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UCSB Sinks Long Beach With Three-Point Shots

January 07, 1986|PAUL McLEOD | Times Staff Writer

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.

Palmer felt the three-point plays, combined with a disparity in the number of fouls called (19 for the 49ers to 10 for the Gauchos) made the difference.

"Their ability to make the three-point play was a key," he said.

The game was tied 23 times, and neither team ever led by more than six points.

Long Beach opened a 34-28 lead with 4:35 to go in the first half, then allowed the Gauchos to run off a 9-0 spurt for a 37-34 halftime lead.

Long Beach fought back for 44-39 lead on a basket by DeAnthony Langston with 17:18 left, but Santa Barbara tied the game at 46 with 13:40 to go.

A three-pointer by Billy Walker, who hit three of them in the game, gave the 49ers their biggest lead, 56-50 with 9:37 left.

Santa Barbara kept the game in reach in the final six minutes thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Henry and Johnson.

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