Long Beach State Opens Big West Play Against Pacific At Home On Saturday
Dec. 27, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. -
THE 49ERS ON TELEVISION: Saturday's game against Pacific will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket (DirecTV 693). Justin Alderson will call the action while Michael Cage provides analysis. Kelli Tennant will be the sideline reporter.
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.
KING, FREELAND AND GARIBAY ALL SET FOR CONFERENCE PLAY: Long Beach State welcomes in the remainder of the team's Division I transfers this weekend, as Tony Freeland and Keala King join Dan Jennings and Edgar Garibay in the 49er lineup. The 49ers only had six players returning with Division I experience entering the season, but the infusion of players will help Long Beach State's depth and scoring coming forward. Jennings has played the whole season for the 49ers after transferring from West Virginia, averaging 11.0 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per contest. Garibay was deemed eligible for the UCLA game on Dec. 18 after coming in from LMU, and the 49ers now welcome King (Arizona State) and Freeland (DePaul) for Big West play. King led the Sun Devils in scoring last season before departing, averaging 13.7 points per game, while Freeland averaged 9.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in his last full season in 2010-11.
LAST TIME OUT | UCLA 89, LBSU 70: Dan Jennings scored a career high 27 points on 13-15 shooting to lead the 49ers against UCLA, but the Bruins shot the lights out in the New Pauley Pavilion, scoring 89 points on 58.9 percent shooting to down Long Beach State 89-70. Jordan Adams and Shabazz Muhammad each finished with over 20 points, and both shot over 50-percent from the field. The short-handed 49ers saw Mike Caffey play 40 minutes, James Ennis play 39 (20 points) and Peter Pappageorge 38 in the loss.
SCHEDULE STRENGTH: With the non-conference schedule in the rear-view mirror (outside of the BracketBuster), the Long Beach State strength of schedule has moved to 21st overall, as the 49ers have now played four ranked teams in 2012-13, and three in this week's Top 10 in Arizona, Syracuse, and Ohio State. Long Beach State has also faced six teams from the power conferences, the most recent coming last Tuesday during the 49ers' trip to UCLA.
LOGGING BIG MINUTES: Running a 7-8 man rotation means there are plenty of minutes to be had, and the 49ers have three players that rank in the Top 10 in the Big West in average minutes played, led by point guard Mike Caffey, who leads the league, averaging 34.5 minutes per game after playing the full 40 at UCLA. Senior forward James Ennis and senior guard Peter Pappageorge also rank among the leaders, with Ennis sitting only behind Caffey and Fullerton's Kwame Vaughn averaging 33.0 minutes per and Pappageorge ranking seventh at 30.6 minutes per game. Outside of Long Beach State, only the Titans have more than one player averaging more than 30 minutes per contest.
ENNIS FILLING IT UP: Senior James Ennis is currently riding a 15-game streak of scoring in double-figures, and is one of the leading figures for Long Beach State. Ennis' 16.9 points per game is 98th in the nation, and in 2012, Ennis has scored over 20 points three times, including back-to-back games leading into this week against BYU-Hawaii and UCLA. Ennis is fifth in the league in scoring, and also ranks among the best in the Big West in rebounding, averaging 7.7 boards per game, sixth in the conference while ranking third in blocked shots at 1.7 per game.
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 49 assists and is averaging 10.5 points per game, third on the team. Caffey also leads the 49ers in steals with 18, and has a 1.28 assist to turnover ratio through 11 games, helped greatly by a career-high nine assists at No. 4 Syracuse.
JENNINGS IN THE POST: Junior center Dan Jennings is in his first season playing for Long Beach State after transferring from West Virginia, and has thrived over the last four games, scoring in double-figures in three. On the season, Jennings is averaging 11.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and has had some of his best performances of the season on the biggest stage. At No. 4 Syracuse, Jennings led the 49ers with a career high 20 points and three blocks while adding seven rebounds, and then scored 16 points and grabbed eight boards at No. 7 Ohio State. Jennings was also one point away from a double-double against No. 11 North Carolina, scoring nine points with a career-best 10 rebounds. Most recently, Jennings scored a career-high 27 points on 13-of-15 shooting at UCLA.
FINDING THE RANGE: Sophomore guard Kris Gulley shot over 50 percent in the first three games for Long Beach State, and is second on the team in shooting percentage while averaging 7.1 points per game. On Nov. 29 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 11 games this season. In 2012-13, Gulley is third on the team with 15 3-pointers, and is shooting 42.9 percent behind the arc, and 44.3 percent overall while adding 4.8 rebounds per game.
PAPPAGEORGE SPOTTING UP: Senior Peter Pappageorge has made the most of the opportunity to start, eight straight following his insertion to the lineup at Arizona. One of the team's captains, 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 leads the team with 18 3-pointers made on 31.0% shooting, averaging 7.7 points per game.
BACK TO BACK GAMES AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS: Twice now in 2012-13, Long Beach State has played ranked opponents in two straight games. 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. The 49ers then had a long road trip to the east, playing at No. 4 Syracuse and No. 7 Ohio State in consecutive games before returning to Long Beach. The 49ers have now played back-to-back ranked opponents under Dan Monson four times opposed to only once under any other LBSU coach. (Tex Winter; Jan 5-6, 1979). Previously, Long Beach State last played ranked opponents in back-to-back games in 2009, when the 49ers played at No. 3 Kentucky (12/23) and No. 7 Duke (12/29).
LONG BEACH STATE PICKED TO WIN THIRD STRAIGHT BIG WEST TITLE: Long Beach State earned 13 first-place votes and 194 points to emerge the favorite for the 2012-13 Big West men's basketball title, according to the annual preseason media poll. The 49ers outdistanced Cal State Fullerton, which accumulated 164 points with six first-place votes, and third-place UC Irvine's 153 points and one first-place vote. The 21-member media panel tabbed new Big West member Hawaii for fourth place with 132 points, followed by UC Santa Barbara in fifth (129). Picking up the lone remaining first-place nod was Pacific, which tallied 113 points for sixth place in the poll.