Words by Jarrod Castillo Staff Writer, Photos by Francisco Valladares Athletics Editor
After beating the University of San Francisco on Nov. 14, the Beach (2-0) followed that up with a dominant victory over San Francisco State (2-1), 95-70, led by junior guard Bryan Alberts’ 18 points.
Though the game was a blowout in the second half, the first half was more evenly matched as both sides appeared to have the jitters. There were multiple possessions in which both the Beach and the Gators moved the ball with gusto for open three-point shots, but they went unrequited.
In order to combat their woeful shooting from outside, the Gators instead would push the tempo after every Beach shot attempt, regardless if it was a make or miss, in order to get a quick transition basket. The Beach soon figured this tactic out and tightened up their defense, using their length and athleticism to bother shooters.
Senior forward Gabe Levin demonstrated the importance of length as time and again in the first half, he was skying above friendly and opposing players alike to devour rebounds, be it offensive or defensive. This would lead to Levin grabbing seven rebounds, almost half of what the Gators had as a team in the half.
That aggression on the boards would lead to good plays for the Beach as multiple players benefitted from the second-chance opportunities that the team received. A recipient of these opportunities was senior guard Barry Ogalue, who led the way for the Beach with 11 points, while Warren Jackson paced the Gators with 12. Nonetheless, the Beach led 43-33 going into halftime.
Coming out of the break, it looked like the Beach players all had a boost of energy, battling to win the “50-50” balls and moving efficiently without the ball. That is how Alberts found his rhythm and how he was able to do most of his damage in the second half.
After going 2-6 from three in the first half for six points, Alberts went off for 12 in the second half, on 4-6 shooting from distance to end the game as the Beach’s leading scorer with 18. Though he helped put the game away, Alberts says that the rhythm he found himself in was due to the Beach’s defense.
“I think it really all starts on defense,” he said postgame. “Once we got stops on defense, it brings the whole energy up throughout the whole team and that makes shots go in easier.”
Though the Beach were raining threes, there was a moment in the game which dampered the Beach’s energy somewhat. With 16:10 left in the second half, junior forward Mason Riggins would attempt a fast break dunk attempt that instead turned into a layup.
Instead of jamming it down on a defender, Riggins instead finessed the ball into the net as something went awry on his takeoff. Soon after, he limped off with an injury and a timeout was called.
“It sounded like yesterday at practice, he tweaked something below his knee, in the patella-tendon area,” coach Dan Monson said. “They don’t think it’s too serious, but we didn’t want to put him back in.”
“We’re hopeful that Thursday he’ll be ready to go,” he concluded.
Though it remains to be seen whether or not Riggins will be out for a long period of time, what was certain was how dominant the Beach really was in the contest. So much so, that according to post-game statistics, the game was tied for 44 seconds and then the Beach led for the rest of the 39:16, leading in almost every statistical category.
After thoroughly dismantling the Gators of San Francisco, the Beach now sets their sights on the Oregon State Beavers (1-1) at Oregon. The game is set to tip off at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18.