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O’Kelley’s Free Throw Beats UNLV in Overtime

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Senior forward Terrance O’Kelley made one of two free throws in overtime to give Long Beach State a 74-73 Big West Conference victory over Nevada Las Vegas on Monday night in front of 4,713 at the Pyramid.

O’Kelley rebounded a missed three-point attempt by junior guard Eric Brown with 3.6 seconds to play in overtime and was fouled by Rebel senior guard Reggie Manuel. O’Kelley, who led the 49ers with 19 points and nine rebounds, made the first free throw and missed the second. UNLV did not have enough time to get off a good shot.

The 49ers improved to 9-6, 5-3 in the Big West. The Rebels dropped to 7-8, 4-5.

“The kids handled everything that Vegas threw at them,” Long Beach State Coach Seth Greenberg said.

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The teams went into overtime tied, 66-66, when Rebel junior forward Clayton Johnson made a three-pointer.

Brown missed a short jumper with about three seconds remaining that would have given Long Beach the victory. Brown gave the 49ers their biggest lead, 55-47, on a driving layup with 7 minutes 21 seconds to play.

However, the Rebels rallied behind Johnson (16 points) and junior guard Damian Smith (22 points). Clayton’s three-point basket with about 40 seconds left sent the game into overtime.

Long Beach’s 6-0 run at the start of the second half gave the 49ers a 36-32 lead. After being shut down in the first half because of foul trouble, McNaull was a force in the clutch.

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He scored 10 of the 49ers’ first 20 points in the second half. His basket with 11:02 remaining gave Long Beach a 49-42 lead. He scored 17 points,all after halftime.

UNLV held a 32-30 halftime advantage. McNaull picked up two quick fouls and was not a factor in the half, grabbing only two rebounds. Freshman forward-center Akeli Jackson replaced McNaull with about 17 minutes to play in the half. He gave the 49ers a lift with six points and three rebounds.

Moreover, he played sound defense on Kebu Stewart, limiting him to four first-half points. Stewart, though, did grab seven rebounds.

The presence of junior swingman Juaquin Hawkins helped to offset the early loss of McNaull. Hawkins, the 49ers’ best defender, injured his right ankle in the second half of Long Beach’s 79-70 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.

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He had to be carried off the floor by a teammate after that game, but he played 10 minutes in the first half against UNLV and contributed strong defense. He showed no signs of being slowed despite playing with a heavily taped ankle. His reverse layup with 10 seconds remaining in the half closed the 49ers’ scoring.

Long Beach took a 15-13 lead with 10:56 to play on a three-pointer by O’Kelley, who led the team with seven points at the break. The starting backcourt of Rasul Salahuddin (12 points and six assists) and Tye Mays (seven points and seven assists) also were impressive.

Salahuddin and Mays usually share the point guard duties. However, Greenberg played both of them together in the victory over Fullerton and was pleased with the results.

Salahuddin, who usually starts at the point, moved to the shooting guard position and Mays started for the first time this season. Salahuddin had six points and two assists and Mays had five points and led the team with four assists.

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“I can’t say enough about TyeMays’ play,” Greenberg said.

They combined for only three turnovers, two for Salahuddin and one for Mays. They also disrupted the Rebels’ guards, contributing to UNLV’s 44% shooting at halftime. But Long Beach didn’t shoot well either, making only 41% of its shots.


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