The Long Beach St. 49ers nearly pulled off another road upset of a top 10 team but ultimately fell short on Saturday night, losing 84-78 to the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill. John Henson scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the win for UNC.
Casper Ware scored 29 points for Long Beach State in the loss, including 19 in the first half as the 49ers took a 45-40 lead into halftime. Long Beach State outrebounded North Carolina 36-34 on the night, but shot just 42.9% (15 for 35) in the second half.
T.J. Robinson had a double-double for the 49ers with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Larry Anderson added 17 points, including a pair of three-pointers in the final minute of the first half to give Long Beach State a five-point halftime cushion. UNC outscored Long Beach State 44-33 in the second half. Harrison Barnes scored 20 points for UNC and Tyler Zeller scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win.
So far this season, the 49ers have hung tough with four ranked opponents on the road, with a win over then-No. 9 Pittsburgh 86-76 on November 16, and close losses at No. 6 Louisville (79-66 on November 28) and No. 13 Kansas (88-80 on December 6). Long Beach is off for the next eight days before hosting Eastern New Mexico at the Walter Pyramid on Monday, December 19.