Two double-doubles and a defensive showcase propelled the Long Beach State men’s basketball team to a dominant home win over Cal Poly 73-54 Saturday.
LBSU (13-14, 7-4 Big West) got back into the win column with the help of senior forward Gabe Levin’s 20 points and 11 rebounds while junior forward Temidayo Yussuf had a 17 point and 11 rebound night of his own.
Cal Poly (8-17, 3-8 Big West) is currently tied for second to last in the Big West Conference, and Long Beach took advantage on both ends of the floor.
After a devastating double-overtime loss against UC Davis last week, head coach Dan Monson felt happy about his team’s effort against Cal Poly.
“I’m really pleased with our guy’s attitude tonight,” Monson said. “Having a week to sit on those two losses…was difficult but it was needed mentally and physically.”
The first half was an offensive nightmare for the 49ers, due in large part to Monson’s focus on defense in practice.
“We didn’t run any offense this week until Friday,” Monson said. “We spent all week focusing on defense that we lost our rhythm, but we brought it back together in the second half.”
A 26-20 first half was quickly forgotten as both teams would pick up the pace in the latter part of the match.
Long Beach struggled to grab boards until the second half, where the team would out-rebound the Mustangs 47-39. It was an issue the coaching staff addressed coming out of the first half that Levin and Yussuf took personally.
“We’re the two guys with the most experience and we’ve been in these situations before,” Yussuf said.
Both players agreed they could be double-double guys every night and it was their job to set the intensity.
Something the team struggled with in its last two losses was hitting its free throws, but the 49ers were able to shoot an efficient 21 of 25 from the line to help seal the deal against the Mustangs.
“This was a must-win, we needed this game,” Levin said. “We got it, which is great, but we need to get better and gain momentum.”
Long Beach has a tough schedule to end the season including two games against the top-ranked team in the Big West Conference against UC Santa Barbara.
“We’re going to continue to get better and we’re going to see how it plays out,” Monson said.
Long Beach finishes the last game of its homestand at 7 p.m. Thursday against UC Santa Barbara.