Despite remaining competitive against teams like Oregon State, USC and University of San Diego, the Long Beach State men’s basketball team is in dire need of a win. Losing streaks are never positive for a team’s confidence and morale. However, head coach Dan Monson believes his team is still improving through this stretch, showing signs of growth in the last three games. Wednesday’s 7 p.m. matchup against Southern Utah presents an opportunity for Long Beach to bounce back and get a much needed win.
“I think we’re continually getting better but it’s time to put it all together and play more consistent for 40 minutes,” Monson said.
A crucial point in the 49ers loss to San Diego Saturday was giving up a 15-0 run in the second half, allowing the Toreros to gain momentum and come away with a 74-70 win. With senior point guard Deishuan Booker playing limited minutes after returning from a one-game suspension for violating team rules, redshirt senior center Temidayo Yussuf filled the gap and scored a career-high 28 points along with six rebounds. Senior forward KJ Byers posted an intriguing statline, scoring two points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
The game before, Long Beach battled in a road matchup at USC but gave up an 8-0 run at the end, resulting in a 75-65 loss. A pair of runs from opposing teams have been the deciding factor in the last two losses for the 49ers.
Southern Utah will visit the Walter Pyramid Wednesday with a 4-1 record while averaging 86 points per game (tied for 24th highest in the nation).
“Our guys are progressing and working on that [defensive consistency], but this is a great opportunity against a really good offensive team,” Monson said. “We have to disrupt them, can’t let them get in rhythm.”
Southern Utah is led by a pair of transfers, redshirt junior guard Cameron Oluyitan (13.6 ppg) and redshirt senior forward Dwayne Morgan (13.0 ppg). The Thunderbirds will come to Long Beach after a 111-64 win over San Diego Christian College.
After the matchup against Southern Utah, the 49ers will head to a 4 p.m. Saturday game against Fresno State.