Long Beach State (1-2) at (12) Arizona (2-0)
Monday, November 19, 9 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKale Center (14,538) -- Tucson, Arizona.
Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: LBSU 1-1, Arizona 2-0. Away Record:
LBSU 0-1, Arizona 0-0. Neutral Record: LBSU 0-0, Arizona 0-0. Conference
Record: LBSU 0-0, Arizona 0-0. Series Record: Arizona leads 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The No. 12 Arizona Wildcats will attempt to open the season with
three straight wins when they host the Long Beach State 49ers at the McKale
Center on Monday.
Long Beach State will try to avoid losing three straight games in this
contest. A NCAA Tournament team last season, the 49ers were handed losses by
USCc (62-44) and North Carolina (78-63) in its last two outings after winning
the season opener against North Alabama (75-65). This is one of three straight
games on the road for the 49ers who will continue on to face Fresno State
Meanwhile, Arizona has handled its business through its first two games. The
Wildcats opened the season with an 82-73 win against Charleston Southern which
they followed up with a more convincing 72-51 triumph over UTEP. After this
contest the Wildcats will be off for more than a week before hosting Northern
Arizona on Nov. 28 as the final game of the current four-game homestand.
The Wildcats haven't just won all three games in the series with Long Beach
State, they have dominated. Arizona has averaged 93.3 points per game with a
winning margin of +31. These teams haven't met since 1995.
In the first half against North Carolina, the 49ers stayed right with the Tar
Heels and went into halftime with just a one-point deficit (33-32). However
Long Beach State's defense fell off in the second half with the 49ers allowing
North Carolina to shoot an even 50 percent. Points from the perimeter were a
major factor in the game as well as the 49ers were outscored 30-15 from beyond
the arc. James Ennis finished with a team-high 18 points but missed on all
four shots from 3-point range.
For a team that excelled on the offensive end of the floor last season, Long
Beach State has really regressed this year. The 49ers are scoring just 60.7
points per game and connecting on only 37.4 percent of its shots from the
floor. That has led to a -7.6 scoring differential. Ennis was a starter for
the 49ers last season and has returned to be the team's top player. He leads
the way both in scoring (16.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 pg), while shooting at
an impressive 48.6 percent from the floor. Sophomore guard Michael Caffey
(13.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.0 apg) is also scoring in double figures this season but
his shooting (25.5 FG percentage) has been less than mediocre. Kris Gulley
(8.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Dan Jennings (6.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg) have both been strong
rebounders for a Long Beach State squad that has had success on the boards
Speaking of rebounding, Arizona was absolutely dominant on the glass in its
rout of UTEP. The Wildcats finished with 35 rebounds to the meager 15 brought
down by the Miners. Arizona also shot better from 3-point range and finished
with a strong 48.9 percent shooting performance overall. The shooting and
rebounding helped the Wildcats overcome 19 turnovers. Mark Lyons didn't help
on the boards, but scored 17 points including nine from beyond the arc.
That was the exact same amount of points Lyons put up in his team debut.
Through two games the Xavier-transfer has fit in just as predicted with the
senior guard providing knock-down shooting from the perimeter. Solomon Hill
(12.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg) was the player for which much of the hype for the season
centered on. The senior forward is one of four different players averaging at
least 5.0 rebounds per game and leads the team in shooting from beyond the arc
(6-of-11). The ability to score from inside and out makes Hill a difficult
matchup for opposing squads. Brandon Ashley (10.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) is the only
other player scoring in double figures while also turning in the best
performance on the glass, despite making those contributions off the bench.
Nick Johnson (9.5 ppg) can score when called upon while also showing a knack
for finding open teammates (4.0 apg).
Playing its second ranked team in as many games is not a recipe for success
for any mid-major program. For a Long Beach State team still searching for its
identity in the young season that is especially true.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 74, Long Beach State 60
11/19 10:42:49 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.