Anteaters shut down 49ers for road win

BASKETBALL: UCI limits host Long Beach State to 34.9% field-goal shooting to capture its first Big West Conference road triumph.

February 03, 2008|By Barry Faulkner

LONG BEACH — The annual push to promote cancer awareness called for casual footwear to be worn nationwide by men’s college basketball coaches Saturday. But there was nothing casual about the effort, particularly on defense, presented by visiting UC Irvine in its 70-48 Big West Conference victory over Long Beach State at the Walter Pyramid.

The Anteaters (9-12, 4-4 in conference) surrendered a season-low 48 points to earn their first conference road victory of the season.

Long Beach State (4-16, 1-7) connected on just 15 of 43 field-goal attempts (34.9%), just three of 18 from three-point range (16.7%), committed 15 turnovers and was outrebounded, 33-21, allowing UCI to post its second-biggest margin of victory this season.


“I thought we played well, with a lot of energy and purpose,” said UCI Coach Pat Douglass, who was one of a dozen coaches from both teams who wore white athletic shoes instead of the normal dress footwear as part of the National Assn. of Basketball Coaches’ joint effort with the American Cancer Society to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer.

“I thought [6-foot-7 senior center] Darren Fells was big inside and proved to be difficult to match up with.”

Don Monson, Long Beach State’s first-year coach, was even more decisive when discussing his team’s shortcomings.

“I thought our want-to was there, but we were just overmatched, physically,” said Monson, who saw his team absorb its fifth straight loss, the last three by an average margin of 25.7 points.

Perhaps even more impressive than the first-half performance that allowed UCI to open a 38-21 lead, was its ability to sustain its defensive intensity in the final 20 minutes.

UCI, which had surrendered second-half leads earlier this season in losses to Tennessee of Chatanooga, Utah, San Diego, Sam Houston State and South Carolina, never let the 49ers come closer than 15.

Long Beach State, which strung together a 7-0 run to pull within 29-20, with 3:40 left in the first half, never scored consecutive field goals in the final 20 minutes. Further, the 49ers scored more than two points in a row only twice. They netted four free throws to pull within 53-36 with 11:15 remaining, and converted a three-pointer to follow two foul shots to trim the deficit to 62-46 with 4:47 remaining.

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