Long Beach State (1-3) at Fresno State (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 25, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Save Mart Center (15,544) -- Fresno, California. Television: None. Home Record: LBSU 1-1, Fresno State 1-0. Away Record: LBSU 0-2, Fresno State 2-1. Neutral Record: LBSU 0-0, Fresno State 0-0. Conference Record: LBSU 0-0, Fresno 0-0. Series Record: Fresno State leads 41-34.
GAME NOTES: In a rekindling of a rivalry of Golden State squads, the Long Beach State 49ers will travel to the Save Mart Center to battle the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Long Beach State may have bitten off more than it can chew in the early going. After four games the 49ers are just 1-3, a season after winning 25 games and making an NCAA Tournament appearance. While the loss of Casper Ware from the roster have been one reason for the slow start, the 49ers' schedule has done it no favors. Two of the team's losses came against nationally-ranked squads in North Carolina (78-63) and Arizona (94-72). This is the second of a three- game road trip for the 49ers who will wrap it up at Loyola Marymount.
Fresno State lost its first game to Texas (55-53) but has won in each of its last three games, including a 76-67 victory over Cal Poly last Tuesday. This is only the second game at home for the Bulldogs. The time at home will be short lived for the Bulldogs who play on the road in back-to-back games from here.
These teams have met 75 times before but the rivalry has been on a hiatus since 1992. That matchup ended in an 82-61 win for Long Beach State, but Fresno State leads the all-time series 41-34.
Arizona completely man-handled Long Beach State in the 49ers' most recent loss. The Wildcats connected on 63.0 percent of their shots from the floor, outscored the 49ers 25-10 from the free-throw line and held a 41-23 edge on the boards. The 94-72 final score would have been much worse if it were not for Long Beach State's shooting from beyond the arc (14-of-32). James Ennis (17 points) was the lead scorer off the bench.
The 49ers are scoring more than 10 points less per game this season than they did a year ago (63.5 ppg). Ball movement and finishing have been the major factors in the offensive downturn with the team averaging just 9.8 assists per game, while shooting 38.8 percent from the field. Ennis (16.8 ppg, 6.5) is an important holdover from last season and has taken the reigns as the go-to scorer and top rebounder. Michael Caffey (10.8 ppg, 4.0 apg) has been adequate in replacing Ware at the point, but desperately needs to improve on his shooting (24.1 FG percentage). Kris Gulley (9.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg) has been a solid contributor and shoots well (54.2 FG percentage) while Dan Jennings (6.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) has been pounding the glass.
Fresno State shot better than 50.0 percent from the floor in each half against Cal Poly and was able to pull away for the win. Overall the Bulldogs hit on 55.3 percent of their field goal attempts, outscored the Mustangs 27-15 from 3-point range and had a 31-22 advantage on the boards. Kevin Foster was stellar in the win scoring 28 points, while coming a rebound shy of a double- double.
The 76 points the Bulldogs scored against the Mustangs was an offensive eruption by Fresno State's standards. On the year the Bulldogs have been scoring only 58.5 points per game. Rebounding is also a weak point with the team bringing in 29.0 per game. However the Bulldogs defensive pressure has been solid with the team allowing 53.2 points per game on 38.3 percent shooting. Foster (12.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg) is a double-double threat whoever he steps on the floor. The 6-foot-8 forward has shown some range in the past three games with a 3-pointer in each contest. Allen Huddleston (13.2 ppg) is also scoring in double figures as is Kevin Olekaibe (10.0 ppg) although Olekaibe needs to improve his shooting (33.3 FG percentage). Marvelle Harris (6.5 ppg) is the top reserve.
If there is anything that Long Beach State can take away from its 1-3 start its the experience of playing top shelf talent. Fresno State is rather short on that and will serve as a jump-off point for the 49ers' attempt to regroup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Long Beach State 71, Fresno State 65
11/25 10:41:27 ET