Defense And Rebounding Lead Long Beach State To Win Over Colorado State
Long Beach State had over 50 rebounds against a Division I opponent for the first time since 2009.
Long Beach, Calif. - A blue-collar defensive game came down to a wild final sequence, with Roschon Prince scoring the game-winner on an offensive rebound as Long Beach State held off Colorado State 56-55.
Long Beach State (5-10) finished with 56 rebounds on the night, 21 of which came on the offensive end, including two critical ones in the final minute against Colorado State (8-5).
With the Beach down 53-52 with 40 seconds remaining, Colorado State's Emmanuel Omogbo went to the free throw line, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Long Beach State raced down to the other end where Gabe Levin put the Beach in front with a massive putback dunk.
The Rams answered with a second chance basket with 16 seconds left, forcing Long Beach State to score without a timeout. A Loren Jackson floater was off the mark, but Prince corralled the rebound and scored the putback to give LBSU a 56-55 lead with 4.6 seconds left.
A Gian Clavell effort at the buzzer was no good, and the 49ers held off the Rams to win their third straight game.
"We're growing," said head coach Dan Monson after the game. "Earlier in the year I kept saying we were good in the first ten minutes then we'd fade. We're up at the half at Texas and then we faded. Today, we sustained for 30 minutes of defense and rebounding, and the offense will get better now that we can control that end of the floor. Once you can do that, you can win road games, and you can win games when you don't shoot well like tonight."
The 56 rebounds were the most against a Division I opponent for LBSU in the last 20 years, and the first time since 2009 that the team had over 50 against a Division I foe. LBSU also held the Rams leading scorer, Gian Clavell, to just four points on 2-for-12 shooting, and the senior didn't score until the final three minutes of the game.
Long Beach State controlled the action early, taking an 8-6 lead on an Anson Moye 3-pointer, and eventually pushing the lead to nine at 20-11 on a Levin layup. Justin Bibbins, who had four points and six rebounds in 11 minutes, landed awkwardly after making a jumper with 6:20 in the first half, and would not return on the evening.
The Beach held tough, and kept a seven-point lead into halftime. 3-pointers from Evan Payne and Levin helped extend the lead to 15 points at 46-31 with 11:49 left to play, but at that point, the well ran dry and LBSU went almost seven full minutes without a field goal, allowing Colorado State back into the game.
Payne hit a three to end the dry spell, and added a pair of free throws to make the score 52-47, but the Rams scored six straight points to set up the wild back-and-forth in the final 40 seconds.
Both Payne and Levin finished with 16 points to lead the 49ers, while Levin and Prince tied for the team lead with nine rebounds each, and Mason Riggins added seven.
Long Beach State will conclude non-conference play with one final road trip, facing Eastern Michigan on Thursday, December 29. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and tip at 11 a.m. PT.
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