HONOLULU, Hawaii----Larry Anderson scored 16 points and Eugene Phelps and Casper Ware had 13 each to lead Long Beach State to a 64-43 victory over Auburn in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic semifinals on Friday. Frankie Sullivan led the Tigers with a season-high tying 22 points on a career-high tying 6-of-9 3-pointers.
Frankie Sullivan scored more than half of Auburn's points against Long Beach State/Photos by Todd Van Emst
Long Beach State (7-5) scored 10 straight points and held Auburn (8-2) scoreless for almost six minutes as the 49ers pulled out to a 19-8 lead with 8:16 left in the first. The Tigers went 7:28 without a field goal to fall behind by as much as 13 points in the opening period.
Sullivan scored the Tigers first eight points and 14 of their first 18 to keep Auburn in it. Adrian Forbes made the first Auburn non-Sullivan basket with a tip-in at 1:29 left to make it 29-20 Long Beach. Sullivan finished the first half 5-of-10 from the field while the rest of the Tigers were 1-of-16.
“It was very disappointing,” said head coach Tony Barbee. “Coming into the game, I was concerned about Long Beach State. They say 'We have a bunch of ballers on our team and we are going to find out if you can ball or not, too.' By doing that, they try to take you out of whatever you are doing.”
The 49ers went the final 5:03 without a field goal but used six free throws to go into the half with a 32-22 edge.
Long Beach led by as much as 15 early in the second half, but Auburn had a 9-2 run to get to within 41-33 with 14 minutes to go. Long Beach used a 16-0 run that had a pair of Casper Ware 3-pointers to take a 62-38 lead with 3:30 to play as the Tigers had another long dry spell of 9:06 during the stretch.
“It comes down to guys making plays and tonight we didn’t have it,” said Barbee. “I thought we did some good things defensively in holding them to 42 percent shooting and 37 percent in the second half. We gave ourselves opportunities on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively, we were anemic tonight. Hopefully we can chalk it up to being an off night. More of a concern was, we didn’t have guys make plays when they had an opportunity to make plays.”
The Tigers shot a season-low 26.3 percent from the field and had a season-low in points. Long Beach outrebounded Auburn 43-25 and was 19-of-25 from the foul line compared to 6-of-6 for the Tigers.
Auburn will play UTEP, Barbee's former employer, in the Diamond Head Classic third place game on Christmas at 6:30 pm Central on ESPN2. Kansas State defeated UTEP 78-70 in the other semifinal behind 16 points off the bench from the Wildcats’ Angel Rodriguez. Jacques Streeter led the Miners with 15 points.
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