Long Beach State University came up big in a back and forth game against Big West rival CSU Bakersfield Thursday night, winning its seventh straight game 74-65.
Collin Slater had a big night for The Beach offensively, scoring 23 points. Despite leading the team in scoring, Slater, a fourth year guard, credited his team’s improved defense when talking about their recent success.
“[We] talk about defense the whole game,” Slater said. “We got to make sure that the team is going and we got to get everybody involved and we got to test the pain and make the defense play honest to where everybody can get comfortable shots and make good plays.”
Both teams were almost mirroring each other early on in the game, trading turnovers and fouls back and forth. The Beach and The Roadrunners were struggling defensively, with both teams drawing fouls and early fast-break opportunities.
“I don’t think the players were happy with the way we play defensively [tonight],” head coach Dan Monson said. “This is how we played in a preseason where we try to outscore people and not take control on the defensive end.”
There was a time when the offense for both teams stifled and couldn’t get the ball in the hoop for consecutive minutes on end. Slater was there for The Beach to give them a scoring punch out of the slump.
“The last five, six minutes too, for the first time, we really could control on the defensive end,” Monson said. “You’re not going to play well in every game and to be able to find ways to win and be adaptable and this is a hard team to adapt against.”
Long Beach State will look to win eight straight games at 4 p.m. on Saturday against Cal Poly SLO.