The regular season has been a roller coaster for Long Beach State men’s basketball, and it ended on its highest peak on Saturday night. After Senior Night celebrations in front of 2,930 at the Walter Pyramid, Gabe Levin led LBSU to a convincing and entertaining 77-59 win over UC Riverside.
“I’m so thankful and grateful for all of the support I’ve gotten here,” Levin said. “The ball just moved to the open guy tonight and that’s how we should play. It’s a fun way to play.”
NCAA Men’s Basketball: Long Beach State vs. UC Riverside
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Levin scored a team-high 17 points while LBSU point guard Deishuan Booker recorded his third double-double of the season with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
“The coaches have been riding me hard all year, and the stuff they’ve been riding me on is starting to make sense, so I can play with a little more swag,” Booker said.
The 49ers were coming off of a buzzer-beating upset at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday.
“When you come off of a win like that you hope to catch momentum,” Monson said. “It takes a spark to start a fire, and I was a fire in our locker room after that game. We’ve got a hop in our step that we haven’t had all year. And it’s the right time of the year.”
LBSU (15-17, 9-7) is the No. 5 seed for the Big West Conference Tournament next week at Honda Center. They will face Cal State Fullerton at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Bryan Alberts helped the 49ers build an early lead on his way to 15 points, and Temidayo Yussuf helped the 49ers outscore UCR 15-0 on second-chance points. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
LBSU started the game with six consecutive defensive stops and never trailed. The 49ers led by as many as 24 points while shooting 46.8 percent from the floor, and 42.1 percent (8-for-19) from 3-point range. UCR (9-21, 4-12) turned the ball over 18 times.