FULLERTON, California — Long Beach State pushed Washington to the limit but a strong run down the stretch gave the Huskies an 80-70 victory in the semifinal game of the Wooden Legacy Tournament on Friday.
Nigel Williams-Goss scored 21 points and set a tournament record with 12 assists as Washington (5-0) remained undefeated.
"Nigel was very aggressive to shoot and make plays in the lane," said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar.
Washington outscored the 49ers 18-4 over the final five minutes of the game.
"It was hard fought game by both teams with momentum swings throughout the game," Romar said. "Long Beach State gets after it and Caffey is a heck of a player. But we stuck together and didn't fold when we got down by nine points in the second half."
Mike Anderson scored 16 points and Robert Upshaw added 12 points and had 5 blocked shots (12 blocked shots in 2 games in the tournament) as the Huskies tightened its defense and pulled away in the final minutes to secure the victory.
"I'm glad my coach and teammates have faith in me; they told me to keep shooting," said Andrew Andrews, who made just 3-of-11 shots but his two 3-pointers in the final minutes gave the Huskies a huge lift. "It easy to do when your teammates are there for you."
49ers coach Dan Monson said it was a tough setback.
"It's disappointing loss," said Dan Monson. "We played hard and played well in stretches and had an opportunity to take control but I think we broke down in the last 12 minutes. They switched to a zone we didn't attack it too well."
Mike Caffey led Long Beach State with 18 points and 6 assists. Temidayo Yussuf and Deontae each added 16 points as the 49ers were outshot by its opponent for the first this season.
Down 54-45, Washington went on a 13-3 run and took a 58-57 lead following a free throw by Anderson with 8:26 to play.
The Huskies, who shot 47.5 percent in the game including 11 3-pointers, kept the defensive pressure on down the stretch and erupted on the offensive end to put the game away.
After falling behind by 14-8 in the early going Long Beach State battled back and took a 20-16 lead on back-to back baskets by David Samuels with 9:30 left in the first half.
The 49ers upped its lead to 30-24 following a 3-pointer by Caffey at the 6:22 mark.
Williams-Goss drilled three consecutive baskets to cut the 49ers lead to 33-32 with 2:19 left in the half. Donaven Dorsey then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Washington a 38-37 with just under a minute to play in the half.
Caffey hit a fade jumper down the stretch as Long Beach State led 39-38 at the half.
"It's awesome for us," said Romar about going to the championship game. "Every team came here to win the championship and we have that opportunity. I'm very proud of our team and how we fought to get here."
Long Beach State: With the 49ers victory over Western Michigan on Thursday, coach Dan Monson tied Jerry Tarkanian for most career wins in 49ers history with 122.
Washington: Huskies center Robert Upshaw has blocked 7 shots in three separate games this season. He leads the Pac 12 with 21 blocked shots.
Long Beach State will play Xavier on Sunday in the third place game.
Washington plays UTEP on Sunday in the championship game.
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