On a night where both teams were off their game, Sophomore Guard Michael Bryson boxed out his defender, collected Alan Williams point-blank miss, and put the ball back in as the buzzer sounded.
Nevermind that this game had 38 personal fouls and 29 turnovers between the two teams. And go ahead and ignore the fact that UC Santa Barbara collected two flagrant-one fouls in the first half, and also shot 26.7% from beyond the arc (they typically average 38.6%). This game should have just came down to one musical phrase.
Long Beach State was playing another tune to start the game. The Beach rudely woke up the lethargic Gauchos with a 21-13 lead in the first nine minutes. It appeared as though the 49ers had picked up where they left off last Saturday night, out-hustling and out-rebounding their opponents.
A timeout was taken, and that was all UCSB needed to respond. The Gauchos went on a 26-9 run to finish the half to walk into the locker room with a 37-30 lead.
The second half opened with a huge dunk by The Beach's Dan Jennings, signifying that the 49ers would not go away easily. UC Santa Barbara was not intimidated and pushed the lead 13.
The 49ers played "chip-away" tying the game at 60 with 3:42 left. The Beach fought for offensive rebounds and finally pulled through with a Tyler Lamb jumpshot.
A foul, a made free-throw and a miss by Mike Caffey left Alan Williams single-teamed for an easy score. Finally, Dan Jennings was fouled going to the rim.
Jennings, a 44% free-throw shooter, missed both.
A drive by UCSB ended up empty, and Caffey got fouled on the rebound. The veteran for the 49ers sank both of his shots. The Gauchos set up for a final shot, got it to Big Al. Williams missed, Bryson rebounded and...
Bryson finished with 15 points, 8 rebounds, while Eric Childress and Kyle Boswell added 11 points each. Alan Williams had a sub-par day by his standards, suffering from double and triple teams, and only scoring 16 points with 8 rebounds.
For the 49ers, Tyler Lamb led with 13 points and 5 rebounds, followed by Caffey with 11 points and 5 rebounds. Redshirt Freshman Branford Jones also added 10 points.
The Gauchos return home to face Cal State Northridge, while the 49ers host Cal Poly on Saturday.