Nov. 29, 2009
Anaheim, Calif. - Dan Monson has his first program defining win at Long Beach State. The third-year coach pushed his team to a 79-68 win over UCLA Sunday in the third round of the 76 Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The win was Monson's first against a team from a power conference since coming to Long Beach State before the 2007-08 season and the first for Long Beach State since the 49ers beat Texas A&M 83-76 in Long Beach on Dec. 22, 2000. The win was also the first ever by Long Beach State against UCLA. The Bruins had won the first 11 meetings between the two teams dating back to 1970.
"I am happy for our guys," Monson said. "They worked hard despite the ambitious schedule we have put together. Sometimes you wonder as a coach if it pays dividends with all the losses. We have to understand that this is not a game you win by yourself, it's a team. The first half we seemed a little intimidated by a bigger opponent, but we were able to settle down in the second half. We only gave up two turnovers in the second half and that's a great stat. This is a big step even though everyone knows that UCLA is rebuilding. It means a lot to LBSU, our fans and our players."
The Beach (4-3) used a strong second half to pull away from the Bruins. After trailing by as many as seven points in the first half, LBSU manhandled UCLA (2-4) in the second half outscoring the Bruins 47-37 in the last 20 minutes. Long Beach State led by as many as 17 points with less than 10 minutes to play.
Sophomores T.J. Robinson and Casper Ware keyed the second half spurt by the 49ers. Leading by five with 14:38 to play, Ware scored LBSU's next nine points outscoring UCLA 9-3 in a span of 3:18 to push The Beach's lead to 11 with 11:20 to play. Ware finished with 11 points, six assists and three steals, with all 11 points and five of his assists coming in the second half.
After struggling in the first half making just 4-of-10 shots, Robinson settled down and made 6-of-9 shots in the second half en route to scoring 14 points in the last 20 minutes. He tied a career high with 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. The 25-point, 13-rebound effort came a two days after he had 25 points and a career-high 15 rebounds against No. 19 Clemson. In the three-game tournament, Robinson averaged 20 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, while making 60.5 percent (23-of-38) of his shots.
It wasn't only Ware and Robinson who played big in the win. Senior Stephan Gilling scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Junior Greg Plater finished with 10 points, eight coming in the first half when the 49ers were struggling. Eugene Phelps had 10 boards, his second straight game with double-digit rebounds, and seven points, while handing out a career-best three assists.
Long Beach State finished making 53.6 percent (30-of-56) of its shots, including a blistering 64.3 percent (18-of-28) in the second half. The Beach outrebounded UCLA 39-30, while outscoring the Bruins 40-26 in the paint. LBSU committed 13 turnovers, but only two in the second half.
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