The Long Beach State men’s basketball team performed a solid impression of their volleyball counterparts, defeating Fresno Pacific University 93-62 on Friday night where the men’s volleyball team received their championship rings during halftime at the Walter Pyramid.
The Beach (2-3) entered the matchup against the Sunbirds (0-5) with a perfect 19-0 record against Non-Division I competition under head coach Dan Monson.
After dropping two games over the course of a tough Bay Area trip, Monson said tonight’s game was a much-needed win for the team’s morale.
“I thought it was a great game to get some different lineups in there,” Monson said, “to get some different guys in there, to get some guys in different positions. That’s kind of sometimes why you play these type of games.”
Sophomore guard Chance Hunter scored efficiently on nine for 11 shooting for the Beach, finishing with 21 points and six rebounds in only 22 minutes. Junior guard Drew Cobb racked up a team-high eight rebounds to go with 12 points and a steal in 17 minutes off of the bench.
Long Beach owned the size advantage all game long with Fresno Pacific’s sophomore forward Alex Ferguson being its tallest player at 6’8”. The Beach scored 42 of its 93 points in the paint while 13 points came from second chance opportunities thanks to a 44-29 rebounding differential.
“I kept saying to ‘love the paint and like the jumper today,’” Monson said, “and I really felt like we did that. Once we loosened them up, even the three’s we hit, a lot of them were inside-out or in transition.”
Long Beach was disruptive with its zone defense to open the second half, racking up 10 steals and cashing in 30 points off of 29 Fresno Pacific turnovers by games end.
Monson said the team changed its overall game plan offensively, focusing on getting out in the open court with numbers looking to attack, opting to be more free-flowing instead of heavily structured sets. Despite 21 turnovers, the team operated at a pace they feel like they need to be at to be successful moving forward.
The Beach dished out 16 assisted-buckets on the night, its highest through five games. Sophomore guard Michael Carter III led the way with six assists, along with 16 points and 10 free throw attempts.
“For the first half of the season it was kind of hard getting used to the offense,” Carter III said, “but now coach has pointed out for us to dribble for each other. … When you make a move and get by one guy, there’s always another coming, which means that somebody’s open on the other side and I feel like we just really focused on that and locked in when it came to that.”
Long Beach State will travel to the McKale Memorial Center to take on No. 14 Arizona Sunday, Nov. 24 at 5:30 p.m.