Nick Faust And Long Beach State Beat Hawai'i 78-64 In Honolulu
Long Beach State joins No. 1 Oklahoma as the only teams to beat Hawai'i in Honolulu this season.
Honolulu, Hawai'i - Nick Faust led a dominating Long Beach State effort on the road as the Beach defeated the Hawai'i 78-64. Faust scored 28 points with 14 rebounds as Long Beach State defeated the Rainbow Warriors in front of a sellout 10,300 in the Stan Sheriff Center.
Despite Faust's gaudy scoreline, it was a true team effort as Long Beach State (11-12, 5-3 Big West) led for nearly 38 of the 40 minutes and dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Rainbow Warriors 47 to 28. Hawai'i (16-3, 5-1) had been the top rebounding team in the Big West.
Roderick Bobbitt hit the first shot of the game to give UH an early lead, but Long Beach State responded with a 12-0 run over the next seven minutes to build a lead the 49ers would never relinquish.
The Beach would push the lead in the first half to as much as 14 points, but after Justin Bibbins was forced out with a hamstring injury with 3:37 in the first, Hawai'i cut the Long Beach State lead to three going into the locker room.
Long Beach State quickly answered out of halftime, as Mason Riggins scored his 10th point with a basket off of the opening possession, and then a Faust 3-pointer pushed the lead up to eight points after the first minute of action.
Travis Hammonds, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half, pushed the lead to 11 at 58-47, but Hawai'i had one more answer. With Long Beach State up eight points, Bobbitt picked up a steal that lead to a breakaway dunk by Quincy Smith, a 3-point play that was doubly damaging as it fouled out Noah Blackwell, leaving LBSU to operate without their top two point guards on the depth chart.
"Bibbins is a key to us relieving pressure, and to have him out, that was tough," said head coach Dan Monson. "That's the most gratifying thing for me, is that with him out, and then with Blackwell fouled out, for us to play against that kind of pressure and still hold up, that was good progress for us."
A layup by Mike Thomas cut the Long Beach State lead to three points at 66-63 with 3:37 remaining, and got the sellout crowd to its most intense level yet. The Beach was able to answer on the defensive end, however, holding Hawai'i without a field goal for the remainder of the game.
A pair of Gabe Levin free throws extended the lead to five with 2:19 remaining, and in the most crucial stop of the game, the 49ers forced the Rainbow Warriors into a shot-clock violation, a turnover that also worked 30 seconds off of the clock.
"We're getting a little bit of an identity on the defensive end, and those were defensive stops that helped us win it at the end," said Monson. "You can win games with your offense, but to win championships, you have to play defense."
A sequence of a transition three, a highlight dunk and another trey, all from Faust sealed the game for the Beach who won for the second time in Honolulu since Hawai'i joined the conference. It was also in front of a sellout crowd, the first for UH since the 2004 season.
In the win, Faust became the only player in the nation to have multiple games of at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five 3-pointers made this season. Riggins also chipped in a career-high 10 points, Levin finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Travis Hammonds scored 10 points, all in the second half.
Long Beach State will have a full week until its next game, when the Beach hosts CSUN at 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 6 in the Walter Pyramid.
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