Long Beach State Looks To Tie Best Big West Start Since 1999-2000
Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 12
Long Beach State is 7-0 in the men's basketball standings and off to its best Big West start since the 1999-2000 squad opened up with nine straight conference victories.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Kwame Vaughn, Cal State Fullerton
Vaughn exploded last week in a pair of wins against UC Riverside and UC Irvine. On a team loaded with scorers, Vaughn energized Cal State Fullerton with 28 and 25 point performances against the Highlanders and Anteaters, respectively. They marked Vaughn’s fourth and fifth 20-point games this season. After transferring from San Francisco, Vaughn ranks fifth in the Big West in scoring (16.0 ppg) and field goal percentage (.511). He made 18 of 28 (64.3%) from the field and 7 of 11 (63.6%) from behind the three-point arc in the two games last week. The 28 points versus UCR also established a new career-high for Vaughn.
Long Beach State Jets Out To 7-0 Start
Long Beach State continues as the Big West leader this week with a 7-0 record in conference play. It is the program’s best conference start since the 1999-2000 squad opened up with nine straight Big West wins. The 49ers are getting accustomed to strong starts in conference. They began the 2008-09 league ledger 5-0 and won six consecutive Big West games out of the gate in 2010-11. Long Beach State is dominating at both ends of the court in conference play. The team leads in both scoring offense (74.4 ppg) and scoring defense (59.9 ppg) while outscoring its opponents by more than 14 points a game. All seven 49er Big West opponents have scored under 70 points.
In fact, LBSU is 13-0 this season when it holds a team below the 70-point mark.
Highlanders, Titans Next Up For Big West Leaders
In pursuit of league-leading Long Beach State and sitting in a three-way tie for second place at 4-2 are Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara. The 49ers put together perhaps their most complete effort all season when they dismantled the Gauchos, 71-48, in front of a sellout crowd and ESPNU national television audience at The Thunderdome on Saturday. LBSU shot 58.7% (27 of 46) from the field and held UCSB to a season-low in points.
This week the Highlanders and Titans take aim at Long Beach State. UC Riverside has been a bit of a nemesis to the 49ers recently, although LBSU won all three head-to-head matchups last season. The Highlanders swept the 49ers in 2008-09 and split the season series in 2009-10. Two of those three wins came in overtime. LBSU completes a three-game road swing when it visits UCR on Thursday.
Cal State Fullerton snapped a three-game losing streak and simultaneously wiped out UC Riverside’s four-game winning streak with last Thursday’s 72-61 triumph in Fullerton. The Highlanders had won four straight Big West games for the first time in their history before running into the Titan buzzsaw.
Catch Them On The Tube
The Big West’s packages with television partners ESPN and FOX Sports Net continue this week with a pair of games. Long Beach State will appear on ESPNU for the second straight week as it hosts Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. (PST). The last three matchups between these two teams in the Walter Pyramid have drawn crowds in excess of 4,200. Making their first appearances of the conference television package is UC Riverside and UC Irvine this week. The Highlanders and Anteaters tip off from UCI’s Bren Center at 5:00 p.m. (PST) on PRIME TICKET. UCI is in the midst of a three-game skid and is 0-3 in conference home games this season. The Anteaters also sport the second-most conference road wins – next to 4-0 Long Beach State – going 3-1 so far in away games.
Cal Poly Ties NCAA Record For Consecutive Threes
Cal Poly put on a three-point exhibition never before witnessed in Big West history as part of a 100-54 rout of Cal State Northridge on Saturday. The Mustangs tied an NCAA record by making their first 11 three-point shots and finished the game connecting on 15 of 21 from distance. The 11-for-11 start tied the NCAA record for consecutive three-pointers made without a miss, initially set by Niagara against Siena on Jan. 7, 1987, and matched one week later by Eastern Kentucky against UNC-Asheville. Five Mustangs made at least a pair of threes in the game and Cal Poly set a school record by hitting 71.4% from downtown. The Big West single-game record for threes is 21, set twice by UNLV versus Nevada on Dec. 8, 1990, and Cal Poly against Cal Baptist on Dec. 3, 1996.
Countdown To Record Continues For Robinson
Long Beach State senior T.J. Robinson is just 54 rebounds away from breaking the Big West career record. The 6-8 forward has corralled 1,062 boards and trails only Cal State Fullerton’s Tony Neal (1981-85), the record holder with 1,115. Robinson produced his league-leading 10th game with 10 or more rebounds after pulling down 11 against UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. Robinson is the nation’s only current player and one of four in Big West history to have recorded 1,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds. Neal, UNLV’s Stacey Augmon and Utah State’s Greg Grant are the others.
||Tony Neal, Cal State Fullerton
||T.J. Robinson, Long Beach State
||Stacey Augmon, UNLV
||Greg Grant, Utah State
||Ron Cornelius, Pacific
Ware Close To Breaking School’s Career Assists Mark
Long Beach State’s Casper Ware, a two-time finalist for the Bob Cousy Award to honor the nation’s top point guard, could reach two career milestones this week. The 5-10 senior has collected 495 assists and is just five short from becoming the 11th player in Big West history to amass 500. Ware also could become Long Beach State’s all-time career assist leader as he is closing in fast on Billy Walker’s (1985-88) record of 507.
Johnson Named To Wooden Award Midseason List
UC Santa Barbara senior Orlando Johnson was selected to the Midseason Top 25 list for the John R. Wooden Award, the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball bestowed upon the nation’s top player. Johnson, who joined Long Beach State senior guard Casper Ware on the Wooden Award preseason Top-50 list in early October, became the first Big West player in 20 years to earn his way onto the top-25 list. In 1991, Larry Johnson of UNLV was the recipient of the John R. Wooden Award. Ranked fifth in UCSB history with 1,528 career points in just two-plus seasons, Johnson has won the Big West scoring title in each of the last two seasons, and is the frontrunner to become the conference’s first three-time scoring champion. He is averaging a league-best 19.6 points per game this season.
Cal State Fullerton’s explosiveness as a three-point shooting team has led to success this season. The Titans, which rank second in the Big West with 8.1 three-pointers made per game, are 7-0 when they connect for 10 or more treys in a game. CSF hit a season-high 13 from long range in a 92-84 victory over cross-town rival UC Irvine on Saturday.
UC Irvine junior Daman Starring scored a career-high 23 points against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, connecting on six threes to tie Michael Wilder for the most in a game by an Anteater player this season.