March 22, 2013 |
I love the Big West Conference, going back to its days as the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. when Lew Cryer was commissioner and Nevada Las Vegas was a national power. I still drink coffee out of a PCAA mug that was a media gift from the 1985 tournament held at the Fabulous Forum. I was a student at current Big West member Cal State Fullerton in 1978 when the Titans came within a shot of making the Final Four. I traveled the road as UC Irvine's basketball beat writer in the early 1980s with Bill Mulligan, the school's quote-machine coach.
March 14, 2013 |
Top-seeded Long Beach State versus injury-ravaged Cal State Fullerton went just as you might expect a game with that billing would go. Fullerton's Titans were tenacious enough in Thursday night's opening round of the Big West Conference tournament. They just weren't deep enough. Long Beach withstood Fullerton's pluckiness and slow-it-down pace to emerge with a 75-66 victory at the Honda Center. "It was grind for us all game," Long Beach Coach Dan Monson said. The 49ers advance to Friday's 6:30 p.m. semifinal game against UC Irvine.
March 13, 2013 |
James Ennis was like the fifth Beatle on last season's Long Beach State basketball team, a back-beat junior in a Fab Four senior lineup led by lead slinger Casper Ware. Ennis, they say, was the quiet one as the 49ers swept through the Big West Conference regular season and won the league tournament on their way to the NCAA tournament. "It was fun playing for that group," Ennis said this week. "Everyone had a role. Mine was to be coachable and to be a good teammate. " Those days are over, as Ennis is now Long Beach's give-me-the-rock star.
March 9, 2012 |
The Friday blitz started with a quick three-pointer, a basket off a bad pass and then a four-point play that resulted from a foul on another three-point basket. The game was 9-0 before the seat cushions were warm at Honda Center. It was Long Beach State versus the interloper Anteaters of UC Irvine — what else did you expect? Um, actually, you would have expected Long Beach to be leading. After a fitful first half and a few anxious moments in the second (Irvine led by four near the 14-minute mark)
March 3, 2012 |
The momentum came suddenly, as quickly as the split seconds it took Isiah Umipig and D.J. Seeley to catch and release three-point shots, back-to-back in the space of about 40 seconds Saturday at Titan Gymnasium. Umipig's three pulled Cal State Fullerton within a point of Long Beach State, and Seeley's gave Fullerton the lead — for good, it turned out. And with that, Long Beach, which had come to Fullerton on Saturday looking for perfection, instead left bruised and beaten.
February 3, 2012 |
Long Beach State players, coaches and trainers wrapped up a morning practice this week at the Pyramid by clasping hands and forming a large circle at center court. The message seemed clear: Hold on tight. The best college basketball team in the Los Angeles area, hidden beneath an ode to Egyptian architecture and dwarfed in its own port by the Queen Mary, is on the final leg of a journey that began four years ago with wing players and a prayer. The 49ers' motto is short, sweet, firm and to the point: "Finish," star senior guard Casper Ware said.