Jan. 28, 2010
By Lee Barnathan
Northridge, Calif. - The athleticism was evident as the teams ran up and down the Matadome floor, cutting and slashing to the basket, pulling up on the dead run and burying the jumper.
In the end, however, Long Beach State had just a little more, as Casper Ware's floating jump shot with 10.6 seconds to play gave the 49ers a 69-68 victory Thursday night over the Matadors in a Big West Conference game.
Just seconds earlier, Mark Hill appeared to give the Matadors (7-13, 2-5 Big West) a victory with an outside jumper. Before that, Ware appeared to give Long Beach (9-11, 3-4) the win when he scored on a layup with 38.6 seconds to play.
And so it went, especially for Long Beach, which had 21 offensive rebounds.
"They had more guys, that's what it seemed like," said Willie Galick, who scored ten of his 14 points in the second half. "Throw it up, go get it. Throw it up, go get it."
And yet CSUN had a chance to win in the final seconds, but Hill missed a jumper, and Lenny Daniel grabbed the rebound and missed from inside.
If this kind of loss sounds familiar, that's because CSUN lost to Cal Poly last week the same way.
"We had shots in the last minute," CSUN coach Bobby Braswell said. "We have to find ways to get those shots down."
Afterward, Galick and Hill bemoaned the fact that CSUN is 2-5 in the Big West and not a game goes by that someone isn't giving their all.
"Some guys are giving 100 percent ..." said Hill." "We have to turn it around."
"We can't make excuses," Galick said.
Braswell said the team has a saying: "Players play; tough players win." On Thursday, Vinnie McGhee showed toughness with 17 points, including eight in a row that turned a 51-49 deficit into a 57-51 lead with 9:16 to play. Galick played much of the second half with four fouls. The team held Long Beach to 38-percent shooting and a season-lowtwo 3-pointers in 18 attempts.
But Long Beach had its tough players, too. Eugene Phelps scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half. T.J. Robinson had a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Preseason all-conference pick Larry Anderson had 12 points and nine rebounds. The 49ers overcame deficits of as much as eight points and out rebounded CSUN 45-39.
So, it's back to practice for the Matadors as they prepare for UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. Braswell said he expects no boys to show up, only men.
"I still believe we're there, but we've got to find ways to win," Braswell said. "You've got to have certain character to win these games."
Vinnie McGhee's five 3-pointers was a season high ... With at least 12 more games to play (nine conference, two non-conference, at least one conference tournament), the Matadors are well on their way to breaking the school record for free-throw attempts in a season ... After Thursday's game with Long Beach State, the Matadors have taken 598 free throws, an average of 29.9 ... CSUN currently ranks second in the nation in attempts. ... Heading into Thursday's game, CSUN led the conference in offensive rebounding and was second in steals, third in scoring and fourth in blocked shots ... Head coach Bobby Braswell seems to have settled on a starting lineup: Lenny Daniel, Kenny Daniels, Mark Hill, Tony Osunsanmi and Therin Taylor came onto the court together for the sixth consecutive time this season ... CSUN is 3-3 when these five start ... CSUN's 18 team fouls were the second fewest of the season ... The Matadors also committed 18 fouls three other games ... They committed just 16 at Pacific.