Big West Conference

Buzzer Beater Helps Long Beach State Secure Victory Over Iona in Vegas

The Long Beach State 49ers secured an 86-85 victory over the Iona Gaels Monday afternoon in Las Vegas, thanks to a buzzer beater as time expired.

After Iona took the lead with just four seconds left, Junior guard Ron Freeman went coast to coast with a scoop layup as time expired. The win snaps a two-game skid for the 49ers, improving to 2-3 on the young season.

“Hopefully this win can turn our season around,” said Freeman. “I was glad we were able to pull it off, we needed this one.”

Long Beach State hit both extremes of their team potential. They stroked 58.8 percent of their threes but also had 25 team turnovers. Such a stat prevented them from putting the Gaels away despite leading for most of it.

Starters and upperclassmen Ron Freeman, KJ Byers, and Deishuan Booker all had 14 points each. However the Senior center Temidayo Yussif provided a spark off the bench with 18 points.

Byers had his first double-double of the season pulling down 10 rebounds. Booker led the team with seven assists, but seven costly turnovers as well.

Senior guard Bryan Alberts chipped in with three three-pointers of his own. Freshman guard Edon Maxhuni also added a pair of threes en route to an eight-point performance.

While the 49ers held Iona to 43 percent shooting and caused 17 turnovers, it was not all pretty. The Gaels kept sneaking back into the game with free throws and offensive rebounds. They snagged 10 offensive rebounds and went 23 for 28 on free throws.

Junior guard Asante Gist led the Gaels with 17 points coupled with four steals. Upperclassmen Isaiah Still, Rickey McGill and E.J. Crawford all had at least 15 points for Iona.

In the end, the bench scoring proved to make a huge difference. The 49ers bench outscored the Gaels 36-17, showcasing the team’s depth.

The victory marks Long Beach State’s first at the MGM Resorts Main Event at Cox Pavilion. They will take on the Utah Valley Wolverines Wednesday afternoon in the T-Mobile Arena, as they look to make it two wins in a row.

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