Bibbins, Prince Lead Long Beach State Past Cal State Fullerton 76-65
Long Beach State has now won three straight conference games.
Long Beach, Calif. - Junior guard Justin Bibbins tied a career high with 26 points, and Roschon Prince was just short of a fifth-straight double-double with nine points and a career-high 14 rebounds as Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 76-65.
With the win, Long Beach State (9-14, 4-3 Big West) extended their winning streak to three games, and head coach Dan Monson won his 100th career Big West game, just the seventh coach in conference history to reach the milestone.
"I thought that was our best defensive performance in league," said Monson following the victory. "It's taken us a while to adjust [without Gabe Levin], and I thought today was the best we've done with that. Evan Payne and Loren Jackson did a really good job of disrupting Coggins and Ahmad; they were our focus tonight."
Cal State Fullerton (8-11, 2-4 Big West) guard Tre' Coggins entered the game as the league's top scorer, averaging 18.3 points per game, and LBSU held him scoreless, while Khalil Ahmad finished with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. The Beach also had a season-high 10 blocks, the most in a game for Long Beach State since the 1998-99 season.
Payne was tasked with guarding Coggins, and then Ahmad, and finished with 14 points on the night, while Noah Blackwell added 13 while shooting 5-for-7 from the floor. As a team, the Beach held CSF to 35.4 percent shooting, the lowest shooting percentage of league play against the 49ers.
Bibbins made his first of five three-pointers of the night to extend the Long Beach State lead to 14-7 after the first six minutes of play. Up 25-18, Long Beach State went on a 9-2 run to open up a 14-point lead on a layup from Jackson at 34-20, but the Titans would rally. With the score 35-25, Ahmad banked home a halfcourt shot at the buzzer to cut the LBSU lead in half at halftime at seven points.
Keeping the momentum from that shot, Cal State Fullerton went on a 7-0 run to start the second half, but a 3-pointer from Blackwell got the Beach on the board and kept Long Beach State in front 38-35 with 17:10 remaining.
The Titans would tie the game three more times, but Long Beach State had an answer each time, and after a three from Payne made the score 49-46, the 49ers would tack on six more points to open up a 55-46 lead with nine minutes to go.
Cal State Fullerton would get no closer than three points the rest of the way, and the Beach led comfortably with a double-digit lead over the final two minutes.
With his 100th win in the Big West, Monson in his tenth season at the Beach joins Bob Thomason (Pacific), Jerry Tarkanian (LBSU & UNLV), Bob Williams (UCSB), Neil McCarthy (NMSU), Jerry Pimm (UCSB) and Pat Douglass (UC Irvine) as the only coaches to record 100 conference wins.
Long Beach State will resume conference play next Wednesday, traveling to face CSUN at 7 p.m. on ESPN3 in the Matadome.
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