Long Beach State fell to the Loyola Marymount Lions 77-74 in a close game which saw a seven-point lead disappear in the second half despite an improved shooting performance by The Beach.
Long Beach State showed improvements from their last game against San Diego State, where they shot 34.2% from the field, and raised that to 48.5% in Saturday’s game.
“Offensively we had 10 assists, but we’re getting there,” head coach Dan Monson said about the improvements he saw from his team. “The ball moved better today. It didn’t stick as bad and and and I felt like we got more guys in a flow today.”
The Beach took a 37-30 lead going into halftime. The Lions came back strong and went on a big run to start the second half to take the lead 60-50. Long Beach went on a run of its own late in the game to keep it close but ultimately came up short.
“Basketball is a game of runs, we had a chance to [extend the lead] from seven to 14,” Monson said. “Part of it is just experience we haven’t had.”
One aspect the team has been looking to improve upon has been avoiding turnovers. Throughout the game, there were careless passes by The Beach which led to 11 turnovers.
“I feel like our turnovers are really in transition. So I feel like our turnovers are always coming to the halfcourt,” guard Joel Murray said “Mainly we might just have to be better with the ball just like coach says, ‘play on two feet.’ sometimes we aren’t fundamentally sound.”
Murray also expressed the team needs to play hard for the entire 40 minutes.
“We’re taking steps in the right direction. We just have to put 40 minutes together,” Murray said, talking about what needs to change for the defense to improve? “I feel like we played the first half and we played through for 15 minutes in the second half.”
The Beach’s next game is Wednesday against Bethesda University at the Walter Pyramid at 7 pm. Monson said he wants his team to take what they did in this game and build upon it for the next couple games on their schedule.
“We’re heading in the right direction,” Monson said about what they need to do moving forward. “We have an opportunity to win and we’ve got to take advantage of that and have some momentum going in the league.”