LONG BEACH, Calif. – The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team (14-15) concluded its regular-season with an 84-75 loss to Long Beach State Saturday at the Pyramid. With the loss the Rainbow Warriors – predicted eighth in the Big West preseason media poll – finished fifth in the final standings with an 8-8 league mark.
With the result, the 'Bows are locked in for a rematch with the No. 4 seed 49ers in next week's Big West Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday, March 9 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
LBSU (14-18, 9-7 Big West) ultimately won the game with a strong interior performance. The 49ers outscored UH 44-18 in the paint, an effort spearheaded by Temidayo Yussuf who hit all nine of his shots en route to a game-high 22 points. Noah Blackwell also damaged UH from the outside with 17 points on five three-pointers.
The 'Bows lost despite draining 11-of-19 (57 percent) three-pointers and getting four different players in double digits. Noah Allen poured in 21 points – his 12th game of at least 20 points – and also added a team-high seven rebounds.
UH led by as many as six points in the first half, but LBSU scored 11 unanswered points on two separate occasions before eventually taking a 45-39 lead at the break. The 49ers, who shot 54 percent for the game, went 63 percent from the floor with Yussuf scoring 13 of his points in the first frame.
UH did a better job defensively in the second half and pulled with one, 65-64, on a Sheriff Drammeh jumper with 6:44 left. But LBSU scored the next seven straight points and never looked back after that.
Leland Green added 14 points and seven rebounds for UH, while Drammeh finished with 12 points and six assists. Gibson Johnson chipped in 10 points and five rebounds.
UH played most of the game without sophomore forward Jack Purchase who went down with an injury midway through the first half and did not return.