Chris McNealy scored 12 points and Alex Young 11 as UC Irvine survived a 10-minute scoring drought in the second half and hung on to defeat Long Beach State 46-44 on Thursday night.
Young's basket at 10:25 of the second half gave the Anteaters (10-7, 1-0 Big West) a 43-32 lead. The 49ers (4-11, 0-1) scored the next 10 points before UCI's 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye, who had 11 rebounds, scored on a dunk for a 45-42 advantage with 2:06 left.
Travis Hammonds' basket got the 49ers within 45-44 with 49 seconds left. UCI missed its next shot, but so did Long Beach State. A free throw by UCI's Mike Best with 10 seconds left accounted for the final score.
Long Beach State was led by Hammonds with 12 points and Tyler Lamb with 11. The 49ers, the three-time Big West regular-season champions, had won 26 consecutive conference home games.