Feb. 20, 2013
Down by nine at the half, the Long Beach State men's basketball team (17-9, 13-2) overcame a slow start to defeat UC Davis (11-14, 7-7) 71-65 in the final home conference game of the season.
With the win, LBSU extended its home conference winning streak to 26 games. The win also meant that seniors James Ennis and Peter Pappageorge ended their careers undefeated in Big West games at the Walter Pyramid.
The victory, coupled with Pacific's loss at UC Irvine on Wednesday, also meant that the 49ers have clinched at least a share of the Big West regular season title.
"Every win this time of year is tough," said Head Coach Dan Monson. "At half, I was kicking myself, trying to figure out why we were playing with so little life. We had three straight days of morning practice and the guys were tired and we just didn't have any energy. I told James and Paps that you don't want to end your career like this, and the team really worked together to get them this final win.
"The mark of a good team is coming back from being in a hole that deep and getting the win and I'm very happy with how this team fought tonight. We held Davis to zero threes in the second half after they made eight in the first, and that's huge.
"I've been hard on this team, challenging their character and their drive, but these guys are winners and I need to ease up on them a little. They are finding different ways to win and are staying together through adversity."
In the first half, UC Davis came out charging, draining 8-of-15 from the three point line, helping the team to a nine-point halftime lead (33-24).
The Aggies then pushed their lead to 11 after the halftime-break, but the 49ers fought back to within five early in the second half. Davis would begin to pull away, but the 49ers would claw back, eventually tying the game at 47 all with 11:40 to play after a jumper by Keala King.
UC Davis would retake the lead, but King would give LBSU its first lead of the half after draining a three-point basket (52-51, 8:21 to play). Both teams would trade the lead multiple times before another basket by King would push the 49er lead to four at 61-57 with 2:34 to play.
With one minute to play, the Aggies began to foul on every LBSU possession as the 49ers made 5-of-6 from the charity strip down the stretch to ice the game.
King led the team with 22 points, a season-high for the transfer from Arizona State. He also added four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Ennis notched his 31st-consecutive double-digit scoring game, chipping in 15 points. Tony Freeland equaled his career-high in scoring with 18, while adding six rebounds and two steals. Dan Jennings led the team in rebounding with 11, a career-high.
As a team, the 49ers out-rebounded Davis 38-32 and shot 49% from the field, while holding the Aggies to just 45%.
The 49ers will take a break from Big West action on Friday when they host Stephen F. Austin in a Ramada Worldwide Bracketbuster game. The game will also be televised live on ESPNU at 6:05 pm.
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