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UC Riverside (10-19) at Long Beach State (13-16)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 7 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Walter Pyramid (4,200) -- Long Beach, California. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: UCR 8-7, LBSU 8-4. Away Record: UCR 2-12, LBSU 5-9. Neutral Record: UCR 0-0, LBSU 0-3. Conference Record: UCR 5-10, LBSU 9-6. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 31-9.

GAME NOTES: The regular season comes to a close tonight for the UC Riverside Highlanders and the Long Beach State 49ers, as the two are set to square off in a Big West Conference tilt at Walter Pyramid.

UC Riverside has recovered from a five-game losing streak to win its last two games and secure the No. 8 seed for the BWC Tournament. After topping Cal State Northridge in double-overtime last weekend, the Highlanders followed that up with a 78-65 triumph over UC Davis on Thursday. However, both of those victories came on the Highlanders' home floor, whereas they are just 2-12 as the visiting team this season.

Long Beach State has veered in the opposite direction of late as it lost a pair of road games this past week after winning its previous three contests. Most recently, the 49ers were dealt a 91-83 setback at Northridge on Thursday. Regardless of the outcome of this game, they are locked into the No. 3 seed for the league tourney.

LBSU holds a 31-9 lead in the all-time series and claimed an 88-76 road victory when the teams met up a month ago in Riverside.

The Highlanders turned in a solid all-around effort a couple of nights ago as they led from start to finish against UC Davis. They shot 54.7 percent from the floor, made 16-of-18 free throws, and held a 34-26 rebounding advantage for the game. A 19-9 spurt midway through the second half broke the game open. Chris Patton finished with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds. Sam Finley added 19 points in 24 minutes off the bench, and Steven Thornton rounded out the team's double-digit scorers with 14 points. On the season, Patton leads the team with 13.8 ppg to go along with 6.1 rebounds. Taylor Johns is next in line with 12.5 ppg and is pulling down a team-best 8.1 rpg. Both players are shooting better than 52 percent from the floor. Finley has also made steady contributions and is averaging 12.4 ppg.

For Long Beach State, Mike Caffey leads the way with 15.7 ppg in league play, followed by Tyler Lamb with 14.3 ppg. Caffey is also averaging 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists, while Lamb is pulling down 4.1 boards per contest. Headlining the front court is Dan Jennings, a 65 percent shooter from the floor who is averaging 9.5 ppg and 8.7 rpg against BWC foes. In their last contest, the 49ers knocked down 10 3-pointers (.370) and made 19-of-22 free throws (.864), but they also committed 28 fouls and allowed the Matadors to shoot a healthy 51 percent from the floor. Northridge took advantage of the numerous opportunities at the charity stripe and converted 34-of-39 attempts. Lamb paced LBSU with 22 points in the loss, while Caffey tallied 19 points and seven assists, and Branford Jones scored 17 off the bench. Jennings recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 caroms.

With their respective seeds already locked up, this will serve as a virtual tune-up game for both teams entering next week's league tournament. The 49ers would be well served to correct some of their recent flaws if they hope to go into the postseason with some momentum and make a real run at the BWC crown.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Long Beach State 79, UC Riverside 69

03/08 11:46:23 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
CAR
 
Final
NYY 5
BAL 0
Final
CLE 0
KAN 2
Final
TOR 14
SEA 4
Final
DET 0
CWS 2
Final
ATL 0
PIT 1
Final
TEX 4
HOU 3
Final
CHC 0
STL 8
Final
MIN 2
ARI 6
Final
OAK 8
ANA 4
Final
SDP 1
COL 0
Final
LOS 2
SFG 5
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
CIN
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
PIT
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
TAM
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
HOU
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
 
Final
NYI 3
OTT 2
 
6:00pm Monday
NYI
OTT
 
Final
PIT 1
DET 2
Final
NYR 4
NJD 5
Final
PHI 2
TOR 3
 
Final
PHI 5
WAS 4
Final
WIN 2
MIN 1
Final
DAL 4
STL 3
Final
COL 2
ANA 5
Final
ANA 4
COL 0
Final
ARI 5
LOS 4
Final
LOS 4
ARI 3
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
BOS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
NAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
DET
 
9:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
ARI
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
VAN
 
Final
NYJ 19
CHI 27