John Hoffman has one job for Cal State Long Beach: Come off the bench and score.
He did this in spectacular fashion Saturday night, scoring 16 points in the last 7:11 as the 49ers beat New Mexico State, 80-75, in a Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. game at Long Beach for their fourth straight victory.
Hoffman entered the game, missed his first shot, then hit two jump shots to give Long Beach (9-8 overall, 4-1 in the PCAA) a 62-61 lead.
But the left-hander from Glendale Junior College was just warming up.
He turned to his real specialty, the 3-point shot, which proved to be devastating to the Aggies (8-8, 2-3).
After New Mexico State regained the lead, 66-62, Hoffman hit from deep on the left side as he was being fouled. He made the free throw to complete a four-point play and tie the game.
Hoffman knew he would keep shooting.
"I was in the groove . . . it was right there," he said. "My body was square, I caught the ball just right and I was getting great passes from Billy Walker."
He swished another 3-pointer to make it 69-66.
He made still another with 3:19 left, then hit two free throws to increase the lead to 76-69.
But in this wild game--in which both teams made eight 3-pointers--no lead was safe.
Blaine DeBrouwer and Jeff McCool came back with 3-pointers to get New Mexico State to within 76-75, but the Aggies couldn't score in the last 1:51.
Andre Purry and Morlon Wiley each made two free throws to give the 49ers their final points.
Long Beach Coach Ron Palmer decided to put in Hoffman after a 3-pointer by New Mexico State's Kenny Travis--1 of 4 he made--gave the Aggies a 61-56 lead.
Hoffman saw the wisdom of the move.
"You can't offset it (3-point shooting) with two-pointers," he said.