HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Anytime Long Beach State and the Rainbow Warriors get together, basketball fans are in for something special.
The Warriors bounced back this past Saturday with a dominant win over UC Davis following a gut-wrenching loss to UC Irvine on Wednesday night.
But the schedule does not get any easier for the Warriors as they get set to host one of the top teams in the conference, Long Beach State.
The 49ers bounced the Warriors from the Big West tournament last season, a memory that is not lost on members of this year’s squad, especially senior point guard Brocke Stepteau.
The games between the two programs have always lived up to the hype in recent years and Stepteau knows that to get a win at home on Thursday the Warriors will need to be locked in.
“It’s always close and its always big game,” Stepteau said. “It’s always a good matchup and good rivalry, since I have been here it’s been a big part of every conference season so it’s a good matchup for us.”
Sophomore point guard Drew Buggs is from Long Beach but hasn’t let his hometown roots cloud his focus heading into Thursday night.
Buggs is coming off one of his best performances of the season dropping 12 assists in the 'Bows win against UC Davis this past Saturday and is looking forward to the challenge the 49ers length will present.
“It’s always special because Long Beach is where I’m from” Buggs said. “But I don’t treat it different then I would treat any other game, they are all big and I don’t take no opponent lightly.”
The Warriors and 49ers split the season series last year before being eliminated by Long Beach State in the Big West tournament.
Warriors head coach Eran Ganot knows that in order to become conference champions his team will have to continue to defeat one of the Big west perennial powers.
“There the staple of the Big West,” Ganot said. “The combination of the history over the years and history with us makes things exciting, but we are ready to go.”
Hawaii and Long Beach State will tip-off this Thursday Jan. 31 at 7:00 p.m. HT.