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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lawlor Events Center (11,536) -- Reno, Nevada. Television: None. Home Record: LBSU 3-2, Nevada 2-3. Away Record: LBSU 0-4, Nevada 3-2. Neutral Record: LBSU 0-3, Nevada 0-2. Conference Record: LBSU 0-0, Nevada 0-0. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 11-6.
GAME NOTES: After dropping nine consecutive contests earlier in the season, the Long Beach State 49ers will get a chance at three wins in a row when they travel to face the Nevada Wolf Pack for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
The fact that these teams are former conferences foes means they have a history, but each team will really be trying to dig out of their respective holes in Reno. Although no conference games have been played, both Long Beach State and Nevada are at the bottom of their respective conferences in terms of overall records.
Long Beach State holds the series lead, 11-6.
The 49ers are 3-9 on the season and are coming off wins over USC and Montana State-Billings, the latter being the most recent contest on Dec. 21. Prior to the two-game win streak, the 49ers dropped nine straight matchups, which included three to ranked teams.
Nevada won its most recent contest, 80-72, against Iona on Dec. 22, but has lost five of its last seven contests as a whole, which includes a blowout loss to UCLA. Nevada is just 5-7 on the year and an underwhelming 2-3 at home.
The 49ers can partially attribute their two-game win streak to Tyler Lamb, a UCLA transfer who became eligible last Thursday and has played in both the team's recent wins. He scored 20 points off the bench in a win over USC, then scored 29 against Montana State-Billings, helping his team erase a six-point halftime deficit.
Lamb was named the Big West Player of the Week after averaging 24.5 points in his first two games with the program. Lamb scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half against MSB, including the first nine points out of the locker room for the 49ers. A.J. Spencer and Mike Caffey each chipped in 19 points in the winning effort.
Although he's played just two games, Lamb is the scoring leader for Long Beach State with his 24.5 points per game average. Caffey is next on the team with a 16.8 per-game mark. Lamb is shooting 50 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in two games with an outstanding 92 percent margin at the free-throw line. Senior Dan Jennings is the team's leading rebounder with an 8.3 per game average, while Caffey leads the team ins assists per game, averaging 4.2 per contest. Jennings pulled down nine rebounds in the team's win over MSB.
The Wolf Pack handed Iona its third straight loss with an 80-72 victory Sunday, the team's second win in a row. Senior guard Deonte Burton led Nevada with 20 points on the night, 13 of which came in the second half. With 1:35 remaining, Burton hit a jumper that extended the Nevada lead to 78-70. In the final minute, Iona missed its final six shots, handing the game to the Wolf Pack.
Burton is the leading scorer and passer on the Wolfpack, averaging 22.8 points and 3.8 assists per contest. He ranks 10th in the nation in scoring average. Forward Jerry Evans Jr. (14.8 points per game) leads the team in rebounding with 5.7 boards per game. Evans owns the team's best 3-point shooting percentage at .440, and is second on the team with a 53-percent overall shooting average.
Lamb will need to have another fantastic game in order for the 49ers to take down the Wolf Pack. Unfortunately for Lamb, help doesn't come in abundance on the Long Beach State roster.
The Sports Network predicted outcome: Nevada 63, Long Beach State 58
12/28 10:41:00 ET
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