Methinks this year's Long Beach St. 49ers team isn't quite as good as last year's NCAA Tournament version.
James Southerland didn't make any three-pointers in the game but the rest of his team finally woke up and started hitting some of their own. Michael Carter-Williams sank three and so did Trevor Cooney, even if they both had to take 7-8 attempts to get there. The Orange were 10-28 from three-point range on the night overall.
C.J. Fair led the Orange with 16 points and a career-high of 13 boards. This year's squad seems to be relying on rebounds from outside the "big three" and whether or not that comes back to bite us, we'll see.
C.J. wasn't the only double-double man. MC Dubz scored 15 and dished 10 assists as he continues to lead the nation in the stat. It's his third-straight game with a double-double.
Trevor Cooney, Rakeem Christmas and Brandon Triche all scored eleven. Meanwhile, Southerland had his second-straight low-scoring game (3 points). Seems like we'll be referring to him as Big Game James for the time being. (To be fair, his services were not needed in this one).
Defensively, DaJuan Coleman, Baye Moussa Keita and Christmas combined for 7 blocks and 12 def. rebounds. While no one on this year's squad is emulating Fab Melo, they're doing a good job in a combined effort of doing so. Christmas' 11 rebounds was also a career-high.
He reminds me a lot of me my freshman year. In practice, I just give him a few pointers on how to make yourself available on the offensive end and going to the glass," Fair said. "‘Cause he’s got the ability to do it. He’s 6-8, very long arms and athletic. He’s got the ability to do it, he’s just gotta have his mind set on having his way."
Next up for the Orange, the Monmouth Hawks, who visit the Dome on Saturday.