Five players scored in double figures, leading the Long Beach State 49ers to a 68-58 win over the No. 14 Xavier Musketeers, in the opening round of the Diamond Head Classic Tournament at the Stan Sherrif Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Michael Caffey led the 49ers with 14 points, but Long Beach State also got 12 apiece from Eugene Phelps, Larry Anderson, and Casper Ware.
The win for Long Beach State was their second against a top-14 team this season. Sure, Xavier was missing starters Mark Lyons and Dezmine Wells, but with the toughest schedule in the country playing five teams ranked in the top 14 before Christmas, head coach Dan Monson doesn't need to apologize to anybody. A win is a win.
Long Beach State built a 16-point lead with 14:07 remaining in the game, but an 8-0 run by Xavier over the next three minutes cut that lead in half, but they never got closer than to within eight points the rest of the way. The 49ers outreboundedthe Musketeers 29-26.
The 49ers focused their defensive efforts on Xavier leading scorer Terrell Holloway, limiting him to just three field goal attempts and five points in the first half. Holloway ended up with 17 points for the game, but many came after Long Beach State built a comfortable lead.
"I've played so many good guards this year, that I'm to the point where it shouldn't matter who I play. I'm just trying to get the win," said Ware, who had the primary responsibility of guarding Holloway.
Long Beach State moves on to the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic, playing Friday night at 8 p.m. PST on ESPNU against the winner of the game later Thursday night between the Auburn Tigers and Hawaii Warriors.