Long Beach State doesn't have much to play for in the waning games of a difficult season.
As the 49ers sleepwalked through the first seven minutes against Pacific and fell behind by 16 points, first-year Coach Larry Reynolds reminded them of what was at stake, even if it's only pride.
"You just can't go out like that and play college basketball or you'll get embarrassed," Reynolds said. "The first half was embarrassing."
Tony Darden led a big second-half turnaround as the 49ers defeated the Tigers, 70-61, Wednesday at the Pyramid.
Darden scored a career-high 30 points on 10-for-15 shooting. He made six-of-nine tries from three-point range and erased the memory of Saturday's 34-point loss to Utah State in which he was benched after two minutes.
"I'm just trying to stay confident and help the team win," Darden said. "Coach kept calling my number. I was just hot tonight and my teammates were getting me the ball."
Said Pacific Coach Bob Thomason: "We tried to guard him. We held him to one for six at our place but he was hitting all his shots tonight."
Pacific, 11-11 overall and 6-7 in the Big West, went on a 16-2 run in the first half to take a 24-8 lead. The Tigers maintained their big lead until late in the half, when Long Beach held them scoreless for a seven-minute span that stretched into the second half.
Darden made three three-pointers early in the half to put the 49ers up for good. Jibril Hodges added 14 points and Kevin Roberts had 13 for Long Beach, which shot 50% after intermission. The victory put the last-place 49ers (5-18, 4-10) one-game behind Cal State Northridge for the eighth and final conference tournament spot.