Jan. 31, 2014
Honolulu, Hawaii - Junior Mike Caffey scored a career-high 29 points, while A.J. Spencer finished with 24 points, also a career high as Long Beach State won an exciting, fast-paced contest in Hawaii 92-83. The win was the first since the 1969-70 season in Hawaii for Long Beach State.
Long Beach State (8-12, 4-2 Big West) shot 60% from the field in a strong offensive game for the 49ers that saw the team score the second-most points on the year. Caffey and Spencer's simultaneous 20-point games was the second time Long Beach State had a pair reach that mark this season, and redshirt freshman Branford Jones also scored 11 points off the bench for the 49ers.
The work for the 49ers was done mainly in the point, however, scoring 42 points inside as Caffey and Spencer continually found their way to the rim against the Hawai'i (14-6, 3-3 Big West) with big finishes, offsetting 11 made 3-pointers by the Rainbow Warriors.
Offense was really the winner Thursday night in the Stan Sherriff Center however, in a thrilling contest that saw 11 lead changes and 175 total points scored. Hawaii opened up the game on a 6-0 run, hitting two quick 3-pointers, but Long Beach State was able to grind out to an 8-6 lead before the first media timeout on Caffey layups in what would be a theme on the night.
Both teams continued to trade baskets, with Hawaii twice more taking five-point leads and leading by six after a lob dunk to Garrett Nevels with 2:13 to play, one of five UH players to reach double-figures and the top scorer along with Christian Standhardinger with 18 points. The 49ers answered with another run of their own, getting a basket from Jones and a put-back dunk by Dan Jennings to tie the game at 42. A final jumper by Kris Gulley put the 49ers in front by one at the half, 44-43.
The Beach opened up the second half with a renewed defensive focus, holding Hawai'i off of the board until the 16:34 mark while opening up a nine-point lead. That lead would hold for Long Beach State for most of the second half, but a trio of Isaac Fotu baskets gave Hawaii the lead with 9:17 remaining 65-64. Trailing by four points with five minutes left 72-68, Long Beach State regained the lead for good on a trip to the line by Tyler Lamb with 3:16 to play.
Caffey and Spencer helped extend the lead at the free throw line down the stretch, including a key and-one basket from Spencer that all but sealed the win with 28 seconds to play.
With the win, Long Beach State moves into a three-way tie for the lead in the Big West with UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara. Long Beach State returns to the Walter Pyramid Saturday, hosting Cal State Fullerton in a rivalry game at 4 p.m.
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