GOLETA — You can debate the merits of the three-point field goal in college basketball, but don't try to tell UC Santa Barbara Coach Jerry Pimm that the shot should be eliminated. Not after the Gauchos used five three-point plays to edge visiting Cal State Long Beach, 68-67, Monday night in front of 2,500 fans at the Campus Events Center.
Both Pimm and Long Beach Coach Ron Palmer desperately wanted the win, but it was especially pleasing to Pimm, who had been disappointed in his team's 0-2 start in Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. play. Santa Barbara is 6-6 overall and 1-2 in the PCAA. Long Beach is 4-9 and 0-2.
"Am I in favor of the three-point shot?" Pimm asked, repeating a question. "I am when I have three-point shooters."
It was evident Monday that Pimm has at least two. Conner Henry hit on three of his six attempts, while Brian Johnson hit two of three. Three times their shots brought the Gauchos back after they had fallen behind.
Henry also hit the winning shot, a 10-foot jumper over two 49ers with five seconds left in the game. Perhaps the 49ers were looking for that three-point attempt again from Henry, who took the ball at the top of the circle faked once, then drove to the key before hitting the shot.