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Shorthanded Long Beach State Grits Out 81-76 Win Over CSUN

Feb. 6, 2016

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Long Beach, Calif. - With two point guards, Justin Bibbins and Noah Blackwell, sidelined with injury and then losing Branford Jones in the process of the game, Long Beach State overcame plenty of adversity but prevailed in an 81-76 win over CSUN Saturday night.

The turning point in the game was surprisingly the injury to Jones. Long Beach State (12-12, 6-3 Big West) was trailing 55-50 with 8:51 remaining when Jones was fouled hard by Jason Richardson of the Matadors, re-injuring the same leg that cost him his 2012-13 season with the 49ers.

With the contact on Jones charged as a flagrant foul, a hobbled Bibbins came on to shoot the technical free throws, making both and then giving way to a 49er possession where Nick Faust made a basket, cutting the lead to one point and setting the stage for the senior to take over the game.

A 3-pointer from Faust the next trip down the floor gave the Beach the lead, and Long Beach State never again trailed against CSUN (8-15, 3-6 Big West). The Matadors tied the game at 68-68, but a three-point play by Faust put the Beach back on top, and the 49ers hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Faust finished with 27 points, but scored 19 of those points after the flagrant foul on Jones, lifting the team to the victory. "When guys are out and someone needs to step up, your leader has to perform. Nick Faust was certainly a captain and a leader down the stretch in the last ten minutes," said Dan Monson following the game.

"I'm really proud of the guys. That was a true team win. When you get into the meat of league [play], you've got to find ways to win games, and have the football `next man up' mentality," added Monson. "Our guys certainly did that. When Branford went down, I think it really clicked in to them that we've got to quit feeling sorry for ourselves. We don't have Bibbins, we don't have Blackwell, and guys really stepped up."

Travis Hammonds added 19 points and was 9-of-10 from the line, while Gabe Levin had his second double-double of the season, scoring 12 points with 12 rebounds. Additionally, junior Anson Moye played a career high 23 minutes, scoring two points and making three rebounds while handling much of the ball-handling duties with Bibbins and Blackwell out.

"I thought Anson Moye did a nice job. I told him before the game not to judge yourself on what you do, judge yourself on what you don't do; don't turn it over, don't give up the bounce. Just do your job and let the other four guys help us win the game."

Long Beach State will stay at home to continue conference play next week, hosting Cal Poly on Thursday, February 11.



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