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Basketball Long Beach State

Long Beach State Men’s Basketball Edges Idaho

The562’s coverage of Long Beach State athletics for the 2022-23 season is sponsored by Marilyn Bohl.

This season has included plenty of games left unfinished by Long Beach State men’s basketball, but All-Big West guard Joel Murray helped the Beach close out a nail-biter against Idaho on Wednesday at Walter Pyramid.

After building a 20-point lead in the first half, LBSU found itself in a one possession game late with Idaho pulling as close as one point. Murray came up big in the final minutes to lead LBSU to a 82-75 win.

With the game clock winding under a minute to play, Murray stepped back behind the arc and drained a three, taking an 80-75 lead with 36 seconds remaining. Murray would go on to hit two game-sealing free throws to close out the game on a 5-0 run.

“(Murray) was definitely tough at the end,” LBSU coach Dan Monson said. “He hit a big shot there. That wasn’t a play or anything, that’s just our best player taking the ball and getting it done.”

“I felt like there was no other shot for me to shoot,” Murray said. “I definitely missed a few shots (in the game), but I felt like I had to just rise up and shoot and not really think about it.”

LBSU shot a season high 52% from three after starting the night 5-of-5 from behind the arc.

“It was great to see early we went 5-for-5, then 1-for-5, and then good in the second half again,” Monson said of his team’s three point shooting. ”But, we still have to be an inside team. Getting outscored by 10 in the paint is uncharacteristic of us.”


The Beach gave up most of their points down in the paint, allowing 34 points to Idaho from under the rim. Isaac Jones led the way for Idaho, getting all his work done in the paint including 15 points and 10 boards.

“We definitely didn’t defend as well, especially in the second half,” Monson said. “We’re a team that has to get into the open court and lead off of this defense. I told the guys afterwards that we can't be giving up 75 points and think we’re going to win our league.”

Murray led the way with a game high 21 points. LBSU transfer Marcus Tsohonis also helped out with 18, and Lassina Traore and Aboubacar Traore each scored 10 apiece.

LBSU’s win over Idaho concludes their non-conference season. The Beach opens Big West play by hosting UC San Diego on Dec. 29.

Monson spoke about the importance of heading into Big West play with a win, saying, “Basketball is a game of momentum. You win a couple games and you start expecting more.”

“Yesterday I spoke in the huddle. I said today was the difference between being 5-7 going into conference or 6-6,” Murray said. "That’s what I emphasized yesterday in practice. I feel like the guys bought into that. When you've got that momentum going into conference you kind of feel better knowing you snuck out two wins. Regardless of how the pre-season went, we kind of figured it out heading into conference and we built a little more momentum and trust between the team.”

Eli Aquino
Eli Aquino is a high school student with plenty of writing and technology skills. He has a healthy knowledge and passion for sports and looks to take on journalism as a future career.