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Men's Basketball

Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara Rivalry To Be Showcased On ESPN2 Wednesday

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 16

2/20/2012

Long Beach State (19-7, 12-0) can wrap up the No. 1 seed for the Big West Tournament and at least a share of the regular season championship by defeating UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.

NOTEWORTHY

KEEP AN EYE ON

Isiah Umipig, Cal State Fullerton
Umipig is the Big West leader in three-point field goals made with 2.7 per game.  The sophomore guard has tallied 67 threes for the season, and has at least one in 23 of 25 games played.  Umipig knocked down four threes in both of Cal State Fullerton’s victories last week against UC Riverside and Montana State.  He scored 24 points versus the Bobcats to mark the fourth time this year that he finished with a 20-point game.  In addition to the volume of threes he has hit, Umipig is equally accurate.  He ranks sixth in the Big West in three-point field goal percentage (.411).
More Notables

Long Beach State Looks To Lock Down No. 1 Seed
After focusing attention on SEARS BracketBusters last Saturday, Big West schools resume conference play this week.  Long Beach State (19-7, 12-0) can clinch the Big West Tournament No. 1 seed with a win on Wednesday against second place UC Santa Barbara (15-8, 9-3).  A win would also wrap up at least a share of the regular season co-championship.  In that scenario, Cal State Fullerton (18-7, 9-3) would be the last remaining team that could earn a share of the title, but that would require a complete collapse on LBSU’s part.

The 49ers saw their 12-game winning streak come to an end with a heartbreaking 81-79 defeat at Creighton in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.  It was a marquee matchup between two of the nation’s top mid-major clubs and featured in the SEARS BracketBusters lineup.

The matchup between Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara should attract a sellout crowd for another ESPN2 nationally televised game.  The 49ers, which have tied the school record for best conference start in school history at 12-0, can rewrite the record book with a win against the rival Gauchos.  The 1973-74 squad was an undefeated 12-0 back when the Big West was known as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA).

Sizing Up Long Beach State’s 12-0 Beginning
Long Beach State is the 10th team in Big West/PCAA history to begin conference play at least 12-0.  The others are as follows:
Year School League Start
2004-05 Pacific 18-0
1991-92 UNLV 18-0
1990-91 UNLV 18-0
1986-87 UNLV 18-0
1999-00 Utah State 16-0
1982-83 UNLV 14-0 (finished 15-1)
2011-12 Long Beach State 12-0 (finished ???)
2003-04 Utah State 12-0 (finished 17-1)
1985-86 UNLV 12-0 (finished 16-2)
1973-74 Long Beach State 12-0

It Must Be Mentioned...
Only eight teams have previously finished Big West/PCAA play with an undefeated record.  The most recent squads to do so included Pacific in 2004-05 (18-0) and Utah State in 1999-2000 (16-0), the only two unblemished marks in the last 20 years.  The complete list is as follows:

Year School League Start
2004-05 Pacific 18-0
1991-92 UNLV 18-0
1990-91 UNLV 18-0
1986-87 UNLV 18-0
1999-00 Utah State 16-0
1973-74 Long Beach State 12-0
1970-71 Long Beach State 10-0
1969-70 Long Beach State 10-0

Streak Chatter
Although Long Beach State’s 12-game win streak was dashed by Creighton last week, the 49ers still sport impressive success within the conference.

• The 49ers have won 20 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 overall 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 11 straight Big West road games.  The streak started after that Jan. 22, 2011 loss to UCI.

• Defense has keyed much of these streaks.  LBSU is 17-0 this season when it holds a team below the 70-point mark.

Here They Come
After a lopsided 71-48 loss to Long Beach State inside the Thunderdome on Jan. 21, UC Santa Barbara has quietly found some rhythm while the 49ers have captured much of the national attention.  The Gauchos have won six of their last seven, eight of their last 10 and 10 of their last 13 games to climb a season-high seven games above the .500 mark.  They have held five of their last seven opponents below 65 points.  Cal State Fullerton dropped a school record 17 three-pointers on UCSB in a 99-86 setback on Feb. 4, but other than that the Gauchos have resembled the squad that has captured the last two Big West Tournament championships.

Remember The Titans
Perhaps the most dangerous squad in the Big West is Cal State Fullerton.  The Titans are certainly the conference’s most prolific offensive team.  They are first in the Big West in scoring offense at 78.8 points per game, a figure which also ranks No. 16 nationally.  CSF has won eight of its last nine games with the only setback taking place against Long Beach State on Jan. 28.  In that 75-61 loss, the Titans were held to their second-lowest point total of the season.  CSF is two wins away from recording its fifth 20-win season, and first since 2007-08, in the Bob Burton era.

Robinson Adds To Rebounding Record
Long Beach State senior T.J. Robinson, who supplanted Cal State Fullerton’s Tony Neal as the Big West’s career rebounding leader against UC Davis on Feb. 11, enters this week with 1,127 career rebounds.  He is one of only four players 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.
 
Ware Lends Helping Hands
Long Beach State’s Casper Ware, a two-time finalist for the Bob Cousy Award to honor the nation’s top point guard, ranks No. 10 in Big West history with 511 career assists.  He could move up to No. 8 on that list this week as he’s creeping up on UC Santa Barbara’s Ray Kelly (515, 1990-93) and Cal State Fullerton’s Bobby Brown (516, 2003-07).

Right Back At Ya
Cal State Northridge didn’t need any extra motivation to play Cal Poly in the Matadome last Wednesday.  In the previous meeting between the two teams on Jan. 21 in San Luis Obispo, the Matadors were thoroughly dismantled in a 100-54 defeat.  However, led by sophomore Josh Greene’s 23 points, CSUN exacted revenge with a 94-81 romp of the Mustangs.  It represented the highest point total of any Cal Poly opponent in the last three seasons.  Cal Poly, which entered the game allowing a conference-low 59.3 points per game, witnessed the Matadors score 35 points above that average.  Cal State Northridge also halted a four-game losing streak with the offensive outbreak.

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