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Men's Basketball

Long Beach State Looks To Tie School Record For Best Conference Start

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 14

2/6/2012

Long Beach State, which has won 18 straight regular season Big West games, takes a 10-0 conference record on the road to Pacific and UC Davis.  The 49ers need to win both to tie the 1973-74 squad for the best conference start in school history.

NOTEWORTHY

KEEP AN EYE ON

BJ Shearry, UC Riverside
Shearry produced his fourth career double-double – and first of the 2011-12 season – with a career-best 17 points and 10 rebounds to help UC Riverside defeat UC Davis Saturday and end a four-game Highlander losing streak.  It was only the third time this season that Shearry had reached double figures in scoring and much needed without the services of leading scorer Phil Martin.  Shearry’s two blocks against Pacific on Thursday moved him into sole possession of third place on the UCR career list with 91.  The senior leads the Big West with 43 blocks and 1.9 blocks per game.

MORE NOTABLES

Long Beach State Tied For Second-Best League Start

Long Beach State improved to 10-0 in Big West action after defeating Cal State Northridge in its only game last week.  The 49ers, winners of 10 straight and 13 of their last 14 games, own a three-game lead on Cal State Fullerton (15-7, 7-3) and UC Santa Barbara (12-8, 7-3) with six conference contests to go.

The 10-0 start is the best in 40 years for the Long Beach State program.  It ties the 1970-71 and 1969-70 teams for the second-best conference start in school history.  Those two teams competed when the Big West then was known as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA).  The 1973-74 squad, which went undefeated at 12-0, is the next and last frontier for this year’s 49ers to conquer.

The 49ers attempt to tie that 1973-74 team for best conference start when they travel to Pacific and UC Davis this week.  The Tigers are coming off a pair of important road wins against UC Riverside and UC Irvine, and are playing well with victories in four of their last five games.  The Aggies take an 18-game losing streak into a Thursday contest with Cal State Northridge before facing the 49ers. Despite an 0-10 mark in Big West play, UC Davis has competed in a ton of close games.  Five of the Aggies’ 10 league losses have been by five points or less.

Streak Chatter
Success endurance has propelled Long Beach State into some rather impressive streaks as the second half of Big West play unfolds.

• The 49ers have won 18 straight regular season games against Big West opponents.  They last lost a conference regular season game on Jan. 22, 2011 to UC Irvine.

• The 49ers have won 19 consecutive games in the Walter Pyramid, including a 9-0 record this season.  They have not lost at home since falling to Loyola Marymount on Nov. 27, 2010.

• LBSU has been victorious in nine straight Big West road games.  The streak started after that Jan. 22, 2011 loss to UCI.

• Defense has keyed much of these streaks, especially during the current 10-game bonanza.  LBSU is 15-0 this season when it holds a team below the 70-point mark.

Tune Into That Channel
Two games in the Big West will be televised regionally this week.  UC Davis hosts Cal State Northridge on Thursday in a game that will be aired on Comcast Sports Net California.  That game tips at 8:00 p.m. (PST).  The fifth of an eight-game package with Fox Sports Net takes place on the Central Coast as UC Santa Barbara welcomes UC Riverside to the Thunderdome for a 7:30 p.m. tip.  The Gauchos hope to avenge an overtime loss to the Highlanders on Jan. 12.

Three-Point Rain Dance
Cal State Fullerton put on an impressive three-point display in its 99-86 win against UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.  The Titans set a school record with 17 three-point makes (in 26 attempts), shooting a season-high 65.4% from behind the arc.  The Titan barrage overshadowed a pretty stout long distance effort from the Gauchos, which connected on 11 of 18 trey attempts.  However, the 17 threes UCSB allowed tied an opponent best.  Sophomore Isiah Umipig made seven threes and Kwame Vaughn added five to provide the brunt of the long distance damage, as the Titans wiped out the old record of 15 against Furman on Dec. 28, 2007.

More On The Titan Long Distance Plan
To say Cal State Fullerton is using the three-point basket as an effective weapon would be an understatement.  The Titans lead the Big West in three-pointers made per game (8.6) and three-point field goal percentage (.413).  But the most telling stat is the fact that CSF is 10-0 this season when it connects on 10 or more threes in a game.  
 
Robinson Gaining Steam On Rebounding Record
T.J. Robinson recorded his Big West leading 11th double-double of the season and 49th of his career in Saturday’s win versus Cal State Northridge.  The Long Beach State senior corraled 11 boards in the game to lift his career total to 1,097.  The 6-8 forward now trails Big West career rebounding leader Tony Neal, who had 1,115 rebounds from 1981-85, by a mere 19.  Robinson could break the mark during this week’s trip to northern California.  Earlier this season, Robinson became just the fourth player in Big West history to compile 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-pres.    1,097
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 Ties Assists Mark, Breaks Into Big West Top 10
Long Beach State’s Casper Ware, a two-time finalist for the Bob Cousy Award to honor the nation’s top point guard, tied the school record for career assists with three against Cal State Northridge on Saturday.  The 5-10 senior now shares the record of 507 with Billy Walker (1985-88).  Ware is just the 11th player in Big West history to record 500 career assists, and his next helper will move him squarely into the league’s top 10.

Johnson Moves Up Scoring Charts
UC Santa Barbara senior Orlando Johnson, one of 25 players on the Midseason Top 25 list for the John R. Wooden award, the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball, reached a career scoring milestone last week.  Johnson scored a combined 53 points in games against Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton to better his career total to 1,615.  That pushed him past Chris Devine and into third place overall on the UCSB career list.  Factoring in his one season at Loyola Marymount (2007-08), Johnson now has 1,998 career points as a collegiate player.

Some other notes on Johnson:

• He is the first Big West player since Larry Johnson of UNLV in 1991 to make the Wooden Award Top 25 list.

• He is bidding to become the first three-time Big West scoring champion.  He led the conference with 18.0 points per game in 2009-10 and bettered that mark with 21.1 in 2010-11.  He’s currently averaging 20.1 points per game with a league-best 13 games of 20 points or more.  He has scored in double figures in all but one game this season.