Beach Blows Past Western Michigan Late, Winning 73-55
Head Coach Dan Monson tied Jerry Tarkanian for the most wins in school history with 122.
Fullerton, Calif. - Long Beach State closed out the opening game of the Wooden Legacy on a 27-4 run, pulling away over the final eight minutes to take a 73-55 win in Titan Gym Thursday. With the win, 49ers head coach Dan Monson won his 122nd game at LBSU, tying Jerry Tarkanian for the most in school history.
In a game that either featured or was marred by 41 combined turnovers, it was the defense that stood out on both sides. Long Beach State held Western Michigan to 30.5 percent shooting and out-rebounded the Broncos 41-35. Meanwhile, Long Beach State struggled offensively early, but recovered with a late push.
Western Michigan got the first momentum swing of a sloppy first half when a steal by David Brown led to a flagrant foul at the other end, followed by a technical foul on the 49er bench. Austin Richie made all four free throws, turning a one-point lead into a five-point one.
Two quick 3-pointers from McKay LaSalle would bring the Beach all the way back, and the 49ers would hold a one-point lead at halftime, up 31-30.
The Broncos seized the momentum again in the second half, opening up the half with a 6-1 run, and would lead through most of the first ten minutes, leading by five points 51-46 as the teams went into the under eight-minute media timeout.
That was when the Beach would turn it on defensively. The 49ers would not allow a field goal to the Broncos the rest of the way, and held Western Michigan off of the board for nearly four minutes. Mike Caffey would make five straight free throws to put the Beach on top by 54-51, and after a pair of makes by David Samuels and a fast-break 3-pointer by LaSalle, Long Beach State led 59-51, forcing a Western Michigan timeout.
The floodgates had opened, however, as Caffey canned a 3-pointer, part of a game-high 18 points to kick start a continued run as the 49ers got a couple of dunks from Samuels after breaking the Western Michigan press, and ran away over the final minutes to the win.
"I'm excited for our guys. It's still early in the year, and we didn't play very well, especially offensively," said Monson. "But we really battled. We were so concerned when we gave up 95 and 97 in our first two games, and to be able to defend like that and find another way to win other than just outscoring people, it gives me encouragement that this team can grow and continue to get better."
Temidayo Yussuf made his first start as a freshman, finishing with career highs in both points (6) and rebounds (7), while also playing a season high 23 minutes.
"I thought that [Yussuf] and David Samuels were the difference," said Monson. "[The game] had a lot of good guards going out there, frustrating each other, combating each other, but those two gave us a presence inside that was vital for us to have success."
Samuels added 10 points and five rebounds, as Long Beach State put the Bronco big men into foul trouble early that paid dividends late.
Long Beach State returns to action in the Wooden Legacy on Friday, playing the winner of Washington and San Jose State at 8:30 p.m. in Titan Gym.
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