Long Beach State continued their late-season run thanks to a Jordan Roberts game-winner with 0.5 seconds remaining to defeat Hawaii 68-66.
After falling behind by as many as 18 points in the first half, the 49ers rallied together and fought successfully to keep their season alive. Just like it was at the end of the regular season, their defense led the way again.
“It starts with our defense and that is why we won tonight,” said senior guard Deishuan Booker, who had 15 points. “We have become a confident and resilient group.”
The 49ers faced a steep first half deficit against the Rainbow Warriors, a team that swept their regular season meetings.
However, coach Dan Monson decided to apply a full court press with his team in desperation mode late in the first half. The lead was cut down to 37-29 as Long Beach found their way back into the game.
The two teams proceeded to go back in fourth in the second half. Each 49er rally was met by Hawaii pushing the lead back to 10 points.
With around 7:00 minutes remaining, Hawaii took a controlling 59-47 lead.
The earlier season 49ers would’ve folded.
But not at this point in the season. Every game in which Long Beach State had fallen slightly short prepared them for this moment.
The Beach responded with a furious 11-0 rally thanks to their pressuring defense. They made the game an up and down one, pushing Hawaii out of their comfort zone.
Long Beach State proceeded to tie it up and take a 63-61 lead at the 3:00 minute mark thanks to five straight of his 11 points from sophomore guard Drew Cobb. The run included his extremely timely first made three of the season.
After both teams went cold from the free throw line, Hawaii tied the game. With :22 left the Rainbow Warriors junior forward Zigmars Raimo made it 66 apiece.
This set up Jordan Roberts with a pull-up midrange jump-shot with 0.5 seconds remaining to win the game 68-66. This capped off Roberts’ game high of 18 points to lead the Beach to a victory.
The win not only signified the 49ers advancing, but the progression the team has made.
Earlier in the season, coach Monson declared the winner of the Big West will be the team who improves the most by the end of the season.
With just two games standing between the 49ers and a Big West Conference title, the most improved team just may reside in Long Beach, California.
— LBSU Men's Basketball (@LBSUMBB) March 15, 2019
Monson was rewarded for his team’s effort with his 200th career win as Long Beach State Men’s Basketball head coach.
“This group here is like a family,” said Booker. “We play hard and we play for each other.”
Long Beach State will be back tomorrow against the number one team UC Irvine. With the 49ers giving the Anteaters their only Big West loss this year, the game should shape up to be a good one.
- I am a huge Yankees, New York Giants and Los Angeles Lakers fan. However I have a huge passion for all three sports in general across the MLB, NFL, and NBA. I also cover the Cal State Long Beach Men's Basketball team.
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