Long Beach State plays at No. 4 Syracuse, No. 7 Ohio State in televised road trip
Dec. 4, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. -
No. 4 Syracuse (6-0, 0-0 BIG EAST)
5 p.m. -- Carrier Dome (34,616)
Thursday, December 6, 2012 (ESPN2)
Long Beach State (3-4, 0-0 Big West)
THE 49ERS ON TELEVISION: Both games for the 49ers this week will be televised nationally. Saturday's game at No. 7 Ohio State will be carried by the Big Ten Network, while Thursday's game at No. 4 Syracuse will be on ESPN2. Bob Wischusen will call the action while former 49er head coach Seth Greenberg will provide analysis against the Orangemen.
THE 49ERS ON THE INTERNET: Rob Brender will provide play-by-play for the fourth consecutive season. All games can be heard on longbeachstate.com.
GREENBERG ON THE MIKE: Seth Greenberg will be in the booth for ESPN2 on Thursday night, but the first time Long Beach State played Syracuse, Greenberg was on the floor during his first season as the head coach for the 49ers during in a 94-79 win for Syracuse. In six seasons with Long Beach State, Greenberg compiled a 105-70 record, leading the 49ers to a pair of NCAA appearances in 1992-93 and 1994-95. The only other time the two teams have met was in 2008 under Dan Monson, a 79-55 Syracuse victory.
SCHEDULE STRENGTH: Long Beach State's strength of schedule, currently ranked 38th, will take a spike by playing two Top 10 opponents on the road this weekend. Under head coach Dan Monson, these games are the 26th and 27th against power conference teams, and games 17 and 18 against ranked opponents. The 49ers have four wins over power six schools under Monson, and have beaten two ranked teams, both coming last season as Long Beach State won at No. 9 Pittsburgh and against No. 14 Xavier.
BACK TO BACK GAMES AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS: Having already played No. 11 North Carolina on Friday, Nov. 16 in Long Beach, the 49ers then played No. 10 Arizona in Tucson, on Nov. 19, giving the team back-to-back matches against ranked opponents. That was just the first of two times the 49ers will play two straight ranked teams, as LBSU has two more this week, traveling to Syracuse and Ohio State, ranked No. 4 and No. 7 respectively in this week's polls. The Nov. 19 game with Arizona marked the first time that Long Beach State has played two straight ranked foes since 2009, when the 49ers played at No. 3 Kentucky (12/23) and No. 7 Duke (12/29). Outside of the postseason, this week marks the fourth time the 49ers have played back-to-back ranked opponents under Dan Monson as opposed to only once under any other LBSU coach. (Tex Winter; Jan 5-6, 1979)
LAST TIME OUT | Fresno State 64, LBSU 59: Senior James Ennis scored 23 points and grabbed 13 boards, both career highs, but the effort wasn't enough as Fresno State avenged a Long Beach State victory on the road three games ago in a 64-59 defeat. Deng Deng added 11 points for the 49ers his fourth game in double-digits but .296 shooting in the second half, including going 0-for-7 from three, doomed the 49ers to the loss. Tyler Johnson led the Bulldogs with 19 points, leading Fresno State in an effort where Long Beach State both out-shot and out-rebounded the Bulldogs on the game, despite the loss.
HOME AND HOME: Fresno State and Long Beach State have engaged in a scheduling quirk, putting together a home-and-home package in the same season. This setup marks the first time since the beginning of the conference play era that the 49ers have played the same non-conference team twice in the same season. However, both teams ended up winning the road contest; with the 49ers winning 69-61 in Fresno before Monday's loss.
ENNIS NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-BIG WEST TEAM: James Ennis was named to the preseason All-Big West Conference Team by the league's media. Ennis, the 49ers' lone returning starter from the 2011-12 club that finished 25-9 overall, earned All-Big West Honorable Mention recognition last season after averaging 10.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. The 6-7 guard/forward also ranked No. 2 in the conference in steals (1.6 spg). In 2012-13, Ennis has led the 49ers in scoring four times, including a game-high 18 against No. 11 North Carolina, and is tops on the team in scoring average at 16.4 points per game, ranking 8th in the Big West. Ennis is also among the Big West leaders in rebounding at 7.9 per game (3rd) and blocks at 1.71 per game (3rd).
CAFFEY WILL PILOT THE 49ERS: Sophomore guard Mike Caffey takes the reins of the 49er offense replacing two-time Big West Conference Player of the Year Casper Ware at point guard. As a true freshman, Caffey averaged 5.9 points and 2.2 assists in 21.8 minutes per game. The Riverside, Calif. product finished with a 1.76 assist-to-turnover ratio, handing out 76 assists while only turning the ball over 43 times in 2011-12. This season, Caffey leads the 49ers with 29 assists and is averaging 11.4 points per game, second on the team. Caffey also leads the 49ers in steals with nine, and has a 1.21 assist to turnover ratio through six games.
FINDING THE RANGE: Sophomore guard Kris Gulley shot over 50 percent in the first three games for Long Beach State, and is leading the team in shooting percentage while averaging 8.7 points per game. Last Thursday at LMU, Gulley tied a career-high with 12 points, shooting 66 percent and grabbing 10 rebounds, making the team's first double-double of the season, and Gulley has now shot 50% or better in six of the team's seven games this season. In 2012-13, Gulley leads the team with 13 3-pointers, and is shooting 56.5 percent behind the arc, and 55.3 percent overall while adding 5.4 rebounds per game.
PAPPAGEORGE ON FIRE: Senior Peter Pappageorge has made the most of the opportunity to start, three straight following his insertion to the lineup at Arizona. One of the team's three captains (Ennis, Caffey), Pappageorge scored a career high 16 points against the Wildcats, and then topped that effort with 23 points at Fresno State, leading the 49ers in a win over the Bulldogs. Pappageorge made four 3-pointers in each of those games, and is second on the team with 12 3-pointers made on 35.3% shooting. Pappageorge is also a perfect 12-12 from the line in 2012, and has never missed in his Division I career, going 14-14.
49ERS FACE ONE OF NATION'S TOUGHEST NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULES, INCLUDING GAMES AGAINST FIVE OF THE NATION'S PRESEASON TOP 13 TEAMS: Long Beach State heads into the 2012-13 season with a non-league schedule that few teams can match. The 49ers, who had the nation's top rated non-conference schedule the last three seasons according to a couple websites, will play five teams ranked in the top 13 of both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches preseason polls. The 49ers will face No. 4 Ohio State, No. 9 Syracuse, No. 11 North Carolina, No. 12 Arizona and No. 13 UCLA. LBSU will play 11 games before Big West Conference action begins, with those opponents combining for a 211-124 (63 winning percentage) record last season. Five of the 49ers' 10 opponents won at least 20 games, with three winning more than 30 games.