The Long Beach State men’s basketball team faced its first test of the season Friday in a road game at the University of San Francisco. The 49ers came out of War Memorial Gym victorious, posting a 83-71 win over the Dons.
USF opened the game on a 7-2 run as LBSU (1-0) got off to a slow start. The 49ers didn’t take their first lead of the game until the 10-minute mark in the first half. Sophomore guard Jordan Griffin converted on a four-point play, giving Long Beach the lead at 17-16.
The 49ers and the Dons continued the first half in a back-and-forth battle. After a powerful slam dunk from junior forward Mason Riggins and a Griffin three-pointer, LBSU took a 37-34 lead heading into halftime.
During the second half, USF tied the game three different times, but each time the 49ers scored quickly in response. With the game tied at 58, junior guard Bryan Alberts hit a three-pointer that sparked a 10-2 run for Long Beach. The 49ers preserved a comfortable lead, converting on 16 straight free throws.
Senior guard Barry Ogalue led the way for the 49ers with 20 points and senior forward Gabe Levin totaled 14 points and eight rebounds. Junior forward KJ Byers filled up the stat sheet in only 20 minutes of action. The junior college transfer posted eight points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals.
As a team, the 49ers forced the Dons into 19 turnovers and held them to 37 percent shooting on the night. The addition of Riggins into the lineup was a big help for Long Beach, that have lacked depth in the post in the two exhibition games earlier this year.