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Warriors still have incentives to win at Long Beach

Believe it or not, the University of Hawai’i still has some things to play for in its regular-season finale at Long Beach State on Saturday afternoon.

The Warriors clinched at least a share of the Big West Conference regular-season title and the No. 1 seed for next week’s Big West Conference Tournament at Anaheim, Calif., with a thrilling 67-65 win at UC Davis on Thursday. The team traveled from Davis to Long Beach on Friday, and then practiced at Long Beach State.

Valdes1_LongBeach

Saturday’s game at the Walter Pyramid is scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time), and will be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket (Oceanic channel 228 in Hawai’i).

Hawai’i is 24-4 overall and 13-2 in the Big West. One of those rare losses came on January 30 against Long Beach State, before a sellout crowd in the Stan Sheriff Center.

The 49ers are 17-13 overall and 11-4 in the conference, and locked at the No. 3 seed for the Big West Tournament.

On the surface, it appears that neither team has anything on the line, as both have already secured their positions for the Big West Tournament. However …

* The 78-64 loss to Long Beach State is Hawai’i’s largest loss this season in terms of margin. The other three losses were by single-digits. What’s more, the home sellout crowd was the first this season, and the first for the program since 2004.

* Hawai’i is an amazing 7-0 on the road in the conference this season. The last Big West team to complete an undefeated road record in the regular season was Pacific during the 2004-05 season. Prior to this season, the best conference road record for a UH team was 6-3 during the 2001-02 team.

* A victory on Saturday will assure that the Warriors are the outright regular-season champion of the Big West. Both of Hawai’i’s previous regular-season titles were considered co-championships (with Fresno State in 1997, and with Tulsa in 2002). A loss on Saturday could result in a co-championship with UC Irvine (though UCI would also have to win its final game against UC Riverside).

* A victory on Saturday will give the Warriors 25 overall victories – a mark only two previous UH teams have reached (the 1989-90 team finished 25-10; the 2001-02 team finished 27-6).

* Hawai’i’s one and only victory in the Walter Pyramid came in 2007 – well before the Warriors joined the Big West Conference. The Warriors are 0-3 in the Pyramid as members of the Big West.

Bobbitt1_CSUF

In any case, it’s not going to be easy against a Long Beach State team that is 6-1 at home in Big West games this season (the only loss was against UC Irvine). It will also be “Senior Day” for the 49ers, and senior players Nick Faust and A.J. Spencer will be honored prior to the game.

Faust, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward, is of particular concern for the Warriors. He had 28 points and 14 rebounds in the win at Hawai’i, including a rub-it-in dunk in the closing seconds.

Faust is averaging 17.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He ranks second in the Big West in scoring average, and is third in 3-pointers made with 73.

Justin Bibbins, a 5-8 sophomore point guard, is averaging 11.5 points, 4.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. He was limited to two points and four assists in just 15 minutes of action due to a hamstring injury in the game at Hawai’i.

Gabe Levin, a 6-7 sophomore forward, is averaging 10.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and is shooting 52.7 percent from the field. He had 11 points and seven boards in the win at Hawai’i. Travis Hammonds, a 6-6 junior forward, is averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and contributed 10 points and seven rebounds in the win at Hawai’i.

The Warriors were not quite at full strength in the first meeting with Long Beach State, as junior forward Aaron Valdes was recovering from a turf toe injury and was limited to three points and three rebounds in 19 minutes of reserve action.

Hawai’i also had a different look in that game, as sophomore Isaac Fleming was in the starting lineup. He received his official release from the team earlier this week.

Junior center Stefan Jankovic continues to lead the Warriors in scoring (16.0), rebounding (6.5) and field goal percentage (.569).

Jovanovic1_CSUN_Osumi

Valdes is averaging 14.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game; senior point guard Roderick Bobbitt is averaging 13.0 points, 5.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.

Senior guard Quincy Smith is averaging 7.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, and had 13 points and four rebounds in the loss to Long Beach. Junior forward Mike Thomas is averaging 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, and had a career-high 20 points in the loss to Long Beach.

Senior forward Sai Tummala is averaging 7.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, and leads the team with a .440 percentage from 3-point range.

Screen shot 2016-03-03 at 9.24.30 PM

Saturday’s Big West Games
UC Irvine at UC Riverside
Hawai’i at Long Beach State, 2:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time), Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Cal Poly at UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis at CSUN

Big West Tournament
At Anaheim, Calif.
March 10 Games (all listed as Hawai’i times)

UC Santa Barbara vs. TBA, 10:00 a.m.
Hawai’i vs. Cal State Fullerton, 12:30 p.m.
UC Irvine vs. TBA, 4:00 p.m.
Long Beach State vs. TBA, 6:30 p.m.

March 11 Games
Semifinal 1, 4:30 p.m.
Semifinal 2, 7:00 p.m.

March 12 Game
Championship, 6:30 p.m.

40 Comments

  1. Revenge game! Eran will have guys execute from tipoff till buzzer. Warriors get the chamionship outright. 14-2.
    Feel going be great game!!

  2. The Beach is a handful. We’ve got to stay out of foul trouble and play lock down defense throughout the game. Staying out of foul trouble may mean playing the bench early and often. I wouldn’t expect a let down by any team right before the tourney.

  3. May I add to your bullet points that:

    * Long Beach is the only team Hawaii has yet to beat in the Big West this season. If they face LBSU in the tournament, it will obviously boost their confidence to have won a game against them during the regular season.

    * A win against Long Beach keeps the momentum going into the Big West Tournament.

    * Faust behaved like doo doo in Hawaii and needs to be flushed!

    Go Bows!!!

  4. Re: Faust, do any current or former UH players show some demonstrative behavior in opponents’ gyms or not quite like Faust’s ?

  5. It will go down to the wire, I hope, and somebody is going to make a key play. Prediction UH 70, Long Beach St. 69.

  6. LBSU favored by 2.5 pts.

  7. Islandman… on ESPN3 in January, Hawaii was televised on the road against Fullerton and Riverside. In both games, Isaac Fleming was EXTREMELY demonstrative during the game. In fact, there were moments where he motioned to the Hawaii section to get more excited. Keep in mind, Isaac had been doing well at that point and he even did well not to disrespect the officials. But he knows how to work a crowd.

    I was happy while watching the games on ESPN3, but weeks later, during the Long Beach game and saw Nick Faust being demonstrative, I then understood how Hawaii’s opponents’ fans feel when Isaac was being like that. In fact, if there was even a small group of Long Beach fans in the crowd and Faust would motion to his fans, I would even feel MORE dismayed.

  8. It was interesting that the Advertiser didn’t mention that you could see the game on TV which they have done throughout the season. I will hold my thoughts on sports coverage and just say you can get the game today on channel Oceanic Cable 228 or 1228 and I suspect Big West streaming video which has been much improved this year. Go Bows, keep the turnovers down and the rebounds up!

  9. Not saying Isaac not as irritating, but it’s one thing to be demonstrative in a tight game or when you do a spectacular play…Faust was doing his stuff when Hawaii had stopped playing (given up, to my dismay, but that was another story), and he was just rubbing it in…throwing the ball to himself to dunk, shooting a three when nobody from our side was even playing anymore and the game was well in hand (could have just held the ball and let time run out) and then dancing the hula at our fans (or maybe it was for his fans, it looked like he was taunting the sell out crowd). That, I thought, was all unsportsmanlike.

  10. KelleyO said, ” Faust behaved like doo doo in Hawaii and needs to be flushed!” hahaha.

    That’s a good one Kelley. Yes, that self-assist dunk Faust did at the end of the game kinda pissed me off too. Hopefully AV can put on some highlight dunks like he did vs Irvine. Wouldn’t a posterized dunk over Faust be so sweet? especially on national TV, hahaha.

  11. It’s okay KelleyO because Valdez will be healthy this time and will be on Faust like flies on rice. I’m confident we’ll get to see at least one Valdez dunk over Faust today and better yet, it will be in Faust’s home in front of a sell-out on his senior night.

  12. njacinto, thanks for the perspective.
    ——————————————————————————————————–
    The Advertiser print edition and warrior insider says the game is on Fox Sports Prime Ticket and on newspaper page C6, it says on channels 31 and 228.
    UH website says: The Long Beach State game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Prime Ticket – Oceanic Cable Ch. 1228 (HD), Ch. 228 (SD).
    and streaming at
    http://www.foxsports.com/foxsportsgo

  13. Here we go Bows!!! Need that warrior intensity!!

    No silly fouls!! Find a body and box out!!

    Play with confidence!!

    Y’all deserve the best!!!

  14. I am THERE in the pyramid and will be watching closely the Nick Faust show !

    This cat is a PLAYER and by far keeps Long Beach State in the picture for a tournament championship. Hawaii will need “all hands in” containing this athletic swing. Very difficult game for UH to win as it is senior day and Beach is very tough at home. One thing UH has in it’s favor that they are the #1 seed heading into the tournament and don’t have to worry about LBSU as they will be in the lower bracket with Irvine.

    Santa Barbara will be UH biggest test getting to the conference championship barring none of the top 4 seeds get upset. Jankovich will be the Conference player of the year with Ganot as the coach. Bows has had a GREAT year as the bigger picture is right before their eyes. Three games in Three days for the right to go to the dance. Will be there watching the moment as it should and could be a Irvine and Hawaii tournament finals round THREE !

    That is why we play the game as March Madness starts next week in Anaheim !

  15. RainbowCliff, love your enthusiasm and repping the UH and 808 for us islanders up in Cali. Always good to hear from a former basketball bow as well.

  16. RainbowCliff,

    Interesting point on Santa Barbara… UCSB is definitely the hottest team right now in the Big West

    But here’s something interesting… during that 7 game winning streak, they’ve beaten the bottom tier of the Big West. Against Long Beach, they’re 0-2… against Irvine, they’re 1-1… and against Hawaii, they’re 0-2.

    UCSB beats teams they’re supposed to beat. Against superior teams, they’re 1-5. We’ll see what happens in the semi-finals. They couldn’t finish against Hawaii in both games that we beat them. On the other hand, Hawaii continues to finish out close games on the road.

  17. I just hope no one gets injured this game, and that fatigue doesn’t come into play considering uh just had a game 2 days ago and it being the end of the season.

    I do, however, want to see AV break away for a showtime dunk and a 20+ point blitz on their court.

  18. Njancinto and Kaneohe, thanks for the accolades and insightful thoughts !

    It’s a game of match ups as Irvine dominates LBSU with their tall front line while LBSU athletic talent is a handful for UH to deal with. Njancinto as you correctly stated with Santa Barbara winning streak against the bottom tier they have some confident momentum so if every thing plays itself out for Hawaii vs.USB in the semis to beat a team THREE times surely will be a test of “survival of the fittest” as Williams their head coach will have them ready on all cylinders !

    One thing that is GREAT for UH they have WON on the road as I can’t recall any UH team displaying time after time tough gutty wins. Their “will to win” is incredible which make their chances to win it all not far fetch. Ganot has a resolve calmness about him self that keeps them in the hunt while Bobbit is the head of the snake keeping them under control.

    I do believe Aaron Valdes will be the difference maker as he has not had the season that was predicted as a pre-selected player of the year BUT he is now healthy and can carry UH for three games with his all around play !

    Either way gentlemen it has been a stellar year for UH basketball in the dance or not. The resiliency with this team has been wonderful to watch with everybody in Hawaii rooting them on for the “BIG PRIZE” !

    Once a Bow, Always a Bow !

  19. According to Espn’s Andy Katz, if UH beats LBSU today then there’s a chance UH would be invited to the NCAA tournament.

  20. Rainbow Cliff.
    You bring Major league heart to this forum! We appreciate you the former Bow! Out of Long Beach? Chee on guys . lot of fans remember you and was it Tony Wells ? Go Bows! Bet dozens of former Bows be watchin the game. A War!
    Take care Cliff Sanchez!!

  21. Cheeon? Meant Cheer on Bows! Should be one of better college games on large area Fox sport network! Wave to camera. So many of us wish could be there in person!
    Warriors get it!! Thanks again Cliff. A great defender and lion hearted Rainbow!!

  22. TAV..

    While we watch the Big West, something interesting is happening in favor of Hawaii. Remember Northern Iowa? Well, there now in the Missouri Valley Championship after a few weeks playing mediocre basketball. Their RPi has been rising gradually. They just beat Wichita state for the 2nd straight time (today) and are one game away from being in the Big Dance.

    Now, if Northern Iowa makes it to the NCAAs, that could be the QUALITY win Hawaii could put on their resume… even if Hawaii makes the NCAA outright by winning the BW tourney, Hawaii’s resume could help them get a higher seed, like a 12, or perhaps an 11.

  23. njacinto, looks promising for UH.

    Also, looks like Riverside are about to beat Irvine.

  24. Good news, njacinto.

    Nope, Irvine up 76-66 with 24 seconds left.

  25. clyde,

    dang it!

  26. Darn that Bibbins scares me. Five points, three assists in four minutes. Settle down, guys.

  27. Is it just me or does our team have a tendency to have awful 1st halves?

  28. Nope ..Long Beach just has our number.. They were the team I feared the most before the season started

  29. Long Beach made 5 of its first 7 from 3; can’t keep that up (I hope). They’re now 6-for-11, and Warriors starting to creep back.

  30. Q steals ball from Faust, Bobbitt takes it down the court, behind the back pass to Q, to Sai for the DUNK! BAM!!!

    Play of the game so far!!!

  31. I was doing the hula dance to Faust in front of my TV, lol.

  32. I think Faust is better going to the basket, but he’s so confident (overconfident?) that he likes to jack up 3s (he’s 0-for-3). He has an odd shooting form; kinda leans to the side … even on FTs. He’s got a quiet 5 points; hope it stays that way.

  33. Right now at 15:44 Hawaii playing the best they’ve played in the last four games! GO BOWS! Finish strong!!!

  34. UH called for 15 fouls against LBSU’s 5 with four minutes left in the second half?

  35. Juice! Is all I gotta say!

  36. Ref’s won the game, not LBSU. What a load of BS, all I gotta say.

  37. Good game both sides battle. Big West tourney man really.Even Fullerton anybody can win it..hard to do 3 wins ncaa Big Dance. Proud of coach of year and three year great warriors. Aaron. Q. Jovanovic all the guys! Hawaii proud of you all! Now get ready for Anaheim!!

  38. As an armchair quarterback, I have criticisms about the last 10 minutes and certain coaching decisions, but I’m too exhausted from being pissed at the refs to discuss. And honestly I’m sure the refs sucked both ways. Faust, as much as I can’t stand him, hustles like crazy and is very good. Mostly, our guys played hard, looked really good at times. We’ve now had our one loss in March so does that mean we’re gonna win the NCAA Tournament? Great game for Valdes and Bobbitt I thought. Get some rest, guys. Anaheim here we come. Go Bows!

  39. Alright Warrior Insider, just got back from the game and this is the deal !

    LBSU is a tough athletic team that is NINE deep and will give UH night mares in a route or tight game. UH played a TOUGH game but they cannot continue getting down early making furious come backs and then have nothing left in the end. I am sorry to tell you this but the lost of Issac Fleming scoring is surely miss from the bench as Filopovich and Drammeh gives you nothing offensively. What turned the game around Monson went into that 2-3 zone which slowed UH down from extending on their hard come back lead as the play inside for both teams was contested and physical !

    Aaron Valdes just played SPECTACULAR with his wide range of deep arsenal shots. Valdes scoring was so BIG that seating among Long Beach VIP seats they were muttering loud words at LBSU players pleading with them “can any body stop him” as he put on a shooting clinic !

    Bobbit played a hard fought game BUT logging all those minutes it takes it toll. The officiating was BAD for both sides as LBSU fans can really be intimidating with their vocal displeasure as I was right there when armed police officers being called in to escort the officials off the court at half time.

    Foul trouble is a problem for UH as Ganot has to mix and match with a bench that only has Tummala with any glimpse of scoring. The game was just a TASTE of what Big West tournament play is going to be in 3 days. Good news is UH won’t see LBSU again only IF they can beat Irvine in the bottom half of their bracket. Bows need to rest their legs, ice them strains and sprains and get ready for Fullerton on Thursday !

    Tough lost BUT it is in the past and UH has to move on in 3 days. Beat those Titans !

  40. Team 1st, thank you for the kind remarks. I am originally from Compton as my wife is a graduate from Long Beach State. UH fans in attendance was cheering through out the game as bows fought hard and made a GREAT game out of it! Only difference between LBSU and UH that the 49ers are deeper and have athletic players that are NINE strong especially on their front line.

    Regular season is over as the tournament is in 3 days with Fullerton next week Thursday, high noon!

    This game is just a preview what Big West tournament play is going be like as the officials will be making or not making calls. UH needs to get plenty of rest and get their legs back !

    A day out at Disneyland will do them some good !

    Go Bows !

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