Lamb’s scoring explosion helps 49ers defeat Montana State-Billings

Long Beach State beats the Yellowjackets 82-75 behind 29 points from Lamb.

The Long Beach State men’s basketball team almost fell victim to a massive upset, but thanks to another high-scoring performance by Tyler Lamb, such disappointment was avoided.

After trailing by six at halftime, Lamb scored 24 second-half points to lead LBSU to an 82-75 win over Montana State-Billings.

“Disappointing to take a step back today,” head coach Dan Monson said. “But Mike Caffey, Tyler Lamb, A.J. [Spencer] and Dan Jennings came out in the second half and fixed it.”

The game appeared to be over quickly, as the 49ers (3-9) jumped out to a 17-4 lead in the eight minutes. The tide turned just as quickly, though, as LBSU’s shooting went cold and the Yellowjackets (5-5) chipped away until they tied it up at 22.

Even with their lead gone for the first time since the opening minute, the 49ers couldn’t turn it around. MSUB continued to score and built an eight-point lead with 1:14 to go in the first half. LBSU scored once more before the buzzer, but they still entered the locker room down 38-32, the result of a 19-point swing by the Yellowjackets.

“This is Creighton at the Division II level,” Monson said. “We gave them a chance. Even though we were up 17-4 there were some issues.”

Then, for the second time in as many games, Tyler Lamb happened.

The junior guard got in an unbreakable rhythm and went off for 21 points in the first eight minutes of the second half. The outburst helped LBSU erase its deficit and take a comfortable lead once again.

“My team was down, we were in a funk,” Lamb said of the first half. “I was in a funk, my shots weren’t falling. Then in the second half my teammates were giving me open looks, and that helped me [get hot].”

Lamb hit a 3-pointer with 15:34 on the clock to give the 49ers a lead that they wouldn’t give up for the rest of the game. Lamb finished with 29 points for the game, with 24 of them coming in an 11-minute stretch at the beginning of the second half.

“Tyler got in a flow and had a great first week,” Monson said. “That’s a dangerous way to win, having to have a guy get 18 points in four minutes.”

Lamb hasn’t started either of his two games yet but has still logged considerable minutes, including 28 in Saturday’s game. Monson said Lamb isn’t in game shape yet, and that it will take a couple weeks to be conditioned enough to be fully ready.

Also lighting up the scoreboard for The Beach were Caffey and Spencer, who both finished with 19 points. Jennings only registered five points for the game but collected nine rebounds and got the Pyramid going with a couple monster blocks.

Next up for the 49ers is a road game at Nevada. LBSU will take on the Wolfpack on Dec. 28 at noon at Lawlor Events Center.