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Long Beach State tops Cal State Bakersfield for 5th straight win

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LONG BEACH — Long Beach State has been stacking up wins lately, looking more and more like the kind of team that intends to be a serious threat in next month’s Big West Tournament.

AJ George provided a spark with 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench Thursday night to lead a gritty effort as Long Beach defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 79-66, at the Walter Pyramid for its fifth consecutive win.

LBSU (18-9 overall, 10-5 Big West) scored 25 points off of Bakersfield turnovers, scored 30 points in the paint and shot 25 for 28 from the free-throw line to remain a half-game behind third-place UC Davis (16-11, 11-5) in the conference standings with five games left in the regular season.

Bakersfield (10-17, 5-11) took a 15-8 lead early, but LBSU chipped away, first tying the score at 23-all and then taking the lead at 26-25 on a 3-pointer from Messiah Thompson.

The Roadrunners regained a 35-32 edge in the second half, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Jadon Jones and Thompson gave Long Beach the lead for good. Two straight baskets from George extended the lead to 50-43, but Bakersfield made one more push and got within 56-55 with 6:45 left.

Lassina Traore answered with a timely three-point play and Long Beach quickly pushed the advantage to 11 points at 70-59 with 2:40 remaining and closed out the win at the foul line.

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Lassina Traore finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Marcus Tsohonis also had 15 points, and Aboubacar Traore scored all 11 of his points on free throws. Jones had seven points, five rebounds and five assists.

Kaleb Higgins paced the Roadrunners with 23 points and four assists, and Corey Stephenson added 10 points.


Long Beach plays at Hawaii on Saturday at 9 p.m. PT.

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