Nov. 10, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State started off the 2012-13 season on a victorious note, taking an early lead and holding it the rest of the way in a 75-65 win over North Alabama. Senior forward James Ennis led the way for the 49ers with 19 points.
The 49ers opened up a 13-point margin over the first half on 59-percent shooting, and despite a sluggish start in the second half, maintained control of the game throughout against the Lions. The team was helped in part by a large crowd, as 5,501 saw the game, the second-most in the Walter Pyramid in school history.
A jumper by Mike Caffey gave the 49ers the lead for good at 10-8 with 15:49 remaining in the first half, and the 49ers quickly made a push. A 3-pointer by Deng Deng gave the 49ers a nine-point lead at 24-15, and kick started a 13-4 run that helped Long Beach State (1-0) take a 44-31 lead at the half.
The Lions started the second half on a 11-0 run, cutting the Long Beach State lead to two, 44-42, after a pair of threes by Wes Long. The 49ers held off North Alabama, recapturing the momentum on a dunk by Ennis, and a three-point play by Peter Pappageorge gave the 49ers a 52-44 lead with 15 minutes to play in the contest.
A three in transition by Kris Gulley opened the 49er lead to 57-46, part of a 19-4 run for Long Beach State that gave the 49ers a 71-51 lead with 7:07 to play. The LBSU offense ran cold down the stretch, as the last basket for the 49ers came on a jumper from Ennis before the final media timeout, but the defense held off North Alabama and kept the lead in double digits.
Deng and Gulley each put up 11 points in their first game as 49ers, while Dan Jennings and Gulley tied for the team lead with seven rebounds. Neither team did a great job controlling the ball, as the 49ers had 26 turnovers to North Alabama's 23.
The 49ers continue the 2012-13 campaign next Tuesday, traveling to USC for a 6:30 p.m. start at the Galen Center. Long Beach State then hosts No. 12 North Carolina at 8:05 p.m. on Friday, November 16 in the Walter Pyramid. Limited tickets for that contest remain online at www.longbeachstate.com or tickets can be purchased via the Walter Pyramid Box Office at (562) 985-4949.
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