In what was perhaps its most intense game of the year, the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team toughed out a 79-70 win over Long Beach State at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday night.
Hawaii improves to 13-4 overall and 4-1 in Big West Conference play, while Long Beach State drops to 8-10 overall and 3-2 in Big West games.
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The Beach led 14-6 midway through the first half, as Hawaii started 0-for-9 from the 3-point line.
The final 30 minutes of the game increased in both intensity and offensive output for both The Beach and the ‘Bows. Hawaii outscored LBSU 49-43 in the second half as a total of 41 fouls were committed between the two squads.
Samuta Avea paced Hawaii with 10 points in the first half, including two 3-pointers, the team’s two lone makes from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes. He finished with 17 points.
Noel Coleman had a game-high 25 points for the ‘Bows, including a clutch 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining to put UH up four. Coleman also made all 11 of his free throw attempts. Additionally, Kamaka Hepa had a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds despite playing under foul trouble in the second half.
For Long Beach State, Hunter Tone had a team-high 18 points.
Next up for Hawaii is a rare Monday conference home game against Cal State Northridge. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. HST.