Long Beach State Battles To 75-68 Win At UC Riverside
The Beach out-rebounded the Highlanders 54 to 30 in a dominant night on the glass.
Long Beach, Calif. - It wasn't the prettiest of efforts, but Long Beach State relied on a big night on the glass and a gritty team effort to pick up their first road win of the young conference season on the road at UC Riverside, 75-68.
Gabe Levin led the team with 18 points, but with Temidayo Yussuf limited to seven minutes with foul trouble all evening, it fell to the names below the marquee to come up big, and Long Beach State (9-11, 3-1 Big West) had a number of players step up to the call.
Edon Maxhuni tied a career high with 16 points, Mason Riggins grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds while playing 31 minutes, and KJ Byers picked up his first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, along with a trio of blocks.
.@LBSUhoops Edon Maxhuni after tonight's win on LBSU's ability to get to the line: "It's big. We're a good free-throw shooting team. We have drivers who can go to the rim."#BWCMBB | #BigWestTour pic.twitter.com/DspVIEnwG7
-- Big West MBB (@BigWestMBB) January 14, 2018
UC Riverside (5-13, 0-4 Big West) held an early lead, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Maxhuni and Levin sparked an 11-0 run that would give Long Beach State the lead for good in the first five minutes, even with Yussuf picking up an early pair of fouls that would hold out the junior for the rest of the half.
Riggins steadied the post in his absence, and a massive block from Byers on a dunk attempt by DJ Sylvester helped the Beach survive a cold stretch the first half that saw neither team score from the field for over three minutes.
Going into the break up eight, 37-29, Long Beach State upped the pressure, and eventually pushed the lead up to 21 points at 65-44 with five minutes remaining. The foul issues facing the 49ers finally caught up to them, however, as both Levin and Byers fouled out helping the Highlanders make a late charge, but LBSU closed out the victory 75-68.
-- LBSU Mens Basketball (@LBSUhoops) January 14, 2018
In addition to an improved defensive effort, the key to Saturday's win was an impressive effort on the glass, which saw the Beach outrebound the Highlanders 54 to 30. Both Riggins and Byers had career highs, as two 49ers had double-digit rebounds in one game for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
Long Beach State will remain on the road to begin next week, facing UC Davis on the road on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before returning to the Walter Pyramid for a rivalry matchup with Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, January 20.
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