March 11, 2016
Box Score (PDF) | Box Score (HTML) | Photo Gallery
Anaheim, Calif. - Long Beach State got a lift from the bench and rode another big game from senior Nick Faust to advance in the Big West Tournament, defeating UC Riverside 82-74 Thursday night.
Nick Faust picked up his fourth double-double at the Beach, scoring 21 points with 10 rebounds while the Long Beach State bench outscored UC Riverside's 31-14, led by 13 points from Travis Hammonds, 10 from Noah Blackwell and 8 from Roschon Prince.
"I was pleased that our guys hung together," said Dan Monson following the game. "Our guys have been resilient, and have had some good runs at the ends of games. We were fortunate to have another one today to where we can survive and move on and hopefully play better tomorrow."
Both teams got out to a slow start, and with each team dragging after an extended run of play that lasted over six minutes, keeping the score tied at 12-12 after the first nine minutes. The first half then broke down into three runs: a 10-5 run that gave Long Beach State a five-point lead, an answering 9-0 run for UC Riverside, and then an 8-0 run for the Beach that put the 49ers back on top by four.
A Faust 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Beach a five-point lead at the half, but the Highlanders would regain the lead at 42-41 on a triple from Malik Thames.
A hot shooting stretch helped break the game open for the Beach, as Hammonds followed a jumper from A.J. Spencer with a three, and Long Beach State made their next three 3-pointers to open a six-point lead at 55-49.
The Highlanders kept within 10 points of Long Beach State for most of the rest of the game, but never again led and the 49ers closed out the win 82-74.
"UC Irvine has been a difficult game for us the last couple of years, they've pretty much had our number, so we get another chance at that tomorrow," noted Monson.
The semifinals will be held Friday evening in the Honda Center, with UC Santa Barbara and Hawai'i playing in the first game of men's session before UC Irvine and Long Beach State match up in a high-stakes Black and Blue Rivalry game. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m., and the game will be televised live on ESPNU.