After Long Beach State defeated San Francisco State on Tuesday, the Daily 49er sports editor and men’s basketball beat writer have compiled a five-point breakdown about the team’s performance against the Gators.
1. Two games into the season, the men’s basketball team has had an issue taking care of the ball. The team committed 22 turnovers in Tuesday’s win and 15 in the road win against University of San Francisco. Each player who saw the floor Tuesday night, with the exception of senior forward Quentin Shropshire, committed at least one turnover.
2. Long Beach has looked physically dominant compared to the competition so far. After playing the University of San Francisco (Division I) and San Francisco State (Division II) in the first two games, the team has posed problems for opponents with height, length and speed at nearly every position. It’s a positive sign for the 49ers, as junior forward Temidayo Yussuf has not made his season debut this year.
The Preseason All-Big West nominee is cleared for non-contact practice. Head coach Dan Monson is hopeful the 6-foot-7 player could make his return sometime during the Thanksgiving road trip. The team is in no rush to bring back Yussuf, as they are hoping for a full recovery to have him ready for conference play. Yussuf and fellow senior forward Gabe Levin have never played in a Big West Conference game together in the two seasons that they have been on the team.
3. The biggest question coming into this season was at the starting point guard position. After the transfer of Justin Bibbins to the University of Utah, Monson seems to trust junior Deishuan Booker. Booker consistently found his teammates Tuesday, recording a game-high 10 assists. As a unit, Long Beach totaled 27 assists on 37 field goals made. One of the biggest differences between this year’s team and last year’s is how well the players distribute the ball with unselfishness.
4. As the 49ers continue to get games under their belt, it only helps new players feel more comfortable and get into a rhythm. Junior graduate transfer Bryan Alberts broke out for an 18 point game last night, shooting an effective 6-of-12 from three point land. It was by far his best game in a Long Beach uniform, and the team could use another consistent threat from deep to go along with sophomore guard Jordan Griffin. Griffin also shot 50 percent from behind the arc last night, scoring all 12 of his points on 4-of-8 shooting.
5. The addition of junior forward Mason Riggins to the starting lineup has brought back another key piece to the team. While Riggins will most likely come off the bench once Yussuf is healthy, he will be a key piece for depth if the team competes at the top of the Big West Conference. Also, Riggins has been extremely efficient to start off the season. The Texas native boasts a perfect 1.000 field goal shooting percentage. While he hasn’t taken many shots (6-of-6), Riggins is tied for first in the country in field goal percentage leaders.