Men's Basketball, Sports

LBSU drops CSUF in front of record crowd

It seems that the Long Beach State men’s basketball team plays its best games when under the brightest of lights.

The 49ers defeated Cal State Fullerton 75-61 Saturday night in a contest that was both nationally televised, and boasted a Walter Pyramid record crowd of 5,649.

The’ Niners (16-6, 9-0 Big West) held a 39-32 lead at halftime, and extended it to double-digits, 46-36, five minutes into the second half.

The Titans (13-7, 5-3 Big West) were able to climb back into the game, however, using a 15-5 run to get even with The Beach at 51 apiece.

That’s when Junior wing James Ennis took over.

Ennis was nearly unguardable throughout the game, scoring 13 of his team-high 19 points in the last 7:03 of the contest. he was 6 of 10 from the field, including 6 of 7 from the free throw line. He also dished out 4 assists, grabbed 2 steals and blocked two shots.

The 49ers closed the game on a 15-2 run, holding the Titans without a field goal for the final 4:32 of the contest to take the 14-point victory.

LBSU head coach Dan Monson said that this was one of the best team victories of the year.

“I thought it was a good team win,” he said. “I think they’re [Fullerton] a very talented offensive team, and tonight James Ennis made some big plays down the stretch.”

Monson said that Ennis is getting more comfortable as the season goes on.

“Like most junior college players [Ennis transferred to LBSU from Ventura CC] the second half of their first [Division I] season you can see he’s a different player,” he said. “You can see he’s more comfortable, not just offensively, but defensively he’s starting to understand the concepts a little bit more.”

Ennis said he feels more comfortable now than he did when the season began.

“I feel more comfortable during the games,” he said. “It’s much easier for me, knowing where my teammates are going to be at, my pace [is better], I’m not going as fast as I was in the beginning [of the season].”

With his teammate taking control of the offense, senior guard Casper Ware was able to take a step back and facilitate. Ware scored 11 points on 4 of 10 shooting, while dishing out 5 assists.

Ware did most of his damage defensively, holding CSUF guard Kwame Vaughn to just two points on 0 of 7 shooting — Vaughn is the Titans second leading scorer on the season, averaging 15.9 points per contest coming into tonights game.

Senior guard Larry Anderson scored 16 points on 5 of 11 shooting , including 3 of 8 from 3-point range. Anderson also kept Fullerton’s leading scorer, junior guard D.J. Seeley to just nine points on 4 of 10 shooting — Seeley averages 16.4 points per game this season.

The ‘Niners were able to play solid defense without fouling, allowing just four free throws to the Titans. Anderson said that he and his teammates were communicating well on the defensive end this evening.

“We got a lot of help side [defense],” he said. “Whoever was guarding the ball was walling them [Fullerton] up, and we got a lot of weak-side blocks.”

Senior forward Omondi Amoke paced the Titans with a game-high 20 points on 9 of 15 shooting. He also pulled down seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Isiah Umipig pitched in 16 points on 7 of 15 shooting for CSUF.

LBSU will be back in action Saturday, Feb. 4 when they host Cal State Northridge. Tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. 


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