Casper Ware scored 33 points to lead the No. 1 seed Long Beach St. 49ers to a 77-64 win over the No. 3 seed UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in the 2012 Big West Tournament Final Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The win clinched the first NCAA Tournament appearance for Long Beach State since 2007.
Ware was named Big West Tournament MVP after scoring 66 points in three games in Anaheim. He made eight of 16 three-pointers on Saturday night.
The win exacted a small measure of revenge for Long Beach State (25-8), who lost to UCSB in each of the last two Big West Tournament finals, including last season when the 49ers were the top seed. James Ennis added 15 points for the 49ers, who made 14 of 33 three-point attempts during the game.
Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally each scored 17 points to lead UCSB (20-10) in defeat.
Long Beach State was not only the top seed in the Big West Tournament, but they nearly went undefeated in conference play for the first time in 37 years. The 49ers lost their final conference game of the season on the road at Cal State Fullerton.
Long Beach State will find out its tournament seed and location on Sunday afternoon.