Saturday, February 26, 2011

Live Blog: Men's Basketball vs. UCSB 2/26/11

Live updates from court side at the Pyramid

Yep, in our white tees. Literally. It's whiteout night tonight in the Pyramid and as Jerramy King puts on a nice shooting display for the security and staff working behind the scenes to make tonight's ESPN2 game possible, we're about an hour and twenty minutes until Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara get it on in the final home game for the Niners.

It seems like it was years ago when the Gauchos and 49ers first squared off in both team's first Big West Conference game in late December. That game, marked by the return of Larry Anderson from a broken hand, was dominated by Long Beach, eventually leading to a 16 point road victory, and quite possibly serving as the catalyst Long Beach State needed to get their season going. The Niners have only lost twice since that game, and are currently riding a seven game win streak, the last of which clinched the Big West Regular Season championship for Long Beach.

Keys to the game

Keep the energy going. Last game, for obvious reasons, was the most amped I have seen the team all year. And now that the Niners have clinched the 1st seed for the Big West Tourney, it will be interesting to see how the team responds with a game that doesn't have any real merit on the team's chances to go dancing in March. Still, Long Beach has plenty to play for, namely finishing an undefeated conference record at home, sending out the three seniors with one last home win, and exacting a little revenge on the Gauchos for what happened last year.

Lock down the Dynamic Duo. Yes, USCB do have quite a duo in Orlando Johnson (avg. 22.9 pts per game in BW play) and James Nunnally (avg. 14.6 pts per game in BW play) but Long Beach did quite a job on limiting the success of the two the last time the teams met, really frustrating both of the players, especially Nunnally who ended up hanging out mostly around the perimeter instead of driving to the goal.

Getting the two out of their rhythm early will be a huge key for LB.

Get it done for B. Nev, T. Wil, and GP3. Each Long Beach State senior has had a unique story to get here to this point. Brandon Nevens had to be granted a sixth year of eligibility to even play this year. Tristan bounced around juco ball, and fought injury to be able to suit up this year. And Plater, Coach Monson's first recruit after coming to LBSU had to play out of position for his first year, see his playtime cut the next year, develop as a sixth man as a junior and finally step back in to the starting role his senior year. It will be a fitting end to their Walter Pyramid playing days to go out with wins.

25 minutes til tip
As Dave Fleming and Miles Simon get set for their ESPN2 broadcast, the crowd continues to file in here on whiteout night. The Long Beach players even have special white shoes for the game tonight, though I don't think my hopes for an all white suit from Coach Monson will pan out. I'll keep you posted.

Five minutes til tip
Student section is awfully packed. Parents, look for your kids on ESPN2!

Starting lineups

LBSU, no changes: Ware, Plater, Anderson, Robinson, Phelps

UCSB: Weiner, Joyner, Johnson, Nunnally, Serna

17:22 left in first half LBSU 8 - UCSB 7
Serna puts up two early baskets for the Gauchos.

UCSB running their customary match-up zone.

A tipped ball and steal by Long Beach State leads to a monster jam by Larry Anderson. Bob Williams wants to prevent the crowd getting in to the game best he can and calls time.

10:29 left in first half LBSU 21 - UCSB 18
Johnson answers with a big dunk of his own after a missed defensive switch by LB.

After a media timeout, the 7 foot 3 Greg Somogyi checks in, he will make it tough for the undersized Niners to get to the rim uncontested.

Casper is fouled shooting a three and sinks all three of the free throws.

Johnson drains a three for UCSB. He is not the player Long Beach wants to get in a good flow early.

Really unnecessary turnovers taking the ball out of Long Beach's hands. They already have six in the game.

T.J. not impressed by the SB big man, moving to the rack for a nice layin.

Just when it looks like UCSB is gaining some momentum, Casper banks in a three, hits a jumper from the baseline, and then drains another three.

6:56 left in first half LBSU 21 - UCSB 20
Coach Monson not satisfied with the offensive flow of Long Beach's game so he calls time.

3:54 left in first half LBSU 24 - UCSB 24
UCSB really active on the offensive glass, Serna and Pastorek fight until they are able to score.

Larry has to head to the bench with two fouls.

Casper drives to the hoop and is fouled, he will shoot free throws after the break. Ware already has 14 points.

11 turnovers already for Long Beach.

Half-time LBSU 32 - UCSB 29
Foul trouble for Edis has seen early minutes by Kyle Richardson and now Lin Chang.

Nunnally drains a three for UCSB to cut the deficit to three.

Long Beach had a few chances to score on their final possession, but couldn't convert. And we're at the half.

Half-time stats
Not a great offensive half by either team. Long Beach shot only 34.5 perfect, and the Gauchos didn't fair much better at 35.3.

Both teams only connected on three 3-pt shots. Long Beach State did make it to the line ten times, making nine of them (Ware accounted for seven of the makes).

Turnovers are the glaring stat for Long Beach, with 11 already, though they did force seven by UCSB.

The paint has been owned thus far by the Guachos, outscoring the Niners 18-10. LBSU needs to crack the match-up zone that UCSB is running, get their bigs touches in the paint and limit offesnive boards by Santa Barbara.

17:58 left in second half LBSU 40 - UCSB 29
Dribble penetration and kick outs are the name of the game so far for Long Beach, and Greg has drilled two threes and gives a pump up to the Maniacs.

Larry cuts to the hole and finishes a pretty layup and Coach Williams has seen enough and calls time. Long Beach on an 8-0 run to start the half. This is the kind of start Long Beach needed to get this crowd going.

11:45 left in second half LBSU 48 - UCSB 40
USCB has tried the alley oop to Somogyi about three different times and it hasn't worked yet. Not sure if they are trying to get on Sports Center or what. Long Beach will take it.

Johnson really looking for his shot and you can tell he is starting to feel it.

Larry had a wicked block on OJ, but Edis got T'd up for talking after the play. Johnson split the free throws.

Lot about No. 33 for the Guachos, but he has been everywhere in the second half. Orlando Johnson picks up his fourth foul going for a rebound, sending us to a media timeout.

8:05 left in second half LBSU 51 - UCSB 45
Long Beach already in the bonus, need to capitalize with the free throws.

Johnson comes back with his four fouls. After Casper splits his free throws, Monson calls timeout to settle the troops.

3:58 left in second half LBSU 63 - UCSB 49
Larry brings the crowd to its feet with another big dunk.

T.J. curls for a jumper to push the lead to ten.

Casper heads to the rack and is fouled by Orlando Johnson, who has just fouled out. Big blow for the Gauchos as he was the only UCSB player in double figures.

Here we go. Larry Anderson rejects the 7 foot 3 Somogyi on one end and then drives right at him, getting the bucket and the foul. Long Beach on a 12-0 run.

1 minute left in second LBSU 71 - UCSB 51
The seniors Nevens and Wilson enter the game to a nice ovation from the crowd.

And now the rest of the bench is being emptied.

Long Beach defense holds Gauchos to only 24 second half points.

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