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49er Rally Falls Short In Defensive Struggle Against UC Irvine
Freshman Travis Hammonds led the 49ers with 12 points in 25 minutes.

Freshman Travis Hammonds led the 49ers with 12 points in 25 minutes.

Jan. 9, 2014

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Long Beach, Calif. - An unconventional starting five gave Long Beach State an early lift, but the 49ers were unable to carry the momentum to the finish in a 46-44 loss against UC Irvine to start Big West play. Freshman Travis Hammonds led the 49ers with 12 points on a tough shooting day for both teams.

Owing to the results of practice during the week, Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson elected for five new starters: Anson Moye, Javion Watson, McKay LaSalle, Travis Hammonds, and Christian Griggs-Williams. The five responded with a quick start, drawing charges and building a 9-7 lead over the first seven minutes of the contest.

Sending in a second platoon allowed Long Beach State (4-11, 0-1 Big West) to maintain their defensive intensity, but were matched by UC Irvine (10-7, 1-0 Big West) in an offensive drought that led to a 15-15 tie with 6:42 left to play in the first half.

The 49ers would hold on to a one-point edge going into the half at 24-23, but after an early Mike Caffey free throw, UC Irvine scored the next 13 points to open up a 38-27 lead with 13:23 remaining in a dismal offensive stretch for Long Beach State.

The Anteater lead would reach as high as 12, and UC Irvine still led by double-digits through the six-minute mark at 43-33. A Tyler Lamb three-pointer gave the 49ers their first field goal in six minutes however with 5:56 to play, and Long Beach State mounted a rally behind one final defensive push. Holding UC Irvine off of the board for seven minutes, the 49ers pulled to within one on a Hammonds jumper at 43-42 with 2:44 remaining, but the Anteaters found Mamadou Ndaiye inside to move back out in front by three points. Hammonds picked up one final basket, but a fast break attempt by Mike Caffey missed wide with 15 seconds to play, and a final heave from Hammonds to try and win the game was waved off at the buzzer.

Both teams ended the game shooting under 40%; the 49ers finished at a 31.5 percent rate, while holding UC Irvine to 34.0 percent.

The loss snapped Long Beach State's 26-game home Big West winning streak, dating back to 2011. Long Beach State returns to action Saturday, hosting UC Davis at 4 p.m. in the Walter Pyramid.

 

 

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