No. 1 LBSU, No. 3 UCSB, No. 4 CP, No. 7 UCI Post Wins in Big West Tournament Quarterfinals
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2012 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament Central
Three double-digit wins and an even bigger upset highlighted the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Big West Men's Basketball Tournament as No. 1 Long Beach State, No. 3 UC Santa Barbara, No. 4 Cal Poly and No. 7 UC Irvine all advanced to Friday night's semifinals. The two games will be televised on ESPNU with the first game to tip off at 6:30 p.m. between the 49ers and the Anteaters. The second game of the session will feature the Gauchos and Mustangs and will tip at approximately 9:00 p.m.
Balanced Attack Leads No. 1 Long Beach State To Semifinals
No. 1 Long Beach State had five players in double-digit scoring and coasted to an 80-46 victory over No. 8 UC Davis in a quarterfinal game Thursday evening at the Honda Center.
Long Beach State’s Eugene Phelps led all players with 18 points, shooting 8-12 from the field. Following his 19-point performance, Phelps became the 22nd player in Long Beach State history to score 1,000 with.1,016 in his career. T.J. Robinson recorded 12 points followed by Casper Ware, James Ennis and Peter Pappageorge adding 11 points apiece. Ennis pulled down a game-high nine rebounds as the 49ers out-rebounded the Aggies 39-28. Ware, the Big West Player of Year, fired three assists and became the first Forty-Niner to dish at least 100 assists in four seperate seasons.
Eddie Miller was the lone Aggie in double-figure scoring with 17 points. Harrison DuPont came off the bench to grab a team-high five rebounds to go with five points.
Long Beach State started the game with a 9-2 advantage and continued to lead 14-6 on a layup by T.J. Robinson with 12:53 remaining in the first half. UC Davis then out-scored the Forty-Niners 6-1 to narrow the deficit to 15-12 at 10:20. Long Beach would score 10 unanswered to start a 22-4 spurt which was capped by a Nick Shepherd layup to push the lead to 37-16 at 2:48. Long Beach State would hold the 41-21 halftime lead, scoring 19 points off of 11 UC Davis turnovers.
UC Davis opened the second half with a layup by J.T. Adenrele, but that would be as close as the Aggies would get as Long Beach State continued to build the lead in the second half.
Top-seeded Long Beach State will face No. 7 UC Irvine in a semifinal contest Friday at 6:30 p.m.
No. 3 UCSB Cruises By No. 6 Pacific in Big West Tournament Quarterfinal
Orlando Johnson had 15 points and two other players scored in double-figures as #3 UC Santa Barbara defeated #6 Pacific, 72-52, in the Big West Quarterfinals on Thursday morning at the Honda Center. The Gauchos advance to the semifinals on Friday, against a team still to be determined.
Johnson scored 13 of his game-high 15 points in the second period, as UCSB’s lead peaked at 29 points on two occasions in the period.
Pacific had the hot hand early on, though, hitting 3-for-3 from the field and opening a 7-2 advantage a minute and a half into play.
The Tigers still led by three, 12-9, after Markus Duran’s three-pointer at the 15:39 mark, but UC Santa Barbara put together a 6-0 run, and scored 13 of the next 15 points, to take a 22-14 lead.
UCSB's Kyle Boswell hit three three-pointers during that run as Pacific went 1-for-5 from the field.
The Gauchos extended their lead to 10, 30-20, with 5:11 remaining in the half, but the Tigers’ Lorenzo McCloud connected on two consecutive three pointers to close to gap to four, 30-26, less than a minute later.
UC Santa Barbara scored the next five straight, but another three-pointer from McCloud put the Tigers within two possessions, 35-29, with just over two minutes remaining in the half.
However, that was all the scoring Pacific would do the rest of the period as UCSB put together an 8-0 run to end the half, taking a 43-29 lead into the break.
Both teams hit six three-pointers in the period, but the Gauchos outshot the Tigers, 53.3 percent to 39.3 percent.
UC Santa Barbara continued its run into the second half, scoring the first eight straight points, including five from Johnson, as the lead increased to 51-29 at the 17:56 mark.
Pacific scored just six points through the first 12 minutes of the second half as UCSB’s lead peaked at 35-64 with 9:08 remaining. The Tigers would outscore the Gauchos 17-8 over the final 7:51 of the game, but Santa Barbara’s lead was too large as they held on for the 72-52 victory.
McCloud was the lone Tiger’s player to reach double-figures in scoring, totaling 14 for an offense that shot 38.9 percent from the field. UC Santa Barbara hit 45.6 percent from the field, and forced 15 Pacific turnovers.
No. 4 Cal Poly Puts Clamps On No. 5 UC Riverside To Earn Semifinal Berth
No. 4 Cal Poly used a strong second half to defeat No. 5 UC Riverside, 66-54 in a quarterfinal game at the Honda Center Thursday.
Cal Poly jumped out to a quick 5-0 start, but UC Riverside responded with the next five and the teams would never be more that four points apart until UC Riverside scored six unanswered to take a 32-26 lead with 1:29 left before intermission. Robert Smith’s jumper with four seconds left gave the Highlanders a 34-28 lead at halftime. UC Riverside hit .51.9 percent (14-27) from the floor for the first 20 minutes compared to Cal Poly’s 34.6 percent (9-26).
Cal Poly came out of the locker room out-scoring the Highlanders 13-1 capped by a layup by Jordan Lewis with 14:50 remaining to open a 41-35 advantage. UC Riverside narrowed the lead to 41-39 at 13:37 before the Mustangs scored nine straight to take the 50-39 advantage with 9:28 on the clock. A Highlander three-pointer on the next possession was as close as UC Riverside would get the rest of the game.
Cal Poly out-scored UCR, 38-20 in the second half, shooting 50 percent (13-26) from the field and 83.3 percent (10-12) from the free throw line.
Amaurys Fermin had a game-high 16 points and four assists to lead Cal Poly. David Hanson recorded his sixth double-double of the year with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Eversley came off the bench to add 11 points.
UC Riverside's Phil Martin recorded 15 points, while Robert Smith had 10 points. The duo joined Harrison Gaines with a team-high four rebounds.
No. 7 UC Irvine Pulls Off Stunning Upset Over No. 2 Cal State Fullerton
The #7 seeded UC Irvine Anteaters upset #2 seed Cal State Fullerton on Thursday afternoon in the Big West Conference Tournament quarterfinals, 65-59, at the Honda Center.
Chris McNealy scored a game-high 24 points to lead UCI, while Derick Flowers and Michael Wilder each added 11 points. Orane Chin scored 20 for Cal State Fullerton, while Omondi Amoke grabbed 21 rebounds – a new Big West Conference Tournament single-game record.
The Titans, who entered Thursday’s game averaging 78.6 points per game, were held to just 59 points – a season-low – while hitting only 37.1 percent from the field.
Meanwhile, the Anteaters hit 46.9 percent from the field including 45.5 percent from beyond the arc.
In the first half, UC Irvine scored the opening bucket of the game, and turned a 6-4 advantage into a 15-4 lead as McNealy scored seven of the Anteaters nine points during the run.
UCI’s lead stayed above double-digits until the last 1:09 of the period, when Cal State Fullerton scored the final five points of the half to cut the margin to eight, 29-21.
UC Irvine led 35-26 at the 16:25 mark of the second half when Cal State Fullerton scored six straight points to make it a one possession game, 35-32, a little over two minutes later.
However, back-to-back three-pointers from the Anteaters made it a nine-point game, 41-32, with 12:37 remaining.
The teams traded buckets until the Titans cut it to two, 53-51, after a three-pointer from Orane Chin at the 5:50 mark. McNealy hit a three-pointer on the other end of the floor to push the lead back to five, 56-51, but UCI countered with a layup by Kwame Vaughn with 3:52 to go.
The teams again traded baskets as UC Irvine’s lead never dipped below three the rest of the way. The Anteaters also knocked down seven of eight from the free throw line, including five by McNealy, to secure the 65-59 victory.
The Titans loss marks the fifth straight year that the No. 2 seed lost in its first game in the Big West Conference Tournament.