SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Forward Gabe Levin scored 21 points and Long Beach State used a 45-28 advantage on the boards to defeat Cal Poly 87-71 in a Big West Conference men's basketball game Thursday night inside Mott Athletics Center.
Temidayo Yussuf and Deishuan Booker added 17 points each — Yussuf also grabbing 10 rebounds for a double-double — and Edon Maxhuni contributed 14 points as the 49ers improved to 11-12 on the year and 5-2 in the Big West, alone in second place and percentage points behind Hawai'i (13-5, 4-1).
With its fifth straight loss and 10th in its last 12 games after a 4-4 start, Cal Poly fell to 6-14 and 1-5. Junior guard Donovan Fields led the Mustangs with 17 points and senior forward Luke Meikle added 13.
Cal Poly held several small leads in the opening eight minutes before KJ Byers made a layup and free throw to give Long Beach State the lead for good at 16-14 with 12:09 to play in the first half.
The 49ers utilized a 10-0 run to pull ahead to a 31-19 advantage. Maxhuni's layup with 5:28 to play capped the spurt and Long Beach State settled for a 41-30 lead at the break on a three-pointer by Booker with two seconds to go.
Cal Poly never got closer than 10 points in the second half and the 49ers led by as many as 22 points.
Long Beach State corraled 17 boards on the offensive end and had three players with eight or more rebounds. Cal Poly managed just four offensive boards and was led by Meikle with seven caroms and Josh Martin with six.
Fields, who entered the game No. 4 in the nation in free throw shooting, made all four of his charity shots Thursday and is 52 for 55 (94.5 percent) this season. He produced his 14th double-digit scoring game against the 49ers and also contributed seven assists.
Cal Poly was 15 of 16 from the free throw line — its 93.8 percentage the second-highest of the season for the Mustangs — but Long Beach State was 28 of 33 from the foul line.
Both teams made 42 percent of their floor shots, thought Cal Poly was more efficient from three-point range, sinking 10 of 21 from long range compared to five of 13 for the 49ers.
Cal Poly visits UC Davis for a 5 p.m. Big West game Saturday. The Mustangs host UC Riverside and first-place Hawai'i next week.
Photo above of Cal Poly senior guard Victor Joseph courtesy of Alexander Bohlen