March 9, 2013
Stockton, Calif. -- Long Beach State (18-12, 14-4) dropped its final game of the regular season on Saturday, losing to Pacific 71-51. Despite the loss, the 49ers head into the Big West Tournament as the No. 1 seed next week.
It was senior night for the Tigers as well as the final home game for Head Coach Bob Thomason, who is retiring after the season. Pacific improved to 19-12 (13-5 Big West) with the victory.
"I'm not disappointed by how we lost tonight, but how poorly we competed," said Head Coach Dan Monson. "You have to play like a champion every day, like we did on Thursday versus Davis, and we didn't do that tonight.
"In order to make NCAAs you have to focus as a team and play consistently. We are not doing that right now and that has me concerned. The hardest part of a tournament is that you can't have any lapses. You have to be consistent and focused and we need to find how to do that in order to win three games next week."
James Ennis led the team with 12 points, tallying his 35th-consecutive game in double-digits. He also added four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Deng Deng chipped in 11 points, while grabbing three boards. Dan Jennings had a team-high nine rebounds. As a team, the 49ers shot 39% for the game. Normally successful behind the arc, LBSU was just 1-of-16 from the three-point line.
Pacific used an 11-0 run early in the second half to lead 45-28, as LBSU was held scoreless for nearly four minutes. Mike Caffey broke the scoring drought with a jumper to start a 7-0 scoring run by the 49ers as the team cut Pacific's lead to 45-34 with 13 minutes to play. The Tigers answered with their own 16-0 run to push their lead to 27 (61-34) with just under eight minutes left on the clock.
LBSU was held scoreless for over five minutes during Pacific's run, but broke that drought after a three-point play by Ennis. He stole the ball on the next play, passed it to Deng, who slammed it home, but Pacific would answer with a three-pointer as they led 66-42 with 6:31 to go. The 49ers closed the gap to 20 points as all of the starters went to the bench for the final few minutes of the game, but the deficit was too much to overcome as the Tigers would win 71-51.
After LBSU started the first half on a 9-2 run, the Tigers answered and tied the game at 10 all. Both teams traded the lead five times before Pacific went on a 10-2 run to lead by 11 (31-22) at the break. Both teams struggled from the field as the 49ers shot 36% and Pacific shot 41%.
Long Beach had not lost to Pacific in Stockton since Feb. 27, 2010 when the Tigers defeated the 49ers 61-51.
Long Beach State will head to the Honda Center next Thursday (Mar. 14) to face the No. 8 seed, which will be Cal State Fullerton, in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament.
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