LONG BEACH, Calif. – Casper Ware scored 16 points to lead first-place Long Beach State past UC Santa Barbara in a Big West game Wednesday night, 70-58. Orlando Johnson led the Gauchos with 20 points, closing to with three points of the program's all-time record. He now has 1,694.
The win clinched the league's regular season championship for the 49ers (20-7 overall, 13-0 in the Big West). The loss ends the Gauchos' (15-9 overall, 9-4 in the Big West) three-game winning streak.
"I thought we got great contributions from our main guys," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "James really fought, especially in the first half, and Orlando just didn't quit and had a good game."
The 49ers broke open a close game late in the first half with a 10-3 run that turned a 22-19 lead into a 32-22 advantage at the break. They made their last four shots of the first half after starting just 8-for-24. The game didn't get closer than 10 points in the second half.
The Gauchos struggled with turnovers all night, finishing with 20, and the 49rs took advantage, scoring 24 points. UCSB on the other hand, scored just four points off of Long Beach's nine turnovers.
"We just did not take care of the ball tonight and it cost us," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "When you outrebound that team 47-34, you should be closer than we were."
Freshman Alan Williams added nine rebounds, six points and a pair of blocked shots for the Gauchos. Eugene Phelps and James Ennis each scored 14 for the 49ers.
The Gauchos return home for the regular season's final three games. On Saturday, Feb. 25, they will host Cal Poly in a game that will tip-of at 8:00 p.m. to accommodate an ESPNU broadcast.
Tickets for the UCSB-Cal Poly game, as well as the March 1 game against Pacific and March 3 game against UC Davis, can be purchased from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.