Cal State Fullerton rallies, beats Long Beach State to secure NCAA tournament berth
E.J. Anosike had 22 points and eight rebounds, Damari Milstead hit five three-pointers and finished with 17 points and Cal State Fullerton rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Long Beach State 72-71 on Saturday night to win the Big West Conference tournament.
The Titans, who have won four games in a row, clinched an NCAA tournament berth for the first time since 2018.
Tray Maddox Jr. had 13 points and six assists for Fullerton (21-10) and Jalen Harris scored 10.
UCLA led by double digits early on the second half before an Arizona scoring surge doomed the Bruins’ hopes of a Pac-12 tournament title in an 84-76 loss.
Tobias Rotegaard and Jadon Jones sandwiched three-pointers around a jumper by Joel Murray to give Long Beach State a 54-50 lead midway through the second half. But Anosike scored nine points and Harris five as Fullerton answered with a 14-2 run to take an eight-point lead, and the Titans led the rest of the way.
Jones hit a three-pointer to pull Long Beach State within a point with 38 seconds left and, after the teams traded turnovers, Milstead was fouled and missed the front end of the one-and-one with 19 seconds left. Latrell Wrightsell Jr. poked away the ball at the other end and Long Beach State failed to get off a potential winning shot in the closing seconds.
Murray led Long Beach State (20-12) with 24 points and Colin Slater, the conference’s player of the year, scored 23, hitting five of nine from three-point range. Jordan Roberts added 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Selection Sunday is here. It’s time to find out which college basketball teams will be engaging in March Madness and playing in the NCAA tournament.
Slater scored 13 points, including three three-pointers, as Long Beach State jumped to a 29-15 lead with 4:37 left in the first half. Maddox scored eight points and Anosike added six in a 17-2 run that gave the Titans a one-point lead at the break.
Wrightsell and Fullerton’s Jadon Jones were called for a double technical in the closing seconds of the first half.
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