Bringing that positive energy to the game was Coach Paul Westphal's primary goal, as evidenced by a surprise starting lineup that included sophomore center Derick Grubb and walkon Keith Jarbo.
Grubb and Jarbo had responded well when inserted into the second half of the previous game at UC Santa Barbara, igniting a rally that brought the Waves back into contention. Westphal rewarded their performance – and sent a message to his starters – by plugging the duo into the starting lineup Saturday.
Jarbo is the poster child for "things that don't show up in the box score." His defensive intensity and willingness to absorb contact served as an inspiration to his teammates. The Grubb-Jarbo duo combined for nine rebounds, helping the Waves win the battle of the boards, 38-32.
Overall, the team played by far its best defensive game of the season, often grabbing steals and racing to the other end for easy buckets in plays that may herald a return of the "Pressuredine" tempo that fans love.
Terrance Johnson, Shaun Davis, and Alex Acker each scored 13 points, and Acker added nine rebounds. Jesse Pinegar chipped in 12 for the Waves, who committed just five turnovers while forcing 16.
Long Beach State (1-3), averaging just 61 points this season, continued to struggle offensively. Jabril Hodges led the 49ers with 17 points.