Long Beach State Seeks To Clinch Third Straight Regular Season Title
Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 17
Assured of no worse than a regular season co-championship, the Long Beach State men's basketball team attempts to win the title outright Saturday at UC Irvine on Fox Sports West. Senior James Ennis was named one of 25 finalists for the 2013 Lou Henson Award, bestowed upon the top mid-major player in college basketball.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
• Long Beach State has wrapped up at least a share of the Big West regular season title with three games left to play before the conference tournament March 14-16 at Honda Center. The 49ers can clinch the title outright with one more win or a Pacific loss. LBSU finishes out the league slate with three straight on the road, beginning Saturday at UC Irvine in a game on Fox Sports West. The Tigers travel to Cal State Fullerton Thursday.
• The 49ers are aiming to become the first school to win three straight outright Big West regular season titles since UNLV reeled off seven straight from 1982-89. Pacific ran off three in a row from 2003-06, but the first of that trio was a co-championship with Utah State.
• Long Beach State senior James Ennis is one of 25 finalists for the 2013 Lou Henson Award, given to the top mid-major player in college basketball. Ennis, who has scored in double figures 32 straight games, ranks fourth in the Big West in scoring (17.1 ppg), ninth in rebounding (6.7 rpg), eighth in field goal percentage (.492), third in free throw percentage (.847) and tied for fourth in steals (1.7 spg). Henson had a 41-year coaching career that made him the winningest coach all-time at Illinois and New Mexico State. He is one of only 12 coaches all-time to take two schools to the Final Four.
See All 25 Finalists For Lou Henson Award On CollegeInsider.com
• Over the last two-plus seasons, LBSU is 42-5 (.894) against the Big West in regular season action. That’s the best three-year stretch in terms of wins and win percentage by a Big West club since Pacific accumulated a 47-3 (.940) mark from 2003-06.
• A logjam of teams are jockeying for seeding position in the Big West Tournament. Second place Pacific (15-12, 9-5) holds a half-game lead on Hawai’i (16-11, 9-6) and UC Irvine (16-13, 9-6). Cal Poly (13-12, 8-6) trails the Tigers by just one game.
• UC Irvine has won four straight and six of its last eight entering the showdown with Long Beach State. The Anteaters are vying to join the 49ers as undefeated home teams in Big West play. LBSU secured a perfect 9-0 conference home record with last week’s win against UC Davis. The Anteaters, which are 11-1 overall in the Bren Events Center this season, need to defeat the 49ers to finish the league slate perfect at home.
• Sophomore Will Davis II ranks ninth in Big West single-season history with 65 blocked shots and needs six more to move into seventh. The 65 blocks represent a UCI school record, breaking the previous mark of 55 he set last season.
• Home court advantage has been an obvious boon to several teams in Big West play this season. The home team is winning at a 70 percent success rate with a 50-22 mark. Compare that to a 44-28 (.611) mark in 2011-12 and 42-30 (.583) in 2010-11.
• Two players surpassed the 1,000-point mark for their career last week. Cal State Fullerton senior D.J. Seeley and UC Irvine senior Michael Wilder both became the 21st players in their respective programs to hit the milestone, with Seeley at 1,030 points and Wilder at 1,002 this week.
• Cal State Fullerton seniors D.J. Seeley and Kwame Vaughn each eclipsed the 100-assist mark last week, marking the second straight year that the program has had two players with 100 or more assists in the same season. But it’s only the third time since 1972-73 that it has happened.
Vaughn (106) & Seeley (106), 2012-13
Vaughn (116) & Perry Webster (106), 2011-12
Mike Linden (204) & Keith Anderson (132), 1977-78
• Two more players are on the cusp on reaching 1,000 career points. UC Irvine senior Daman Starring (982) and CSF senior Kwame Vaughn (966) are 18 and 34 points shy of the mark, respectively.
• For the eighth year, institutions will air all home and conference matches on BigWest.TV. For the 2012-13 season, all BigWest.TV events will air free of charge. Head to thisweek for weekly event schedules.
Big West.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West’s 10 member institutions. Now in its eighth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women’s volleyball as well as men’s and women’s basketball. Also covered are select contests in men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball and Big West Championships.