49ers Earn Hard-Fought Victory Over Gauchos, Defeat UCSB 57-55
The 49ers struggled offensively, but found a way to win to stay atop the Big West Conference.
Jan. 31, 2013
It wasn't pretty, but the LBSU men's basketball team earned a hard-fought victory on Wednesday night, defeating UC Santa Barbara 57-55 to remain atop the Big West standings. With the win, Long Beach extended its win streak to seven games and is now 12-8 and 8-1 in the Big West. UCSB falls to 7-13 (3-6 Big West).
LBSU also extended their conference home winning streak to 22 games with tonight's win.
UCSB's 55 points was the fewest allowed by the 49ers this season and marked the second consecutive game in which they held an opponent to under 60 points. UCSB shot just 33.9% from the game, which wasn't much better than LBSU's 37%.
"This was a character win for us," said Head Coach Dan Monson. "I told the guys in the locker room that we would not have won this game two or three weeks ago. The mark of a good team is to win when you aren't at your "A" game. I don't even think we had our "B" game tonight, but we hung in there and were able to get a touch victory.
"It's better to play bad and win than play well and lose, and that's what happened tonight. We played well defensively, holding them to just 55 points. That's two straight games we've held an opponent to under 60 points and that's something to be proud of."
James Ennis and Tony Freeland each tallied 16 points, marking Ennis' 25th-consecutive game in double-digit scoring. He also added four rebounds, one block and one steal. Freeland's 16 points were a season-high (previous best, 15), and he also tacked on a season-high and team-leading eight rebounds. Caffey ended the game with 10 points and three steals.
Long Beach opened up the second half by making 3-of-5 shots, but then missed the next five as both the 49ers and Gauchos struggled to make a basket. Long Beach led by as many as seven points twice in the second-half, but UCSB wouldn't go away and tied the game with a three-point basket with 26 seconds to play.
LBSU took a timeout to set up a final play and UCSB was forced to foul, sending Caffey to the free throw line to shoot two. Making both, the 49ers would hold on to win 57-55 as a last-second shot by the Gauchos failed to go in.
UCSB opened up strong in the first-half, leading by as many as eight points as Long Beach was just 1-of-13 from the field over the first 11 minutes of the game. Down 20-12, the 49ers went on a 10-0 run to take their first lead (22-20) with just over four minutes to play. Both teams traded leads over the final minutes of the first period and went into the break with LBSU up by two (30-28).
The 49ers will look to win their eighth-straight on Saturday when they take on Cal Poly (9-10, 5-4) in the Walter Pyramid at 4:05 pm.
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