Colin Slater, Chance Hunter and Michael Carter III made their Walter Pyramid debuts for Long Beach State on Saturday in front of a Homecoming crowd and led the Beach to a 74-62 win over San Diego.
“It was a good team win,” LBSU coach Dan Monson said. “We played 11 guys and all 11 were significant in the win. I think that’s huge for us. The team didn’t settle. We had 32 points in the paint. That’s a good days work.”
Hunter scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds for the Beach. Slater scored 18 points on 7/10 shooting from the field, and Carter III scored 14 points.
“It felt good to have this first home game and get this first win under our belt,” said Slater, who sat out last year after transferring. “We love LB Nation. Every time they come out, they show out. It was good for the new guys to see it and understand that when you play good basketball people want to see it. We’re going to continue to do so and make people proud to rep Long Beach.”
The LBSU defense looked strong in a narrow defeat at UCLA on Wednesday, and was active again while creating 29 turnovers on Saturday. The Beach scored 30 points off of turnovers.
“I really liked our disruptiveness on the defensive end,” Monson said. “(San Diego) missed shots they would normally make because we had them out of rhythm. That’s how we’re going to have to win. We have to create disruption and get points off of defense because offensively we’re going to be a work in progress for awhile.”
San Diego (0-2) held an early advantage but Carter III led the comeback, and LBSU (1-1) took the lead for good at the 11 minute mark of the first half. Hunter sparked a 13-2 run in second half that put the game away.
“Chance is that left-handed unorthodox scorer,” Monson said. “The thing I like about Chance is that he’s aggressive. He’s just sensing that he’s got a little confidence. Our trip to Costa Rica was huge for him to get his feet wet. We had a mismatch on him and we tried to isolate him a little bit. He didn’t settle, which I liked, he was taking the ball to the basket.”
The Beach led by at least 10 points for most of the second half.
“I fed off of the crowds energy today,” Hunter said. “My teammates found me the ball in the right spots. I feel like we fed off of each others energy and that led to the lead.”
LBSU has won its last nine consecutive Homecoming games.
“I’m excited our guys could learn from a win unlike Wednesday when we messed stuff up and could have won,” Monson said. “Wednesday rattled us confidence wise not being able to finish. I was really pleased down the stretch when we got up six like we did on Wednesday we were able to extend it.”
The Beach is at Stanford and Saint Mary’s this week.