The Long Beach State men’s basketball team hosted Cal Lutheran for their home opener of the 2023-2024 season. The Beach would secure a dominating 107-63 win against the Kingsmen in a game that gives The Beach some confidence ahead of their big road trip coming up.
The Beach got caught helping off one pass away too much in this game and gave up some wide-open shots to the Kingsmen’s perimeter shooters. They also got too handsy and aggressive on the defensive end of the floor, allowing the Kingsmen to shoot 31 free throws.
On that same token, it was that aggressiveness to collapse on ball handlers and drives to the basket that enabled the Beach to force 19 turnovers and get out on the fast break. They also held down the paint to make the Kingsmen’s offense think twice about driving into the restricted area.
The Beach continued from where they left off last season and won the rebounding battle against the Kingsmen. The Beach outrebounded the Kingsmen 42-29, continuing to own the paint and convert misses into points.
Newcomers Already Making an Impact
New transfer point guard Isa Silva got the start in the exhibition against the Kingsmen and gave the Beach the offensive stability that was lacking at times last season. Senior point guard Messiah Thompson, who transferred from Alabama A&M, came off the bench and led the second unit with some offense and defensive intensity.
Freshman guard Varrick Lewis was a spark plug off the bench for the Beach, providing some scoring with 10 points and defensive effort for the second unit.
Ball movement, second chances and fast break chances were the key ways the Beach put up 107 points in the win over the Kingsmen on Thursday night. Forcing turnovers and crashing the glass both offensively and defensively created opportunities for the Beach to get easy shots.
The half-court offense also looked more fluid compared to last season. Ball movement and player movement allowed the Beach to put up 29 team assists against the Kingsmen. The Beach also shot a very efficient 43-69 from the field and 11-19 from three-point range.
Just an Exhibition
This game is just an exhibition and by no means should this game be an indicator for what to expect out of this Beach men’s team this season. Though Cal Lutheran is a very talented team, The Beach has games this upcoming season against the likes of San Diego State and USC. This game shows what this Beach team could be at its very best and the philosophies that head coach Dan Monson will look to enforce throughout the year for this team.
The Beach will play Portland in Oregon on Monday, Nov. 6, which will serve as the first big test for the team this year.