Long Beach State (17-6) at Pacific (9-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 9th, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Spanos Center (6,150) -- Stockton, California. Television: None. Home Record: LBSU 9-0, Pacific 6-5. Away Record: LBSU 6-5, Pacific 3-8. Neutral Record: LBSU 2-1, Pacific 0-0. Conference Record: LBSU 10-0, Pacific 5-5. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 53-35.
GAME NOTES: The Long Beach State 49ers will try to maintain their undefeated reign atop the Big West Conference standings, when they travel to Stockton tonight to take on the Pacific Tigers at the Spanos Center.
After getting off to a modest 7-6 start in non-conference play, Long Beach State has opened its Big West schedule on a 10-game win streak following a 75-67 win over Cal State Northridge last Saturday. It's the 49ers' longest winning streak to start league play since the 1973-74 season, and they have now won 18 straight regular-season conference tilts dating back to 2010-11.
After enduring a seven-game losing streak from December through the beginning of January, Pacific has turned things around and is now sitting at 5-5 in conference play. The Tigers have won four of their last five bouts, including an impressive 72-64 decision at UC Irvine last Saturday.
LBSU won the first meeting between these two squads this season, 76-66, on January 14, and has now won four straight against Pacific. As a result, the 49ers hold a 53-35 advantage in the all-time series.
Long Beach State's third-ranked offense (73.5 ppg) and third-ranked defense (64.9 ppg) in the Big West combine for the league's best scoring margin (+8.6), and it continued that trend in last Saturday's win. Though the 49er offense shot just 41.1 percent from the field, they went to the foul line 39 times and held Northridge to 41.4 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers. The 49ers had five players reach double figures in the win, and T.J. Robinson (12.2 ppg, 10.3 rpg) tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds for his 11th double- double of the season. Earlier this season, Robinson became the first player in school history to join the 1,000-point/1,000-rebound club, and he currently ranks second in Big West history in rebounds (1,097), needing just 19 more to break the record held by Cal State Fullerton's Tony Neal. While Robinson mans the low post, Casper Ware (16.3 ppg) and Larry Anderson (15.2 ppg) do their damage from the outside, with both players ranking in the top-10 in scoring in the conference. James Ennis adds 10.4 ppg at 50.6 percent field goal efficiency to the mix.
Pacific's offense has not been particularly strong this season, ranking in the bottom half of the conference in scoring (64.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.404), but it impressed in last Saturday's win over UC Irvine. The Tigers connected on 47.9 percent of their field goals en route to their largest (winning) scoring output in nearly a month, while holding the Anteaters to 6- of-35 from beyond the arc. Travis Fulton paced the team with 17 points on 7- of-11 shooting from the field, and he has now scored eight points or more in 11 straight games. Lorenzo McCloud (11.3 ppg, 3.5 apg), Ross Rivera (10.3 ppg, 50 percent from the field), and Fulton (10 ppg, 6.2 rpg) pace the modest Tiger scoring attack for the year. Though Pacific falls on the positive side of turnover margin (+1.55), it doesn't have much of a presence in the paint, ranking in the bottom-third of the league in rebounding (32.6 ppg), rebounding margin (-3.9) and blocked shots (2.0 bpg).
Though Long Beach State has been relatively vulnerable on the road this season, it has been playing too well lately to slip up here. The 49ers take advantage of the matchups in posting a relatively easy win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Long Beach State 76, Pacific 63
02/09 10:38:45 ET