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Irvine Can't Get Berth

March 07, 2004|From Associated Press

Varnie Dennis had 27 points and eight rebounds and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo picked up the eighth and last spot in the Big West Conference tournament with a 70-62 victory over UC Irvine Saturday at San Luis Obipso

Irvine, which had won or shared regular-season Big West championships two of the previous three seasons, was eliminated from the tournament that starts Wednesday at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Anteaters finished 11-17 overall and 6-12 in the Big West.

Cal Poly SLO (11-15, 6-12) led, 34-30, at halftime, and took control with a 12-4 run to start the second half.

Ross Schraeder led Irvine with 19 points.

Pacific 92, Riverside 57 -- Miah Davis, Christian Maraker and Guillaume Yango scored 15 points apiece at Stockton and the Tigers gained a share of their first Big West Conference regular-season title since 1998.

Pacific (22-7, 17-1 Big West), which won its 13th in a row and 18th out of 19, tied Utah State for the conference title. The Tigers lost a coin flip after the game, meaning Utah State will be seeded No. 1 and Pacific No. 2 in the tournament.

Vili Morton had a game-high 17 points and Nate Carter scored 12 for Riverside (10-16, 7-11). The Highlanders play Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wednesday in the first round of the tournament.

Pacific took a 10-2 lead, made nine of its first 11 shots and later used a 10-0 run to build a 27-point lead with three minutes left in the first half.

Riverside ended the half with a 7-0 run and scored the first basket of the second half, but Pacific's lead never fell below 18 points the rest of the way.

Pacific Coach Bob Thomason emptied his bench with four minutes to play and his team ahead, 81-53, but his reserves built on the lead.

The Tigers set a season high for points in a game and enjoyed their largest margin of victory since 2000.

Cal State Fullerton 95, Cal State Northridge 70 -- Pape Sow and Yaphett King scored 23 points apiece at Northridge and the Titans clinched a berth in the conference tournament.

The Titans (11-16, 7-11) took control from the start, going on a 16-0 run after Northridge scored the game's first basket.

The 25-point margin of victory was Fullerton's largest in seven years.

Joseph Frazier scored 14 points and Eto Onyenegecha had 12 for Northridge (11-15, 7-11).

The Matadors play Fullerton Wednesday in the first round of the tournament

UC Santa Barbara 89, Long Beach State 61 -- Nick Jones scored a season-high 20 points in his last home game to help the Gauchos lock up third place in the conference.

Jones made four three-point baskets, as did Branduinn Fullove, and the Gauchos (16-11, 10-8) made a season-high of 12 from behind the arc.

The 49ers (6-21, 4-14) got a game-high 23 points from Kevin Roberts, including 17 in the first half.

Fullove scored 14 points to move into fourth place on Santa Barbara's all-time list with 1,409. He moved to fourth on the career list for three-pointers with 163.

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