Long Beach State’s men’s basketball dominated in their first exhibition game of the season, beating Cal Lutheran 107–63 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd at the Walter Pyramid on Thursday.
“I thought we did a lot of good things and a lot of things we got to do a lot better by Monday,” head coach Dan Monson said.
The Beach had six players score in double-figures in Thursday’s win, three players from the starting unit and three from the second unit.
Junior forward Lassina Traore led all scorers with a game-high 18 points, shooting 90% from the field on 9-of-10 shot attempts, adding seven rebounds as well.
Monson’s starting lineup included junior guard Isa Silva, senior guard Marcus Tsohonis, junior guard Jadon Jones, junior forward Aboubacar Traore and Lassina Traore.
According to Monson, the starting lineup is not set in stone, and the starting rotation is mostly on a game-to-game basis.
“At the end of the day, once they get into flow, every game is going to be different,” Monson said. “As far as who finishes, we haven’t got those five alpha dogs that we know for sure are going to break the press and make free throws and get all that done.
Tsohonis was a major contributor as a scorer with 14 points on 50% (2–4) shooting from three and 60% (6–10) overall. He also added three rebounds, two assists and two steals in his 17 minutes of action.
The Beach was locked in on the defensive side of the ball, forcing 19 Cal Lutheran turnovers and totaling 17 steals, with Jones accounting for five of those steals.
Jones finished second on the team in scoring with 17 points on 5-for-6 shooting from behind the arc.
“We shoot a lot after practice, so it’s been really good for getting my confidence up,” Jones said.
The newcomers, Silva and senior guard Messiah Thompson served as The Beach’s primary ball handlers, showcasing their versatility as facilitators in the offense with a combined 14 assists. Silva finished with six points and six assists, while Thompson contributed 11 points and eight assists.
“In the second half, some things were open for me, so I was able to get downhill and see other people,” Silva said. “It’s a process day by day trying to learn how to get back to playing up-tempo like I enjoy.”
Senior forward Amari Stroud and freshman guard Varick Lewis were the other two bench players who scored in double figures. Stroud contributed 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, while Lewis provided momentum boosts for The Beach with several and-one sequences, finishing with 10 points.
The Beach’s next game is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m. on the road against the University of Portland.