Feb. 8, 2014
Long Beach, Calif. - Dan Jennings finished with 14 rebounds and eight points, anchoring an offensive show for Long Beach State as the 49ers ran past UC Riverside 88-76. Long Beach State was led by Tyler Lamb who finished with 23 points, his fourth 20-point performance with the 49ers.
Long Beach State (10-13, 6-3 Big West) started out the contest on fire, scoring 31 points in just over eight minutes to open up a 31-20 lead. The 49ers made 11 of their first 12 shots with nine assists, putting together an offensive show in a wide-open contest.
However, despite the offensive proficiency, Long Beach State found itself in a close game with UC Riverside (8-15, 3-6), owing to a big half from Sam Finley, who scored 14 of his 17 in the first. Despite Long Beach State putting up 58 points on 56.4 percent shooting, the Highlanders were behind by only 10 with each team piling on points in the first.
With a renewed focus on defense the aim of both teams after the break, the scoring pace slowed, and UC Riverside climbed back into the contest. UCR slowly climbed back into the game, cutting the Long Beach State lead under 10 points at 60-52 for the first time since 8:20 in the first half with 18:30 in the second, and eventually pulled to within three at 69-66.
Chris Patton's 3-pointer got UC Riverside within one possession with 8:27 to play, but despite the high scoring, it was the 49er defense that ultimately earned the win, holding the Highlanders off the board for almost four minutes as Long Beach State reclaimed the momentum. A basket by Lamb stopped the Highlander push, and back-to-back 3-pointers from Travis Hammonds and Lamb put The Beach up 11, and the 49ers hit their free throws down the stretch to hold off the Highlanders.
The 49ers 58 first-half points were the second-most in a half for the team this season, and Long Beach State had four players in double figures for the fourth time in 2013-14. Along with Lamb, A.J. Spencer finished with 17 points, Hammonds had 13, and Branford Jones ended with 11. Mike Caffey neared a double-double with nine points and eight assists, while Jennings had eight points along with his 14 boards, a Division I high for the senior.
Long Beach State returns home next week, hosting UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly as Big West play continues. The 49ers will start with the Gauchos, playing UCSB at 7 p.m. Thursday on ESPN3.
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