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Men's Basketball

UC Santa Barbara Visits Cal State Fullerton For Battle On ESPNU

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 13

1/31/2012

Third place Cal State Fullerton hosts second place UC Santa Barbara in a nationally televised ESPNU contest on Saturday with both teams looking to stay within earshot of unbeaten Long Beach State (16-6, 9-0 Big West).  The 49ers need one more win to tie their second-best start in conference history.

NOTEWORTHY

KEEP AN EYE ON

Stephan Hicks, Cal State Northridge
Hicks has provided a consistent solid level of production for Cal State Northridge as a redshirt freshman.  He had a torrid start to his career with three 20-point efforts in the first four games, and most recently poured in a career-best 26 points against Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday.  Hicks has scored in double figures in 18 of 19 games, and has led the Matadors in scoring on 15 occasions.  The 6-5 guard/forward ranks fourth in the Big West in both scoring (16.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg), and leads all freshmen with four double-doubles.  Hicks is also the Big West’s second-most accurate free throw shooter, hitting 82.5% (104 of 126) from the charity stripe.

MORE NOTABLES

Long Beach State Tied For Fourth-Best League Start
Long Beach State moved to 9-0 in Big West play after winning a pair of tough matchups against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton last week.  The 49ers equalled their best conference start since 1999-2000 when that squad also opened up with nine straight Big West wins.  Only three other LBSU squads have sported better starts – all taking place when the Big West was known as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) – in 1973-74 (12-0), 1970-71 (10-0) and 1969-70 (10-0).  All three of those teams finished with unblemished conference records.

The 49ers have used the same starting lineup en route to their current 16-6 overall mark, and all five players are averaging at least nine points per game.  Guard Casper Ware is the Big West’s third-leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, while fellow seniors Larry Anderson (15.2 ppg) and T.J. Robinson (12.1 ppg) are ranked No. 7 and No. 11, respectively.  In conference games only, LBSU ranks No. 1 in scoring offense (74.8 ppg), scoring margin (+13.7) and field goal percentage (.490), and No. 2 in scoring defense (61.1 ppg)

LBSU is also 14-0 this season when it holds a team below the 70-point mark.

Long Beach State, Northridge On FS West This Week
FS WEST is televising this Saturday’s Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State contest from the Walter Pyramid at 7:30 p.m. (PST).  The 49ers drew a Walter Pyramid record crowd of 5,649 for last Saturday’s national television showdown against rival Cal State Fullerton on ESPNU.

Long Beach State has won 18 straight games in the Walter Pyramid, including an 8-0 mark this season.  The last loss in that building occurred on Nov. 27, 2010, to Loyola Marymount.  The 49ers also have won 16 in a row in Big West regular season contests, with their last loss coming on Jan. 22, 2011, at UC Irvine.

Cal State Northridge, which hosts UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, is coming off a 76-68 win at Cal State Bakersfield that snapped a three-game losing streak.  The Matadors were the first Big West team in seven tries to defeat the Roadrunners this season.

More Tube Talk
The Big West’s second and third place teams square off on Saturday in a nationally televised game.  UC Santa Barbara travels to Cal State Fullerton for a 7:30 p.m. (PST) tip on ESPNU.  The Gauchos are 6-2 and in the midst of a four-game road swing.  They have won four of their last five and six of their last eight contests.  The Titans sit at 5-3 in league play as they begin a three-game homestand against Cal Poly on Thursday.  CSF’s three-game win streak came to an end at the hands of Long Beach State on Saturday.  CSF is averaging a league-best 76.6 points per game.

Davis Blockade Sets UC Irvine Record
UC Irvine freshman Will Davis II etched his name in the school’s history book on Tuesday when he blocked a single-game record seven shots against Seattle.  The performance surpassed the old school record of six swats by Jeff Von Lutlow against Bradley on Dec. 1, 1990.  The seven blocks ties UC Riverside’s BJ Shearry for the most in a game by a Big West player this season.  Shearry had seven against Long Beach State on Jan. 26.
 
Countdown To Record Continues For Robinson
Long Beach State senior T.J. Robinson is just 30 rebounds away from breaking the Big West career record.  The 6-8 forward has corralled 1,086 boards and trails only Cal State Fullerton’s Tony Neal (1981-85), the record holder with 1,115.  Robinson produced his league-leading 11th game with 10 or more rebounds after corraling 15 against UC Riverside on Thursday.  With 10 points against the Highlanders, he also secured his league-leading 10th double-double.  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.

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-present 1,086
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 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, reached one career milestone last week and approached another in the process.  The 5-10 senior became the 11th player in Big West history to collect 500 career assists after handing out five against Cal State Fullerton last week.    With 504 assists entering the week, Ware looks to supplant Billy Walker as the school’s career assist leader.  Walker notched 507 assists from 1985-88.

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 1,562 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 19.3 points per game this season.

49ers To Battle No. 12 Creighton In BracketBusters
Pairings for the 10th annual Sears BracketBusters – a two-day men’s basketball event pitting NCAA Tournament hopefuls Feb. 17-18 – were announced Monday on ESPNU’s Sears BracketBusters Selection Show.  Long Beach State treks to No. 12 Creighton of the Missouri Valley Conference on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7:00 p.m. (PST) on ESPN2.  Long Beach State (16-6, 9-0 Big West) faces its sixth non-conference ranked opponent this season in the 12th-ranked Bluejays.  The 49ers are receiving votes in both the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls.   LBSU has defeated No. 9 Pittsburgh and No. 14 Xavier, while losing to No. 6 Louisville, No. 13 Kansas and No. 4 North Carolina.  LBSU also played San Diego State, unranked at the time but now No. 17 in both national polls.  Long Beach State has faced the nation’s toughest non-conference schedule.