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Long Beach State Completely Collapses in Loss to Pacific

February 23, 1996|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The race for the Big West Conference championship is winding down, and Long Beach State is staggering to the finish line.

Long Beach played poorly Thursday night and lost to Pacific, 71-61, before 4,042 at the Pyramid. The 49ers, who hadn't played well in the first halves of its previous two losses, lost for the third time in its last four games.

UC Irvine (9-5 in the Big West) is percentage points ahead of Long Beach (10-6).

"We stunk," 49er Coach Seth Greenberg said. "We. And when I say 'we' I mean the coaching staff stunk, they out-trained us, their secretary kicked our butts, and every one of their players. We stunk."

Although it was not immediately known what the 49er support staff did wrong, the rest was obvious. Long Beach, which dropped to 15-10 overall, didn't play with purpose or much of an effort, Greenberg and his players said.

"We got beat in every aspect of the basketball game," Greenberg said. "It's just mind-boggling to me that we could be that ill-prepared for this basketball game. I'm responsible for it, but I can't explain it."

Senior forward Juaquin Hawkins offered a theory.

"We got too relaxed, and we were too passive," Hawkins said. "It starts in practice with guys not practicing hard. We were representing the conference as the first-place team. It's just embarrassing."

Pacific (12-11, 8-7) took a 55-40 lead on a three-point basket by forward Charles Jones with 11:35 to play. But the Tigers then went 6:20 without making a shot.

Long Beach cut the lead to 57-52 on a layup by point guard Rasul Salahuddin with 5:23 to play, but then failed to capitalize on several scoring opportunities.

Adam Jacobsen made five of 11 three-point baskets and led all scorers with 21 points.

"I told our guys in practice we would be ready and Long Beach might take us for granted," Tiger Coach Bob Thomason said. "I think that's what happened."

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