Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Long Beach State edges Warriors, 50-49

Photo courtesy Brandon Flores

Michael Carter III sank a free throw with three seconds remaining Wednesday night to lift visiting Long Beach State to a pulsating 50-49 victory over Hawai’i in more thrilling Big West Conference men’s basketball action.

A vocal but stunned crowd of 3,112 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched Joshua Morgan score 11 points and grab six rebounds and Chance Hunter add 10 points as the 49ers improved to 8-17 overall and 3-6 in the Big West. Eddie Stansberry scored a game-high 19 points and Justin Webster added 13 points for the Warriors, who dropped their third straight game and fell to 14-9, 5-4.

“The whole game, we just weren’t together,” said Webster, whose running bank shot from about 28 feet at the buzzer glanced off the rim. “Credit Long Beach — they played a great game, had a great strategy, and they made shots down the stretch. They just did a great job.

“It just shows how hard conference (play) is, everything’s more scouted, there’s nothing easy. Nothing’s going to come easy, we just gotta come together and get back to working.”

Carter’s second free throw attempt missed, and UH’s Justin Hemsley grabbed the rebound and gave it to Webster, who rushed past halfcourt and let fly the potential game-winner. Carter’s free throw came after being fouled by Drew Buggs on a 19-foot fadeaway attempt. The contact came on the follow-through after the ball was released.

“I haven’t seen (the replay) yet, and I had a bad angle, the official was right in front of me,” Warriors coach Eran Ganot said. “But it ain’t on the officials. We gotta be way better – that’s my thought on it.” 

Hawai’i led 20-13 with 7:57 left in the first half, but scored only one field goal the rest of the period as the 49ers closed out the half with an 11-2 run to lead 24-22 at the break. The Warriors shot just 34.5 percent (10 for 29) in the first 20 minutes, including 2 of 12 (16.7 percent ) from 3-point range, and missed their only free throw attempt.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

“They did the same trap we saw recently, (our) guys’ point of attack fell, they didn’t handle it, and (other) guys were supposed to be in their spots,” Ganot said. “We prepped for (the ball pressure), but we didn’t handle it well. Point of attack is important, being strong in the trap, hanging on (to the ball), guys getting to their spots so no one’s left hung out to dry. Obviously, that didn’t happen.”

The 49ers built the lead to 38-32 after Jordan Roberts’ free throw with 8:18 remaining in the game, but UH clawed back and tied it on Stansberry’s 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 47-47 with 1:57 left. Webster then gave the Warriors a 49-47 lead with two free throws at the 1:05 mark, but Carter III tied it with a jumper from just inside the free throw line 18 seconds later. 

On the ensuing possession, Buggs’ pass to Webster on the left wing was low and wide and went out of bounds on the sideline, giving the 49ers the ball with 33 seconds remaining. After a timeout with 14.7 ticks on the clock, Long Beach State worked the ball to Carter on the left wing, where he was fouled on the fadeaway jumper.

“I didn’t think our defense was really a problem,” Ganot said. “We hold them to 39 (percent shooting), only two 3’s (in eight attempts), (out-) rebound by nine (40 to 31) — that’s how you can overcome a horrific performance on the other end. But we didn’t overcome it quite well enough.”

Photo courtesy Brandon Flores

Hawaii’s offensive numbers were dismal: 33.3 percent (18 of 54) from the field, including 24 percent (6 of 25) from 3-point range, 63 percent (7 of 11) from the free throw line. The 49-point output was the Warriors’ lowest since scoring only 45 in a loss to Illinois State on Dec. 22, 2016.

“Our energy level wasn’t what it normally is,” Stansberry said. “There were a lot of lapses just off of pure energy, and that’s something our team usually has and is capable of. But tonight our lapses cost us and put us in a close game situation. That’s the biggest thing we told ourselves in huddles, halftime and going into the rest of the game, that our energy level has to be through the roof. It has to be better.”

Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson said via the team’s website: “We knew that we had no chance trying to run with (Hawai’i]) and try to outscore them, so we needed to control the tempo and make this an ugly game, and that’s what the guys did. They really bought into the game plan and we won that game on the defensive end.”

The game was particularly a big struggle for Buggs, who was coming off last Saturday’s 19-point, career-high 11-rebound performance at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in which he passed Troy Bowe (1988-91) to become UH’s all-time leader in assists. On Wednesday, Buggs was held to zero points, three rebounds and two assists, and committed five turnovers.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

“We have to get better when he’s not having one of his (productive) nights, and he’s got to be better on those nights when his shots don’t fall,” Ganot said. “He’s the head of our team on the floor, but this is not a ‘carry’ program. It starts with people, and then everybody falls in line and does their part. Drew handles a lot for us, obviously, there’s a lot on his shoulders. He carries a heavy load. But like any organization or group, when one guy is down, others have to step up, and it can’t be all on Drew. 

“He understands the leadership responsibility and he’s gotta be better, I’m sure he’ll own that as he has, just as I have. But we also have a team, so when that happens again, our whole spirit can’t be dictated by that.” 

Freshman forward Bernardo da Silva, who missed the previous five games with a foot injury, contributed four points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench. However, starting junior forward Samuta Avea sat out for a fifth consecutive game with a back injury

The loss drops UH — which had been in sole possession of second place — into a three-way tie for second with UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge. First-place UC Irvine (16-10, 8-2) comes to town as the Warriors’ next opponent at 7 p.m. Saturday in a “White-Out” game that will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

“We know that we’re a very talented team and we can do special things this year, so we keep that confidence win or lose,” Stansberry said. “We would have loved to have won the game tonight, but we can’t take those back. We just have to find ourselves a little bit, we lost our way, but we’re not too worried about it. We’re gonna get back to what we normally do and I still believe we have a special team and I do believe we’re gonna have special moments. 

“We all have that confidence — it’s not just me, it’s every player, every coach … I don’t think that changes at all. We just gotta be a little better.”

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Big West Conference
Wednesday’s Results
UC Irvine 63, at UC Riverside 59
Long Beach State 50, at Hawai’i 49

Thursday’s Games
Cal Poly at CSUN
UC Santa Barbara at UC Davis

Saturday’s Games
UC Riverside at Long Beach State
CSUN at UC Davis
Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton
UC Irvine at Hawai

1 Comment

  1. Bad loss. Really bad loss because it was obvious that Long Beach is not that good. Bows need to figure it out and still have time to do some damage in the Big West.

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