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Long Beach State’s Offense Shuts Down in Loss to Detroit

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Junior center Leon Derricks scored 14 points and freshman point guard Jermaine Jackson added 11 to lead the Detroit Titans to a 52-45 victory over Long Beach State Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore guard James Cotton was the only 49er in double figures with 12 points. Sophomore forward Akeli Jackson finished with eight points and 12 rebounds for Long Beach State (0-2).

Long Beach State, coming off a loss to Arizona, never led in the second half. The 49ers closed the deficit to five points three times, but poor shooting kept them from drawing closer. They made only 15 of 47 shots.

“I think we played hard,” Long Beach State Coach Seth Greenberg said. “We defended well in the second half, but we need to improve offensively.”

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The 49ers made only three field goals in the final 10 minutes 38 seconds of the game. Detroit didn’t fare much better over that stretch, managing to knock down only two shots from the floor.

With 2:55 left, a dunk by Cotton cut Detroit’s lead to 45-40. But the Titans (1-0) responded with their last basket of the game when Jackson fired a long pass against the Long Beach State press to set up a dunk by Derricks, a transfer from Michigan.

Detroit made only 15 of 33 free throws, including five of the last 10, but the 49ers couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities.

“This game can be summed up with three things,” Greenberg said. “First, they played well defensively, second, we need to move the ball better, and third, the floor [at Cobo Arena] was prohibitive.

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“It was very slippery out there for both teams and difficult to make a hard cut.”

During one possession, the 49ers fired three three-pointers, but came away without any points.

“When we have three good shots by shooters like Rasul Salahuddin, James Cotton, and Eric Brown we will usually score,” Greenberg said. “We’re going to make those shots this year.”

Detroit Coach Perry Watson was pleased with his team’s effort.

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“This was a real satisfying win,” Watson said. “We knew Long Beach State would be a tough challenge to open the season against with four players back with NCAA experience.”

Detroit took charge with a 14-4 run midway through the first half. Long Beach State trailed at halftime, 35-26.

“We knew they would be a challenge defensively because they are so quick and athletic on the perimeter,” Watson said. “We had problems offensively, but we hang our hat on rebounding and defense, and it was our defense that made the difference.”

Despite Long Beach’s 0-2 start, Greenberg remains confident.

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“We’re going to win the conference,” he said. “I have no doubt. This team will improve offensively.”


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