49ers knock off #14 Xavier at Diamond Head Classic
Dec. 22, 2011
HONOLULU, Hawaii - In a game pitting two of the top point guards in the country against each other in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Thursday night, it was a freshman backup point guard from Long Beach State that stole the show and led Long Beach State to a win.
Mike Caffeyscored a career-high and team-best 14 points to lead five 49ers in double figures in a 68-58 win over No. 14 Xavier. The win was the second of the season by LBSU over a nationally-ranked team, and marked the first time the 49ers have knocked off two ranked teams in the same season since the 1992-93 season when they beat four Top 25 teams.
Caffey converted on 5-of-8 shots, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. He played 23 minutes and had an assist, a block and two steals while committing just two turnovers against one of the top defensive teams in the country.
Tu Holloway led all scorers with 17 points, but a stingy LBSU defense led by Ware held him in check until the 49ers had built a double-digit lead. Holloway scored 11 points in the final 12:30, during which time the Musketeers (8-2) could never get closer than eight points.
Justin Martin added 12 points and Kenny Frease had 10 for XU. LBSU held the Musketeers to just 45 percent shooting, including 3-of-12 from 3-point range. The 49ers hit 46.9 percent of their shots, including 7-of-19 (36.8 percent) from three. Long Beach State forced 15 XU turnovers, and used its aggressiveness to shoot 15 more free throws.
"We knew we were going to have to win it at the (defensive) end of the floor," LBSU head coach Dan Monsonsaid. "I'm just proud of our guys. Xavier is one of the best defensive teams in the country and today I thought we were better at that end. That was huge for us, a big step for us to defend and win it on the defensive end."
Long Beach State struggled from the floor over the first four minutes. After Anderson canned a 3-pointer 10 seconds into the game, the 49ers made just one of their next seven shots. Xavier countered making 4-of-7 to take a 9-6 lead with 15:53 to play.
The 49ers turned up the defensive pressure over the next four minutes not allowing a basket, while the Musketeers nearly matched LBSU giving the 49ers just one hoop, an Anderson follow off a Caffey miss in transition, to hold on to a 9-8 lead with 11:29 to play.
Long Beach State came out of the second media timeout with five quick points forcing Xavier to take a timeout. Caffey nailed a three from the corner and then Robinson scored on the block to give LBSU a 13-9 lead. Phelps added to the 49ers lead with a three-point play at the 10-minute mark to give LBSU a 16-9 lead.
LBSU built the lead to as many as eight behind the play of Caffey, the freshman point guard scored nine points in the first 14:50 of the game, including six straight 49er points from the 8:29 mark to the 5:10 mark.
Caffey finished the half with a team-high nine points on 3-of-5 shooting, while Anderson added seven points. Ware, the reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Year, held All-America candidate Holloway to just five points and three shots in 20 minutes.
The 49ers defense before the break was excellent holding XU to just 34.8 percent shooting (8-of-23), while allowing the Musketeers to shoot just four free throws. LBSU also forced 10 turnovers in the half, converting them into 11 points. Long Beach State made 37 percent (10-of-27) of its shots, while making 7-of-12 free throws.
The 49ers came out of the half with an 11-4 run behind six points from Ware. James Ennis(seven points, three assist) started the spurt with a 3-pointer after Ware grabbed an offensive rebound. Ware scored the next five points and six of the next eight. Robinson added a follow jam.
Caffey kept things going in the second half scoring five straight points to push LBSU's lead to as many as 16, 46-30 with 14:05 to play. Xavier went on a run scoring six straight points over the next two minutes to cut the lead to 10 and force Dan Monsonto use a timeout.
Holloway extended the run to 8-0 after picking Ware's pocket and converting it into a layup to make it 46-38, but Phelps beat the shot-clock buzzer to stop the spurt and Ennis followed with a three to push the lead back to 13, 51-38. Xavier could never get closer than 10 the rest of the way, while LBSU built the lead to as many as 18 with just over three minutes to play.
Long Beach State meets the winner of Auburn and Hawaii Friday in the semifinals at 8 p.m. (PT) on ESPN2.