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Warriors look to hit The Beach with revenge in mind

With a four-game losing streak wiped out, the University of Hawai’i basketball team can now focus on hitting The Beach. As in, aiming for revenge at Long Beach State.

The Rainbow Warriors will face the 49ers on Saturday afternoon in a Big West Conference game at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. The game is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time (2:00 p.m. Hawai’i time). It will be available via streaming video at www.espn3.com or the WatchESPN mobile app.

Hawai’i is 15-10 overall and in a three-way tie for third place in the Big West at 6-5. The Beach is 9-18 overall and in seventh place at 4-7.

The Warriors took a bus ride to Long Beach after a “whew” 56-55 win at UC Riverside on Thursday. In what is becoming a typical Hawai’i game, the Warriors went through dramatic ups and downs throughout the contest. Hawai’i blew a 17-point lead in the second half, then rallied from six points down in the closing minutes to secure the win and end a season-worst four-game losing streak.

One of the games during that streak was a 50-49 home loss to Long Beach State on February 12. It was Hawai’i’s worst offensive performance of the season. The Warriors were without injured starting forward Samuta Avea for that game, and junior point guard Drew Buggs was held scoreless for only the second time this season.

Avea is now back in the starting lineup, and Buggs – who attended high school at nearby Long Beach Poly – will almost assuredly be more productive this time.

Senior guard Eddie Stansberry scored 19 points in the loss to The Beach, and he continues to lead the Warriors in scoring (15.8) and 3-pointers (73).

Freshman guard Justin Webster has emerged as a reliable scoring option for the Warriors. He scored a career-high 18 points in Thursday’s win at UC Riverside, including four 3-pointers. Through the team’s 11 conference games, Webster is averaging 10.9 points per game and has made 19 3-pointers. Stansberry is the only Hawai’i player providing more offensive points during that same stretch. 

Avea is averaging 10.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Buggs continues to lead the Big West in assists at 6.0 per game, and is also contributing 9.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Senior forward Zigmars Raimo is averaging 9.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Seven-foot sophomore Dawson Carper and 6-9 freshman Bernardo da Silva normally split time at center. Carper, who made the game-winning tip-in at UC Riverside, is averaging 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, and has a .617 field goal percentage. Da Silva is contributing 5.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

The Beach is coming off a 70-55 road loss at UC Irvine on Wednesday.

Chance Hunter, a 6-6 sophomore, leads the 49ers in scoring (14.3 per game) and 3-pointers (52), and is also grabbing 4.9 rebounds per game. He had 10 points and one rebound in the win at Hawai’i.

Michael Carter III, a 6-5 sophomore, is averaging 12.2 points and 2.7 assists per game. He scored nine points, including the game-winning free throw, in the win at Hawai’i. Colin Slater, a 6-1 junior guard, is averaging 10.6 points per game.

The 49ers’ top post players are a pair of freshmen – 6-11 center Joshua Morgan and 6-9 forward Romelle Mansel. Morgan is averaging 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, and also leads the Big West in blocked shots at 2.4 per game. Mansel is averaging 4.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

The 49ers are 6-5 at home in the Pyramid this season. The Warriors are 2-5 on the road this season, and have an all-time record of 2-10 in games played at Long Beach. One of those wins, however, came last season, when the Warriors beat the 49ers 77-70.

HAWAI’I (15-10, 6-5 Big West) at LONG BEACH STATE (9-18, 4-7 Big West)
When: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020
Time: 4:00 p.m. PST/2:00 p.m. HT
Where: Walter Pyramid (4,000) – Long Beach, Calif.
Television: ESPN3
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com/ESPN App
Radio: ESPN Honolulu (1420 AM/92.7 FM), KRKH (Maui), KPUA (Hawai’i Island), and KTOH (Kaua’i).
Audio Webcast: ESPNHonolulu.com/Sideline Hawai’i App.
Live Stats: LongBeachState.com
Coaches: Head coach Eran Ganot is in his fifth season at UH (84-53). Dan Monson is in his 13th season at Long Beach State (209-214).
Series Information: LBSU leads, 17-12.

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