Long Beach State men's basketball upsets Kansas State, 69-60

November 22, 2014

Long Beach State coach Dan Monson's philosophy the last few seasons has been to play tough non-conference opposition in the hope that come March, those difficult games would prepare his squad for the more talented teams they might face in the Big Dance.  After the 49ers pulled off a stunning 69-60 upset over the previously unbeaten Kansas State Wildcats Friday night, it appears that Monson's team is performing well ahead of schedule.

Branford Jones scored 14 points to lead the 49ers in front of a packed house of 4,256 fans at the Pyramid, but the real key to the victory was the Beach's defense, as Kansas State was limited to 32.8% shooting from the field.

“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, holding Kansas State without a field goal for the first five minutes and 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 to go with three boards.

After a McKnight jam put Long Beach State in the lead for good, the 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 its edge to eight points after a 3-pointer from Mike Caffey with 6:46 remaining. A lob from Jack Williams to McKnight later opened up a fourteen point 49ers lead, as the 49ers eventually would go into their locker room up 33-26 at the half.

The Wildcats would make a late run in the second half, rallying with a 7-0 run to cut the 49er lead to four with 2:16 to play.

However, the 49ers would answer when former UCLA Bruin Tyler Lamb took a long rebound and was able to run the length of the floor, completing the fast break with an "and one" basket and made free throw. Deontae North and Jones would close out the game by making their free throws over the final minute.

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 Pyramid in Dan Monson’s tenure.  The 49ers beat USC last season.

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.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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