LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) Evan Payne scored 19 points, getting 9 for 10 from the free throw line, and Long Beach State knocked UC Irvine out of first place in the Big West Conference with a 72-63 win Saturday night.
Loren Jackson added 15 points, Justin Bibbins had 14 and Roschon Prince collected 10 rebounds for Long Beach (10-15, 5-4), which shot 50 percent from the field in the second half.
Payne's 3-pointer with 5:54 left gave Long Beach the lead for good, 54-52. The 49ers then clinched it with a 9-2 run capped by a pair of free throws by Jackson to make it 69-60 and protected the margin the rest of the way.
Irvine (13-12, 6-3) fell a half game out of first place with the loss, its third in a row.
Luke Nelson led the Anteaters with 17 points and Brandon Smith had nine.