Stepteau & record tieing 14 three pointers lifts UH to victory
The University of Hawaii men's basketball team picked up a big, bounce-back road win with a 77-70 victory over Long Beach State Thursday night at the Walter Pyramid.
LONG BEACH, Calif. – The University of Hawaii men's basketball team picked up a big, bounce-back road win with a 77-70 victory over Long Beach State Thursday night at the Walter Pyramid. With the win UH improved to 14-8 and moved into a tie for third in the Big West at 5-3.
Coming off a disheartening home loss to UC Santa Barbara last Saturday, UH gave a resounding response. The Rainbow Warriors tied a school-record with 14 three-pointers, 10 of them coming from Brocke Stepteau and Jack Purchase who each drained five. Stepteau finished with a game-high 23 points, while Purchase added 17.
The win was just UH's second in 12 all-time visits to the Pyramid and its first in seven tries as a Big West opponent. UH also completed a regular-season sweep of the 49ers (8-16, 2-6 BWC) for the first time.
Zigmars Raimo posted his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Long Beach native Drew Buggs finished with seven points, seven assists, and just one turnover.
For the second straight meeting UH also put the lock down on Deishuan Booker, who entered the game averaging a league-high 25.6 ppg in Big West games. After holding the explosive guard to just 3-of-10 shooting in Honolulu last week, the 'Bows again held Booker well below his average after he finished with just 11 points.
UH held a 41-35 lead at the break on the strength of eight three-pointers as Purchase and Stepteau went a combined 7-of-10 from deep. The Beach came out of the gates quickly in the second half with a 9-0 run to take a 44-41 lead. However, UH got three-pointers from Purchase and Sheriff Drammeh to take a 47-46 lead and the 'Bows never trailed again. A three-pointer by Stepteau -- UH's 14th of the game -- gave UH a nine-point lead with 2:2:24 remaining and ultimately helped seal the win.
After shooting 12-of-50 (24 percent) from long range in its previous two games, UH regained its touch by finishing 14-of-27 (52 percent) against the 49ers. UH also committed just nine turnovers and forced 16 by the 49ers, who dropped their sixth straight contest.
The Rainbow Warriors will now face first-place UC Irvine in Big West showdown on Saturday, February 9. Tipoff is 7:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. HT.
Picture Credit: Shane Rodrigues