Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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

Live updates from court side at the Pyramid

Pre-game

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

FINAL
LBSU 68 - UCR 55

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