The Beach fell behind early and failed to make up any significant ground against The Bobcats, as they dropped their home opener 70-57.
Montana State opened with a 16-6 run, that came less than five minutes into the game. They hit six three-pointers in the first half alone and would take a 32-24 lead at halftime.
The second half saw much of the same back and forth action, but The Bobcats never let up. The Beach were able to cut it as close as six points in the half, but foul struggles and key turnovers by the Beach halted all momentum.
The Bobcats won the game in transition, outscoring the Beach 10-4 on fastbreak points. Their bench also outscored the Beach’s 20-9.
The referees played an active role in this game, the Bobcats shot 27 total free throws, whereas the Beach only shot 15. Long Beach State’s Chayce Polynice picked up four personal fouls in just under 10 minutes of play. Long Beach State’s Jadon Jones would foul out towards the end of the second half after committing his fifth foul, ending his night early.
The leading scorer for the Beach was senior guard Joel Murray, who scored 21 points on 9-19 shooting. Murray had announced at the end of last season that he was going to enter the NBA draft, but ultimately decided to come back for his senior season.
Sophomore forward Aboubacar Traore notched a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Montana State’s RaeQuan Battle scored a game-high 24 points on 8-19 shooting from the field and 2-8 from deep.
Following the loss, head coach Dan Monson pointed out the issues and reflected on where The Beach is currently at.
“I think this was a good game in the fact that, it shows us where we’re at. We’ve got a lot of work to do to play together. We’re not getting the shots we need to offensively, we’re really breaking down and going off on our own and just doing our own thing too much and that doesn’t work,” Monson said.
Senior Joel Murray commented on being the focal point of The Beach’s offense and working on getting others involved.
“I just have to figure it out game by game and figure out how to balance between the scoring and making sure everybody else is getting their shots, because I know everybody’s looking at me on offense,” Murray said.
The Beach’s offense in this game was stalled by the Bobcats’ defense which led to their players taking it upon themselves to try and create some offense.
“We’ve got to trust each other, get the ball swung more, and have our defense create more for our offense, get some points off of the break,” Monson said.
The Bobcats defense did a good job closing out the LBSU shooters that were in the lineup. Holding The Beach to just 2-14 from three-point range throughout the entire game, as they struggled to get clean looks from deep.
The Beach dominated from inside the paint, putting up 36 points in tight, as they continuously found open looks.
The Beach will look to bounce back from the loss against Montana State as they take on St. Katherine at the Walter Pyramid on Saturday, Nov. 19.