Daily 49er

Long Beach State men’s basketball beats UC Irvine

With its best defensive of performance in conference play, LBSU beats UC Irvine 72-63.

Benjamin Hammerton
Coach Dan Monson shows his displeasure at the referee during the UCI game Saturday at Walter Pyramid.

Christian Gonzales, Staff Writer

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For the Long Beach State men’s basketball team, it’s been a guessing game on how the team will fare in between contests.

So, after giving up 108 points in a loss to Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, the 49ers had one of their best defensive performances beating UC Irvine 72-63 victory in front of a 4,213 sellout crowd at the Walter Pyramid.

“I was pleased with our attitude and effort today,” LBSU head coach Dan Monson said. “We could get better. This is not a landmark win by any means, but something we can use as a barometer of how good we can be.”

Junior guard Evan Payne scored a game-high 19 points; nine were from free throws, including six rebounds.

With great play from junior guard Justin Bibbins, freshman Loren Jackson and Payne, the 49er guards combined for 48 points.

The Black and Blue Rivalry started with neither team being able to score in the first four minutes until Jackson went coast-to-coast for first basket of the game.

The 49ers (10-15, 5-4 Big West) held the Anteaters (13-12, 6-3 Big West) scoreless for the first five minutes.

That opened a gap for LBSU to start off the game strong, which allowed 49ers to take an early lead.

LBSU led by 15 points in the first half with 5:48 left, but thanks to the UCI knocking down 3-pointers, the Anteaters cut the lead to four.

The 49ers struggled at the start of the second half, allowing the Anteaters to tie the game, but an 11-0 run by LBSU with the help of Payne and Jackson lifted the curse from their past second half struggles.

“The game is evolved around runs and we knew that,” Jackson said. “We said we are going to get this stop and make it our run now.”

Despite allowing the run by the 49ers, the Anteaters crawled their way back into the game and took their first as senior guard Luke Nelson knocked down a 3-pointer — but Payne answered right back with a 3-pointer of his own.

The 49ers never looked back after that, and finished the game strong down the stretch to move into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big West.

The starting backcourt was responsible for 48 out of the 72 points scored tonight.
LBSU will travel to UC Riverside Thursday at 7 p.m. for a game that will be aired on ESPN3.

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