- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Long Beach State coach Dan Monson has wanted to see his team come together defensively. They obliged Friday night with a dominating performance in front of a packed home arena.

Branford Jones scored 14 points, Mike Caffey had 13 and Long Beach State beat Kansas State 69-60.

The 49ers (2-2) never trailed and held the Wildcats (2-1) to 33 percent shooting. David Samuels had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Eric McKnight had eight points.

“It’s early in the year and it’s great for our program,” Monson said. “It’s great for our university to have a win against a quality school like Kansas State, but, for me, for me I’m just really pleased that we can leave tonight with a little bit of a defensive identity. We’ve just been really searching for getting stops.”

It was a significant win for Long Beach State, picked to finish third in the Big West Conference. Caffey, a senior, has had some big wins, but this was especially fulfilling.

“I rank this No. 1 because this is my team and this is my win, basically, because last time I was with (former teammate) Casper (Ware),” Caffey said. “But this is my team, so I’ll take this win as No. 1.”

Thomas Gipson led Kansas State with 13 points and Nino Williams had 12. The Wildcats shot 3-for-21 from 3-point range, and their starting backcourt of Marcus Foster and Justin Edwards went 2-for-23.

Gipson twice closed Kansas State’s deficit to four points in the final 1:09, including a basket inside with 48.5 seconds left. Jevon Thomas missed on a drive after Long Beach State missed a free throw and Kansas State was forced to foul.

Jones made four free throws in the final minute to seal the win for the 49ers in front of a capacity crowd of 4,256. Kansas State’s leading scorer, Foster, had five points on 1-for-13 shooting.

Gipson wouldn’t credit Long Beach State’s defense so much as their offense being out of sync.

“They weren’t doing nothing that we haven’t seen before,” Gipson said. “People just miss shots. We’re away. We’re not used to the rim. We’re not used to the crowd being against us. I put this loss on us, not them.”

TIP-INS

Kansas State: The Wildcats shot better than 65 percent from the field and averaged 50 points in the second half in their first two games but were held to 37 percent and 36 points. It was Kansas State’s first visit to Long Beach State since 1998.

“You can say, ‘Why come here and play?’” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “I think it’s good for our team to find out what our team’s about early. If you think you’re good and you’re going to compete in the league, you got to win road games.”

Long Beach State: Monson needs two wins to pass Jerry Tarkanian for most in school history (123). Caffey needs 10 points to tie DeAnthony Langston for 13th on the school’s career scoring list.

UP NEXT

Kansas State plays Purdue on Monday at Maui, Hawaii.

Long Beach State visits UCLA on Sunday.

STAR POWER

Foster averaged 19 points in the first two games but was benched for a large stretch in the first half.

“He’s got to let the game come to him,” Weber said. “It’s a different thing. Last year, he was not the face of the program. Now you’re the face of the program. You got high expectations. You’ve got to let the game come and let things happen.”

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

“It’s my fault we’re not ready to play offensively,” Weber said.


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