In what might be its lowest point of the season, the Long Beach State men’s basketball team dropped to the bottom of the Big West Conference standings after suffering a 92-75 defeat to Cal Poly Wednesday.
The Mustangs (6-16, 3-5 Big West) entered the Mott Athletics Center 0-14 when held under 70 points and statistically ranked as the conference’s worst scoring team before breaking loose with a lead as large as 20 against the Beach.
Cal Poly eclipsed its conference-low season averages in points per game (66.1) with 92, field goals made (22.9) with 34, assists per game (8.7) with 15, and committed five fewer turnovers than its usual 13.
Sophomore guard Junior Ballard set the pace as one of four Cal Poly players to finish in double-figures with 22 points, two 3-pointers, four rebounds and two steals.
Sophomore forward Tuukka Jaakkola bullied the Beach in the paint on his way to 16 points and three rebounds. Redshirt junior guard Keith Smith tied his season-high seven assists to go with nine points and four rebounds.
Leading by as much as six in what was a pendulum-swinging first half, Long Beach (7-17, 2-6 Big West) trailed for the final 21 minutes of the game. Giving up 30 points to layups and dunks, 40 in the paint, 16 in the fast break, and 17 off of 14 turnovers, the Beach took its third straight double-digit loss in frustrating fashion.
Long Beach struggled to generate consistent offense once again, shooting 26-for-40 from the field (43%) and 5-for-17 (29%) from three.
Sophomore guard Chance Hunter was the lone player to score in double-figures with 15 points (6-10 FG). The southpaw added in three 3-pointers, five rebounds, a steal and a block.
With nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals, freshman forward Romelle Mansel registered his best game in Big West play so far.
Freshman center Joshua Morgan moved to second on Long Beach State’s single-season blocks list, just two shy of the school record, after erasing three shots to go with nine points and four rebounds.
The Beach will continue its road trip against Hawai’i at the Stan Sheriff Center on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 9 p.m.
This article was updated Feb. 7 at 10:16 p.m. to fix an incorrect stat.