Men's Basketball, Sports

Senior Colin Slater makes winning shot; Long Beach secures No.1 spot in tournament

Before the end of the night, LBSU guard Colin Slater was 0-12 from the three-point line, but when it mattered most he made a game-winning shot with just 1.9 left in the second half.

In Thursday’s game against UC Davis, Long Beach State won with a final score of 68-65 over the Aggies.

Slater said that he knew LBSU head coach Dan Monson wasn’t going to call a timeout despite his low numbers from the three-point line tonight.

“I was kind of pushing it with a good pace, kind of reading what they were doing, and pretty much they were packing it in. They signed off pretty far, and I was like ‘yeah I’m going to let this one ride,’” Slater said. “I already knew coach wasn’t going to call a timeout, like without a doubt and I was like ‘Good call, don’t call it.’”

With a little help from UC Riverside as they defeated Cal State Fullerton 74-72, following tonight’s game, LBSU secured the No. 1 seed in The Big West tournament that will be held in Las Vegas Nevada March 9-11.

While Slater had the game-winning shot for The Beach tonight, the star senior guard did not have a night he usually has, scoring just seven points while his season average was 14 points per game.

Slater’s performance against the Aggies was not one that stood out from the individual standpoint but from a leadership perspective as he was happier to have just won the game.

“It’s more so gratifying that like, we’re a step closer to our goal,” Slater said. “The goal and objective was to come out with a win today, and as long as we got that done, that makes my senior last two games feel good.”

Monson said that he wasn’t worried about Slater having a game where he didn’t score a lot. Instead, Monson said Slater was helping the team by demonstrating great leadership.

“I heard him tell Jadon coming out of the locker room, ‘hey that’s cool, let’s go get coach another 18 good looks,” Monson said. “That kind of leadership and encouragement to Jadon, I think really was a key part of [Jadon’s game]”

3/3/2022: Jadon Jones looking to block a UC Davis defender from the passing the ball in bounds
3/3/2022: No.12 Jadon Jones looking to block a UC Davis player as they are trying to take the ball out of there court

A key part in tonight’s victory for The Beach was the performance of the younger players as freshman guard Jadon Jones led the team in scoring with 21 points. Following him was freshman forward Aboubacar Traore who had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

3/3/2022: Aboubacar Traore looks to get past a UC Defender to try and get open for the team
3/3/2022: Aboubacar Traore as he is trying to get open from a UC Davis defender

UC Davis and LBSU were neck and neck all game, UC Davis had their highest lead of nine points in the second half.

However, LBSU managed to take back the lead in the second half after Drew Cobb made a three-point shot with 11:36 left in the game.

Once The Beach took the lead, they never let UC Davis take control of the game again.

Another part of tonight’s game that Slater said helped the team was the game being at home and the energy from the crowd really helped give the team the juice they needed to stay confident throughout.

“We love LB nation, like so much and a lot of the other guys in the crowd are student-athletes,” Slater said. “All our teams support each other, all the students come out and it means a lot to us because we play hard, and it is gratifying to see they enjoy watching us playing hard.”

Senior forward Jordan Roberts agrees with Slater that all of the support from the fans has really been a difference-maker for The Beach this year.

“It’s really amped up this year,” Roberts said. “So it’s honestly a blessing to us for our senior year.”

The Beach has one more regular-season game as they prepare for senior night against UCR on Saturday, March 6 at the Walter Pyramid. Coach Monson said he is expecting to see all active seniors play on Saturday night.

“I’m really excited for these four seniors next Saturday,” Monson said. “To hopefully close their career or you know, at home with their families.”

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