Beach Opens Big West Play With High Scoring Win Over Hawai'i
Long Beach State had four players score at least 18 points, led by Barry Ogalue's 21.
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State opened Big West Conference play with a dominant offensive performance, scoring 50 points in the paint on the way to an 89-81 win over Hawai'i Thursday night in the Walter Pyramid.
Long Beach State (7-10, 1-0 Big West) saw its two preseason All-Big West players, Temidayo Yussuf and Gabe Levin, play together in a league contest for the first time, and the duo along with Barry Ogalue and Deishuan Booker carried the Beach offensively. Ogalue tied his career high with 21 points, while the other three players all scored 18 points as the Beach scored early and often against Hawai'i (9-5, 0-1 Big West).
Most importantly, the Beach got points from their defense as well as working the ball inside. LBSU had 23 points off of turnovers and 14 on the fast break, making 10 steals on the night. That commitment to good shots helped LBSU shoot a season-high 63.3 percent on the night, helping offset 11 made 3-pointers from the Rainbow Warriors.
The pace was incredible from the beginning of the game, as Long Beach State took a 12-11 lead after the first five minutes. The teams would trade leads a few more times as Hawai'i continued to stay hot from distance. After a Sherrif Drammeh triple brought Hawai'i to within one with just over seven minutes in the first half, Long Beach State went inside for to Yussuf for four points, and then got a breakaway steal and dunk from Booker to cap a 6-0 run for the Beach. That would ultimately provide an important cushion for the rest of the game, as Hawai'i would never again get closer than four points away from LBSU.
Yussuf scored the first six points of the second half for the Beach, and the 49ers continued to work inside, ultimately opening up a 14-point lead on a dunk from Ogalue, and held on despite some late pressure to come away with the win.
"That was a big win for us," said head coach Dan Monson. "You have to get some momentum to win a league championship. You have to have a good start. I thought the guys battled well, and that we controlled the paint on both ends of the court, especially in the first half."
Long Beach State continues league play on Saturday, playing the first half of the Black and Blue Rivalry at UC Irvine at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 6.
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