The game was a classic with the two rivals in an intense atmosphere. But the hero was "Big Game" James Powell who made a 4 free throws in the final 28 seconds. He had 9 points for the contest.
The game almost slipped away from the Gauchos because with 5:09 to play, Long Beach took a 53-52 lead on a Greg Plater three pointer.
Orlando Johnson was the man to step up for the Gauchos. He scored 4 straight points to give the Gauchos a 56-53 lead. Long Beach answered the call and came right back after making two free throws.
Then Orlando Johnson made two free throws but Casper Ware (19 points) scorched a jumper to make it 58-57.
Orlando then scored again to make it 60-57. OJ had 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 11-12 from the free throw line. He was MVP of the tournament and was on the All-Tournament Team. James Nunnally had 19 points and 6 rebounds and joined OJ on the All-Tournament Team.
Long Beach got back in it again after "Mr. Double-Double" T.J. Robinson swished a reverse lay-up. The score was 60-59.
With the Monson Maniacs and Gaucho Locos jumping and getting into the intense action, James Nunnally silenced the Beach crowd with a three pointer to push the lead to 4, 63-59.
After that, Casper Ware made a pair of free throws and T.J. Robinson made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 63-62 with 28 seconds to go.
So the Beach fouled James Powell and he made two free throws. Then with 10 seconds to go, Stephan Gilling lowered the elbow and was called for an offensive foul. Then Powell made 2 more free throws to make it 67-62. Then, "LAX Flight 21" Larry Anderson scored a lay-up with 2.8 ticks on the clock. Nunnally made two free throws and the fans stormed the court. Hundreds of happy Gauchos made the mad dash on to the court, including me.
Tomorrow at 3 p.m. UCSB will find out its NCAA Tournament seed on CBS. Go the ICA Building to enjoy the action with the Gauchos!
The 2010 Men's Basketball Big West Champs! I am in the middle next to Will Brew.
Links to videos of the Championship Game: