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'Bows must beat 'The Beach' for third time to advance in BWC Tournament

The fourth-seeded University of Hawaii men's basketball team opens the Big West Tournament on Thursday with a quarterfinal matchup versus No. 5 seed Long Beach State in Anaheim.

The Rainbow Warriors swept the season series with the 49ers, including the team's first-ever Big West win at the Pyramid on February 7, but overconfidence will not be an issue for UH according to head coach Eran Ganot as the 49ers enter the tourney riding a BWC best five-game winning streak.

"Well, they're dangerous. You're playing one of the hottest teams in the league and we knew what they were capable of. We've been fortunate to play well the first two games against them but they're kind of clicking on all cylinders right now. They got balance offensively. It's the number one scoring team in our league," said Ganot.

This will be the fourth tournament meeting in the last five years between the teams. UH beat LBSU in 2015 (quarterfinals) and '16 (championship) and fell to the 49ers in the 2017 quarterfinals.

This will be UH's fifth road game in its last six contests. UH has been on the mainland since Tuesday, March 5 after ending the regular-season with wins at UC Davis and at Cal State Fullerton.

Brocke Stepteau averaged 19.0 ppg in the two road wins to nab Big West Player of the Week honors. The senior guard has sunk a school-record 34 straight free throws.

UH is 5-7 on the mainland this year, including 4-5 in true road games and 1-2 in neutral games. 

Tipoff between the 'Bows and the Beach is set for Thursday at 5:30 pm HST and will be available via the Watch ESPN App and ESPN3.com.

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