara was ranked 17th, while UC Irvine also received votes in the poll.
ABOUT HAWAII PACIFIC
The Sea Warriors return their top scorer from a year ago in G/F Malte Ziegenhagen. Ziegenhagen, a transfer from Tulane, averaged 14.8 points per game for Hawaii Pacific last year, starting in 18 games for the Sea Warriors. Ziegenhagen was the top scorer in both all games and in conference, and shot over 40 percent from three points one season ago (65-of-151).
Three-pointers were a big part of the Sea Warrior offense one season ago, accounting for 35% of the teams total offense. Ziegenhagen led the team with 65 makes, but in all, the team hit 211 three-pointers in 26 games, an average of over eight per game.
Ziegenhagen hails from Berlin, one of three international Hawaii Pacific players. Center Farbod Farman comes from outside of the United States, with a hometown of Mashhad, Iran, and transfered to HPU from Missouri State-West Plains, while Rema Lescelles is a redshirt freshman from Derby, England. The Sea Warriors have no players from Hawaii on the roster, recruiting from Florida, Minnesota, Alaska, and New York along with the overseas group.