Long Beach State loses 84-53 at No. 4 Syracuse

Long Beach State coach Dan Monson knew what his 49ers were up

against in facing No. 4 Syracuse. His game plan went out the window

in a hurry.

C.J. Fair had 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds and

Michael Carter-Williams added 15 points and 10 assists as the

Orange bolted to an early lead and breezed to an 84-53 victory

Thursday night.

The Orange outrebounded Long Beach State 10-2 and gained a 16-4

lead in less than 6 minutes, then used the long ball to pull

away.

”Our margin for error is zero,” Monson said. ”You can’t

simulate that length. You can do all the rebounding drills you

want. It just knocked us back and we were never able to recover. We

let them get off to a good start and didn’t make them

uncomfortable.”

Syracuse entered the game 33 of 112 from beyond the arc (29.5

percent), and without super sub James Southerland’s contribution –

18 of 38 (47.4 percent) – that figure was a whole lot worse (20.3

percent). In its win over Eastern Michigan on Monday night,

Syracuse shot 1 for 10 from beyond the arc in the first half and

finished 5 of 22.

With the likes of 6-foot-9, 275-pound freshman Dajuan Coleman,

6-9 Rakeem Christmas and the 6-8 Fair patrolling the lane, Monson

chose to protect the inside. The 49ers became the first team this

season to hold Syracuse under 40 points in the paint, but it hardly

mattered as the Orange finished with a 12-4 edge in second-chance

points and outrebounded the 49ers 53-39.

”We had to pick our poison,” Monson said. ”We felt like we

needed to try to keep them out of the paint. We didn’t do a very

good job of that. They got some putbacks and got into an offensive

flow, and all of a sudden they’re making shots they haven’t made

all year.”

Indeed.

The Orange finished 10 of 28 from beyond the arc.

Carter-Williams went 3 of 8, snapping out of a 1-for-15 funk in the

first six games.

Dan Jennings had a career-high 20 points and Peter Pappageorge

added 11 for Long Beach State. James Ennis, the 49ers’ leading

scorer and rebounder, had 10 points and seven boards.

”We wanted to come out and try to get some confidence in the

first four minutes of the game, prove to ourselves that we could

play with these guys,” Pappageorge said. ”Unfortunately, they

came out and kind of hit us in the mouth. We came back a little

bit, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Syracuse upped its home winning streak to 27 games, tops in the

nation, and has won 49 consecutive regular-season nonconference

games. Long Beach State (3-5) had a two-game winning streak

snapped.

It was the third double-double of the season for

Carter-Williams, the Orange’s 6-foot-6 point guard, who boosted his

assist total for the season to 67. Brandon Triche had 11 points and

five assists, Trevor Cooney matched his career high with 11 points,

and Christmas had a career-high 11 points for the Orange.

Long Beach State has beaten two ranked teams under Monson –

Pittsburgh and Xavier – and both were last season. But so far this

season the 49ers are 0 for 3, having also lost to North Carolina

(78-63) and Arizona (94-72).

”Everybody talks about, `Well, you’re going to lose

confidence.’ I don’t think an 18- or 20-year-old is going to lose

confidence,” Monson said. ”They need reality, and the reality is

we’ve got to get better defensively and rebounding.”

Syracuse hit 7 of 15 from beyond the arc in building a 20-point

halftime lead. Carter-Williams matched his career high with three,

while Cooney and Triche each hit two.

Long Beach State rallied as Pappageorge and Ennis hit 3-pointers

and Ennis converted a dunk on an alley-oop pass. But after

Pappageorge hit another from beyond the arc to pull the 49ers

within 25-19, the Orange went into high gear.

Cooney drained a 3, Jerami Grant hit a jumper, Cooney followed

with a steal and dunk, and Carter-Williams and Triche hit

3-pointers to put the Orange up 38-26 with 4:38 left.

Syracuse closed the half with an 11-3 spurt to take command.

Carter-Williams, who leads the nation in assists, had six without a

turnover before the break, the prettiest coming on an

over-the-shoulder pass to Christmas for a dunk that boosted the

lead to 14.

The Orange had its share of luck, too. When Grant dropped the

ball in the lane on a drive, it landed at the feet of Christmas,

and he slammed it home with 1:37 left.

Mike Caffey’s jumper at the buzzer for Long Beach State made it

49-29 at halftime, but the Orange didn’t let up in the second half.

Syracuse opened with a 12-4 run and built the lead to 28 points on

Southerland’s lay-in with 15:49 left. It was the first and only

basket of the game for the Orange’s leading scorer.

”I think we can take some good from it,” Pappageorge said.

”What we have to work on is if we get down. We can’t. We have to

keep playing, stay together, and not let the bleeding get worse.

But it’s still early, we’re going to learn from this and try to get

better.”