Recap: Long Beach State vs. UC Irvine
Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) - Casper Ware led all scorers with 22 points to lead the top-seed Long Beach State 49ers into the Big West Tournament title game after a 68-57 semifinal victory over the seventh-seeded UC Irvine Anteaters at the Honda Center.
James Ennis scored 13 points and T.J. Robinson had 11 with each collecting 10 rebounds to post double-doubles for Long Beach State (24-8) which will face third-seed UC Santa Barbara in the title game. Mike Caffey also got in the mix adding 11 points.
Daman Starring and Michael Wilder each scored 15 points to pace UC Irvine (12-20) while Chris McNealy did a bit of everything scoring 11 points, collecting five rebounds and handing out four assists.
UC Irvine jumped out of the gate ripping off a 9-0 run in the opening minutes. Long Beach State's normally potent offense then struggled to find a rhythm connecting on only 28.1 percent of its shots from the floor in the first half. Even with the 49ers stumbling the Anteaters led by a score of just 28-27 at the half.
Long Beach State woke up in the second half and heated up to 59.1 percent shooting and turned in an 11-for-14 effort from the free throw line while keeping UC Irvine subdued to 44.0 percent over the last twenty minutes to capture the double-digit win.
The 49ers outscored the Anteaters 16-5 from the charity stripe and dominated on the inside with a 39-22 advantage on the glass.Game Notes