Long Beach State Opens Season On The Road Friday At USF
The Beach kicks off the season at 8 p.m. on November 10.
Long Beach, Calif. -
Game: Long Beach State at San Francisco
Date: Friday, November 10, 2018
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Location: San Francisco, Calif.
Arena: War Memorial Gym (4,200)
TV Talent: None
Radio: AM 830
Radio Talent: Jason Schwartz
Live Stats: TBA
• Long Beach State will open the regular season on the road for only the third time in the last 10 years when the Beach heads north to face San Francisco. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., and will be the first game of the season broadcast over the air on AM 830.
• The two programs have an interesting history, having met twice in the NCAA Tournament during the 1970s, with each program grabbing a win. The teams then played on a neutral court in 2000, and then had a home-and home series during the first two years of Dan Monson’s tenure. In all, the series has been close, with Long Beach State taking four of the previous seven meetings.
• Long Beach State has now won seven straight games under the university’s Homecoming label as the first home game of the Men’s Basketball season, and all seven have been sellouts of the Walter Pyramid. Last Saturday, Long Beach State rolled to an 87-71 exhibition win over Cal State Dominguez Hills, as Gabe Levin finished with 19 points and Deishuan Booker added 18 with 6 assists.
• Two players for Long Beach State earned preseason honors, as both Temidayo Yussuf and Gabe Levin were selected for the six-player Preseason All-Big West team, selected by the media covering the conference. Both have previously earned All-Big West honors, and look to anchor the team this season as both enter their fourth year at the Beach.
• Long Beach State returns six players who made three or more starts last season, led by forward Temidayo Yussuf, who made 28 starts followed by Gabe Levin, who started all 16 games of the non-conference slate before an injury ended his season early.
• Yussuf went on to earn second-team All-Big West honors last season, joining Levin as returners who have earned the honor, as Levin won in 2015-16. Despite this being the fourth year in the program for both players, the two have yet to play a Big West game together.
• In 2016-17, Temidayo Yussuf led the Big West in field goal percentage over conference play at .578 and averaged 13.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game over league action, ultimately earning second-team All-Big West honors. Yussuf is the top scorer that finished the season among returners for the Beach, averaging 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds on the year.
• Gabe Levin had an outstanding start to the season, putting up three double-doubles, including two against back-to-back ranked opponents in North Carolina and Louisville. Scoring in double-figures in 12 games, Levin led the team in rebounding, but suffered a knee injury prior to conference play missed the remained of the season after undergoing successful surgery.
• Barry Ogalue was a great sparkplug off of the bench, and his development throughout the year showed as the Yuba CC transfer started the both games of the Big West Tournament for the 49ers. His 7-for-7 night was the second-best postseason shooting performance ever for the Beach, and he closed the season averaging 5.0 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
• Mason Riggins and Quentin Shropshire are upperclassmen who will play a key role for depth among the frontcourt alongside Levin and Yussuf. Riggins has started 27 games in his career at Long Beach State, and returns in the best shape of his career after shooting a career-best 54.5 percent last season. Shropshire, a former track and field athlete at the Beach, has made the most of his minutes, earning a spot in the rotation to finish out the year in 2016-17.
• A trio of sophomores also return for the Beach with a full year under their belts. Jordan Griffin, LaRond Williams and Javonntie Jackson combined to start in 15 games as freshmen and all three played in 25 or more games a year ago.
• Graduate Transfer Bryan Alberts will likely play a big role for the Beach in the upcoming season. Alberts spent three years at Gonzaga, redshirting for one season before starting in ten games during the 2015-16 season. As a sophomore, Alberts played in 24 games for the Zags, and reached the National Championship game, which is the furthest any player to wear an LBSU uniform has gone in the postseason.
• Minutes at the point guard position look to be split between two newcomers this year, as junior college transfer Deishuan Booker and freshman Edon Maxhuni have both impressed coming into the season. Booker averaged 9.8 points and 6.4 assists per game last season at the College of Southern Idaho, and was one of just seven players at the Juco level to make more than 200 assists last year. Meanwhile, Maxhuni brings extensive experience at the youth international level with Finland, and looks to compete for time on the floor right away as well.
• Other newcomers poised to play a big role in the upcoming season are junior KJ Byers and freshman Jordan Roberts. The two versatile players can each play multiple positions, and bring great athleticism to the Beach. Byers was one of the nation’s blocked shots leaders at the junior college level despite playing primarily on the perimeter, while Roberts was selected as the CIF Division II Player of the Year out of Ridgeview High School in Bakersfield.
• The roster is rounded out by three more additions. Breamon Richard has a long history with the program, after formerly spending one season as a manager with the team. He then went on to star at Long Beach City College for two seasons, and has returned to the Beach after leading the Vikings in scoring last season at 20.4 points per game. Milos Apic is a 6-10 stretch forward from Serbia who joins the Beach as a freshman after two years in the United States and Sandy Springs Friends School. Finally, Jaice Gardner also joined the team for his freshman season in 2017-18, but a preseason injury has the possibility to hold the 6-4 forward out for the season.
• The two frontcourt stars for the Beach also have a career milestone within reach, as they aim to join 23 other former 49ers as 1,000 point scorers at Long Beach State. It would take a big year from Gabe Levin in his final campaign, but doable, while Temidayo Yussuf is 560 points away from the milestone with two years of eligibility remaining.
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