Highlanders win one of two conference games

Lin Chai/HIGHLANDER

 

Feb. 25, 2012
Highlanders 63 – Matadors 61

It was a dramatic win for UC Riverside this past Wednesday. With just under a minute remaining in the game, the score was all tied up at 61 points apiece. UCR’s Robert Smith drew a foul in the final seconds of the game and went to the line for two free-throws. With just 4.3 seconds remaining, Smith converted on both free-throws to seal the close victory over the Cal State Northridge Matadors with the final score reading 63-61 in favor of the Highlanders.

It was an intense game all around by both teams. The Matadors had the upper hand for most of the first half as they went into the locker rooms with a three-point lead over UCR at 31-28.

In the second half, UCR’s Kevin Bradshaw converted on a layup and Phil Martin drilled a three-pointer to give UCR its first lead of the second half at 37-35. UCR built its lead to 56-46, but the Matadors stormed right back into it.

UCR led by nine with just over five minutes remaining. The Matadors scored nine unanswered points to tie the game at 61. After that point, Robert Smith’s late game heroics propelled the Highlanders to a two-point advantage when he converted on two-free throws. Northridge had one last chance to win it or tie it, but the Highlanders’ defense proved to be too much for the Matadors. UCR won the game with a score of 63-61.

Feb. 22, 2012
49ers 64 – Highlanders 40

The last time the Highlanders faced off against the conference leading 49ers, David Chavarria missed a key free-throw that would have sealed the victory over Long Beach. Instead, the game went to overtime and the 49ers defeated the Highlanders with a final score of 77-70.

UC Riverside hoped to redeem itself against these same 49ers when the Highlanders traveled to the Pyramid in Long Beach this past Saturday. UC Riverside looked to win its second in a row, but the talented 49ers crushed the hopes UCR had as they clobbered the Highlanders with a final score of 64-40.

The Highlanders did not have an answer for Casper Ware and Larry Anderson in the first half. Both players outscored the entire Highlander team in the first half, 24-18. Long Beach State led by a score of 41-18 at the half.

The Highlanders could not muster a comeback in the second period. Long Beach refused to give up its 20-point advantage despite UCR’s improved defense in the second half. Long Beach managed to increase its lead to 27 at one point and the game was sealed from then on. The 49ers went on it win it, 64-40.

It was a low-scoring affair for UCR. There wasn’t a single Highlander player in double figures in the game. Phil Martin scored the most points for the Highlanders with nine. Long Beach’s Casper Ware scored a game-high 17 points to lead his team over the Highlanders. Larry Anderson also set a new Long Beach record with 201 career steals.

Long Beach now has a commanding lead over the nine teams in the Big West conference. With an impressive conference record of 14-0 in the standings, Long Beach has earned its second straight Big West title.

UC Riverside is currently sitting in a fifth-place tie in the standings with only one game remaining in the regular season. UC Riverside will take on UC Irvine this Saturday during Homecoming and will look to move up in the final conference standings.

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