Cal State Northridge (9-6) at Long Beach State (6-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 9, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Walter Pyramid (4,200) -- Long Beach, California. Television: None. Home Record: LBSU 3-2, CSUN 4-2. Away Record: LBSU 3-6, CSUN 2-4. Neutral Record: LBSU 0-0, CSUN 3-0. Conference Record: LBSU 2-1, CSUN 0-3. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 32-20.
GAME NOTES: Still winless in Big West Conference play, the Cal State Northridge Matadors try to turn the corner on Wednesday night as they clash with the Long Beach State 49ers on the road.
Oddly enough, CSUN is three games over .500 at the moment at 9-6, but not one of those victories have come against another member of the Big West. In fact, the Matadors are currently riding a three-game slide because of their inability to take out a familiar foe. Over the weekend, CSUN was crushed by Cal State Fullerton at home in a 105-86 decision, easily the most points allowed by the Matadors to this point.
As for the 49ers, they've had some trouble putting together consistent efforts from one game to the next over the last month or so, alternating wins and losses through six games during that stretch. Last Saturday, the team dropped in on UC Santa Barbara and picked up a 77-70 victory in order to move to 2-1 in league action.
Thanks to a six-game win streak over the Matadors, LBSU now leads the all-time series by a count of 32-20.
CSUN led by a single point early in the first half against Cal State Fullerton over the weekend and then proceeded to play catch-up the rest of the way, never getting the job done. Nevertheless, Stephen Maxwell had a strong effort in the up-tempo game as he logged 22 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, followed by Stephan Hicks with 20 points of his own. Trevone Williams and Josh Greene accounted for 10 points apiece as well, but the latter shot a mere 4- of-15 from the floor in 32 minutes off the bench. The Matadors are not a team that has shied away from ramping up the pace of games, which is why they are one of the top scoring teams in the nation with 79.8 ppg, but at the same time the defense has given up 75.1 ppg so there isn't much room for error. Hicks (18.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Maxwell (13.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg) are both solid interior performers, while Greene (12.8 ppg) gives the team some hope out on the perimeter, having made 25 of the unit's 74 triples over 15 games.
Not only did the 49ers shoot 53.3 percent from the floor in the first half against UCSB over the weekend, the visitors stepped up their efforts after the break as well as they connected on 55.2 percent in order to secure the seven- point win versus the Gauchos. Except for Keala King who finished with eight points, every starter scored in double figures for LBSU as Mike Caffey posted 19 points, to go along with nine rebounds and five assists, followed by James Ennis with 18 points, Tony Freeland 15 and eight boards, and Dan Jennings 13 points as the team logged just four points from the reserves. A starter in all but one of the team's 14 games, Ennis leads the group in scoring with 17.5 ppg, becoming a fixture at the free-throw line where he has nailed 85.5 percent of his attempts. Caffey checks in with another 11.9 ppg, yet he is shooting just 33.9 percent from the floor, something that Freeland (12.0 ppg) can hopefully compensate for now that he has joined the lineup.
As long as CSUN is willing to run the floor for a full 40 minutes and try to pick up advantages when and where it can, this could be a win waiting to happen for the visitors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Northridge 82, Long Beach State 77
01/09 10:39:48 ET