Feb. 12, 2011
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director, Media Relations
Northridge, Calif. - Sometimes it's tough to do, but you have to tip the bill of your cap to your opponent. It's a sign of respect that your opponent has beaten you despite spilling every ounce of your soul to earn a victory.
Matador head coach Bobby Braswell did just that when reporters asked him about the play of Long Beach State guard Casper Ware.
Ware, who battled stomach flu and foul trouble most of the game, earned the respect of Cal State Northridge with a game-high 22 points to lead first place Long Beach State to a 79-62 victory over the Matadors in a Big West Conference game on Saturday night at The Matadome.
"I think Casper Ware is the best player in our conference," stated Braswell. "He handles the ball 90 percent of the time and makes good decisions. If you drop off on him, he hits a three-pointer. If you defend him close, he goes right to the basket. And he finds his teammates. He is very unselfish. He is the point-guard every coach would love to have."
Here is a brief synopsis of Ware's 22-minute game on Saturday night.
First, Ware hit a three-pointer with 54 seconds left in the first half, and added a driving layup as time expired before intermission to give the 49ers a 32-27 halftime lead.
Ware picked up his fourth foul with 16:14 left in the game and didn't return to the game until 7:49 remained on the game clock. At that point, Long Beach State held a 55-54 lead.
Ware then went to work hitting four straight free throws to put the 49ers in front for good at 59-54 at the 7:03 mark.
Lenny Daniel hit a free throw to cut the Long Beach State to four points, 59-55, but back-to-back assists by Ware led to a 49er 3-pointer and a basket to push the LBS lead to ten points at 64-54.
Ware wasn't done. The junior guard buried a three-pointer to make it 68-58 Long Beach State with 5:23 left in the game.
Cal State Northridge stayed competitive with Long Beach State nearly the entire game, but the free throw bug-a-boo surfaced in the second half. The Matadors made only 11-of-22 second half free throws to thwart any Matador rally and dampen the spirits of the standing-room only crowd of 1,765 fans, the third-largest crowd since The Matadome's capacity was listed at 1,600 prior to the start of the 1999-00 season.
Rashaun McLemore led Cal State Northridge with 15 points. Lenny Daniel just missed another double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Michael Lizarraga earned his first double-double of his four-year career with eleven points and a career-high eleven rebounds.
Cal State Northridge fell to 10-15 overall and third place in the conference at 7-5. Long Beach State increased its season record to 15-10 overall and first place in the Big West Conference at 10-2.
Matador Memo ...
Matador head coach Bobby Braswell will provide in-studio analysis with sportscaster Jim Hill on the Lakers post-game show on Monday (2/14/11) following the Lakers game at Charlotte on KCAL, Channel 9 ... The Lakers-Bobcats game will start at 4:00 p.m. (pt) ... Braswell is no stranger to offering his commentary on television ... Braswell is a regular commentator during the NCAA Tournament (March Madness) with Jim Hill on Channel 2, the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles ... A belated Happy Birthday to Matador senior guard Raymond Cody who celebrated his 22nd birthday last Thursday (12/10/11) with a 70-68 victory at Cal State Fullerton.
Hall of Fame Hoopla ...
At halftime of the CSUN-LBS game, Cal State Northridge honored the more than 200 members of the Matador Hall of Fame ... The list of honorees included Doug Billingsley (football), Steve Brody (track & field), Mark Cooley (basketball), Patricia De La Riva (basketball), Michele Hampton (swimming), Mike Kane (football), Jacqueline Hansen (track & field), Mike Jacobs (football), Bruce Lemmerman (football), Bob Lopresti (baseball), Scia Maumausolo (softball), Doug McKenzie (baseball), Jerry Peters (football), Rosemarie Finnigan Rahn (volleyball), George Robnett, Joel Schaeffer (football) and Sam Winningham (football).