March 7, 2013
Davis, Calif. -- The Long Beach State men's basketball team (18-11, 14-3) clinched its third-straight Big West regular season title on Thursday night after an all-out battle with UC Davis (14-15, 9-8) in front of a sellout, raucous crowd of 5,670.
"A win is what we needed tonight, but more than anything, I'm proud to see the way this team fought and came together to get the win," said Head Coach Dan Monson. "We were by no means perfect, but it shows how good we can be when we play together. We also had the best start to a game then we've had all season.
LBSU led by one at the halftime break, 36-35, but Davis opened the second half on an 8-0 run to lead 42-35 just over two minutes into the half. The 49ers battled back and retook the lead at 44-43 after a jumper by Tony Freeland, but the Aggies would retake the lead shortly after.
With the game tied at 48 all with 13:51 to play, the 49ers would go on a 4-0 run after baskets by Freeland and Ennis to lead 52-48, but Davis would answer. The two teams traded leads several times over the next few minutes, but with the game tied at 59 all with just under nine minutes to play, Davis would go on a 7-0 run to lead 66-59.
The Aggies held on to their lead until 3:37 when Mike Caffey knocked down a three to go back on top, 72-70. After a three-point play by Ennis, the 49ers extended their lead to 74-70 with 2:48 to play.
With LBSU still leading by four with 1:59 to play, Davis would knock down a three to close within 77-76. LBSU was back on offense, but Ennis and Caffey both could not get their shots to fall as the Aggies had 18 seconds to try to win the game. Davis' Ryan Howley threw up a three-pointer with two seconds to play, but it failed to go in as Ennis would grab his final rebound of the night to clinch the 49ers' victory.
Ennis recorded his ninth game above 20 points (4), tallying his 34th-consecutive game in double-digits. He also tallied his seventh double-double of the season (14 rebounds. Freeland scored a career-high 21 points, while adding six rebounds and four assists. Caffey chipped in 11 points and four assists.
Long Beach out-rebounded UC Davis 42-25 in the win.
Coach Monson on winning a third Big West crown
"This is a great league and to be able to win one, let alone three, means a lot. I'm excited for the guys because they fought hard tonight to get this win and the Big West title."
Long Beach State has not won three consecutive conference titles since the team won six from 1970-75.
LBSU will conclude its road trip on Saturday when they face Pacific in a 4:00 pm contest which will be televised live on Fox Sports West.
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