If one thing is apparent thus far in this young season, it's that the 49ers miss the star power and explosive scoring of Casper Ware.
Long Beach State (1-1) failed to score a field goal for over 15 minutes in the second half against USC, as the 49ers fell to the Trojans on the road, 62-44. Sophomore Mike Caffey led the 49ers with 17 points.
Defense was not the problem for the 49ers Tuesday night, as they held USC to a respectable 33 second half points.
On offense however, Long Beach State's 18 turnovers and 28% shooting demonstrated that they are still a work in progress.
Long Beach State started off well, opening up an early 8-4 lead behind two treys from James Ennis and Caffey. USC responded later with a 9-0 run, as J.T. Terrell nailed two 3-pointers to give the Trojans a nine-point lead.
Down 29-24 at halftime, the 49ers quickly responded by evening the score at 35-35 with 15 minutes remaining.
That momentum soon faded, as USC embarked on a 13-2 run over the next five minutes. Meanwhile, Long Beach State went into an extended shooting slump.
It was in these situations last season -- second half crunch time possessions in a hostile environment -- that Ware would often step up and make big plays. So far at this early stage of the season, the 49ers have yet to find someone who can fill his role.
Meanwhile, 'SC saw some promising, if unspectacular signs from its squad in the form of a healthy Dewayne Dedmon. Dedmon appeared to be fully recovered from last season's knee injury, as the seven-footer put up 8 points and 10 boards in the Trojan victory.
The 49ers return to the Walter Pyramid this Friday, hosting No. 11 North Carolina in an eagerly-awaited, nationally-televised contest on ESPNU. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services