Men's Basketball, Men's Sports, Sports

The Beach’s dominant defensive performance stifles Irvine

In a game that was back and forth for a complete 40 minutes, the LBSU men’s basketball team held on to an impressive win over Big West rival UC Irvine Saturday night with a final score of 73-67.

Junior Guard Joel Murray had a big offensive night, leading The Beach to their fourth straight win.

Murray, a 6-foot guard from Texas, scored a total of 24 points in the game. He held the team together after they were down early 13-6. He credited the team’s chemistry over the past four games as to why they won today.

“It was just sticking together, that’s all it was,” Murray said. “Just trusting your teammates knowing that they’re gonna hit that big shot, that’s all it was. We trusted each other and that’s what ultimately won us the game.”

LBSU and UC Irvine have always been great matchups as the two rival schools have both played five different teams in the Big West. Following today’s victory, The Beach moved to 4-1 in conference play and UC Irvine is now 1-4.

Early in the game, The Beach forced 16 turnovers to Irvine’s 8. Ultimately both sides were competing neck and neck with each other as the game had a total of 11 lead changes.

LBSU head coach Dan Monson credits his team’s confidence and “swagger” over the last three games as to why they won Saturday night.

“You have to earn confidence. Swagger is the same way everybody wants to have that swag with them,” Monson said. “You can’t fake and you have to go earn it and these guys have earned some confidence and swagger.”

During a timeout in the first half, Dan Monson  say&squot;s "go to war" with UC Irvine as a call to action to win the game. CSULB won 73-67 on Saturday at the Pyramid.
During a timeout in the first half, Dan Monson say's "go to war" with UC Irvine as a call to action to win the game. CSULB won 73-67 on Saturday at the Pyramid. Photo credit: Jorge Villa

Late in the second half with three minutes left in the game, senior guard Colin Slater made a late three-point shot that would put The Beach on top of The Anteaters 59-58.

“Well, you know, I think we’re guarding the ball better individually. We’re contesting shots better,” Monson said.

Coach Monson mentioned that he was very pleased with Jadon Jones and Colin Slater’s defensive play tonight. While the two players are known for their offensive efforts, their defense was the difference-maker in today’s game as they both had a total of nine rebounds and three steals in the game.

“You have to find different ways to win basketball games,” Monson said. “I think they’re starting to trust that and find different ways and when we got behind, you know, they did it with their defense and they got the rebound back shored up.”

LBSU is set to begin a two-game road trip next week. The Beach will face UC Riverside first on Jan. 27 and then UC Davis on Jan. 29.

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