March 15, 2014
Anaheim, Calif. - Trailing by as many as 15 in the first half to Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State roared back to take a four-point lead with 4:30 to play, but the Matadors withstood the LBSU counterpunch and prevailed in the Big West Tournament semifinals 82-77.
Mike Caffey led the 49ers with 19 points, while David Samuels had a monster game, finishing with a double-double, including a career-high 12 rebounds in the loss. A.J. Spencer and Mike Caffey each also finished with 16 points for Long Beach State (15-17).
The 49ers took an 11-6 lead out of the gate, and were still up by five at 18-13 when a jumper by Aaron Parks started a 14-0 run for Cal State Northridge (17-17) as the Matadors, and senior Josh Greene, controlled the first half.
Greene scored 19 points in the first half, leading Cal State Northridge to a 44-32 first half edge.
Long Beach State stormed out of the break with a 17-3 run to get back into the contest, as Spencer and Caffey gave the 49ers a lift. Back-to-back Branford Jones 3-pointers helped Long Beach State take a four-point lead at 65-61 with 7:30 remaining, but 10 straight points by Stephen Hicks put CSUN back in front.
Down two with 2:12 to play, the 49ers looked to have forced a turnover with a shot-clock violation against the Matadors, but a foul was called on Samuels running past Hicks who had thrown up an airball to avoid the 35-second countdown. The phantom foul kickout led to three more free throws for Hicks, and a five-point lead for the Matadors which ended up being insurmountable.
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