A last second dunk by KJ Byers lifted Long Beach State men’s basketball to a 67-66 victory over visiting Pepperdine on Thursday night at Walter Pyramid.
Pepperdine (6-7) led for most of the second half, and took a one-point lead on free throws with less than 25 seconds to play. After a timeout, senior Temidayo Yussuf took it to the lane where he found Beyers for a game-winning dunk. Yussuf led LBSU (4-9) with 21 points and 11 rebounds, so the Beach new the Waves would be looking for the big man in the middle on the final play.
“With Yussuf being as aggressive as he was, they started to crowd down on him,” Beyers said. “In the huddle I was telling him that they were bringing my guy over. He just told me to find the open spot and he would get it to me.”
Beyers, Jordan Roberts and Bryan Alberts all scored 10 points for LBSU. The Beach uncharacteristically took good care of the ball with 13 assists and 11 turnovers. It is the fourth double-double of the season for Yussuf.
“I’m proud of the way we won because it was the best defensive effort this year, and the worst shooting night, but we didn’t let the shooting define us and we found a different way to win,” LBSU coach Dan Monson said. “I think it was evident at the end of the game that it was two teams that weren’t used to winning. You have to experience it to understand it.”
Pepperdine was led by a game-high 23 points from Colby Ross. St. Anthony High alum Eric Cooper Jr. scored 13 points for the Waves, and Long Beach Poly High alum Darryl Poly Jr. had three rebounds and a steal for the visitors. Jade’ Smith missed a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer after Byers’ dunk.
LBSU will host Colorado State at 2 p.m. on Saturday.