Saturday, February 26, 2011

Live Blog: Men's Basketball vs. UCSB 2/26/11

Live updates from court side at the Pyramid

Yep, in our white tees. Literally. It's whiteout night tonight in the Pyramid and as Jerramy King puts on a nice shooting display for the security and staff working behind the scenes to make tonight's ESPN2 game possible, we're about an hour and twenty minutes until Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara get it on in the final home game for the Niners.

It seems like it was years ago when the Gauchos and 49ers first squared off in both team's first Big West Conference game in late December. That game, marked by the return of Larry Anderson from a broken hand, was dominated by Long Beach, eventually leading to a 16 point road victory, and quite possibly serving as the catalyst Long Beach State needed to get their season going. The Niners have only lost twice since that game, and are currently riding a seven game win streak, the last of which clinched the Big West Regular Season championship for Long Beach.

Keys to the game

Keep the energy going. Last game, for obvious reasons, was the most amped I have seen the team all year. And now that the Niners have clinched the 1st seed for the Big West Tourney, it will be interesting to see how the team responds with a game that doesn't have any real merit on the team's chances to go dancing in March. Still, Long Beach has plenty to play for, namely finishing an undefeated conference record at home, sending out the three seniors with one last home win, and exacting a little revenge on the Gauchos for what happened last year.

Lock down the Dynamic Duo. Yes, USCB do have quite a duo in Orlando Johnson (avg. 22.9 pts per game in BW play) and James Nunnally (avg. 14.6 pts per game in BW play) but Long Beach did quite a job on limiting the success of the two the last time the teams met, really frustrating both of the players, especially Nunnally who ended up hanging out mostly around the perimeter instead of driving to the goal.

Getting the two out of their rhythm early will be a huge key for LB.

Get it done for B. Nev, T. Wil, and GP3. Each Long Beach State senior has had a unique story to get here to this point. Brandon Nevens had to be granted a sixth year of eligibility to even play this year. Tristan bounced around juco ball, and fought injury to be able to suit up this year. And Plater, Coach Monson's first recruit after coming to LBSU had to play out of position for his first year, see his playtime cut the next year, develop as a sixth man as a junior and finally step back in to the starting role his senior year. It will be a fitting end to their Walter Pyramid playing days to go out with wins.

25 minutes til tip
As Dave Fleming and Miles Simon get set for their ESPN2 broadcast, the crowd continues to file in here on whiteout night. The Long Beach players even have special white shoes for the game tonight, though I don't think my hopes for an all white suit from Coach Monson will pan out. I'll keep you posted.

Five minutes til tip
Student section is awfully packed. Parents, look for your kids on ESPN2!

Starting lineups

LBSU, no changes: Ware, Plater, Anderson, Robinson, Phelps

UCSB: Weiner, Joyner, Johnson, Nunnally, Serna

17:22 left in first half LBSU 8 - UCSB 7
Serna puts up two early baskets for the Gauchos.

UCSB running their customary match-up zone.

A tipped ball and steal by Long Beach State leads to a monster jam by Larry Anderson. Bob Williams wants to prevent the crowd getting in to the game best he can and calls time.

10:29 left in first half LBSU 21 - UCSB 18
Johnson answers with a big dunk of his own after a missed defensive switch by LB.

After a media timeout, the 7 foot 3 Greg Somogyi checks in, he will make it tough for the undersized Niners to get to the rim uncontested.

Casper is fouled shooting a three and sinks all three of the free throws.

Johnson drains a three for UCSB. He is not the player Long Beach wants to get in a good flow early.

Really unnecessary turnovers taking the ball out of Long Beach's hands. They already have six in the game.

T.J. not impressed by the SB big man, moving to the rack for a nice layin.

Just when it looks like UCSB is gaining some momentum, Casper banks in a three, hits a jumper from the baseline, and then drains another three.

6:56 left in first half LBSU 21 - UCSB 20
Coach Monson not satisfied with the offensive flow of Long Beach's game so he calls time.

3:54 left in first half LBSU 24 - UCSB 24
UCSB really active on the offensive glass, Serna and Pastorek fight until they are able to score.

Larry has to head to the bench with two fouls.

Casper drives to the hoop and is fouled, he will shoot free throws after the break. Ware already has 14 points.

11 turnovers already for Long Beach.

Half-time LBSU 32 - UCSB 29
Foul trouble for Edis has seen early minutes by Kyle Richardson and now Lin Chang.

Nunnally drains a three for UCSB to cut the deficit to three.

Long Beach had a few chances to score on their final possession, but couldn't convert. And we're at the half.

Half-time stats
Not a great offensive half by either team. Long Beach shot only 34.5 perfect, and the Gauchos didn't fair much better at 35.3.

Both teams only connected on three 3-pt shots. Long Beach State did make it to the line ten times, making nine of them (Ware accounted for seven of the makes).

Turnovers are the glaring stat for Long Beach, with 11 already, though they did force seven by UCSB.

The paint has been owned thus far by the Guachos, outscoring the Niners 18-10. LBSU needs to crack the match-up zone that UCSB is running, get their bigs touches in the paint and limit offesnive boards by Santa Barbara.

17:58 left in second half LBSU 40 - UCSB 29
Dribble penetration and kick outs are the name of the game so far for Long Beach, and Greg has drilled two threes and gives a pump up to the Maniacs.

Larry cuts to the hole and finishes a pretty layup and Coach Williams has seen enough and calls time. Long Beach on an 8-0 run to start the half. This is the kind of start Long Beach needed to get this crowd going.

11:45 left in second half LBSU 48 - UCSB 40
USCB has tried the alley oop to Somogyi about three different times and it hasn't worked yet. Not sure if they are trying to get on Sports Center or what. Long Beach will take it.

Johnson really looking for his shot and you can tell he is starting to feel it.

Larry had a wicked block on OJ, but Edis got T'd up for talking after the play. Johnson split the free throws.

Lot about No. 33 for the Guachos, but he has been everywhere in the second half. Orlando Johnson picks up his fourth foul going for a rebound, sending us to a media timeout.

8:05 left in second half LBSU 51 - UCSB 45
Long Beach already in the bonus, need to capitalize with the free throws.

Johnson comes back with his four fouls. After Casper splits his free throws, Monson calls timeout to settle the troops.

3:58 left in second half LBSU 63 - UCSB 49
Larry brings the crowd to its feet with another big dunk.

T.J. curls for a jumper to push the lead to ten.

Casper heads to the rack and is fouled by Orlando Johnson, who has just fouled out. Big blow for the Gauchos as he was the only UCSB player in double figures.

Here we go. Larry Anderson rejects the 7 foot 3 Somogyi on one end and then drives right at him, getting the bucket and the foul. Long Beach on a 12-0 run.

1 minute left in second LBSU 71 - UCSB 51
The seniors Nevens and Wilson enter the game to a nice ovation from the crowd.

And now the rest of the bench is being emptied.

Long Beach defense holds Gauchos to only 24 second half points.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Live Blog: Men's Basketball vs. Cal Poly 2/24/11

Live updates from court side at the Pyramid


Tonight is the night that 49er fans have been waiting for. The night that was envisioned after Dan Monson was brought on board to right the LBSU basketball ship. The night that Long Beach State seemed so poised for after signing "The Big Four" of Ware, Anderson, Robinson and Phelps. Though there have been a few speed bumps along the way, tonight is the night that Long Beach State can seal the deal on their first Big West Regular Season Championship since the 2006-07 season. Fittingly, standing in their way are the second place Cal Poly Mustangs, the only team that can mathematically catch the 49ers. 

The Mustangs represent the antithesis to LBSU's offensive philosophy. Long Beach leads the conference at 75.8 points per game. Cal Poly averages a league low 60.5. But offense isn't Cal Poly's focus, and with their 9-4 league record it is no surprise that they are tops in scoring defense at only 56.6 per contest.

When these opposites clashed early in league play, it was LBSU's offense that prevailed, using a 29-8 run over the final 1:45 of the first half and first 6:31 in the second half to build a 49-26 lead that The Beach never looked back from, finishing with a 69 - 53 victory in San Luis Obispo. 

Keys to the game.

Match defensive intensity. The Niners are no defensive slouches themselves, ranking fourth in the conference and allowing only 66.8 point per game. And though Long Beach's offensive philosophy is to play at an uptempo speed, those uptempo opportunities are mostly going to happen when the defense is getting stops and turnovers. The players and coaches have said it numerous times, but defense leads to offense for this group and if LB can prevent Cal Poly from getting settled in their defense, that is when the Mustangs are most vulnerable.

Attack the rim. CP's three point defense is allowing opponents to hit at an astonishingly low 26.6 clip. Cal Poly's length on the perimeter clearly causes problems for long range shooters, Long Beach shot only 2-13 the last time the two teams faced off. LB State shouldn't completely disband their outside shots, but with the CP defense stretching out so far to protect the perimeter, it means driving lanes for the quicker Long Beach players. Casper Ware and Larry Anderson especially need to attack the bucket and get to the foul line for easy points.

Control your destiny. Long Beach State is in a great spot. A win and you're in situation, at home, for the regular season conference title. The 49ers would be wise to capitalize on the raucous crowd that will be present, get off to an early lead and force the Mustangs to try and run (no pun intended) with the quicker 49ers. If Long Beach can do that, they will control their own destiny and most likely end the night on a ladder with scissors in their hands cutting down the nets in the Walter Pyramid.

16 minutes til tip
Student section again getting packed to the brim. Rest of the crowd starting to file in. Both teams seem pretty focused.

Starting lineups

Cal Poly Mustangs: O'Brien, Love, Lewis, Hanson, Donahue

Yet again, no changes for the home team: Ware, Plater, Anderson, Robinson, Phelps

Long Beach State players are JACKED UP. Hopefully they can harness their energy and start the half off on a run.

17:17 left in first half LBSU 6 - CP 8
Eugene Phelps takes a charge from Lewis and the bench loves it. I haven't seen this much energy from them all year. Casper has drained two threes to start the game.

Lewis has answered with two three's of his own. He is one player that Long Beach really doesn't want to let get going.

14:34 left in first half LBSU 12 - CP 12
Poly in a 2-3 zone. Which Cas seems content to bomb from outside as he drills another three. He has scored all the points for Long Beach thus far.

Plater drains a three of his own. Maybe the Niners heard a little too much about that nation leading three point defense percentage.

11:55 left in first half LBSU 18 - CP 17
Casper off to a hot start with 11 points. Long Beach settling a bit too much for jumpers. When it goes in, it's all good, but contested shots by T.J. and Wilson are not what this offense is predicated on.

7:26 left in first half LBSU 23 - CP 19
Turnovers give CP a few run outs for easy buckets and the game is tied up.

Casper hitting those three's early has really forced Poly to bite on his pump fake, allowing him to drive and find T.J. in the paint.

He pump fakes again, and this time heads to the hole for a pretty layup. Ware has 13 of Long Beach State's 23 points.

3:48 left in first half LBSU 26 - CP 22
With so many scorers on the floor for Long Beach, The Beach can spread a defense pretty thin, Poly left Brandon Nevens wide open for a three and he calmly nailed it.

Turnovers really limiting the Niners offense, they already have eight in the half.

48.9 seconds left in first half LBSU 31 - CP 28
Casper races down the court for a monster block on the defensive end, he pinned it against the backboard like you see LeBron do on Sports Center. 

After another Poly turnover Cas feeds Larry for a thunderous dunk.

Three point shooting by the Mustangs keeping this a back and forth affair.

Halftime LBSU 31 - CP 28
Cal Poly keeps the ball for the entire final 48 seconds on an offensive board, but fails to convert either of their shots and we're at the half.

Halftime stats
Long Beach holding Cal Poly to a 35 field goal percentage, but the Mustangs have converted on 6-12 three's. Perimeter game is really all Cal Poly has going for them, they have only made five shots inside the arc, and have not even made it to the charity stripe.

Long Beach is shooting 50 percent for the half, and have connected on 5-13 beyond the arc. (38.5 percent) The Niners made it to the line four times, but only converted two.

Poly winning the offensive board battle 7-3, allowing them to limit Niner possessions. That and Long Beach's 9 turnovers.

LBSU needs to limit Cal Poly offensive boards and and close out on open shooters. If Long Beach can get an offensive flow early in the half, they should be in good shape.

15:45 left in second half LBSU 35 - CP 36
A missed assignment on defense and a turnover are how Long Beach opens the half. They need some intensity to get a run going.

Long Beach creating turnovers, but can't score. Cal Poly converts on a point blank shot and take the lead in to the media.

12:08 left in second half LBSU 39 - CP 38
The pace right now is right up Cal Poly's alley with neither team in an offensive flow or putting many points on the board this half.

T.J. plays some tight D on Shawn Lewis as the shot clocks winds down leading a 3-2 break for The Beach with Robinson converting on a layup. Timeout Coach Callero.

9:38 left in second half LBSU 44 - CP 43
Long Beach trying to use a press to quicken the pace of the game, but the Mustangs still content to use the entire shot clock and U'u (not a typo) hits a jumper.

Larry moves in the paint and gets the basket and the foul but can't convert the free throw.

Casper can feel the Mustangs gaining a little momentum after an offensive board and three, so he drains a three of his own, giving him 20 points in the game.

7:46 left in second half 44 - 43
Long Beach not doing themselves any favors at the line, with Phelps the latest to miss a pair from the stripe.

Long Beach's offense is really struggling, shooting only 25 percent in the half. These are the kind of grind 'em out games that Cal Poly has forced their opponents in all year.

3:29 left in second half LBSU 51 - CP 50
Again, Larry can't convert on a three point play. Any Long Beach drive is really getting harassed in the lane, and few fouls are being called.

Casper again responds to a Cal Poly lead with a three.

1:33 left in second half LBSU 56 - CP 51
Greg giving Long Beach some energy with intense defense a made three.

Long Beach has a tiny slice of breathing room and a WHOLE LOT of energy. Up by five with 1:33 to go.

58.5 seconds left in second half LBSU 56 - CP 53
Cas went for a steal and ended up fouling Donahue, sending him to the line where he made both his shots.

23.9 left in second half LBSU 58 - CP 53
It was a missed three by Greg but it might as well have been a pass to Larry as he collects the airball and puts in a putback.

4.1 seconds left in second half LBSU 59 - CP 55
Plater makes the smart play and heads deep on an inbounds play, getting intentionally fouled, he splits his free throws, and then Casper fouled on the next play. Monson calls time before he heads to the line.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Big West Athlete of the Week- Megan Denio

Softball left fielder, Megan Denio, was awarded Big West Athlete of the Week honors for her performance in the Louiseville Slugger Desert Classic. Denio brought the team to a 2-3 record, and hit her first career home run. Her home run happened to be a grand slam, as she set the school record for most RBI in a single game with six.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Live Blog: Men's Basketball vs. Montana 2/19/11

Live updates from court side at the Pyramid


Ahh huh you know what it is BracketBuster - sorry that Black and Yellow song was blaring through the Pyramid as the student doors opened and I couldn't resist.

But there is some truth to the statement. It is BracketBuster time. As a couple of LBSU opponents from earlier in the year battle on ESPN right now (Utah State at St. Mary's) ESPN2 gets ready to cap off their Mid-Major-a-thon with tonight's game of the Montana Griz vs. your Long Beach State 49ers.

Montana currently leads the Big Sky Conference with a record of 19-7 and boasts wins over UCLA and Oregon State on their resume. We know the story with Long Beach State, currently in first place in the Big West, currently on a five game winning streak and haven't lost in the Pyramid since 2010.

Keys to the game

Contain their bigs. It doesn't take too much analysis to see one of the biggest keys for the Niners will be to contain Montana's two bigs. The Griz run two big men Derek Selvig at 7 foot and Brian Qvale at 6'11. Selvig, though an inch taller, prefers to play the perimeter and is actually the second leading three point shooter on the team. Qvale is more of a traditional banger. Their size leads to a lot of blocked shots, so LBSU will have to be aware of shot changers in the lane as well as the outside shot.

Control the tempo. Long Beach State wants to run. Montana doesn't. Simple as that. The 49ers are starting to amass some impressive offensive team statistics, and while offensively the Griz don't stand out, their defense is outstanding. Thus, the team that can dictate the tempo will be able to get their opposition out of their comfort zone. Coach Monson compared Montana to Pacific, a well coaches and methodical team. And we all know how the games against Pacific have gone this year, right down to the wire.

Protect home court. LBSU has a golden opportunity tonight to not only improve their RPI, but to show a National TV audience a high brand of Mid-Major basketball. The students are already packing the student section, and if the rain doesn't drive people away, a decent crowd should be in the works tonight. The Long Beach State players always feed off the crowd, and if they can keep the fans in it early, home court advantage can really take over.

20 minutes til tip

Students are really filing in, student section has been starting to get sardine like for about an hour. Montana has a good amount of fans on hand, but considering they live in Montana, this is quite the vacation for them.

Superfan is in the building, it's not a question of if, but when, as far as his patented dance (sans t-shirt) will go down.

Some creative signs in the crowd so far, even the court kids got a shout out from the Maniacs. I'll try and keep track of some of the better ESPN acronym signs that the students have brought.

Starting lineups

LBSU: No changes for the home team Ware, Plater, Anderson, Robinson, Phelps

Montana: Cherry, Stockton, Steward, Selvig, Qvale

17:01 left in first half LBSU 10 - Mont. 2
Defense by Long Beach is really active in the first couple of possessions collapsing on the Griz big men.

The intensity is certainly back in the Pyramid ladies and gents. Some beautiful passing inside and out leads to a three by Cas and active hands leads to a run out by Larry Anderson and the foul. Griz want timeout.

14:46 left in first half LBSU 14 - Mont. 4
Casper will shoot a free throw after the meida after he went coast to coast for a nice layup.

11:55 left in first half LBSU 19 - Mont. 8
Long Beach showing a press that Montana has had mixed results breaking. It once led to a turnover. Other times the Griz have got settled in their offense. Which is methodical as advertised.

Plater hits a catch and shoot three of an in bounds play.

Casper really is a blur when flying down the court, the defense just can't get settled and they end up sending Phelps to the line where he splits his free throws.

A male cheer leader almost did a backflip in to the team, Starkey had a good boxout.

5:31 left in first half LBSU 25 - Mont. 17
Some close fouls going against LBSU sending Montana to the line. Another one comes as Phelps bumps Steward after making a three. He completes the rare four point play.

Ware picks up his second foul going for a defensive board and has to head to the bench.

Both teams look a little gassed. Media timeout after a foul on Edis. Five on the floor right now Plater, Anderson, Nevens, T.J., Edis

In crowd watching news, Superfan has removed his shirt. Everyone remain calm.

3:59 left in first half LBSU 27 - Mont. 18
That's got to be about the fourth airball for Montana, this time Cherry had to force a shot up as the shot clock expired. Media time outs were pretty close together.

Superfan has his shirt back on.

12.8 left in first half LBSU 36 - Mont. 24
Cherry just airballed again on a floater but it landed right in the lap of Ward of Montana who gets to the free throw line for two points.

Despite the Griz bigs, Long Beach has been active around the rim, this time T.J. gets a nice tip-in.

T.J. picks up Edis after two missed free throws, getting an offensive board and bucket.

Nevens makes his presence felt coming out of no where for an offensive rebound and easy basket and then takes a charge on the defensive end. Long Beach ball with 12.8 seconds to go.

Half time LBSU 36 - Mont. 24
No one for the Niners could find open space and T.J. has to jack a desperation three that rims out. Nice half for The Beach. They picked their spots to run, and weathered the storm with Cas on the bench.

The Montana bigs have had a few open shots, but LBSU doing well to double the post players when they have the ball in deep, but also aren't allowing anyone to torch the nets from outside. Good defensive awareness and switching.

Crowd is in to it. They're even cheering the youth basketball halftime game.

14:33 left in second half LBSU 47 - Mont. 37
A couple of bobbled balls lead to turnovers and layups for Montana.

Casper has a had enough so he decides to drive to the rim twice and gets two lay ins.

Montana having more success on the offensive end this half, but Long Beach is matching their buckets.

First time a Long Beach shot has noticeably been changed for fear of being blocked, as T.J. had to put an awful lot of height on a floater, and he couldn't convert.

11:45 left in second half LBSU 50 - Mont. 38
Long Beach can't seem to do anything on either end without being called for a foul, Phelps has to head to the bench with his third foul.

Larry hits a three from the top of the arc pushing the lead back to twelve.

Tight D by LBSU leads to another Griz shot clock violation.

3,368 in attendance tonight.

8:28 left in second half LBSU 52 - Mont. 42
Edis in a battle with Griz big man Qvale, and though the Montana player has 13 points, Edis doing well to limit his touches.

After another close call goes against Long Beach, this time a blocking call against Casper, Montana calls timeout. Ten point game.

5:36 left in second half LBSU 60 - Mont. 46
Long Beach's press forces a Cherry turnover and leads Larry to the line for two.

Phelps hits a jumper at the elbow and Coach Tinkle for Montana has seen enough. Timeout Griz.

3:56 left in second half LBSU 64 - Mont. 48
Phelps is having him self a game, he cleans up a miss for two more points. He leads The Beach with 17. And now 19 after he spins in the lane for a point blank shot.

T.J. fouled on his way to the hoop, he'll shoot after the four minute media timeout.

1:25 left in second half LBSU 68 - Mont. 50
Larry Anderson cuts to the tin makes the runner and the foul. Long Beach leads by 20.

Might be my favorite part of the game: Starkey time.

Sean is joined by Chang, Jackson, Vantimpont, and King.

LBSU 74 - Mont. 56

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Live Blog: Men's Basketball vs. UC Riverside 2/16/11

Live updates from court side at the Pyramid


To quote a local videographer who's name happens to be two letters long, "What Up Long Beach?" It's Wednesday night and here we go again with Big West hoops action from the Pyramid. In what is a bit of a scheduling anomaly, Long Beach is facing off with the UC Riverside Highlanders for the first time this year, despite having already completed home and away series with five other teams in the conference.

The Highlanders come in with a record of 4-7 in Big West play while LBSU is still tops in the league at 10-2. Long Beach is coming off back to back road wins at UC Davis and at Cal State Northridge this past week, while UCR lost last week against Cal Poly and UCSB.

The Highlanders have over gone a major overhaul since last year, in fact Javon Borum, UCR's leading scorer at 14.1 pts per game, is the only player on the UCR roster that returns from last year.

Keys to the game

Control the ball. One are that continues to plague the Niners is turnovers, LBSU ranks seventh in the conference in turnover margin. And not surprisingly, in UCR's four conference wins, they have been able to control the turnover battle. Long Beach needs to take care of the ball tonight and get shots up on every possession. Which leads me to my next point.

Clean up the glass. When the 49ers are putting up shots more frequently than they turn the ball over, good things happen. Not only because they shoot one of the better percentages from the floor, but also because LBSU is tops in the league in offensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 34.8 percent of their misses on the offensive glass. Overall, LB State has proved to be the best rebounding team in the league, averaging 6.4 more boards than their opponent.

Go Cas Go. On LBSU's current four game winning streak, Ware is averaging 21.2 points per game. The point guard has found his three point stroke, he is able to get to the tin at will, and he still leads the league in assists despite all this scoring. Once he gets going, he really can't be stopped. Look for him to try and get his teammates involved early and look for his spots to be aggressive. UCR can't stop Casper, they can only hope to contain him.

LBSU starting five
No changes for the home team, Plater, Anderson, Ware, Phelps, Robinson

UCR Starting five
Guards: Borum, Nitoto, Martin Forwards: Berry, Bradshaw

18:53 left in first half LBSU 6 - UCR 0
Highlanders might not be aware the game started, but Long Beach already off to a 6 - 0 start forcing a UCR timeout

15:11 left in first half LBSU 9 - UCR 8
UCR looking to attack the paint after the timeout, no made field goals so far, but three points off free throws.

Riverside starts in a 2-3 zone, which Casper attempts to bust with a three pointer, he missed the shot, but Phelps had a nice tip in.

11:34 left in first half LBSU 20 - UCR 11
Borum had something to say to the Long Beach bench after knocking down a three which the coaching staff didn't appreciate.

Casper feeds Tristan Wilson on the break for an and-1, which he'll shoot after the media timeout.

9:31 left in first half LBSU 27 - UCR 15
Long Beach getting some good production from its bench, with both Wilson and Edis scoring on put backs. Those tip-ins, plus a Ware three pointer forces UCR to take a timeout.

3:00 left in first half LBSU 41 - UCR 20
Phelps picks up his second foul heading to the bench, replaced by Edis.

Nice ball movement by Long Beach, a few shooters passed up ok looks to eventually find Robinson in the post. T.J. picks up his second foul, subbing Kyle Richardson in to the game.

It's about that time. Cas knocks down back to back threes and all of a sudden Long Beach is up by 21.

14 - 5 run for The Beach.

Halftime LBSU 43 - UCR 24
With the Long Beach bigs in foul trouble, 49ers having a difficult time rebounding the ball, giving UCR extra possessions.

Larry is active around the rim and gets a put back with 7.1 seconds left.

Defense doesn't allow a Highlander shot and we're at the half

17:48 left in second half LBSU 45 - UCR 29
Long Beach looks a little sleepy on both ends of the floor to start the half. They need a spark of energy if they want to keep their big lead. Despite T.J. hitting a baseline jumper, Monson wants a timeout to fire up his troops.

14:52 left in second half LBSU 49 - UCR 35
And maybe that spark will be Casper Ware as he hits another three. Coach Woolridge for UCR thinks so as he calles a quick timeout after the three pointer.

Still a sluggish look for the 49ers, a few missed passes on the interior and blown switches on D lead to easy buckets for UCR.

11:45 left in second half LBSU 49 - UCR 37
Looks like the guys are just moving a gear slower this half, LB has only scored 6 points in the half.

7:44 left in second half LBSU 56 - UCR 42
Long Beach State seemed to be on a runout in the first half every possession, but now the game has slowed to a crawl and is much more of a grind it out kind of affair. It seems like a much closer game because the teams are mostly trading baskets, and misses, but you look at the scoreboard and Long Beach State still leads by 14.

1:22 left in second half LBSU 66 - UCR 53
It's Starkey time

LBSU 68 - UCR 55

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Big West Pitcher of the Week: Erin Jones-Wesley 2-14-2011

Talk about a debut. After word came that Long Beach State starter Brooke Turner would not be ready to open the season because of injury, freshman Erin Jones-Wesley was asked to fill in the All-American's shoes and did she ever respond.

Erin took the hill in Saturday afternoon's game against Boise State, throwing a complete game shutout while striking out eight batters. Sunday, she was called upon to deliver again, facing off with the same Boise State team and delievered an eerily similar performance, again shutting out the Broncos and striking out eight batters.

The Big West Conference took notice of this outstanding debut, tabbing Jones-Wesley as their softball pitcher of the week.

The Black and Gold Insider caught up with Erin and asked about her big debut.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Live Blog: Men's Basketball vs. CS Northridge 2/12/11

Live updates from Cal State Northridge (Northridge, California)

Are you ready?  #1 Long Beach State vs. #2 Cal State Northridge.  The two top teams in the Big West Conference take center stage tonight.  Momentum is the theme tonight... the 49ers seek their fourth consecutive win, while the Matadors havewon six of their last eight games. 

A win tonight would bring LBSU closer to the elusive regular season title that has skirted Coach Monson's squad each of the past two seasons (08-09, lost on a buzzer-beater at UCSB on the final game of the regular season... 09-10, failed to lock up the regular season title after being picked as the preseason #1 team).

LBSU holds a 29-20 advantage over CSUN in the all-time series and have won three consecutive games over the Matadors including an 85-71 decision earlier this year (1/5/11) at the Pyramid.  Both teams shoot .458 from the floor, second-best in the league, so it should be an interesting match-up. 

Lace 'em up folks... should be an entertaining one tonight.

Starting Five for Us...
Phelps, Plater, Anderson, Robinson and the Ghost with the Most... Casper

Starting Five for Them...
Daniel, McLemore, and then the sound went out in the arena.

Keys to the Game...
The 49ers need to match the intensity of the Matadors early.  This is the biggest home game for CSUN this season and Coach Braswell will have his troops ready to roll in the all-important Big West match-up. 

Let's keep the March towards March going!  The stretch run continues...

Nice touch...orrr not really...This place is a concrete jungle... seats are half-empty for CSUN's biggest game of the season.... the mascot has the face of, well, you just need to see it.  Still should be fun, but this rival's CS Fullerton's high school gym.

Perfect example:  The public address system cut out during the announcement of the starting line-ups, delaying the start of the game and not allowing the Northridge starting five to be introduced. 

15:40 left in the 1st Half... CSUN leads 6-5
Sloppy start to the game for both teams with some questionable calls by the officials.  Casper Ware.  Coach Monson pulled GP3 for not getting on the floor for a loose ball before putting him right back in.  Casper is fighting a sickness, so he's been in and out of the lineup.

7:50 left in the 1st Half... LBSU leads 19-11
14-5 run for the 49ers... Greg Plater with some key baskets in the stretch... LBSU is turning up the intensity on the boards.

3:58 left in the 1st Half... LBSU leads 22-17
Ware picks up his second personal foul on a ticky tack call... the officials are calling EVERYTHING.  Not much offense, but LBSU is holding its own on the boards, which is the difference right now

Halftime... LBSU leads  32-27
Two consecutive CSUN three-pointers tied the score at 27-27 with 1:10 remaining, prompting a 30-second TO by the 49ers, but Casper straightened out the scoring with a 3-pointer and dribble-drive at the buzzer to close out the half.

Halftime Stats....

Plater - 11 points
Ware - 9 points (just 12 minutes)
Anderson - 7 points

15:25 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 42-37
Casper Ware picks up his fourth foul on a questionable offensive foul in the lane, leading to a seat on the bench.  3 of Casper's four fouls have been questionable and the officials continue their first half trend of blowing the whistle when a gnat lands on any of the players. 

11:56 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 48-46
After LBSU gives up the lead for the first time since the early minutes of the game, Corey Jackson provides a spark off of the bench with the absence of Ware with two immediate 3-pointers for the 49ers on back-to-back possessions. 

7:49 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 55-53
Jackson's spark (9 points, 3-3 from beyond the arc) helps patch the loss of Ware.  Rebounding battle is becoming more intense and it looks more like the game is going to be won/lost at the free throw line.  Both teams are already in the bonus.

3:56 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 68-61
The soon-to-be Big West Player of the Year returns... Ware re-enters the line-up with four fouls and immediately converts four free throws.... on two nice drives... good recognition of the foul situation for Northridge.  He's an impact player...Big three-pointer by Plater from the corner and a Phelps slam to give the 49ers some breathing room.  LBSU shows some life with a few hard fouls on Lenny Daniels down low.

FINAL SCORE: 49ers 79, Matadors 62 - Statement Win!!
24-8 run by LBSU over the last 7:49 to close it out... the bench was fired up!!
Free throws were the key down the stretch as LBSU iced the game at the charity stripe.
49ers are now 10-2 overall in Big West Conference play and retain an even stronger hold on first place... it's time to pack the Pyramid for the final four home games of the year, beginning next Wednesday night against UC Riverside..

Four home games left, fans, let's cut down those nets at home!!

Feb. 16 vs. UC Riverside - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 19 vs. Montana (live on ESPN2) - 8:00 p.m.
*free t-shirts for the first 1,000 students
Feb. 24 vs. Cal Poly - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 26 vs. UC Santa Barbara (live on ESPN2) - 5:00 p.m.
*WHITE OUT NIGHT, wear white to the game.  The first 4,000 fans receive a free t-shirt

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Live Blog: Men's Basketball vs. UC Davis 2/10/2011

Live updates from UC Davis (Davis, California)

It's been a while 49er fans... 11 days off... legs are rested... team is hungry.  Time to get things done.  LBSU sits a full two games up on the rest of the Big West field with six conference games remaining.. starting tonight, the 49ers can take a gigantic step forward towards capturing a regular season conference title with hopes of cutting down the nets in front of the home fans during a four-game homestand at the Walter Pyramid starting next week. 

Starting Five for Us...
Phelps, Plater, Anderson, Robinson and the Ghost with the Most... Casper

Starting Five for Them...
Lowenthal, Payne, Miller, Sypkens and Harden

**Note: Harden is playing with a broken nose tonight and will fashion the classic Rip Hamilton face mask during the game.

Keys to the Game...
Davis' offense comes from oxygen.. 49ers need to make their presence felt on the Aggie jumpshooters in hopes of stopping one of the best jump-shooting teams in the conference.  The Aggie defense is fairly weak in the paint, so the 49er coaches set goals tonight of 40 points in the paint. 

Let's get the March towards March started!  It's time for the stretch run...

Nice touch...
Davis' marching band is announced by the PA during pregame and marches into the arena... pretty cool tradition.

18:09 left in the 1st Half... 6-1 LBSU
QUICK start by the 49ers... 6-1 LBSU after a thunderous Phelps slam on a dish by Casper.  Timeout UCD.

11:00 left in the 1st Half... 21-9 LBSU
Media Timeout.  Great intensity by the 49ers... already have forced 7 Aggie turnovers and are penetrating into the lane at will.  7-10 from the field... 7 points for GP3

6:56 left in the 1st Half... 34-16 LBSU
Back-to-back 3's by Ware keep the throttle to the ground for Long Beach State.  Harden has left the game twice due to his broken nose... once because of bleeding.  30-second TO by Coach Monson to make a quick defensive adjustment.

3:31 left in the 1st Half... 43-21 LBSU
UCD has 9 team fouls to Long Beach's 4... Robinson complete's a traditional 3-point play on a nice inside move.  Phelps crashes the boards with authority and follows a Robinson miss with a SLAM.

Halftime... LBSU leads 55-28
Steals, Steals, Steals... shooting 67% from the field... Casper is all over the place. Beats the buzzer at the half with a 3-pointer to close out the highest-scoring first half of the season for Long Beach State (55 points) Four players in double-figures already:

Robinson - 10 points, 5 rebounds
Plater - 12 points
Phelps - 10 points, 6 rebounds
Ware - 14 points (4-4 FG, 3-3 FT's)

Stat of the 1st Half - 21 free throw attempts by the 49ers

16:52 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 61-35
Breakaway dunk by Robinson, fed by Casper... full timeout Coach Monson for some defensive adjustments.

14:55 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 65-35... TJ Time
TJ on fire in the second half... Robinson with 8 of his 18 points in the last 5 minutes.  49ers outrebounding UC Davis 23-10!

10:08 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 71-5230-second TO by Coach Monson... small run by the Aggies has cut the 49er lead to 19.

5:43 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 81-6030-second TO by Coach Monson... a few dropped balls on the fast break have prompted the coaches to make some quick adjustments.  Casper with 21 points and 7 assists.  Robinson reverting back to old form with 20 points.

FINAL SCORE: 49ers 93, UC Davis 69Wire-to-Wire... almost.  UC Davis led with 19:44 remaining in the 1st half.  No vacation hangover here... one win closer to that elusive regular season title!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Athlete of the Week: Deborah Armstrong

Very quietly, the Long Beach State tennis team has become one of the most dominant and successful programs in school history. Over the past ten years, Beach Tennis has won seven Big West Titles and been a part of the NCAA tournament seven years as well. 

Leading this year's team is senior Deborah Armstrong. The Newcastle, England native was named to the All Big West Honorable Mention team last year, and is already off to a strong start to her 2011 campaign. This past week, Deborah tied the Long Beach State school record with 83 career doubles wins. She also had two wins in singles play, leading to a perfect 4-0 weekend and team wins over LMU and Cal State Fullerton. 

Deborah took some time out from dominating the tennis court to answer a few questions for the Black and Gold Insider.

Black and Gold Insider: How does it feel to be named LBSU Athlete of the week?

Deborah Armstrong: It feels good to be named Athlete of the week. There are so many great athletes at LBSU who compete hard every weekend too and it is nice to see that my hard work is recognized!

Your last doubles victory tied you as the all time leader in doubles wins at Long Beach State, what is it like to set a record like that, and what kind of approach do you need to take in doubles matches to be successful?

Deborah Armstrong: It means a lot to me to have tied this record.  I have been really lucky to have had awesome partners while I've been at LBSU so I have really enjoyed my doubles experience here. I think to be successful in a doubles match you need to have good communication with your partner and be able to pick each other up when things aren't going well.  

What has your experience been moving from England to the US and playing tennis here at Long Beach?

Deborah Armstrong: It's been an amazing experience! Living over here was a lot to get used to at first but I love California now.  Playing tennis here has also been a great experience! I've really enjoyed being on a team with people from all over the world and I'm really grateful that I get the chance to compete every weekend in amazing weather in such a nice place.  

What do you think has led to the success that Beach Tennis has had recently, and what do you guys need to do to keep getting even better?

Deborah Armstrong: I think that everyone on the team is really determined to do well this season and to prove how good we are as a team.  We have all worked hard over the fall to improve on different things from last season and it has been paying off recently.  
What does it mean to Bleed Black and Gold?

Deborah Armstrong: To bleed black and gold is to fight for every game and stay out on the court as long as it takes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dirtbags' Coaches Tour Concludes

Last night Coach Buckley, and the other Dirtbags' coaches made their final stop on the Coaches Tour at Beach Club. The event was a great success as many LBSU supporters came out to socialize with the coaches, and get ready for what promises to be an exciting 2011 baseball season.

Coach Buckley discussed the upcoming season with individual fans, and then took a moment to address the crowd as a whole before handing over the microphone to his assistant coach. Coach Buckley ensured that it will “be an interesting year, and a fun year” as he debuts as head coach. Buckley also stated that “it is going to be extremely exciting, and nerve-racking” to play with so many freshmen. Buckley’s assistant coach fielded questions ranging from how frequently the team plans on bunting to scouting reports on the other Big West Schools. The event left everyone feeling closer to the team, and energized for the season.

While the Alumni Weekend and the Coaches Tour are officially over, the Dirtbag’s season hasn’t even begun. The team kicks off the 2011 season on February 18 at Blair Field against rival Cal State Fullerton. Tickets are available at

Monday, February 7, 2011

Antwain Aguillard- AVCA National Player of the Week

Antwain Aguillard was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week for January 31, 2011. The impressive middle blocker helped the 49ers to victory over Pacific and then No. 2 ranked Stanford. He had a season high 12 kills, and posted a .611 hitting percentage. Long Beach State is currently 6-3 overall, and 5-1 in conference play.

Hear Antwain discuss the team, his fondest volleyball memories, and what it means to play at Long Beach State below:


Thursday, February 3, 2011

LBSU Volleyball turns it up at home

College athletics is all about protecting home court, and no Long Beach State team has been more successful at that this year so far than the LBSU men's volleyball team. 49er men's volleyball is off to a perfect 4-0 start at home this year, having only dropped two sets combined in all of their matches in the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid. This string of wins has led Long Beach State to be ranked No. 2 in the nation in the latest AVCA poll.

So what is leading to this dominance? Obviously good side out defense and a strong attack by the outside hitters is a must, but there is a little extra energy in the step of the 49ers and it is coming from a surprising place: the loud speakers of the Pyramid. For the first time this year, the team requested that music be played in between each point of their home matches.

"It helps with our energy and momentum," said senior middle blocker Antwain Aguillard. "You can see it in our record, it's definitely helped us at home."

"The music just gives us an extra boost of energy," added senior setter Mike Klipsch."It keeps the energy level in the crowd up, especially with the students, I see them dancing and singing along." 

That singing and dancing crowd has seen sweeps of UCSB, Pacific and then No. 2 Stanford, and might have played a helping hand in the dramatic 3-2 come from behind win the 49ers completed against cross town rival UCLA.

"I would say what is important about the music," said assistant Coach John Hawks. "Is that in volleyball plays, there's five to seven seconds of actual play and 21 to 25 seconds of down time, so music is able to take up all that awkward silence and just adds energy to the building."

So feel free to get out of your seat and sing along with the 49ers and help protect home court.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dirtbag Alumni Weekend

This past weekend was of huge importance to Long Beach State and the Dirtbags as they hosted their annual alumni weekend.

The weekend kicked off with the leadoff dinner, held at The Grand in Long Beach. The dinner has a tradition of baseball greats, including Sparky Anderson, and Dirtbag alumni speaking to those in attendance about the program and giving words of wisdom to that year's team.

This year, former Dirtbag Evan Longoria, now a gold glover and silver slugger recipient for the Tampa Bay Rays, spoke about his personal story and gave wisdom to the team about new head coach Troy Buckley. Longoria lamented about Buckley's constant criticisms when he was playing at LBSU, remembering that if he missed one sign out of twenty Buckley would talk to him about it. Longoria warned the team that the constant hounding is a sign that Buckley cares, and that once he stops, you know he has stopped caring. The 2011 team was then introduced, and even with over 20 freshman it was clear they have begun the bonding process already.

Friday, many Dirtbag alumni made their way out to the 9th annual golf tournament held at Recreation Park Golf Course. Players such as Jason Giambi were in attendance, in an effort to raise funds to help renovate and modernize Blair Field.

Saturday, the Dirtbags took the field for the alumni old-timers and intra-squad games. Here current and former players had the opportunity to show off their skills in an informal manner. The "Dirt" and "Bags" teams ended in a 3-3 tie and showcased some of the young talent on the team. Fans got a good look at what to expect early in the season from a few of the newer names, including Coach Buckley as he showed he will stay true to the Long Beach tradition of all-out, gritty play.

The weekend ended with the first stop on the Coaches Tour. Coach Buckley spoke at Tantalum restaurant to fans about the upcoming season and will continue to do so. The Coaches Tour represents a chance for fans to interact with Coach Buckley and the rest of the Dirtbags staff.

Information for the next stop on the Coaches Tour:

2011 Dirtbags Coaches Tour, Stop #2 

Monday, February 7th, 2011, 5:30-7:00 PM 
Beach Club 
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