Long Beach State Returns Home To Host Creighton Tuesday
Dec. 2, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
Game: Long Beach State vs. Creighton
The two-point guard lineup that the 49ers have utilized the last two games has paid off for the 49ers in terms of ball control. With both Caffey and Branford Jones in the starting lineup, Long Beach State has had just 32 turnovers in the last three games, an average of just over 10 per game.
Dan Jennings continues to lead the Big West in rebounding, even after three ranked opponents and opponents on the season already. The senior is averaging just under a double-double with 12.4 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game on the year.
Mike Caffey and Dan Jennings each scored over 20 points Saturday at Washington, the first such effort for the 49ers since the UCLA game last season on Dec. 18, 2012. The pair has scored in double-figures together in five of eight games this season.
At home this season, the 49ers have outscored their opponents by 6.5 points on the year, and are out-rebounding their foes by 5.5 rebounds per game. Defensively, the 49ers have held opponents to 38.7 percent shooting in the Walter Pyramid, and haven't allowed 75 points at home during the season.
After scoring 12 points against Loyola Marymount, junior A.J. Spencer has secured a spot in the starting lineup, scoring in double-figures in five of the last six games. The junior college transfer scored a career high 14 points against VCU, and is third on the team with an 8.6 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 fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 8.6 points per game and is second on the team with 17 assists.
Junior college transfer David Samuels has played well in his first few games at the Division I level, averaging 6.9 points per game while placing second on the team in rebounds with 5.8 per game behind senior Dan Jennings.
THIS AND THAT
Long Beach State will again face 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 will bring in a Big East opponent into the Walter Pyramid when Creighton arrives on December 3, and Missouri (1/4) is also receiving votes in both polls. The 49ers have also played Kansas State twice, and along with last Saturday's Washington game, a trip to NC State and a home meeting with USC still remain among games against the BCS conferences.
Long Beach State's strength of schedule is also objectively among the highest - the 49ers currently rank as having the No. 8 SOS as ranked by kenpom.com,
The 49ers' seven-game skid is the longest since the 2007-08 season; Long Beach State lost the final eight games of Monson's first campaign, and dropped the first two the next season in a 10-game losing streak over two years.
Unlucky is the only word for it -- the 49ers have lost all three games that the team has shot over 50% thus far in the season, contributing to the teams overall record, in a mark that is an outlier in performance.
Doug McDermott returns as the star of Creighton; the 2012-13 first-team All-American came back for his senior season, and leads the Bluejays with 24.9 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per contest. McDermott is sixth in the country in scoring entering the game.
Despite McDermott's recent performance, Creighton dropped two games at the Wooden Legacy this past weekend, falling to San Diego State and George Washington in the final two games of the tournament. That dropped Creighton out of the rankings, where they had come into last week ranked No. 20.
The Bluejays still have one of the nation's top offenses; Creighton ranks 35th in scoring at 84.1 points per game,and are third in 3-pointer makes per game at 11.1. Oustide, Creighton is led by Ethan Wragge, who has made 25-of-48 attempts from three this season, shooting 52.1 percent.
As a team, the Blujays are shooting over 50 percent (209-417), led by Devin Brooks who is third on the squad in scoring at 10.4 points per game on 57.8 percent shooting.