Daily 49er

‘Redemption week’ continues for Long Beach State Saturday

The 49ers head to Fresno State looking for payback after last year’s blowout loss.

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‘Redemption week’ continues for Long Beach State Saturday

Redshirt junior Ron Freeman emphatically dunks the ball against Southern Utah Wednesday.

Redshirt junior Ron Freeman emphatically dunks the ball against Southern Utah Wednesday.

Austin Brumblay | Daily 49er

Redshirt junior Ron Freeman emphatically dunks the ball against Southern Utah Wednesday.

Austin Brumblay | Daily 49er

Austin Brumblay | Daily 49er

Redshirt junior Ron Freeman emphatically dunks the ball against Southern Utah Wednesday.

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After Wednesday’s win over Southern Utah, Long Beach State men’s basketball head coach Dan Monson deemed it the beginning of redeeming itself. Last season, the 49ers lost on the road to Southern Utah and were blown out by 36 points at home to Fresno State. This year, Monson and company are looking forward to getting another shot at the Bulldogs (6-2).

“This is a redemption week for us, last year the Southern Utah road loss and the Fresno home loss were two pivotal games in our pre-season and it kind of turned it the wrong direction for us,” Monson said. “That was last year, so we got one [Wednesday] and now we have an opportunity to go to Fresno and see if we can do that with Fresno.”

Long Beach’s (3-7) 4.p.m. Saturday matchup poses a much tougher challenge as Fresno competes in the Mountain West conference, a step above the Big West conference or Southern Utah’s Big Sky conference. The Bulldogs are currently riding a four-game win streak with victories over Hawai’i and Pacific.

Led by senior guards Braxton Huggins and Deshon Taylor, who both average 18 points per game, Fresno State only has six players in its rotation. In comparison, Long Beach has eight players who average more than 15 minutes per game. If the 49ers can get into the paint and draw fouls, they could force the Bulldogs’ starters into foul trouble and see more action from less experienced bench players.

Another key to the game for the 49ers will be controlling the glass and out rebounding opposing teams like they have in the last four games. As a team, Long Beach is averaging 39 rebounds per game, while Fresno State averages 36.6. Senior forwards Temidayo Yussuf and KJ Byers lead the team in rebounds per game with 6.6 and 6.2 respectively.

“Fresno is a level up than [Southern Utah] and it’s on the road,” Monson said. “We’re gonna have to play better than we did [Wednesday].”

After Saturday, Long Beach will continue its two-game road trip with a 7 p.m. matchup Monday at Pacific. The Tigers (7-4) lost to Fresno State 81-78 in overtime Nov. 28.

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