Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach both advanced to the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. tournament Saturday night. One accomplished this by taking a small step forward. The other dropped it into reverse and backed in.
Fullerton handed Long Beach its seventh straight loss, fighting off the 49ers' second-half comeback for a 72-67 victory before 2,916 spectators at Titan Gym. Junior guard Richard Morton had 20 points and senior center Herman Webster, playing his last game in Titan Gym, had 13 points and 8 rebounds to help give Fullerton the victory it needed to escape the uninviting prospect of playing top-ranked Nevada Las Vegas in next Thursday's first round of the PCAA tournament at the Forum.
The Titans concluded the regular season tied for fourth in the conference standings with a 9-9 record, 16-11 overall. So, for the third straight season, Fullerton will open the tournament against UC Irvine, a team that swept its two regular-season games with the Titans this year.
The 49ers adjourned to their locker room to await word from San Jose, where University of the Pacific needed a win over San Jose State to get into the tournament and knock Long Beach out. San Jose State gave Long Beach (7-11, 12-18) a gentle shove into the tournament by winning.