When you're playing a team that has a 180-13 record at home for the last 13 years, you need everyone on the floor and on the bench ready to go. That wasn't at all the case for Long Beach State as head coach Dan Monson was ejected four minutes and 24 seconds into the game. Things didn't get any better as Utah State continued its home dominance of non-conference opponents with an 81-53 win at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum Tuesday night.
The Aggies (6-2) moved to a 93.3 winning percentage against non-conference team in the Stew Morrill era, who picked up his 300th victory. Long Beach State (5-5) fell to 4-21 all-time at Utah State as the Aggies won their 18th straight home game.
Pooh Williams paced the Aggies with 19 points and six assists while Tai Wesley had 16 points, 14 boards and six assists. It was after a Williams dunk that Monson was ejected.
"I thought one of their kids was taunting our bench a couple times in a row," Monson said. "I got on the court which is an automatic technical but you will have to ask the officials why I got the second one because I don't know. All I did was explain what was going on, in my mind."
The player in question turned out to be junior college transfer guard Brockeith Pane, who was immidiatly pulled from the game by coach Morrill. "(Monson) thought that (Pane) yelled at the bench and we can't have that," Morrill told the Desert News after the game (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700089420/Utah-State-basketball-Aggies-overwhelm-Long-Beach-State-81-53.html" target="_blank">CLICK HERE for Kraig Williams' article). "I don't know for sure what happened, I didn't see what happened. Obviously that will not be tolerated if it did happen. You'll find yourself next to me for quite a while if that happens. You have got to play the game with class."
As for the 49ers on the court, it was a far cry from the inspired play that lifted them to an http://gazettes.com/sports/lbsu/article_4eff24f8-0107-11e0-b7e7-001cc4c03286.html" target="_blank">upset win over Boise State on Sunday. Casper Ware led Long Beach with 11 points and seven assists, while Eugene Phelps (playing with an injured sholder) had 10 points and five boards. Phelps' 10 points was his career-best sixth straight game with double-figures. T.J. Robinson led the 49ers with 11 boards, while also scoring nine points. Robinson had his career-streak of double-doubles stopped at six.
"This is a tough trip and a tough place to play," Monson continued. "I knew we were going to have to play awful well today and we didn't do it."
The Aggies jumped to a 9-2 lead in the first 4:09 of the game thanks in part to poor shooting by The Beach. LBSU hit just 1-of-6 shots and gave up three offensive rebounds before the first media timeout to fall behind by seven.
The Aggies came out of the first timeout and executed an alley-oop jam to Williams. Monson immediately drew a pair of technical fouls and was ejected from the game. Williams made three of the four free throws to push the lead to 14-2 with 15:30 to play. Robinson snapped the 12-0 run to cut the lead to 10.
The 49ers settled down after the Monson ejection and traded baskets until the under-12 timeout. Ware canned a three at the 11:40 mark to pull LBSU back within 10 immediately after Williams had hit a three to make it a 13-point lead.
Edis Dervisevic, getting his first playing time since injuring his foot against Saint Peter's, scored the next two hoops on a 3-point basket and a bucket in the key to pull LBSU back within eight at 22-14.
Utah State built the lead back to 10 at 28-18, but Long Beach State went on a 5-0 run with two free throws by Lin Chang and a three from Phelps, his first career 3-pointer, to cut the lead to five. Williams answered with five straight points and Wesley added a put back and the Aggies lead was 12 with just over a minute to play. Brockeith Payne scored on a breakaway to give USU its biggest lead at 14 before Ware scored to cut the lead to 12 at the half.
Williams led USU with 13 points while Wesley had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards in the half. Ware led The Beach with seven points and five assists. LBSU made 10-of-27 (37 percent) in the first half, while USU went 13-of-33 (39.4 percent).
LBSU lost contact early in the second half making just 1-of-13 shots (7.7 percent) while USU countered making 7-of-14 to push the lead to 53-29 at the under-12 timeout.
The Beach will get back on a plane this weekend and head to Tobacco Road for a Saturday afternoon showdown with North Carolina (5-3) at 4pm.