Long Beach Finally Catches Up to Fullerton and Ends Jinx

Times Staff Writer

In a rivalry such as the one between Cal State Long Beach and Cal State Fullerton, players often see their opponents in summer leagues and never let them forget what happened the winter before.

This summer, for the third year in a row, Long Beach center DeAnthony Langston heard the Titan players say, "Yeah, we're going to get you guys again this year."

In three seasons, Langston, Morlon Wiley and Billy Walker lost six straight times to Fullerton.

But as seniors, they got some revenge Saturday night as Long Beach won, 76-69, before 2,279 people packed into the 49er gym.

"Before the game, we talked about how we wanted it real bad," said Langston, one of several 49ers who sparked a second-half comeback.

Langston had two memorable moments as the 49ers, 7-3 overall, won the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. opener.

Midway through the second half he dived into the second row of the stands to deflect a ball to a teammate. That play led to a three-point shot by Andre Purry that gave the 49ers a 53-50 lead.

From that point, Fullerton could never reclaim the lead.

Then, with 1:22 to play, Langston became a designated free throw shooter when Walker had to leave the game after he was slammed into by Van Anderson.

Langston made both shots for a 69-63 lead.

Long Beach's other stars were Wiley, who had 24 points; Purry, who had 18, and John Hatten, who had 13.

The 49ers, who had shot free throws poorly earlier in the game, made 9 of 11 down the stretch.

Fullerton Coach George McQuarn, whose team dropped to 4-6 overall, blamed fatigue, mistakes and the 26-minute absence of high-scoring Henry Turner, who was in foul trouble.

McQuarn said the loss of Turner, who scored only six points, made it difficult to compensate against Wiley and Purry.

"I think Wiley and Purry are outstanding players, I always have," McQuarn said.

Richard Morton, who, like Turner, had never lost to the 49ers, led Fullerton with 26 points.

From its 7-0 start, Fullerton showed disdain for any Long Beach homecourt advantage.

The 49ers quickly got the idea that they would be in for a long uphill struggle when Morton started off hitting every jumper he attempted and Vincent Blow, averaging only 3.8 points a game, made a couple of three-point plays.

And Fullerton was maintaining a constant lead without Turner, who sat with his third foul less than five minutes into the game.

A running dunk by Purry cut the lead to 25-24 but the 49ers got no closer.

Turner returned to hit a jumper to put a cap on a quick streak that made the score 31-24. The 49ers needed a three-point play by John Hatten and a jumper by Wiley to get it down to 35-31 at halftime.

"We made adjustments at halftime," Long Beach Coach Joe Harrington said. "We were more aggressive and ran our offense better."

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