Seniors Temidayo Yussuf and Deishuan Booker carried Long Beach State men’s basketball to an 82-71 victory over visiting Southern Utah on Wednesday night at Walter Pyramid.
Booker took over the second half and scored a game-high 21 points, while Yussuf recorded a double-double with 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. It’s the seventh of his career and second of the season.
Southern Utah (4-2) opened up a 26-14 lead at the eight minute media timeout after LBSU senior KJ Byers was ejected for a flagrant foul after the whistle.
“That was the worst 10 minutes of our season,” LBSU coach Dan Monson said. “It was frustrating and disappointing. It’s ironic we followed that up with maybe the best 10 minutes of our season. I proud of this team for digging out a win.”
Yussuf helped LBSU turn the game around by scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds in the last 7:30 of the first half. LBSU finished on a 19-6 run to take a 33-32 lead into halftime.
“We came out slow and knew we were forcing mistakes,” Yussuf said. “But we slowed it down and got stops. It comes from the captains. I had to pick up my intensity and level of play for us to pick up our level of play.”
SUU kept the game close thanks to 12 points in the second half from Cameron Oluyitan, but Booker sparked a late run with about four minutes left to close the game out. He also had a game-high four assists.
Edon Maxhuni came off of the bench to score 11 points for LBSU, while senior Bryan Alberts chipped in 10 points. Ron Freeman also had eight points, eight rebounds and a highlight dunk in the final minutes.
“I think it’s starting to click for the whole team,” Booker said. “That’s what’s fun about it. Everyone is playing well and together. I love that beautiful basketball. It makes me smile.”
The Beach outrebounded the Thunderbirds 51-35, and had a 23-8 edge in second chance points with 20 offensive rebounds.
LBSU travels to Fresno State on Saturday.