Monson contributes with late game steal in triple OT win for LBSU

Los Al grad plays sparingly, but adds to ‘special’ moment

Maddox Monson, pictured in an earlier game, joined the Long Beach State basketball program, coached by his father, after graduating from Los Alamitos High last year. Courtesy photo

Long Beach State’s men’s basketball team pulled off two wins last week to even their Big West Conference record at 4-4 and keep themselves within shouting distance of the conference leaders. On Saturday, the Beach held on for a triple-overtime win over UC San Diego that had Long Beach down to just eight players due to injuries.

But the Beach got big boost from Los Alamitos High grad Maddox Monson, who came up with a steal assist in the closing seconds that helped the Beach pull off the 112-110 win over the Tritons at UC San Diego. Monson, a freshman and the son of Long Beach coach Dan Monson has played sparingly this season, averaging just 4.3 minutes per game over seven game appearances. Against San Diego, six players played more than 33 minutes, with Monson playing three and Jeffrey Yan playing one.

Monson said that players are always lobbying for more minutes, but putting an entire game essentially on the backs of six players is unrealistic given the stress and pressure of a game.

“They held up pretty well, I felt that those six guys fought through a lot of adversity, fought through a lot of frustration and more than anything fought through a lot of fatigue,” Monson said.

But by the third overtime period, Lassina Traore and Aboubacar Traore had fouled out of the game, bringing Monson back in for the final 1:16. San Diego would gain a 110-107 lead on two free throws with just :13 seconds left. The Tritons fouled Tone Hunter to prevent a three-point attempt.

Hunter made the first free throw to cut the lead to 110-108, but missed the second. However, the bounce was a bit long, allowing AJ George to go up in the middle of the key and pull down the rebound. He immediately spun around the defender in front of him and laid the ball in to tie the game 110-110, with about :07 left.

At this point, the Beach players began moving down court on defense. Monson can be seen looking back to check the time on the clock and then getting in front of the inbound passer. San Diego was forced to inbound the ball to the corner where two players were standing. Monson then jumped in between them, swatted the ball in the air, then jumped for the loose ball.

He secured the ball and in the same motion, threw it down for a bounce pass to George, who was running back up court to join the play. George caught the ball on a sprint and went straight up for a go-ahead slam dunk with just :02. San Diego called time out to try and set up a play, but an inbounds pass to midcourt was disrupted and Long Beach held on for the win.

“At the end of the day, everything had to go right and it did, you know, doing this for a lot of years and to have your son be one of the people that made it happen made it all the more special moment,” Monson said.

Leading scorer Joel Murray (15.7 ppg) and one of the Beach’s top three-point threats Jadon Jones were both out with injuries. And Junior Chayce Polynice was injured in pre-game warmups. Junior guard Marcus Tsohonis picked up the slack with 46 points in 54 minutes of play. George had 17 points and Hunter added 16. Lassina Traore and Aboubacar Traore (no relation) had 14 and 13 points, respectively and pulled down 19 rebounds each. 

Monson noted that the win over Fullerton two days prior was another boost for the team and when asked if he felt the two big wins could swing the momentum for the Beach for the season’s stretch run, he said winning can be contagious and is hopeful they can build on them.

“So many games at this level come down to one or two possessions and the confidence at the end of games, that you can win close games is huge and we’ve had opportunities six or eight times this year and this is the first real close game win that we’ve had,” Monson said.

Long Beach (4-4) came into this week in 6th place in the Big West standings, one game behind UC Davis and two back of Hawaii. UC Santa Barbara (7-1), UC Irvine (6-1) and UC Riverside (7-2) currently sit atop the standings.

Prior to the San Diego win, the Beach defeated Cal State Fullerton, 72-67, at home on Thursday. This week, the Beach plays at Cal Poly Pomona on Thursday at 7 p.m. and will host UC Davis on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN+. For more information, or tickets visit