Long Beach State Puts Unbeaten Big West Record To Test On Central Coast
Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 11
Long Beach State (12-6, 5-0 Big West) travels up the Central Coast for a pair of crucial battles against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara this week. The rematch of last season's Big West Tournament championship game between the Gauchos and 49ers will be televised nationally by ESPNU on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. (PST) from UCSB's Thunderdome.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Travis Fulton, Pacific
Fulton has emerged as one of Pacific’s key offensive weapons in his first season with the program. The 6-6 forward has scored in double figures in all five conference games, including a career-high 23 points in a 79-59 victory at Cal State Northridge on Thursday that snapped a seven-game Tiger losing streak. Fulton also had 13 points in a hard fought 76-66 loss to Big West leader Long Beach State on Saturday. Fulton is averaging 15.0 points and 7.6 rebounds in league games. He posted his first career double-double wiht 14 points and 14 rebounds against UC Irvine on Jan. 5.
First Place Long Beach State Treks To Central Coast
Long Beach State faces a pair of crucial tests this week on the Central Coast in Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos and Mustangs, picked to finish second and third in the preseason media poll, take aim at Long Beach State’s unblemished 5-0 Big West record. The showdown between the 49ers and Gauchos on Saturday will be televised to a national audience on ESPNU with tip time at 8:00 p.m. (PST).
Head coach Dan Monson has led the 49ers to a 5-0 conference start for the third time in the last four seasons. In 2010-11, LBSU started out 6-0 in Big West play before tasting defeat. The 1999-2000 squad opened up 9-0 en route to a 15-1 conference finish.
The Mustangs have played the toughest Big West schedule to date with four of their first five games against teams picked to finish in the top half of the standings. Although Cal Poly is 2-3 in league play, two of those losses have been by five points or less. Cal Poly will appear on the tube Saturday when Cal State Northridge visits Mott Gym for a 5:00 p.m. (PST) tip on PRIME TICKET.
The Gauchos sit in third place at 3-1 and need a strong showing at home against Cal State Northridge and LBSU. After this weekend’s games, UCSB plays six of its next seven conference contests on the road. The matchup against the 49ers presents an opportunity for redemption as the Gauchos were dealt a 16-point setback in last season’s conference opener at The Thunderdome.
Highlanders Off To Program’s Best Big West Start
After an inauspicious beginning to its Big West schedule, UC Riverside is rapidly gaining the attention of the rest of the league. The Highlanders lost at home to Cal State Northridge in their conference opener on Jan. 2, but since have reeled off four straight victories to improve to 4-1 and reside in second place in the Big West standings. UCR dispatched both UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly last week to run its winning streak to four, marking just the third time in its D-I history that it has won that many in a row. The team’s Division I record for consecutive victories is five, set in 2009-10. This is the first 4-1 Big West start in Highlander history and the first four-game conference win streak. In addition, UCR is 10-8 on the season, which trails the 2008-09 squad by one game for best 18-game start to a season.
Road Team Still Hanging Tough
Through two weeks of conference play, the records show no measurable advantage for the home team. In fact, the road team is 11-11, and all but two teams – Cal State Fullerton and UC Davis – have won at least one conference road contest. Long Beach State and UC Riverside are both 2-0 in conference road games, while UC Irvine sports a 3-1 record. That same Anteater team is 0-2 at home against Big West competition. Road teams are well ahead of schedule compared to the 2010-11 showing of 30-42 in away games.
UC Davis Nearly Halts Losing Streak
UC Davis fell to 1-16 overall and 0-5 in Big West play with a tough 84-80 loss to Cal State Northridge on Saturday. It was the 13th straight defeat for the Aggies, which have lost three of their five Big West games by a combined total of seven points. The Aggies appeared headed for the victory column as they led 71-60 with just over six minutes left, but the Matadors utilized a 16-0 run during a three and a half minute span to take the lead for good. It was the first conference home win for CSUN in four tries.
Countdown To Record Is On For Robinson
Long Beach State senior T.J. Robinson moved to within 68 rebounds of tying the all-time Big West career record after last week’s performance. The 6-8 forward grabbed a career-high tying 19 rebounds in a win over Pacific to increase his overall total to 1,047 rebounds. Tony Neal (1981-85) of Cal State Fullerton is the record holder with 1,115 rebounds. Robinson, who joined Neal, UNLV’s Stacey Augmon and Utah State’s Greg Grant as the only players in Big West history to have recorded 1,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds.
BIG WEST CAREER REBOUNDS
Rk. Player, School Yrs. No.
1. Tony Neal, Cal State Fullerton 1981-85 1,115
2. T.J. Robinson, Long Beach State 2008-pres. 1,047
3. Stacey Augmon, UNLV 1988-91 1,005
4. Greg Grant, Utah State 1983-86 1,003
5. Ron Cornelius, Pacific 1978-81 973
Ware In Range Of 500 Assist Club
Long Beach State’s Casper Ware, one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award for the second straight year, is getting close to setting a career milestone. The 5-9 point guard is just 13 assists away from becoming the 11th player in Big West history to collect 500 for his career. Ware’s 487 career dimes is also within range of the school’s all-time record of 507 held by Billy Walker (1985-88).
Williams Paying Big Dividends For Gauchos
The emergence of freshman forward Alan Williams has been a tremendous bright spot for UC Santa Barbara. Having played no more than 14 minutes in any of his first nine collegiate games, Williams has been unleashed in conference action and has responded with four straight productive outings. He had his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in 29 reserve minutes against Cal Poly on Jan. 2. Inserted into the starting lineup for the first time on Jan. 5 against Cal State Fullerton, Williams collected eight rebounds in 17 minutes. Williams turned up the production even more in last week’s games against UC Riverside and UC Irvine with combined totals of 24 rebounds and nine blocked shots. In fact, he had a career-high 13 rebounds in just 24 minutes against the Anteaters.
Royer Continues Three-Point Markmanship
Cal Poly junior Dylan Royer leads the Big West in three-point field goal percentage with an impressive 53.5% (38 of 71) success rate, and that figure would lead the NCAA if not for the fact he does not meet the minimum number of makes per game. The NCAA requires 2.5 made threes per team game played. Royer’s 38 threes through 18 games is an average of 2.1. The guard has started each of the last nine games for the Mustangs and has drained at least one trey in all but one contest.
More On The Highlanders
Next to Long Beach State, which has won eight of its last nine games, UC Riverside is the hottest team in the Big West. The Highlanders have won six of their last seven and eight of their 11 contests after a 2-5 start. Despite scoring a league-low 60.4 points per game, UC Riverside is stingy on defense. The Highlanders rank second in the Big West in scoring defense, allowing opponents only 62.4 points per game.