Long Beach State men’s basketball had plenty of chances to beat visiting Oregon State at Walter Pyramid on Sunday afternoon, but after the teams traded runs in the second half, a possible game-tying 3-pointer from Deishuan Booker went long as the Beavers survived for a 75-72 victory.
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“I really like a lot of things we did today,” LBSU coach Dan Monson said. “We have to evaluate ourselves on improving and not the wins and losses. We battled for 30 minutes today in a way that shows we can compete in the Big West this year. But we have to get to 40 minutes.”
LBSU (2-5) had four players score double digits led by Edon Maxhuni, who scored a team-high 15 points off of the bench. Senior Temidayo Yussuf finished with a double double 10 points and 11 rebounds as the Beach outrebounded the taller Beavers 44-41. KJ Byers scored 13 points, and Jordan Roberts chipped in 10 points.
Oregon State (5-1) shot 33 percent from the field in the first half, and 53 percent in the second half. Ethan Thompson scored a game-high 18 points, and fellow guard Stephen Thompson Jr. finished with 17 points. Tres Tinkle had 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
LBSU was able to build a lead in the first half thanks to impressive ball movement against the OSU zone. When the Beavers answered to make the game close again, Maxhuni came off of the bench to score a game-high 10 points in the first half. That included an and-1 3-pointer from the wing. LBSU led 38-33 at halftime.
“You just need to be ready at any moment,” Maxhuni said of coming off of the bench. “We’ve been practicing moving the ball better in practice, and now you can see it in the game as we get more open shots.”
OSU opened the second half on a 13-3 run that put the Beavers up by 11 points with eight minutes left to play.
“We know we can fight back from a deficit,” Yussuf said. “We did it at UCLA and we’ve done it before. We always believe in ourselves.”
LBSU respond with a 13-4 run of its own to make it a one-possession game in the final minutes. Trailing by three with 11 seconds remaining, LBSU’s Booker took a long three from the top of the key that hit the back iron. Jordan Griffin got the offensive rebound, but his 3-point attempt was blocked at the buzzer.
“I want to focus on our fight when we got down because that’s going to carry us a long ways,” Monson said. “We’re going to have dry spells and mistakes. We’re not going to play perfect. How we react to that is more important. The game is full of runs and emotion and our guys put a lot of that behind them today and focused on the next play. To me, that’s what we have to focus on and understand and grow from.”
LBSU visits USC at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.