LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Nevada Las Vegas' undefeated season didn't exactly roll on Friday night, but the Runnin' Rebels managed to survive Cal State Long Beach's slowdown tactics and defeat the 49ers, 49-29, in the Big West Conference tournament.
Long Beach coach Seth Greenberg, who had lost to the Rebels by 51 and 47 points during the regular season, made sure that such a rout didn't occur again against the nation's No. 1-ranked team, which improved to 28-0 and extended its winning streak to 39 games over two years.
Greenberg had the 49ers run down the 45-second clock on each possession, but the plan did not come close to affecting a stunning upset. It only succeeded in holding the Rebels to their lowest point total of the season. Their previous low was 69 against Princeton.
"Boring!" chanted the UNLV fans in the Long Beach Arena, but Greenberg would not switch to his usual up-tempo game.
Had the 49ers, who finished a disappointing season at 11-17, shot decently, they might have played evenly with UNLV in the first half.
Las Vegas had scored only 12 points with eight minutes left in the half. Long Beach, though, had only six.
The 49ers' strategy was to have four players pass the ball around the perimeter until someone cut to the basket.
With 12 minutes left in the first half, and with both teams cold from the field, the Rebels, who were averaging 103 points, led by the unlikely score of 6-2. And neither Larry Johnson, who made two turnovers, nor Stacey Augmon had scored.
Two minutes later, a jump shot by Bobby Sears made the score 7-4, and the surprised crowd of mostly Las Vegas rooters really started to buzz.
Had the 49ers made some shots, they might have actually been ahead.