Long Beach Talks, Plays a Good Game in Victory

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Unable to shake pesky Cal State Fullerton and annoyed because of it, Long Beach State needed a little inspiration. Coach Seth Greenberg gladly provided it with his halftime talk.

The 49ers listened well, turning a three-point halftime lead into a second-half rout Wednesday night in a 79-66 Big West Conference victory before 3,218 at the Pyramid.

"We just talked about giving up too many easy baskets," Greenberg said. "We talked about getting focused."

Simple but effective, the 49ers said.

"Coach told us to start playing Long Beach State defense, because we weren't in the first half," forward Akeli Jackson said. "Once we did that, everything got going."

As did Long Beach (7-4), which is alone atop the Big West with a 2-0 record. Jackson and guard James Cotton were again crucial for Long Beach, leading the charge that turned a 38-35 halftime lead into a 46-36 advantage with 16:25 remaining in the game.

Jackson scored a career-high 19 points and had a team-leading 13 rebounds. Long Beach outrebounded Fullerton, 40-23.

Cotton led all scorers with 26 points and has scored at least 25 points in the past five games.

Fullerton (2-10, 1-3) just didn't have enough to keep pace.

"They've got five bullets on the floor the whole time, so you just can't stop one guy and get it done," Titan Coach Bob Hawking said.

Guard Chris Dade led Fullerton with 16 points.

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