Cal State Northridge (10-10) at Long Beach State (6-12)
GAME NOTES: The Cal State Northridge Matadors will attempt to put an end to their three-game losing streak on Saturday when they head to Walter Pyramid for a Big West Conference bout with the Long Beach State 49ers.
CSUN's current slide has come on the heels of a 2-0 start in the Big West, and it now sits at 2-3 in the league and 10-10 overall following its 72-66 setback at UC Irvine on Thursday night. The loss caused the Matadors to dip to a lowly 1-8 on the road.
LBSU's season as a whole has not been pretty, as it owns just a 6-12 record overall, but it has turned things around a bit in conference action by splitting its four games. The 49ers' most recent contest came at Cal Poly last Saturday, where they escaped with a 63-62 victory.
In regards to the all-time series, LBSU holds a 32-20 advantage over CSUN, which includes wins in eight straight meetings dating back to 2010.
The Matadors fell behind UCI by as many as 18 points midway through the first half, and while they closed the gap down the stretch, they still landed on the wrong end of a six-point decision. They shot just 34.9 percent from the field, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, and only kept the game close by piecing together a strong 20-of-24 showing at the free-throw line. Stephen Maxwell shined despite the setback, logging a double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds. Aaron Parks registered 14 points in 17 minutes off the bench, while Stephan Hicks netted 10.
CSUN is usually a much more effective offensive bunch, as it shoots 45.9 percent from the field for 74.2 ppg, but its problem has come on the opposite end of the floor, where its opponents put up nearly identical numbers (.451, 74.6 ppg). Maxwell leads the charge from the paint with 17.2 ppg and 8.7 rpg while shooting just a shade under 60 percent from the field. Hicks is right on his heels with 16.3 ppg and 7.2 rpg, while Josh Greene (15.2 ppg) rounds out one of the country's most impressive scoring trios.
The 49ers led for the entire second half of their latest bout against Cal Poly, including by 10 with under three minutes to play. They saw that advantage dip to just one in the final minute, but they dodged a bullet when the Mustangs' game-winning jumper at the buzzer did not fall. They shot a solid 44.6 percent from the field on the day and earned extra possessions by sporting a 41-28 advantage on the glass. Tyler Lamb was the catalyst, shooting 8-of-16 from the field for 20 points, while adding nine rebounds as well. Mike Caffey chipped in 14 points, while Dan Jennings had 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in reserve minutes.
LBSU's overall production this season has been lacking, as it owns a -5.4 scoring margin, while getting outshot by its opponents from the field, 44.8 percent to 39.9 percent. Its struggles have been especially apparent from 3- point range (.292), and it also shoots just 63.5 percent from the foul line. After missing the first 10 games of the season, Lamb has entered the lineup to lead the team in scoring (16.9 ppg), although he shoots just 35.5 percent from the field. Caffey brings 16.2 ppg and 4.3 apg to the table, while Jennings mans the frontcourt with 10.0 ppg and 7.6 rpg.
After playing a difficult non-conference schedule, LBSU has shown that it isn't as bad as its record indicates with a solid Big West performance thus far. On their home floor, expect the 49ers to take care of the struggling Matadors.
GAME NOTES: The Cal State Northridge Matadors will attempt to put an end to
their three-game losing streak on Saturday when they head to Walter Pyramid
for a Big West Conference bout with the Long Beach State 49ers.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Walter Pyramid (5,000) -- Long Beach, California.
Television: None. Home Record: CSUN 7-2, LBSU 4-3. Away Record: CSUN 1-8, LBSU
2-6. Neutral Record: CSUN 2-0, LBSU 0-3. Conference Record: CSUN 2-3, LBSU
2-2. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 32-20.Game Date and Time
Saturday, January 25, 7 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Long Beach State 75, Cal State Northridge 70