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Men's Basketball

#1 Long Beach State, #5 UC Santa Barbara Set For Rematch In ampm Big West Championship Game

Files associated with this release:
LBSU-UCR Box Score.pdf
LBSU-UCR Quotes.pdf
UCSB-CSUN Box Score.pdf
UCSB-CSUN Quotes.pdf


A rematch is in order for the ampm Big West Tournament championship as #1 Long Beach State and #5 UC Santa Barbara won their semifinal games to set up a second title bout Saturday night.

#1 Long Beach State Advances to Big West Championship Game For Second Straight Season

Long Beach State secured its second consecutive spot in the 2011 am pm Big West Tournament championship game as the 49ers defeated UC Riverside, 74-63, Friday evening at the Honda Center.

Larry Anderson scored a game-high 21 points and senior Greg Plater added 17 points with five three-point field goals to lead Long Beach State as they will play the winner of tonight’s Cal State Northridge/UC Santa Barbara matchup tomorrow at 5 p.m. with the winner advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The championship game will be shown live on ESPN2.

Behind a loud and raucous crowd of 49er faithful, No. 1 seed Long Beach State (22-10) roared out to a 15-0 start with four of its five starters scoring. In contrast, UC Riverside began the game 0 for 7 from the field and did not score a point in the game’s first five minutes.
UC Riverside (12-19) bounced back with an 8-0 run of its own after a dunk by Phil Martin cut the lead to 15-8 at the 14:10 mark. Martin dunked emphatically and held on the rim which warranted him a technical foul.

Long Beach State's Casper Ware (16 points) made the technical foul shot and Plater followed with back to back three pointers to extend the lead to 22-10. The lead grew to 26-11 for the 49ers before the Highlanders fought back with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to eight at 26-18.

Plater, one of only three seniors on the Long Beach State squad, connected on three three-point field goals in the first half to lead the 49ers in scoring with 11 points. T.J. Robinson also scored 11 and Anderson added 10 points, including a three-point shot from the right wing with one second left to close out the first half for a 40-28 49er advantage.

Javon Borum connected on four of six three-pointers to lead the Highlanders with 13 first-half points.

In a first-half that seemed to favor Long Beach State statistically, both teams converted on identical 11 of 26 shooting but the 49ers made 14 free throws to only one of Riverside for the 12-point halftime lead.

The second half was more of the same in the early going with Long Beach State imposing its will on the seventh-seeded Highlanders, who had upset No. 2 Cal Poly last evening. The 49ers opened up a 56-36 lead but UCR refused to go away coming back to within eight at 59-51 after a 15-3 run highlighted by Tyquan Brown who scored nine points.

Plater stepped up again and nailed a three-point shot right from the right baseline corner in front of his home bench to stop the rally and give Long Beach State some breathing room at 62-51 with 4:57 remaining.

After two free throws by Anderson made it 64-51, UC Riverside again made a final push with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 64-58, the closest for the Highlanders since trailing 6-0.

In need of another clutch shot, Ware, the Big West Conference player of the year, did just that knocking down a three-pointer from the left baseline corner with 1:52 left and made two subsequent free throws to get the lead back to nine at 69-60.

Free throws down the stretch by Ware and Anderson helped Long Beach State hold off a determined Riverside squad and earn the 49ers their 22nd win of the season.

Robinson added 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for the 49ers. Martin scored 14 points for UCR while Borum did not score in the second half for the Highlanders.

The 49ers shot 9 for 17 from three-point range (52.9%) and converted 25 of 36 free throws in the contest.

Long Beach State has won 11 straight games, 17 of 19, and will be looking for its first Big West championship (fifth overall) and NCAA bid (eighth overall) since the 2007 season.

Long Beach State post-game with coach Dan Monson, Greg Plater and Larry Anderson

UC Riverside post-game with coach Jim Wooldridge, Javon Borum and Phil Martin

#5 UC Santa Barbara Posts Dominating ampm Big West Tournament Semifinal Win Over #3 Cal State Northridge

Orlando Johnson, fresh off his 32-point performance last night against Pacific, picked up where he left off scorching the Matadors for 30 points to lead UC Santa Barbara to an 83-63 victory over No. 3 Cal State Northridge Friday night at the Honda Center.

UC Santa Barbara, the No. 5 seed, returns to the 2011 ampm Big West Tournament championship game to defend its title against No. 1 Long Beach State, the team it defeated last season to win the 2010 title.

Johnson has been on fire in the tournament, setting a Gaucho tournament scoring record last night and narrowly missing again tonight. In two games, he has scored 62 points, shot 19 for 33 (57.6%) from the field, including 9-of-12 (75%) from three-point range, and made 15-of-17 free throws (88%).

Jaime Serna contributed 16 points and nine rebounds for UC Santa Barbara while teammate James Nunnally added 12 and eight rebounds.

Lenny Daniel led Cal State Northridge with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Rashaun McLemore scored 13 points and Josh Greene chipped in with 12 of his own for the Matadors.

UC Santa Barbara (17-13) controlled the game early taking leads of 11-4, 20-11 and 30-14 while sprinting out to a 40-19 halftime advantage. Serna and Johnson were a dominating duo from opening tip. Serna established the inside game scoring 12 points while Johnson provided the outside touch with 20 points and four of four shooting from three-point range as UCSB set the tone from the beginning.

McLemore did all he could in the first half for Cal State Northridge (14-18) scoring nine points but no other Matador scored more than three. Northridge shot a poor 22.2% from the field (6 of 27) while the Gauchos shot a solid 50% (14 of 28). Only one assist was credited to the Matadors.

The Gauchos scored the first five points of the second half to increase their lead to a surprising and staggering 45-19 advantage, the largest lead of the night. UCSB led 57-33 when Cal State Northridge mounted a spirited comeback to close the gap.

Daniel, who scored only two points in the first half, rallied the Matadors on a 17-7 run by scoring on jumpers and free throws. Josh Greene’s three-point shot from the top of the key helped cut the deficit to 64-50.

But Johnson calmly stepped to the foul line and converted two free throws followed Serna making two from the charity stripe to give the Gauchos a comfortable 68-50 lead with 5:21 remaining in the game.

The teams traded baskets the rest of the way as UCSB held on to the win.

Cal State Northridge finished a rough shooting night from the field (20-of-70, 28.6%) as they took 24 more shots but only making one more than the UCSB (19-of-46, 41.3%).

The Gauchos made 37 of 48 free throws, including 30 of 38 in the second half.

Santa Barbara lost both contests earlier in the season to Cal State Northridge but this game was never in doubt as the Gauchos dominated from the outset and now find themselves playing for a second consecutive Big West Tournament crown in a rematch of last year's exciting game.

CSUN post-game press conference with coach Bobby Braswell, Lenny Daniel and Josh Greene
UCSB post-game press conference with coach Bob Williams, Orlando Johnson and Jaime Serna