Cal State Los Angeles entered Friday night's California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament semifinal at UC Riverside with a chance to move one game closer to its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1974.
But a foul-plagued second half--including a stretch of seven straight free throws in a single possession by UC Riverside--cost the Eagles, who dropped an 80-72 decision and left themselves on the bubble for a tournament bid. The NCAA will decide today whether the 16-11 Eagles (16-11) earn a wild card berth in the Division II field.
CSLA trailed 51-49 with 7:07 left in the game when the free-throw binge began. Craig Marshall was fouled attempting a three-point shot and made three free throws; he stayed at the line for two free throws because of a technical foul on the play. Retaining possession, UC Riverside ended the run when Boo Purdom was fouled and made two free throws.
William Wilson led all scorers with 27 points for UCR (22-4), which plays Grand Canyon University for the CCAA title and the conference's automatic NCAA bid.