(Hawaii Athletics) - The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team dropped its Big West opener with an 89-81 loss at Long Beach State Thursday night at the Walter Pyramid.
It was the 49ers strength inside that won the day. LBSU shot 63 percent from the floor and scored 50 points inside the paint to improve to 7-10 on the year. UH, meanwhile, fell to 1-10 all-time at the Pyramid and remain winless (0-6) there in Big West games.
Four Long Beach State (7-10, 1-0 BW) players finished in double-figures, including a trio with 18 points or more. Barry Ogalue scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting, while forwards Gabe Levin and Temidayo Yussuf added 18 points apiece.
UH (9-5, 0-1) also had four in double-figures led by Brocke Stepteau's 19 points. Sheriff Drammeh added 15 points, while freshman Drew Buggs finished with 14 points and five assists in his return to his hometown. Mike Thomas finished with 10 points in 17 minutes played.
Both teams came out hot as UH went 8-of-15 from beyond the arc in the first half. But the 'Bows could do little to stop the 49ers who shot 66 percent and scored 32 of their 46 first-half points inside the paint.
LBSU led by eight at the half and built its lead to as many as 14 midway through the second half. UH never gave in, but could never get over the hump. A Stepteau three-pointer got UH within four points with 37 seconds left, but that would be as close as it would get. LBSU sealed the game at the free-throw line where they finished 26-of-31.
The Rainbow Warriors next face CSUN on the second leg of its opening Big West trip on Saturday, Jan. 6. Tipoff is 7:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. HT.