Rainbow Warriors beat LBSU in thriller to punch ticket to NCAA tournament

Rainbow Warriors beat LBSU in thriller to punch ticket to NCAA tournament

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Warriors and Wahine combined, it's been 32 seasons since a hoops team from Hawaii has made an appearance in the NCAA tournament.

The drought is over... For both squads.

The University of Hawaii men's basketball team turned in a 64-60 win over season-long nemesis Long Beach State on Saturday night, joining the Rainbow Wahine as Big West tournament champions and NCAA tournament entrants.

It's the first time in three meetings this season that Hawaii has prevailed over The Beach; LBSU swept its regular season matchups with Hawaii, the only team in the conference to do so, though the 'Bows prevailed in the game that mattered most.

Aaron Valdes scored a game high 17 points. Stefan Jankovic, sitting for all but 23 minutes of action because of foul trouble, turned in just 10, but three of them came on what may have been the biggest basket of the ball game.

Long Beach State's Nick Faust, the Big West Conference's newcomer of the Year, drilled a 3 in front of Jankovic to tie the game at 58 with less than 4 minutes to play. Just more than a minute later, with the contest still tied, Janks nailed a contested triple of his own to regain the lead, one they would not relinquish.

Minutes later, the 'Bows stormed the court as conference tournament champions, their first such title since the 2001-2002 season in which a WAC championship banner was brought to the Stan Sheriff Center.

It's the first time that Hawaii's men's and women's teams have advanced to the NCAA tournament in the same season since 1994.

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