Daily 49er

LBSU sweeps season series against Northridge

Long Beach finishes its road trip with two wins.

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LBSU sweeps season series against Northridge

Long Beach State junior forward Mason Riggins scores a layup in Jan. 20 game against Cal State Fullerton at the Walter Pyramid.

Long Beach State junior forward Mason Riggins scores a layup in Jan. 20 game against Cal State Fullerton at the Walter Pyramid.

Joseph Kling

Long Beach State junior forward Mason Riggins scores a layup in Jan. 20 game against Cal State Fullerton at the Walter Pyramid.

Joseph Kling

Joseph Kling

Long Beach State junior forward Mason Riggins scores a layup in Jan. 20 game against Cal State Fullerton at the Walter Pyramid.

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With nine seconds left in the game, senior forward Gabe Levin stepped up to the line with the match hanging in the balance. In front of a hostile crowd of 1,207, he hit a pair of clutch free throws to seal the deal and go home with a win.

LBSU (12-12, 6-2 Big West) swept the season series against Cal State Northridge (5-16, 2-5 Big West) with a 70-66 win at the Matadome Saturday. It was a hard-fought match that went down to the wire, but ultimately fell into the hands of the 49ers.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it’s the only picture you’re taking,” head coach Dan Monson said via LBSUHoops on Twitter.

Levin continued his impressive play by leading the team with 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists. His front court partner Temidayo Yussuf had a quiet night with just four points and five rebounds due to early foul trouble.

Junior guard Deishuan Booker contributed 12 points and eight assists, but struggled with taking care of the ball, turning it over eight times.

“A couple of the turnovers were just miscommunications with my teammates,” Booker said. “For the rest of my turnovers, I just need to make better decisions.”

Monson credited junior forward KJ Byers and freshmen guard Jordan Roberts for being the catalyst of the team’s defense and making big plays down the stretch.

Long Beach was aggressive in the paint, which led to 21 free throw attempts compared to Northridge’s nine. The “bully ball” mentality of the 49ers has been effective all season and it continued to work in their favor.

It was a close-knit battle in both halves, but the 49ers defense put them on top. Long Beach kept the Matadors in check from the field by limiting them to 41 percent shooting, but that wasn’t enough to take over. Northridge found its footing, going on a 9-0 run with two minutes left in the match to cut the deficit to two points. The 49ers had trouble inbounding the ball, but the team was finally able to get it to Levin to ice the game.

“It was a learning experience, but we need to get back home and practice how to end these games much better,” assistant coach Senque Carey said on 22 West Radio. “We got the 50-50 balls at the end of the game, and that’s how you win on the road in the Big West.”

The second half of the Black and Blue Rivalry continues at 7 p.m. on Wednesday as Long Beach comes back to the Walter Pyramid to take on UC Irvine.

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