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Beach Falls 85-67 On The Road At Syracuse

Eric McKnight scored 14 points, his most as a 49er in the 85-67 loss.
Dec. 28, 2014

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Syracuse, N.Y. - Long Beach State had four players in double-figures, as Eric McKnight recorded a season-high 14 points along with 13 from David Samuels, but 57.7% shooting from the Orange undid a solid offensive effort from the Beach in an 85-67 loss at Syracuse.

McKnight was tied with Mike Caffey and Tyler Lamb for the scoring lead with 14 points for LBSU, while David Samuels added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes of work.

Against Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone, Beach scored 67 points, and shot 45.8 percent, but were foiled by big games from Michael Gbinije and Rakeem Christmas. Gbinije had a career high 24 points with eight assists, while Christmas finished with a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds.

"In our league, we're going to [face zone defense] a lot, and this was an opportunity to us to work against a great one," said Dan Monson. "I thought David Samuels did a good job in the middle of the zone - that was the most encouraging thing. He made of good plays in there."

Long Beach State gave up the opening basket, but then roared to life over the first five minutes of the contest, putting together a 14-2 run to take a 14-4 lead after a fast-break layup from Samuels. The 49er lead held until 21-20, but a Syracuse run would lead the Orange to an eight point lead with 3:56 to go at 37-29.



A jumper from Caffey ended the run, and Long Beach State would pull to within one with just seconds remaining in the half before a half court heave by Trevor Cooney connected as Syracuse went into the locker room leading 44-40.

A layup off of a Caffey steal by Samuels pulled the 49ers to within three points at 51-48 with 15:22 to go in the game, but an 11-2 run by the Orange at that point would give Syracuse a cushion they would hold for the rest of the game.

"We're not far off, but it doesn't matter, but we're not there yet. We've just got to get mentally tougher to sustain what we do," noted Monson.

Long Beach State will finish off their six-game road trip on Tuesday, when the 49ers will play No. 4 Louisville. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 1 p.m. PT, and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.

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