After Arizona defeated Long Beach State (3-5) Wednesday, the Daily 49er sports editor and men’s basketball beat writer compiled a breakdown about the team’s performance against the Wildcats.
1. Junior forward KJ Byers and freshman point guard Edon Maxhuni started Wednesday night’s game instead of senior Barry Ogalue and junior Deishuan Booker. It seems as though Ogalue is in the ‘dog house’ early on this season after leading the team in scoring throughout the first three games. The senior forward has not played more than 12 minutes in the last two contests.
The addition of Maxhuni to the starting lineup came as a surprise. Coming into the game against Arizona, Booker had posted two consecutive double-doubles against Oregon State and Nebraska. Turnovers have been his biggest problem so far this season, which might have been why the coaching staff chose not to start the junior guard.
2. It seems that Long Beach continues to have slow starts in the beginning of games. The men’s basketball team came out of McKale Center with a sluggish start in the first nine minutes as the Wildcats led 27-8. The 49ers had the second lowest first half total of the season, only managing to put up 24 points. Earlier in the season, Long Beach had its lowest first half score against Missouri in which it had 21 points.
3. The stat that disrupts the team the most is turnovers. Long Beach had 19 of them in the loss against Arizona. It hurt the 49ers, as the Wildcats fed off the mistakes with 27 points off the giveaways. The team needs to take care of the ball better in order to help themselves when the Big West Conference starts in January.
4. Free-throw shooting has haunted the 49ers in the last two games. The team shot 8 for 17 in Wednesday’s loss and 8 for 14 against Nebraska over the weekend. With the possibility of many close games in Big West play, Long Beach will need to capitalize on these free points more in order to come out with wins.
Conclusion: The 49ers will need to be ready to bounce back this weekend. Fresno State and Stanford will be coming to the Walter Pyramid on Saturday and Sunday. Both schools are in tougher conferences than the Big West and Long Beach will need to use its home court advantage in order to pull out a win or two.