The Long Beach State men’s basketball team desperately missed the presence of redshirt senior forward Temidayo Yussuf in Wednesday night’s loss to Cal State Northridge.
Out due to lingering knee soreness, the absence of Yussuf’s energy was evident. Long Beach was out-rebounded, out-hustled and out-played by CSUN in a 86-71 loss. While the 49ers (8-12, 2-2 Big West) shot 48 percent from the field, 50 percent on three pointers and 87 percent from the free-throw line, they simply gave up too many baskets on the defensive end. After the game, assistant coach Bobby Braswell declined to comment on the 49ers’ performance on 22 West Radio.
Long Beach was led by senior point guard Deishuan Booker, who posted 20 points, five assists and two steals. Senior forward KJ Byers continued his consistent play, scoring a career-high 19 points along with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
Northridge had a balanced offensive attack, with all five starters scoring in double figures. The Matadors were led by sophomore point guard Terrell Gomez who scored 21 points and added four assists.
In the first half, Long Beach caught a break when Northridge redshirt freshman Lamine Diane committed his third foul midway through the half. The Matadors star averages 23 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Despite the foul trouble, the 49ers couldn’t take advantage and got caught up in a back-and-forth effort with the Matadors. While Long Beach’s offense did not have a problem, the team could not put together defensive stops on the other end of the floor. At halftime, Long Beach trailed 38-33.
The beginning of the second half proved to be much of the same between the 49ers and the Matadors. Both teams traded baskets for the first 10 minutes, but Northridge got hot offensively and Long Beach could not keep up through the last six minutes. The 49ers switched between a man and zone defense and got exposed, allowing open shots all over the floor. Northridge ended the game on a 9-2 run.
Next up for Long Beach is a 7 p.m. home matchup Saturday against UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos are currently 3-0 in Big West play.