Long Beach State, No. 9 seeded, upset and dominate the No. 8 seeded Matadors of Cal State Northridge in the first round of the Big West tournament, 85-63.
The Beach was led by freshman guard Jadon Jones, who got a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds to help seal the victory over CSUN.
Junior guard Chance Hunter also contributed to the Beach’s victory with 13 points and four rebounds.
The win snaps Long Beach’s four-game losing streak heading into the tournament.
“We’re not really worried about records or the past,” Jones said in a post-game interview. “It’s a tournament that starts at 0-0 and we’re here to win.”
Long Beach dominated the first half, 46-26, while shooting 49% from the field. They played sticky defense and kept the Matadors to a low 19% from the field. CSUN struggled to find shots and were out-hustled all game.
“It was a good half and we were very dialed in,” Head Coach Dan Monson said. “We just have to stay focused through the fatigue.”
The Beach shot 52% from the field for the game. They kept the Matadors shooting to a mere 29%, the worst shooting percentage from an opponent this season.
The Matadors star player TJ Starks was the leading scorer of the game with 23 points, despite the loss to the Beach.
Long Beach also dominated the boards against CSUN in Tuesday’s victory, out-rebounding them 48-31.
The win came as a surprise for the Beach due to the shortened season and last-minute dismissal of star player Michael Carter III just two hours prior to the last regular season game.
The Beach will face the top-seeded Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara on March 11 to try and continue their run in the Big West tournament. The game will stream on ESPN3 at 11 a.m.