Long Beach State Stuns Kansas State In 69-60 Victory
David Samuels finished with a double-double, while Branford Jones led the 49ers with 14 points.
Long Beach, Calif. - Another sellout crowd and another Beach win greeted fans who joined Long Beach State for their tilt with Kansas State, as the 49ers stunned the previously unbeaten Wildcats 69-60 Friday night. Branford Jones scored 14 points to lead the 49ers in scoring, but the Beach did it with defense, holding Kansas State to 32.8% shooting from the field.
By beating Kansas State, Long Beach State has now beaten two out of the three "Power 6" conference teams that have dared to come into the Walter Pyramid in Dan Monson's tenure, winning the last two after defeating USC last season.
"It's early in the year, and it's great for our program and our University to have a win over a quality opponent like Kansas State," said Monson. "I'm really pleased that we can leave tonight with a little bit of a defensive identity. We played with a lot of energy, and with a lot more aggressiveness today."
Long Beach State never trailed Friday, holding Kansas State without a field goal over the first five minutes, opening up a 9-2 lead as the 49ers worked inside early. David Samuels would finish with his fourth career double-double, while Eric McKnight had his best game as a 49er, scoring eight points with seal and three rebounds.
Kansas State would tie the game at 10, but a dunk from McKnight put Long Beach State in the lead for good, as a swarming 49er defense went to work, holding the Wildcats to just 26 points in the first half on 29% shooting. On the offensive end, Long Beach State was able to extend their edge to eight points after a 3-pointer from Mike Caffey with 6:46 remaining. After two baskets for five points from Jones, a lob from Jack Williams to McKnight opened up a fourteen point lead for Long Beach State, and the 49ers would go into their locker room with a 33-26 lead.
That nine-point cushion would hold for most of the second half, as both teams clamped down defensively. The Wildcats would make a late push, making a 7-0 run to cut the 49er lead to four points with 2.16 to play, but Tyler Lamb took a long rebound and was able to run the length of the floor, completing the fast break with a basket and converting the following free throw to end a four-minute cold stretch for the Beach. Deontae North and Jones would close out the game by making their free throws over the final minute. Long Beach State faces another tough test Sunday, traveling to UCLA to play the Bruins at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. The game will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 network.
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