Westwood, CA – The Long Beach State 49ers hung with the No. 2 UCLA Bruins in the first half, but the Bruins were able to pull away in the second half to win 100-79 on Monday night and remain unbeaten to start the season.
The 49ers were aggressive inside with 40 paint points and refused to back down to the number two team in the nation.
Colin Slater and Joel Murray combined for 57 points for Long Beach State.
“First of all, I’ve got to give congratulations to Murray and Slater,” said UCLA head coach Mike Cronin. “Those guys played great. Give them a lot of credit. I’ve been doing this long enough, you’ve got to give other people credit. So good for those kids. That’s not going to ease my pain of [our] horrendous defense. You’ve got to give those guys credit well.”
Despite UCLA’s 21-point victory, Coach Cronin was disappointed in his team’s defensive effort.
The 49ers shot 58.2% (32-55 FGs) from the field and 63.6% (7-11 FGs) from the three.
He commented on what worked for his team defensively in the second half.
“Not a whole lot. I would say they ran out of a bit of gas. Right now, my opinion defensively – I don’t know one thing we’re good at. On the ball, off the ball, our talk in transition. That’s my opinion,” said Cronin.
The Bruins are currently averaging 93.7 points per game.
“We better. We better. If I had a pair of sneakers, I think I could have scored on some of our guys tonight. I turn 50 this summer, just to remind you,” said Cronin.
Cronin expressed his frustration to his team after the game.
“They know I’m extremely upset. There’s three options. You try to teach and coach. When that don’t work, you go to option two and scream and yell. Then option three: run in practice or sit in the game. So, we’re on option three. … I’ve got a lot of issues, but being convicted to what I believe in is not a problem for me. So right now, I’m just trying to search for somebody who can guard the ball, help when they’re supposed to help and follow the scoring report.”
UCLA’s Johnny Juzang explained the disconnect of winning the game and having a coach upset.
“We have a team where everyone is returning, so we know the level that we’re capable of playing at, so just winning a game isn’t always [going to] satisfy us. It’s how you performed, how you won the game or lost the game. You know when you’ve made too many mistakes,” said Juzang.
The UCLA Bruins host North Florida on Wednesday, November 17th at 7:30 pm.