The 383 mile trek from the Walter Pyramid to Wells Fargo Arena ended in a 90-58 rout of the Long Beach State men’s basketball team. Arizona State put on a clinic against the 49ers; here are three takeaways from Monday’s loss.
- Third game in four days
The first few weeks of college basketball is a time for teams to adjust and figure out their strengths and weaknesses. It is also a time where athletes are usually a little bit out of ideal shape, and need a couple games to get into a rhythm. The 49ers looked tired early on in the Arizona game which led to their demise, a clear contrast between how the team played against No. 21 UCLA Saturday. None of the players on Long Beach’s roster scored in double digits and Arizona State grabbed more rebounds alone (63) than the 49ers scored points. It’s hard to sustain momentum and energy with short rest.
- Three ball is not falling
Last night the 49ers went 9-of-31 from three, but the problem I have with this is the team’s shot selection. In particular, redshirt junior Ron Freeman hasn’t been able to get out of his shooting slump, but a lot of his shots from beyond the arc have been taken while fading away or while being heavily guarded. Long Beach is transitioning into a team that shoots more from a distance, so expect a few more poor shooting nights as the team adjusts. Redshirt senior guard Bryan Alberts has been the 49ers’ most consistent shooter, which isn’t saying much at 33 percent on 5 attempts per game. His numbers should go up as soon as he settles into his role as a deep wing and corner threat.
- Non-existent defense
The biggest standout of the game were Long Beach’s lack of awareness and effort on the defensive end. Improving the team’s overall defense has been the plan since head coach Dan Monson’s contract was restructured, but it was nowhere to be seen Monday. The Sun Devils outrebounded the 49ers 63-30, including 18 offensive rebounds. Six of Arizona’s players scored in double digits, while none of Long Beach’s players scored above nine. The 49ers did get more steals than the Sun Devils, but it was more of sloppy play that comes from a blowout than a valiant effort.
It was sad to see such a poor effort put on by Long Beach, but it was the team’s third game in four days. It’s understandable, but it shouldn’t be an excuse for poor effort. The road only gets tougher for the 49ers as they continue their trip east. Long Beach will have an opportunity to bounce back 6 p.m. Friday against No. 17 Mississippi State.