Beach Stays Unbeaten At Home, Wins 69-53 Over UC Santa Barbara
Long Beach State improves to 6-0 this season in the Walter Pyramid.
Long Beach, Calif. - In front of a sellout Walter Pyramid crowd on Saturday, David Samuels was the only player with a double-double, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds and holding Alan Williams back defensively as Long Beach State controlled the action throughout in a 69-53 win over UC Santa Barbara.
Senior Mike Caffey led the Beach with 22 points, while Samuels picked up his second double-double of the season while also spending much of his 30 minutes on the court guarding Williams, the reigning Big West Player of the Year, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
It was the 49ers that impressed on the glass, however, as Long Beach State (9-11, 3-1 Big West) out-rebounded the Gauchos by 12 and scoring 22 points in the paint to help pick up a big win at the beginning of the Big West season.
"I challenged our guys, saying `The team that's goes to the NCAA Tournament has got to get better between today and the Big West Tournament,'" said Dan Monson. "The most important game is that day. You have to play the best game of the year that day, and I think we did that in a lot of ways today."
"Now, the key is to build on that, play better next Saturday, play even better after that."
UC Santa Barbara (8-9, 1-2 Big West) started the game by taking a 7-2 lead, but Long Beach State would battle back, taking the lead at 16-15 on a 3-pointer from Caffey and never trailing again.
The 49ers went continued on a 18-2 run, capped by a runner from Travis Hammonds that put the Beach on top by 12 points at 29-17.
Leading by 14 at the half, the Beach survived one push from the Gauchos, as UCSB cut the lead down to seven at 44-38 with 12:47 to play. Back-to-back threes from Caffey and Tyler Lamb extended the lead to 16 points at 55-39 with 9:34 to play, and UCSB never came closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Lamb also finished in double-figures for the 49ers with 10 points, while Branford Jones scored four points but added at career high eight rebounds and three assists for the Beach.
Long Beach State is back in action next Saturday, traveling to play at CSUN at 7 p.m. The game will be the third in a row for the Beach on ESPN3, and the fifth straight telecast for 49ers.
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