Men's Basketball, Men's Sports, Sports

LBSU tops Stanford behind career day from Jordan Griffin

After Saturday’s double-digit loss to Fresno State, the Long Beach State men’s basketball team responded in a big way on Sunday after beating Stanford 76-68. In front of a rowdy crowd of 2,564 in the Walter Pyramid, the 49ers came out with focus and intensity before taking down the Pac-12 opponent.

“I’m just really, really excited for my guys because it was a much-needed reward,” head coach Dan Monson said. “It’s been a long trek and we got shook [Saturday]. It was a real good team win.”

Christian Gonzales
Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson celebrates as his team was leading against Stanford in Sunday’s game at the Walter Pyramid.

Unlike most games this season, LBSU (4-6) came into the game with energy and prevented the slow starts that have haunted the team all year long. The 49ers and Cardinal battled back-and-forth the entire first half, with both teams never holding more than a four-point lead. At halftime Stanford led Long Beach 29-27.

Sophomore guard Jordan Griffin and junior forward Mason Riggins led the team in the first half providing scoring, energy and an inside presence. Riggins’ intensity and scoring have started to become more regular in the last few games.

“I’ve just tried to play harder, play with more emotion and show that I’m trying hard for my teammates,” Riggins said.

In the second half, both teams continued trading buckets in a tight contest. With 9:53 remaining in the game, Stanford went on a 5-0 run and called timeout to set up its defense. Long Beach responded with a 7-0 run of its own, after five straight points from junior guard Bryan Alberts and an explosive dunk from senior forward Gabe Levin.

With 2:24 remaining, Griffin and Levin took the game into their hands and led the 49ers on a 8-0 run to seal the win. In his first start of the season, Griffin’s hot shooting turned into a career-high 21 points. The sophomore guard shot 5-for-9 on three-pointers and shot 8-for-15 overall from the field.

“I feel confident,” Griffin said. “I just go out there and shoot the ball and don’t think about it. Just shoot it with confidence usually.”

Alberts contributed 15 points in the win and junior point guard Deishuan Booker impressed with 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

Although Booker, Alberts and Griffin combined for 49 points, the teams second unit only managed to score six points.  

Sunday’s win was the first time in program history that Long Beach has beaten two Pac-12 teams in the same season.

Long Beach will head out Wednesday on a short two-game road trip, starting with Southern Utah to take on the Thunderbirds at 5:30 p.m, and Pepperdine on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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