Men's Basketball, Men's Sports, Sports

Long Beach squeaks past Pepperdine despite poor shooting night

The Long Beach State men’s basketball team breathed a sigh of relief following its worst offensive game of the season Thursday. A potential game-winning shot from Pepperdine guard Jade’ Smith nearly went in, but rimmed out as time expired, giving the 49ers a 67-66 win.

After 10 days of rest since the team’s last game at Pacific, it appeared Long Beach (4-9) came out unable to shoot. The 49ers shot just 10.5 percent on three pointers, going 2-for-19. Despite the struggles from outside, Long Beach came away with a win over the Waves Thursday night at the Walter Pyramid in front of a crowd of 1,679.

“That was probably the best defensive game we’ve played all year and probably the worst shooting game we’ve played,” head coach Dan Monson said. “As frustrated as we were at the end of that game, they were one play more frustrated.”

Senior forward Temidayo Yussuf posted his fourth double-double of the season, leading the 49ers with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Long Beach also got 10-point games from seniors KJ Byers and Bryan Alberts, as well as sophomore guard Jordan Roberts.

“I was just doing what I normally do, crashing the boards and just playing physical inside,” Yussuf said.

In the first half, both teams came out unable to hit shots. After a back and forth effort in the beginning of the first half, Long Beach found itself down by eight points. The 49ers responded and went on a 10-0 run to take a 21-19 lead with 6:29 left in the half. Pepperdine rallied and tied the game at the halftime break, 31-31.

The second half proved to be much of the same from the first half: a struggle with poor shooting from both teams. The game saw 16 lead changes and 14 ties. With 21 seconds left in the game, Pepperdine sophomore guard Colbey Ross netted two free throws to put the Waves up by one point. The 49ers came down the length of the floor and got a dunk from Byers on a interior pass by Yussuf with five seconds remaining to seal the win.

Long Beach had its best game defensively since Nov. 10, as the 49ers held Pepperdine to just 66 points on 22.2 percent shooting from the three-point line. Led by 23 points and five assists from Ross, it was evident the Waves had no other go-to player down the stretch.

The 49ers also cut down on turnovers, which has been the team’s focus lately as they average the 4th most per game amongst all Division I schools. The team finished with 11 turnovers Thursday night.

Next up for Long Beach is a 2 p.m. home matchup Saturday against Colorado State.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Daily 49er newsletter