Long Beach State gives it away to St. Mary’s, 82-74
On the plus side, Long Beach State won’t have to review that much film to examine what went wrong.
The last five minutes of the 49ers’ 82-74 loss to Saint Mary’s on Saturday at the Honda Center in the Wooden Classic encapsulated pretty much every flaw that plagued them.
Long Beach State committed four turnovers and failed to put up much of a defensive fight over that stretch as the Gaels turned a one-point deficit into a double-digit lead on the way to their third consecutive victory.
“If our guys can’t see what the difference was between the way they executed with the game on the line and the way we did, then I don’t know what learning tool you can give them,” Coach Dan Monson said. “It was unacceptable.”
Forward Mitchell Young scored a career-high 28 points off the bench for Saint Mary’s (9-2), which took the lead for good on Clint Steindl’s three-point basket with 4 minutes 19 seconds remaining.
The game took on the feel of an extended layup drill for the Gaels after they spotted Long Beach State (5-7) the first 10 points. Saint Mary’s shot 50.8% and scored 48 points in the paint, eventually wearing down the 49ers with extended possessions that often stretched to the final seconds of the shot clock.
“We got tired,” said forward Eugene Phelps, who had 17 points and was one of five 49ers in double figures scoring. “When we get tired we tend to struggle sometimes.”
Forward T.J. Robinson had 19 points and nine rebounds for the 49ers, who were prolific on offense until the final minutes. Long Beach State shot 57.1% in the first half before cooling off to make 48.1% of its shots over the final 20 minutes.
“We could not defend them for the longest period of time,” Coach Randy Bennett said. “Finally, at the end we were able to get some stops.”
The 49ers were playing their fifth consecutive game without standout forward Larry Anderson, who continues to recover from a broken hand. Monson said Anderson was scheduled to have the cast removed from his hand before Long Beach State plays UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 28 and could return the next week.