Dec. 24, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
Game: Long Beach State at Nevada
Date: Saturday, December 28, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m., PST
Location: Reno, Nev.
Arena: Lawlor Events Center (11,536)
TV Talent: None
Radio: KBEACH.org; HD 88.1-3
Radio Talent: Rob Brender
Live Stats: longbeachstate.com
The road warriors, the 49ers, are headed out of Long Beach once again the non-conference, heading to a former conference opponent in Nevada. The teams will meet for the first time since the 1999-00 season at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Lawlor Events Center.
Tyler Lamb, a junior transfer from UCLA, became eligible for the 49ers last Thursday, and immediately had a huge impact, leading Long Beach State to a pair of wins. Lamb scored 20 points off of the bench against USC, helping the 49ers earn their first win over a Pac-12 opponent at home since 1999 in a 72-71 win. Then on Saturday, Lamb scored a career-high 29 points, helping Long Beach State erase a six-point halftime deficit in a 82-75 win over Montana State-Billings.
Lamb was recognized for his 24.5 points per game output over his first two games with Long Beach State by being named the Big West Player of the Week. Lamb becomes the second player on the 49er roster to earn Big West Player of the Week honors, and the first since Mike Caffey won the award last season.
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 75 turnovers in seven games, an average of just over 10 per game. The duo also combined for 15 assists over the last two games for Long Beach State.
Long Beach State nearly had three players score 20 points against Montana State-Billings. Along with Tyler Lamb's 29 points, A.J. Spencer also scored a career high, adding 19 while Mike Caffey also finished with 19 points for the 49ers.
Junior Mike Caffey received Preseason All-Big West honors, one of six players picked one season after earning First-Team All-Big West honors as a sophomore. Caffey leads the 49ers in scoring with 16.8 points per game, ranking fifth in the Big West and has scored over 20 points four times on the year. Caffey is also leading the team with 50 assists, and is third in rebounding with 4.4 boards per game.
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 second on the 49ers with 11.8 points per game. Three times Jennings has led the 49ers in scoring, and has topped the team in rebounding seven 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 seven of the last ten games. The junior college transfer scored 19 points against Montana State-Billings, and is third on the team with an 9.3 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' 5.7 rebounds per game rank 11th 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 played four minutes for Long Beach State against Montana State-Billings.
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, but is looking to return to the team soon.
Long Beach State has won 26 consecutive home Big West games in an active streak running since the 49ers' last defeat on February 17, 2010 against Pacific. The 49ers won at home, 76-74 to close out the 2010 regular season, and have since stayed unbeaten at home over the last three years, during which the 49ers have won the regular season Big West title in each season.
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 was carried live on Fox Sport Prime Ticket, as will two home games against Cal Poly and Hawaii. Additionally, four other Big West dates could feature the 49ers in "Wild Card" TV choices from the broadcast partners. Most recently, the 49ers were chosen for the first wild card date at UC Santa Barbara.
The Big West announced the addition of an additional broadcast package with ESPN3, which will carry additional games during the conference season. For Long Beach State, that includes three additional games that were originally not televised (2/8-UCR; 2/13-UCSB; 3/8-UCR) as well as a guarantee of ESPN coverage for two "Wild Card" dates on March 1 (Cal State Fullerton) and March 6 (Cal State Northridge).
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 also faced a Big East opponent into the Walter Pyramid when Creighton arrived December 3. The 49ers have also played Kansas State twice, beat USC at home, traveled to Washington and NC State, and still have a game against No. 25 Missouri on the schedule in games against BCS conferences.
Long Beach State's strength of schedule is also objectively among the highest - the 49ers currently rank as having the No. 7 SOS as ranked by kenpom.com. It is also ranked No. 5 by WarrenNolan.com.
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.
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. Monson currently has 107 wins at Long Beach State. The top spot is held by Jerry Tarkanian, who won 122 games as the coach of the 49ers from 1968 to 1973.
Saturday's game with Nevada is the first between the team's since Nevada's departure from the Big West conference following the 1999-00 season. The teams met four times in the 50s and 60s prior to the Wolf Pack joining the league in 1992.
The 49ers hold an 11-6 overall lead against Nevada; Long Beach State posted an 9-4 record in 13 meetings with the Wolf Pack while the teams were each members of the Big West, including a 76-69 victory in 1995 to advance to the NCAA Tournament in the Championship Game of the Big West Tournament.
Nevada is 2-0 against Big West opponents already in 2013-14. The Wolf Pack beat Cal Poly on the road 60-58 and won an overtime contest on the road at UC Davis, 87-81 on December 7. Saturday's game with Long Beach State is the final game of a three-game homestand for Nevada.
Guard Deonte Burton is the top player for the Wolf Pack, and will be a fun matchup to watch with Mike Caffey. Burton is averaging 22.8 points per game, and is shooting 48.4 percent from the field (90-of-186) and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc (26-of-70). Burton also leads Nevada with 3.75 assists per game, and is tops on the club with 22 steals this season.
Long Beach State closes out their non-conference schedule with one final game, again playing on the road in a trip to No. 25 Missouri on Saturday, January 4. The game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. PST, and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.
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