Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Live Blog: Men's Basketball vs. UC Riverside 3/2/2011

Live updates from UC Riverside (Riverside, California)

Welcome to March.  It's the regular season finale... the #1-seed is locked up ... the buzz is at an all-time high for this Long Beach State team... time to rest the starters and the legs heading into the tournament, right?  Wrong. 
"We don't want to go into that tournament with any lack of confidence or any lack of sharpness," said head Coach Dan Monson "So we're going to go to UC Riverside and play like we do every game."
Even though the 49ers have proven their strength by parading through the Big West schedule this season - other than two minor hiccups at CS Fullerton and UC Irvine in consecutive January games - tonight's game has plenty of implications. 
UC Riverside is one of three teams battling to capture the two final spots for next week's Big West Tournament in Anaheim at the Honda Center and there are many things at stake for both teams....
1) Long Beach State could potentially play UC Riverside in 8 days when the teams take the court in Anaheim for Round 1 (if UCR makes the show).  The Beach needs a solid game so it doesn't give the Highlanders ANY hope heading into that potential #1 vs. #8 match-up. 

2) RPI (courtesy of Tracy McDannald - Daily 49er) - The NCAA selection committee looks at a team's entire résumé — "quality" wins, "bad" losses, Ratings Percentage Index — when determining its seed for the 68-team NCAA Tournament.

RPI helps compare teams from different conferences using a formula that takes into account a team's winning percentage and strength of schedule.

Now, granted, the 49ers still have to win the conference tournament to receive an automatic bid into the Big Dance. But even the most meaningless of regular-season losses — see, Loyola Marymount in late November — could make a difference between a No. 15 seed and a No. 14 seed.

Should LBSU run the table between now and the Big West Tournament finals, that will give the team a 12-game winning streak heading into Selection Sunday and give the committee a reason to think a little.

And if Monson's track record of not settling means anything, then the fourth-year head coach could be looking at the big NCAA Tournament picture to put his team in the best position possible. After all, that is why he scheduled Top 25-caliber nonconference opponents the past two seasons.

To read Tracy's entire article on the implications of tonight's game, CLICK HERE
Keys to the game

Run.  Run.  Run.  Don't lose the edge.  The 49ers are peaking at the right time, and without putting the cart before the horse, need to continue to ride the style of play that got them to this finale with just two blemishes.  They can really send a message to the rest of the conference tonight by finishing in style.

Speaking of the Horse... Soon-to-be Big West Player of the Year, Casper Ware, has led this team all year long... scoring, distributing, leading.  The friendly guard needs to continue pushing the envelope and sharpening his team's game if they're going to be flawless for 3 days next week.  One game at a time.

Conference Awards Update... The all-conference performers and player of the year will be announced by the Big West on Monday... stay tuned for a list full of 49ers as Casper, LAX, TJ, Eugene and GP3 all look to reap the benefits of a solid regular season campaign.

Starting lineups
LBSU: no changes... we'll go with nicknames tonight in spirit of the regular season finale: The Friendly Guard, GP3, LAX, Double-Double, Young Eugene

UC Riverside: Javon Borum, Kareem Nitoto, Phil Martin, Kevin Bradshaw, BJ Shearry

Game Note: Long Beach State fans outnumber UC Riverside fans thanks to a busload of Maniacs who made the trip... pro-49er crowd tonight! 

Game Note... again: The UC Riverside sound system continues to play 'Black & Yellow' during warm-ups... should make our guys feel right at home.  Somebody at UCR wasn't paying attention to the song choice...

15:52 left in the 1st Half... LBSU leads 8-5
Treys by Larry and Phelps give the Beach an early lead.

7:42 left in the 1st Half... LBSU leads 32-16Greg Plater is playing on fire... he's torched the net on 3 of 4 treys, including 3 from the charity stripe after being fouled from beyond the arc.  TJ is pounding the glass as the 49ers are winning the battle on the boards in dominating fashion.  Casper hasn't scored a basket yet and the 49ers have opened up a commanding lead.

Not so much luck for Phelps from beyond the arc after his first successful trey... Coach Monson called a timeout to give Gene an earfull after two attempts that weren't near as glorious.

Halftime... LBSU leads 44-35
It was an ugly final 7 minutes for the 49ers as the Highlanders used some shooting from 3-point land to climb back within 9.  Greg Plater was the star of the 1st half for LBSU with the hot hand from outside.  Plater leads all scorers with 15 points on 4-5 shooting from three-point land.  TJ is already approaching a double-double with 9 points, 7 rebounds.  Larry Anderson has 6 after spending 9 minutes on the bench in the first half due to foul trouble. 

LBSU is 2-7 from the charity stripe after a perfect 9-9 start.  They shot 53% from beyond the arc, but only 41% from the field. 

UC Riverside has not led. 

16:42 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 54-39
UCR starts the 2nd half in a 2-3 zone defense to try and slow down Greg Plater from downtown... so far so good - Plater is 0-2 from three-point land.  TJ converts a traditional 3-point play with a bucket AND THE FOUL to start the half. 

Right on cue... as I type... Plater drills another from downtown.  18 points total from GP3.

12:43 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 58-50
LBSU has caught a case of the turnovers... resulting in several UCR transition dunks, a three and one more thunderous slam.  Time for someone to take this game over and stop the bleeding...

7:41 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 65-60
...still bleeding.  The Highlanders have made this a game... once down 19 in the first half, the 49er lead has been cut to one hand - five.  This one should go down to the wire.

6:09 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU 67-64
Plater slips and goes down ... HARD.  Scary moment for the 49ers as the game is stopped.  This is one of many times that players have slipped on the court here tonight at the Student Recreation Center at UCR... the UCR radio guy just said that 'wetness on the floor has been a problem at this facility the past few weeks...'

...with a comment like that... how about we FIX THE WETNESS???

3:04 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU 72-71
Quick three in the corner for UCR as the shot clock winds down cuts the LBSU lead to 1.  Barnburner. 

1:27 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU 76-71
Foul trouble for the 49ers... 4 for LAX... 3 for TJ... 3 for Casper... 3 for Edis.  This game will be won or lost at the free throw line.  Senior leader Plater hits a running bank shot in the lane to put LBSU up 5!  Senior leader!!

49ERS WIN 82-76... 14-2 in conference this year... #1 seed in Big West Tournament
Welcome to March.... MADNESS!!

49ERS win and cap off a LONG conference season with an old-fashioned slugfest against a team that has given them fits the past few seasons.  The win secures a regular season sweep against the Highlanders.  Senior leadership - Greg Plater - reared its head and eeked it out.

The toll of a long conference season certainly showed on the 49ers tonight... 8 days off to prepare for the Big West Tournament, and possibly another match-up with UC Riverside, looks pretty good right now.

14-2 is a big accomplishment and tonight's grind-it-out win showed why 'team' basketball can overcome adversity late in games...
Should be a fun March folks!!  Lace 'em up... it's tourney time!!

See you at Honda Center next Thursday at noon.  Time to punch our ticket and dance.

1 comment:

Related Posts with Thumbnails