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Mar 21, 2024 4:38 pm

Arizona pulls away, ends LBSU coach Dan Monson’s tenure

arizona long beach state

Arizona took control with a 17-2 run over the first four minutes of the second half and cruised to an 85-65 NCAA Tournament first-round win over Long Beach State on Thursday afternoon in Salt Lake City.

The game — the first of the day in the West region — marked the end of No. 15 seed Beach head coach Dan Monson’s tenure after he’d been fired prior to his team winning the Big West conference tournament.

Monson, the subject of one of the top storylines going into the NCAA Tournament, was allowed to continue coaching until Beach’s season ended.

Kylan Boswell led No. 2 seed Arizona (26-8) with 20 points and Caleb Love added 18 points and 11 rebounds. Oumar Ballo had 11 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Wildcats.

Long Beach State (21-15) couldn’t keep up in the second half as Arizona found its rhythm on offense. Beach got 14 points and 15 rebounds from Aboubacar Traore and 14 points from Amari Stroud off the bench.

Up by only six at halftime, the Wildcats pushed the lead to 22 points at 65-43 with 11:08 to play on Pelle Larson’s 3-pointer.

Long Beach State got as close as 16 in the second half. Boswell got out ahead of the defense for a two-handed dunk with 6:16 to play, giving Arizona a 75-53 lead.

Long Beach State used a 13-0 run in the first half to take a 22-17 lead after Arizona had its biggest lead of the half at eight points. Stroud hit consecutive jumpers and a 3-pointer during the run, and at the other end of the floor a pair of steals and a blocked shot by Traore fueled Beach’s surge.

The Wildcats reclaimed the lead at 24-22, but a fastbreak dunk by Traore put Long Beach State ahead again.

Jadon Jones’ 3 with 4:26 pushed Beach to a 31-26 lead, then Ballo scored inside and Boswell hit a 3 for the Wildcats to even the score.

The Wildcats took a 41-35 lead into halftime, in part because Long Beach State went scoreless for the final 2 1/2 minutes.

–Field Level Media

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