Long Beach State Closes Season With Gritty 59-58 Win At UC Riverside
Hammonds scores 13, Samuels 12 with 11 rebounds as the 49ers end the season on a three-game winning streak.
Riverside, Calif. - Long Beach State wrapped up the season on a three-game winning streak, holding off UC Riverside on the road 59-58. Travis Hammonds finished with a game-high 13 points, and made a crucial defensive play in the closing seconds to help seal the win.
Leading 57-55 with just over a minute to play, Mike Caffey, who had a bad day from the field, came up with a crucial basket, driving the lane and converting to put Long Beach State on top 59-55. Jaylen Bland answered for UC Riverside (14-16, 7-9 Big West) with his first 3-pointer of the game to keep the game within one possession for the Highlanders.
A Caffey miss with 12 seconds remaining left the door open for the Highlanders, but Hammonds was able to hold his ground in front of Bland, taking the charge to give Long Beach State (16-16, 10-6 Big West) the ball as the 49ers held on to the win.
For the Beach, the win marked the third game in a row that the LBSU defense had held an opponent under 60 points, and helped offset a woeful shooting night from Caffey and Tyler Lamb, who combined to go 3-for-20 from the field.
Long Beach State found offense in the first half from Hammonds and David Samuels, who finished with his third straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Hammonds scored nine points in the first half as Long Beach State expanded an 18-17 lead to a 30-19 edge with a 12-2 run. That lead would hold as the 49ers went into the half with a nine point lead.
UC Riverside scored seven of the first eight points of the second half, and took their first lead since the opening minute at 46-44 with 9:28 to play. Long Beach State would regain the lead on a Jack Williams' 3-pointer with 6:58 to play at 52-50, and the 49er defense did enough down the stretch to hang on to the victory.
The 49ers held Bland to 1-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc, and limited leading scorer Taylor Johns to 11 points. Offensively, Branford Jones scored eight points and Lamb added seven, going 4-for-4 from the line to complement the effort from the starting frontcourt of Samuels and Hammonds.
Postseason play begins Thursday for Long Beach State, who take on Hawai'i in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., or 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game of the day in the Honda Center in Anaheim.
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