49ers Continue Homestand Saturday Against Montana State-Billings
Dec. 20, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
Game: Long Beach State vs. Montana State-Billings
The victory over the Trojans also marked the first time since the 2001-02 season that a Pac-12 school had visited the home floor of Long Beach State in the Walter Pyramid, when USC defeatead the 49ers. The last home victory for Long Beach State against a Pac-12 opponent before Thursday also came against the Trojans on December 16, 1999.
Tyler Lamb had a huge debut for the 49ers, becoming eligible for Long Beach State Thursday after transferring from UCLA. Lamb scored 20 points, including 18 in the first half, to help pace the 49ers in their win over USC, while adding four rebounds and leading the team with three steals.
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 Mike Caffey and Branford Jones in the starting lineup, Long Beach State has had just 66 turnovers in six games, an average of just over 11 per game. The duo also combined for nine assists against USC on Thursday.
Mike Caffey led the 49ers with 22 points to go with Lamb's 20, marking the second time that Long Beach State had a pair of players finish with 20 points in a game. Caffey and Dan Jennings each scored over 20 points in the LBSU double-overtime loss at Washington.
With Long Beach State's win Dec. 19 against USC, Dan Monson moved into second-place in coaching wins at Long Beach State with 106, passing Seth Greenberg. The top spot is held by Jerry Tarkanian, who won 122 games as the coach of the 49ers from 1968 to 1973.
Senior Dan Jennings continues to put up big numbers for the 49ers in his final season. Jennings ranks third in the Big West in rebounding with 8.3 rebounds per game, and is just outside the top 15 with 12.5 points per game. Three times Jennings has led the 49ers in scoring, and has topped the team in rebounding six times in 2013-14.
After scoring 12 points against Loyola Marymount, junior A.J. Spencer has secured a spot in the starting lineup, scoring in double-figures in six of the last nine games. The junior college transfer scored a career high 14 points against VCU, and is third on the team with an 8.4 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 fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 6.7 points per game and is second on the team with 27 assists.
Junior college transfer David Samuels had his best game as a 49er at NC State, posting his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. That was the fourth double-double on the year for LBSU, with Dan Jennings putting up three in the first 10 games for the 49ers. Samuels' 6.1 rebounds per game rank 12th in the Big West, and is second on Long Beach State.
The 49ers also bring in freshman Travis Hammonds, who will join Long Beach State after enrolling for the spring semester. Hammonds is a 6-6 guard who hails from Columbia, S.C., and has the potential to make his first appearance for the 49ers Saturday.
Charles Lockett remains on a redshirt year, and senior forward Edgar Garibay is out for the year with an ACL tear. Nick Shepherd is the latest injury casualty, out with a wrist fracture, while freshman Anson Moye is still recovering from a broken foot.
ABOUT MONTANA STATE-BILLINGS
Long Beach State opened up the season with a win against another Division II opponent, defeating Hawaii Pacific 71-59 in the team's homecoming game. Mike Caffey poured in 27 points to lead the 49ers while Dan Jennings dominated inside with 10 points and 17 rebounds, a career high.
Long Beach State has never lost a game against an opponent outside of Division I under Dan Monson. Including the team's season-opening win against the Sea Warriors, the 49ers are now 8-0 against non-DI opponents in Monson's seven-plus seasons.
In a quirk of scheduling, the result Saturday will count as a contest for Long Beach State, but will only register as an exhibition for Montana State-Billings. Following the game, the Yellowjackets' record will remain at 5-4.