FACTS & STATS: Site: The Walter Pyramid (5,000) -- Long Beach, California. Television: FSN PrimeTicket. Home Record: Cal Poly 7-1, LBSU 7-2. Away Record: Cal Poly 2-9, LBSU 5-6. Neutral Record: Cal Poly 0-0, LBSU 0-0. Conference Record: Cal Poly 5-4, LBSU 8-1. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 41-29.
GAME NOTES: The Long Beach State 49ers seek to avenge their only Big West Conference setback of the season as they host the Cal Poly Mustangs at The Walter Pyramid.
This will be the second meeting of the season and 71st all-time between these Golden State rivals. Senior guard Dylan Royer went 5-of-8 from 3-point range en route to 17 points to lead four Mustangs in double figures when Cal Poly defeated the 49ers, 79-73, on Jan. 5. LBSU still owns a 41-29 edge in the all- time series.
Cal Poly fell below the .500 mark on Wednesday when it was downed 52-47, by UC Irvine on the road. The loss dropped Cal Poly to a 5-4 mark in Big West play and also to 2-9 in true road games. Coach Joe Callero's squad has outscored its conference rivals by an average of 3.1 points per game thanks to a tough defensive effort that allows only 65.8 ppg to Big West foes. Junior forward Chris Eversley is pacing the Mustangs with 16.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per tilt and freshman forward Bennett is second for Cal Poly in the scoring column with 10.2 ppg.
LBSU has transformed from an underdog into a favorite since losing to Cal Poly. Dan Monson's 49ers collected their seventh win in a row by clipping UC Santa Barbara, 57-55, with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds by Mike Caffey. The victory upped LBSU to a 12-8 overall record including its 8-1 Big West record that has it positioned in outright control of first place. The team came into league play with a losing record after enduring a treacherous non-conference slate that included North Carolina, Arizona, Syracuse, Ohio State, and UCLA.
The Mustangs now have a losing record despite displaying incredible efficiency on the offensive end with just 9.6 turnovers per game, which is the fourth lowest mark in the nation. Eversley tallied 15 points on Wednesday against UCI, but Cal Poly still finished with its lowest scoring output in a 49-game span after going 15-of-43 (34.9 percent) from the floor. The Mustangs left nine free points on the board in the loss which put them in a tie for fourth place with the Anteaters in the Big West standings.
The 49ers had some trouble on the offensive end their last time out, converting a mere 37 percent of their field goal attempts and dealing out only four assists to 18 turnovers. LBSU managed to escape on top by outscoring the Gauchos, 18-8, at the charity stripe while holding UCSB to 33.9 percent shooting from the field. James Ennis and Tony Freeland scored 16 points apiece to lead the charge. Ennis has now reached double-figures in 25 consecutive games dating back to last season to become the fifth leading scorer in the Big West with 17.0 ppg. He also is the eighth best rebounder (6.8) in the conference, while Caffey contributes 12.1 points, 4.3 boards, and 4.3 assists per tilt. Freeland, who transferred to the 49ers program from DePaul, chimes in with 10.2 ppg on 60.3 percent field goal shooting.
Cal Poly pulled off the upset once this season, but it will quickly see how much tougher it will be to knock off the 49ers on the road. LBSU has won 22 consecutive conference home games and its streak seems likely to continue with Ennis, Freeland, and Coffey forming an unstoppable triple-threat attack.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Long Beach State 69, Cal Poly 61
02/02 10:35:42 ET
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