ANAHEIM, CALIF. >> Jordan Roberts hit a pull-up jumper with half a second remaining to lift Long Beach State to a 68-66 victory over Hawaii in the quarterfinals of the Big West tournament tonight at the Honda Center.
The outcome ended the Rainbow Warriors’ season at 18-13, and vaulted the 49ers into Friday’s semifinal against top-seeded UC Irvine.
The ’Bows led by as many as 18 points in the first half, and were ahead 59-47 with 7:03 to play.
But a 16-4 surge helped the 49ers set up a dramatic finish.
UH center Zigmars Raimo’s layup tied the score at 66 with 15.6 seconds left
After a timeout, the 49ers inbounded to Deishuan Booker, their best playmaker. Booker fed Roberts, who drove the paint and hit the go-ahead basket.
UH’s final hope ended when 6-foot-9 Mason Riggins knocked down Drew Buggs’ inbounds pass.
The 49ers scored 14 of the final 18 points in the first half to close to 37-29 at the intermission.
The ’Bows seized control early, due in part to an inside-outside attack. The ’Bows hit nine of their first 10 shots inside the arc, finishing 12-for-18 from that range in the first 20 minutes. They also managed to slow Booker with a succession of defenders.
But the 49ers, as they have done all season, began to induce fouls at a rapid rate. Despite being limited to 8-for-24 shooting in the first half, including 0-for-4 on 3-point attempts, they drew 12 UH fouls. The 49ers hit 13 of 19 free throws in the first half. The ’Bows made one of two.
What’s more, Jack Purchase, the ’Bows’ career leader in treys, picked up his third foul with 1:49 before the intermission.