Fresno State (3-3) at Long Beach State (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 3, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pyramid (4,200) -- Long Beach, California. Television: None. Home Record: Fresno St. 1-1, LBSU 1-1. Away Record: Fresno St. 2-2, LBSU 2-2. Neutral Record: Fresno St. 0-0, LBSU 0-0. Conference Record: Fresno St. 0-0, LBSU 0-0. Series Record: Fresno State leads, 41-35.
GAME NOTES: For the second time in a little more than a week, the Fresno State Bulldogs and Long Beach State 49ers will square off on the hardwood, as the two teams meet at the Pyramid on Monday evening.
The 49ers come into this contest at 3-3 overall, but enter this game with a little momentum, winning the last two games, including a 69-61 win at Fresno State on Nov. 25. Long Beach State followed that win up with a narrow victory at Loyola Marymount last Thursday, 73-70.
The Bulldogs are also 3-3 on the year, but unlike LBSU, they enter this contest with a two-game losing steak in tow. Fresno State followed the home loss to the 49ers with a 57-54 road loss at Southern Illinois.
Despite the win over Fresno a week ago, the 49ers still trail in the all-time series, with FSU holding a 41-35 advantage in 76 previous meetings.
The Bulldogs have used strong defensive play to fuel their success, with opponents averaging just 56.5 ppg, on 40.9 percent shooting. The problem is that Fresno hasn't been able to take advantage of its solid defense, with a lack of offensive firepower. The team is netting just 58.2 ppg this year, on a mediocre 40.3 percent shooting. There aren't any dynamic scorers on the roster, with Allen Huddleston leading the team with a modest 13.0 ppg. Kevin Foster is the only other Bulldog averaging double digits at this time at 10.0 ppg and is just shy of a double-double average, grabbing 9.5 rebounds per game. Kevin Olekaibe is closing in on joining Huddleston and Foster with 9.5 ppg.
The Bulldogs once again played the kind of defense that should win a game, but lacked the offensive punch to actually earn a win, falling in a low-scoring affair to the Salukis last time out. Huddleston led Fresno State in the setback with 12 points. Marvelle Harris added 11 points off the bench, while Foster added a mere four points, but grabbed 10 rebounds.
After shooting a mere .375 from the floor in the first half and trailing the Lions by six points at the break, LBSU was able to turn things around over the final 20 minutes to earn a tough road win. Four 49ers notched double figures in the win, led by Mike Caffey's 15 points. James Ennis and Deng Deng added 14 points apiece, while Kris Gulley recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards.
The 49ers are sitting at .500 despite having a -5.7 scoring margin. The team has struggled with consistency at the offensive end, delivering on 40 percent of its shots from the floor and a mere 63.3 percent from the free-throw line (76-of-120). Ennis leads the team with 15.3 ppg and ranks second in rebounding (7.0 rpg). Caffey adds 11.8 ppg, but is shooting a mere .294 from the field. Scoring depth comes in the form of Peter Papageorge and Gulley with 9.7 and 9.2 ppg, respectively.
The 49ers already won on the road at Fresno State, and the familiarity with the Bulldogs should give them just enough advantage at home to complete a season sweep.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Long Beach State 64, Fresno State 60
12/03 10:34:30 ET