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Beach Closes Road Trip With 63-48 Loss At No. 5 Louisville

Branford Jones was the leading scorer for the 49ers with 13 points.
Dec. 30, 2014

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Louisville, Ky. - Long Beach State made a late second half charge to make things interesting, but ultimately wasn't a match for No. 5 Louisville on the road as the 49ers fell 63-48 to the Cardinals. Branford Jones scored 13 points off of the bench to lead the 49ers, while Mike Caffey and David Samuels were also both in double figures.

Long Beach State held close through the opening minutes, taking a 5-2 lead on a McKay LaSalle 3-pointer, and were tied with the Cardinals through the first 12 minutes 14-14. The Cardinals went on a 14-0 run to end the half, however, and led 34-19 after the first half.

The Beach scored the first four points out of the break, but Louisville went on another big run, an 11-0 run that put the Cardinals on top by 22 points at 45-23 with 14:34 to play.

The 49ers refused to break, however, instead pulling back the big Louisville margin slowly. A three-point play by Jones made the score 49-35 with 9:17 to go, and a 3-pointer by Mike Caffey cut the lead to single digits at 57-48.

Going out on the break, LBSU found Caffey with an open look at the basket to cut the lead to six points with two minutes remaining, but the shot rimmed out and the Cardinals regained the momentum, scoring three quick baskets to lead to the final margin.

Defensively, the 49ers held the Cardinals to just eight field goals in the second half, with three coming in the final minute of play. Overall, the Cardinals shot 42.1 percent in the second half, and the Beach held even with the No. 5 team in the country over the second half.

"I thought that we couldn't get comfortable with the Louisville defense until it was too late," said Dan Monson. "I thought our guys fought, got it back to where it was manageable, and had a couple of open looks late to make it interesting."

Jones led the team in scoring off of the bench for the second time in 2014-15, playing 28 minutes, while David Samuels had 10 points and five rebounds. Eric McKnight led the team with seven rebounds, and the 49ers held even with the Cardinals on the glass, 28 rebounds for each team.

"The thing [Jones] gives you is that he gives you another ball-handling guard out there. He's not really a point guard, but when he's out there, he can take some of the pressure off of Mike [Caffey]," said Monson. "He's very strong with the ball, came out very aggressive, and hit a couple of threes to get us going."

Long Beach State will finally return to the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid after six straight games on the road. The 49ers host Fresno Pacific at 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 3.



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