LONG BEACH — Long Beach State has been taking annual and arduous road trips against power schools every fall since Dan Monson became the head coach. But the 2017 tour of America may have been a game too long.
The 49ers (3-6) returned from a six-game, 12-day road trip for a hopefully refreshing home game Saturday at the Walter Pyramid before a warm crowd. Instead, they were hammered like a tired tourist by the Bulldogs, 106-70, before 3,706.
The 49ers missed their first seven shots, three of their first four free throws and found themselves on the short end of a 21-1 deficit six minutes into the game. They didn’t score a field goal the first 7 1/2 minutes, and it took another five minutes to hit their second, and by then Fresno State had a 34-6 lead.
The Bulldogs (6-2) physically dominated inside and alternated close-range lay-ins or dunks with kick-out passes for wide-open 3-pointers. The 49ers never got closer than 22 points the rest of the game; a 10-0 run by Fresno pushed he lead to 32 early in the second half and turned the rest of the game into little more than a scrimmage.
“That was not only disappointing, but embarrassing,” Monson said. “I thought we’d have some energy and be excited to be home, but we didn’t have any of that. Right now I’d say we’re shook.”
Five Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Jaron Hopkins with 26 on 10-of-13 shooting and Jahmel Taylor with 17, including five 3-pointers. The Bulldogs had a 40-18 edge in rebounds, holding the 49ers to five offensive boards, and had 16 steals to go with 17 Long Beach turnovers.
Temidayo Yussuf led Long Beach with 13 and Deishaun Booker had 11 points and four steals. Senior Gabe Levin had an off-night, going 0-for-6 shooting with just three rebounds and five turnovers.
The 49ers played road games at Oregon State and West Virginia in mid-November before heading to Orlando for three games in four nights in the Advocare Invitational. They then made a stop in Tucson for a game against perennial power Arizona on Wednesday before coming home.
“That was bad scheduling,” Monson said. “It’s good to play a team like Arizona but it was at a bad time. It made a long trip a little too long.”
“On offense, we were disorganized and took bad shots,” senior guard Barry Ogalue said. “We didn’t get much rest on the trip. We were either playing, practicing or flying somewhere, and we came home out of sync.
“We started slow, made a few mistakes, got down on ourselves…