CSUN men’s basketball: 49er Casper Ware scores 22 points and drops Matadors to third place after a 79-62 loss

Gilberto Manzano

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LOSING IT: Matador Aqeel Quinn and 49er Larry Anderson go for the basketball in the second half of CSUN’s 79-62 loss at the Matadome Saturday night. Photo Credit: Patrick Dilanchian / Assistant Photo Editor

Casper Ware continues to haunt Cal State Northridge.

With a jam packed Matadome and CSUN only trailing the top-ranked team in the Big West by one point with 7:49 left, Ware, who was dealing with foul trouble, entered the game and orchestrated the Long Beach State offense to perfection.

The Matadors, who entered the matchup in second place and two games behind the 49ers, had no answers for the junior point guard as Long Beach State went on a 9-1 run to silence the Matadome crowd to take a 79-62 victory Saturday night.

“Casper Ware, phenomenal game. He came into the game and took over and we had no answer for that,” CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell said. “They are clearly the best team in our conference and they played like that tonight.”

Ware scored a game-high 22 points, with 13 coming in the second half.

While Ware, who had four fouls, was on the bench, the Matadors took advantage and took the lead at 44-42 after freshman Aqeel Quinn knocked down a 3-pointer at the 13:40 mark of the second half.

“He (Ware) is the key to their whole team,” said Lenny Daniel, who scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. “Once (Ware) was in foul trouble we were up, the game was close. He makes their team go and once you take him out the game you take Long Beach out the game.”

Matador freshman Josh Greene, who scored 12 points, was disappointed on how the team defended Ware. 
  
“He (Ware) is the best point guard in our league and we didn’t give him the respect that he deserves, and we just let him stay in his comfort zone and dictate the offense,” Greene said.

There was another name that stood out for the Matadors: Corey Jackson, Ware’s back up.

After the Matadors took their only lead of the second half, Jackson entered the game and drained back-to-back threes to give the 49ers a 48-44 advantage and taking the life away from the ruckus Matadome crowd. Jackson hit another huge 3-pointer at the 10:31 mark to put Long Beach up 53-47.

“When you got a guy (Jackson), which I think only made one three all year, come off the bench and comes in and hits three 3s in a row, that will kill you and they deserved the win,” Braswell said.

Besides being burned by Ware and Jackson, one of the reason why the Matadors fell apart in the second half was poor free throw shooting.

CSUN missed 11 free throws in the second half, including eight misses in the final seven minutes.

Rashaun McLemore scored 15 points and Michael Lizarraga had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds for CSUN.

49er Larry Anderson had 17 points and Greg Plater had 14.  

In the first half, Long Beach State kept the Matadors in the game after missing seven free throws and committing 10 turnovers.

With a nine-point deficit, CSUN went on a 6-0 run to make the score 22-19. A few minutes later Vinnie McGhee’s 3-pointer tied the score at 27-all as the Matadome exploded.

Long Beach State closed the first period on a 5-0 run, including a layup by Ware at the buzzer. CSUN went into the locker room down 32-27.

After Cal Poly defeated UC Riverside on Saturday, CSUN fell to third place in the Big West standings.