Long Beach State Tips Off Prime Ticket Television Package Friday
2014-15 Men's Basketball Release No. 2
The Long Beach State men's basketball team opens up a 14-game television package on Prime Ticket, the official regional telecast home of Big West Conference basketball, on Friday night against Kansas State at the Walter Pyramid.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Home Sweet Home: After a season-opening loss at Nevada, the Mustangs turn their attention to their home opener against San Francisco State on Tuesday. The Mustangs own a 14-6 record at the Division I level in home-opening contests.
Feel The Love: Senior guard Maliik Love had a solid effort at Nevada with career high total in rebounds (8) and assists (6) in 31 minutes. He also committed just one turnover.
Morgan Returns With A Flourish: Junior guard Reese Morgan, sidelined for all but nine games last year, led the Mustangs in scoring with 13 points against Nevada. He also hit a pair of three-pointers and chipped in seven rebounds.
Ball Control: The Mustangs, which ranked fifth in NCAA Division I last year for fewest turnovers per game (8.9), continued their penchant for protecting the ball against the Wolf Pack, committing just four miscues. They have committed less than 10 turnovers in 17 of their last 21 games dating back to last season.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Titans Fall On Road: Cal State Fullerton opened its season with a pair of road losses to Santa Clara and New Mexico. The Titans trailed by just two, 54-52, with 3:40 to play but could get no closer against the Lobos.
Morgan Excels In Debut: Senior Moses Morgan, a transfer from DePaul, led the Titans in points (37), points per game (18.5), three-pointers (8) and minutes played (75) in CSF’s two games last week. Helped by five three-point makes, Morgan pumped in a team-high 21 points against New Mexico.
Johnson Also Solid: Lannerryl Johnson, a transfer from Central Arizona JC, impacted the Titans greatly in his debut with a team-best 19 points off the bench against Santa Clara. He added 14 points against New Mexico.
Free Throw Line Unkind: Through two games, Titan opponents have attempted 67 free throws, while CSF has toed the line 35 times. New Mexico held an astounding 36-7 edge in foul attempts in its eight-point victory over the Titans.
Battle Tested: CSUN started out with two difficult opponents in No. 16 San Diego State and No. 2 Arizona, and despite losses to both, competed well and nearly outscored both in the second half. The Matadors are busy this week with three games, including their home opener against Montana State.
Maxwell Rises Up Charts: After averaging 17.0 points in last week’s games, senior Stephen Maxwell moved into seventh place on the CSUN career chart for scoring with 1,297 points. He’s now just 15 points away from taking control of sixth place.
Hicks Free Throw Watch: Senior Stephan Hicks is No. 10 in Big West history with 444 career made free throws. He needs four more to move into the ninth spot and six to vault into eighth.
Home Opening Dominance: CSUN seeks to win its home opener for the 12th consecutive season when Montana State visits on Wednesday. The Matadors have not lost a home opener since Nov. 17, 2001 to Nevada.
LONG BEACH STATE
Grueling Week On Tap: The 49ers enter an intense stretch of three games in six days against a trio of formidable opponents – Xavier, Kansas State and UCLA. The Kansas State game represents one of two home games over the next 13 contests for the 49ers. Fox Prime Ticket will air Friday’s action from the Walter Pyramid.
Monson Wins Watch: Head coach Dan Monson has won 120 games at Long Beach State, and needs just three more to surpass Hall of Famer Jerry Tarkanian for the distinction of winningest coach in program history.
LaSalle For Three: Senior McKay LaSalle was lethal from three-point territory last week as he drained five against BYU in a return to his home state, followed by four more versus San Francisco State. Nine total treys leads the Big West, and he also shot 60.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Caffey Wears Out Cougars: Senior Mike Caffey could not have had a more complete stat line against BYU as he notched 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting with five rebounds, six assists and five steals.
First Time A Charm: UC Davis won its season opener for the first time in the last four tries, putting on a defensive clinic in a 57-42 triumph over Holy Names on Sunday. It marked the fewest points allowed to an Aggie opponent since a 72-41 victory over Dartmouth on Dec. 30, 2008.
Aggies Shoot High Percentage: The Aggies exhibited efficiency on offense hitting at exactly a 50 percent (25 of 50) clip against Holy Names. UC Davis went 4-3 last year when it shot 50 percent or better.
Productive Returns: Senior Josh Ritchart and junior J.T. Adenrele – two frontcourt players crucial to Aggie success in 2014-15 – had productive outings in the season opener. Ritchart led the team in points (13), rebounds (7) and blocked shots (2), while Adenrele turned in eight points, two rebounds and two steals in his first action in over a year. Ritchart returned to the court after missing all but nine games in 2013-14.
Upcoming: UC Davis travels to Eastern Illinois and Furman this week. The Aggies were 1-13 in road games last year.
Off To A Good Start: UC Irvine reeled off a pair of victories last week over Chapman and Pacific to begin 2-0 for the first time since the 2001-02 season. The schedule gets exponentially tougher as UCI embarks on a four-game roadtrip, beginning Wednesday night at No. 2 Arizona.
Defense, Defense: After ranking third in the nation in field goal percentage defense (.374) last year, the Anteaters reacquainted with their stingy side, limiting last week’s opponents to a combined 28.9 percent (28 for 97) shooting.
Ryan Terrific Off Bench: Senior 6-10 center John Ryan utilized his minutes off the bench quite productively as he ranked second on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) while shooting 71.4 percent (10 of 14) from the floor.
Telltale Sign: In 2013-14, UCI was 16-0 when keeping opponents to less than 60 points. In fact, dating back to the 2011-12 season, the Anteaters have won 31 straight games when limiting foes to less than 60 points. The last time that did not happen was on Dec. 13, 2011 in a 58-48 loss at Wyoming.
Highlanders Split: UC Riverside went 1-1 on its season-opening homestand, walloping UC San Diego by 23 points before losing a one-point heartbreaker to Sacramento State. The Highlanders posted a 5-11 record last year in games decided by five points or less.
Johns Off To Terrific Start: Junior Taylor Johns has had an outstanding initial two games to the 2014-15 season. He averaged 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks while hitting 66.7 percent (14 of 21) from the floor. He recorded his first double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds against the Hornets.
Nothing Bland About Him: Murray State transfer Jaylen Bland made a successful Highlander introduction with back-to-back 17-point efforts to begin the season.
Good Sign: In 2013-14, the Highlanders finished last in the Big West in total three-pointers made (138) and three-point field goal percentage (.302). It’s early, but UCR is shooting 38.1 percent (16 of 42) from three and its 16 makes from distance is fourth-most in the Big West.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Tough Beginning: UC Santa Barbara fought hard but ultimately succumbed on the road in a pair of losses to No. 5 Kansas and Florida Gulf Coast. The latter game went to overtime as UCSB overcame a nine-point second half deficit. UCSB last started 0-2 in the 2012-13 season.
Free Throw Fracas: Kansas and Florida Gulf Coast had 32 free throw attempts apiece against the Gauchos while UCSB managed just a combined total of 38 freebies in the two defeats.
Al Is The Man: Alan Williams, the reigning Big West Player of the Year, is in an early rhythm. Understatement aside, Williams is averaging 25.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while shooting a robust 51.4% (18 of 35), all while drawing mounds of attention from opposing defenders.
Follow His Lead: While Williams shot well on the opening roadtrip, most of the rest of his teammates struggled, combining to shoot just 36.0% (31 of 86), including a slim 21.4% (9 of 42) from three-point range. John Green was an exception, as he hit 52.6% (10 of 19) from the field.
Successful Open: Hawai‘i posted a 2-1 record at the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic to finish as the runner-up to champion High Point. The Rainbow Warriors earned victories over Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Bakersfield.
Valdes Solid In Season Debut: Sophomore guard Aaron Valdes notched a career-high 28 points in his season debut against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, connecting on 11-of-15 from the field and 4-of-4 at the free throw line. Valdes averaged 3.2 points over 31 games as a freshman.
Balanced Production: The Rainbow Warriors have four starters averaging in double figures through three games. Valdes (11.7 ppg) leads the team, followed by Roderick Bobbitt and Negus Webster-Chan at 11.0 each, and Garrett Nevels (10.3).
Active On The Boards: UH was quite active on the offensive glass, posting double-digit rebounds in all three games of the tournament. UH had 18 offensive rebounds against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in helping lead to the 28-point victory.