The Long Beach St. 49ers host the No. 11 North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday night in one of the most anticipated college basketball games in southern California this season. The 49ers have played the Tar Heels tough in the last two seasons, suffering close losses in Chapel Hill, but this season's mostly revamped Long Beach State squad gets a shot at the Tar Heels at The Pyramid.
The 49ers have won 23 consecutive games at The Pyramid, tied with the Kansas Jayhawks for the second longest home streak in the country.
Long Beach State led North Carolina by five points at halftime last season, on Dec. 10, 2011, but ultimately fell 84-78. Two seasons ago, UNC beat the 49ers 96-91 on Dec. 11, 2010 in a similarly close contest.
The 49ers have split their first two games of the season, with a 75-65 home with over North Alabama on Nov. 10 and a 62-44 loss on Nov. 13 to USC at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. James Ennis, the lone returning starter from last year's squad, is averaging 16.0 points and 5.5 rebounds so far for Long Beach State, but the senior guard also has 12 turnovers in two games. Sophomore guard Michael Caffey is the only other 49er scoring in double figures at 13.0 points per game, but is so far shooting just 26.9% (seven for 26) from the field.
North Carolina is 2-0 so far this year with an average margin of victory of 20.5 points per game. Tar Heels sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo has paced North Carolina so far this season with 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.
Friday's game is part of yet another tough schedule for Long Beach State. The 49ers have five games this year against preseason top 13 teams. Aside from North Carolina, Long Beach State will also battle No. 4 Ohio State, No. 8 Syracuse, No. 12 Arizona, and No. 13 UCLA.
Friday night's game will be televised nationally by ESPNU, with Dave Flemming on play-by-play and Sean Farnham providing analysis. The tip-off is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. PT.