A promising start ended in a down to the wire loss for the Long Beach State men’s basketball team against Oregon State 75-72 Sunday. The 49ers started out strong, but failed to capitalize in the second half, which the team has struggled with all season. With 11.4 seconds left on the clock, senior guards Deishuan Booker and Jordan Griffin had a chance to send the game to overtime with a deep three, but both were unable to connect.
“I really liked a lot of things today, but I feel for our guys,” head coach Dan Monson said. “We have to evaluate ourselves a lot in the preseason and see how we play. We had them on their heels, I really liked our fight, attitude and grit.”
The game got out of control for Long Beach (2-5) with 7:46 left in the second half with Oregon State (5-1) racking up an 11 point lead. After shooting 48.3 percent from the field in the first half, the team struggled with shooting at 21.1 percent. Long Beach had a flurry of easy baskets at the rim and cut its deficit to two with 3:02 left. The 49ers still fell short even when trailing by 1 with less than a minute left.
“When we’re down we just refuse to lose and we know that we can fight back,” senior forward Temidayo Yussuf said. “We always believe in ourselves, but we couldn’t do it today.”
Long Beach played its best half of the year, even better than its 41 point first half against No. 17 UCLA. The main difference is that the 49ers were able to finish the half with a solid five point lead against the Beavers and looked like the better team on the floor. Sophomore guard Edon Maxhuni’s contribution off the bench is what led the charge for the 49ers. His 10 points on 50 percent shooting and the team’s defensive intensity gave Long Beach a chance.
“I try to help my teammates, I shot the ball well and I had a flow going,” Maxhuni said.
Much like the UCLA game, Long Beach came out stagnant, tired and unable to keep up with Oregon State’s pace. In the final seconds of the game, the 49ers found themselves in a clutch situation, but couldn’t deliver.
Maxhuni led the 49ers with 15 points and two assists, while Yussuf delivered a double-double with 10 points and a season high 11 rebounds. Long Beach also did a good job in taking care of the ball, finishing the game with 12 turnovers.
“Our guys stayed locked in and put their frustrations behind them,” Monson said. “That to me is what we have to focus on and grow on.”
Long Beach travels to Los Angeles 8 p.m. Wednesday to take on USC.