GAME NOTES: Despite having an overall record that is just one game over .500, the Long Beach State 49ers find themselves in first place in the Big West Conference standings, as they take on the Cal State Fullerton Titans on Saturday.
Since losing to Cal Poly earlier this month, the 49ers have rattled off four straight victories in order to take the top spot in the league standings at 5-1. On Thursday night the team needed overtime, but still came out ahead with a 91-82 score versus UC Riverside on the road.
As for the Titans, they are locked in a three-way tie for fourth place in the standings with Cal Poly and Pacific at 3-2 after bowing to UC Irvine two nights ago in a 92-65 final. The defeat snapped a three-game win streak by Fullerton.
The series between these teams dates back to the 1960-61 campaign and shows LBSU in charge with a 60-43 mark over the Titans. In the last two seasons the teams have split their four matchups, with each winning on their home floor.
After allowing the Highlanders to shoot 51.9 percent from the floor in the first half and 59.3 percent after the break, LBSU clamped down in overtime by limiting the hosts to only 2-of-6 from the field, including 0-of-3 beyond the arc, as the Beach grabbed the win. Four starters scored in double figures for the 49ers, led by Keala King with 18 points, followed by James Ennis who filled his stat line with 17 points, seven boards, five assists and five steals. Tony Freeland checked in with 15 points and Mike Caffey 13, to go along with seven assists. One of the more complete players in the Big West, Ennis leads the team in scoring with 16.6 ppg and is also first with both 6.9 rpg and 30 blocked shots, not to mention placing near the top in assists (43) and steals (27). Caffey (12.4 ppg) is the lead man in the passing department with 75 dishes.
Fullerton fell behind immediately against the Anteaters a few nights back and never recovered, the visitors hitting on 56.5 percent from the floor while the Titans connected on only 37.9 percent from the field. Despite being blown out, Fullerton still had four players score in double figures, led by Kwame Vaughn who tallied 15 points, followed by Sammy Yeager with 12 off the bench, but he shot only 4-of-15 from the floor. Alex Harris chipped in 11 points and Deuce Johnson 10 in the setback. On a team that is converting a solid 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, Vaughn is one of the top snipers at 42.6 percent on the perimeter and because of that he is producing a team-high 18.6 ppg. Although he wasn't in double figures on Thursday, D.J. Seeley checks in with another 18.3 ppg and is also first with 69 assists which means he is willing to get teammates involved while also looking for his own shot.
These two teams were on two different sides of high-scoring efforts two nights ago, but expect the Titans to make things more interesting on Saturday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Long Beach State 78, Cal State Fullerton 73
01/19 10:39:14 ET
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