Gauchos Drop Heartbreaker To Long Beach State, 68-67

Feb. 10, 2007

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - Aaron Nixon made a steal and then a tie-breaking jumper with less than a second remaining as Long Beach State rallied late for a 68-67 victory Saturday night to hold on to first place in the Big West Conference.

The 49ers (17-6, 8-2), who erased a 10-point deficit in the final 6:35, outscored the Gauchos 14-3 down the stretch, starting with Kejuan Johnson's basket. Johnson, who just returned from a three-game NCAA suspension because of eligibility questions, led all scorers with 22 points.

The Gauchos (15-7, 6-3) had a chance to send the game into overtime when Long Beach's bench was called for a technical foul for running on the court after Nixon's shot. But Cecil Brown missed the first of two foul shots. Brown led UCSB with 18 points.

The Gauchos led 38-28 at halftime and nearly the entire game, but Sterling Byrd helped Long Beach close the gap by scoring 14 of his 19 points in the second half. He also had a game-high 11 rebounds.

Nixon finished with 14 points, 11 in the second half.