Long Beach States men’s basketball fell to Hawaii in a close matchup losing 67-70 at the Walter Pyramid Saturday night.
The Beach were unable to get a lead throughout the whole game, as the team made its best efforts to comeback from behind. Hawaii’s forward Kamaka Hepa played a key role for the Rainbow Warriors as he led his team in points scoring 19.
Junior guard Marcus Tsohonis had the opportunity to tie up the game for The Beach but missed one of his free throws which forced The Beach to draw up a last-second play that came up short.
Despite the loss LBSU redshirt freshman guard AJ George scored a career-high 20 points in the game.
“He was what players call a dog today,” head coach Dan Monson said. “He’s a freshman that gives you everything you want.”
With under two minutes left in the game sophomore forward Aboubacar Traore fouled out of the game finishing the night with five total rebounds and two points.
“He’s got to learn how to how to stay in those games,” Monson said. “We’ve got to protect him better and figure that out.”
Sophomore forward Lassina Traore went 5-8 from the field scoring 15 points and totaling six rebounds during the game.
In the second half The Beach were the better team outscoring Hawaii 38-31 while shooting close to 11% better than the first half. During that second half, the team went on a 12-point run that got them back into the game bringing the score to 63-64 with 2:11 remaining in the game.
“I thought we really stayed together good during frustration and adversity,” Monson said.
LBSU came off of a 76-88 loss in their previous match on Wednesday when the team played UC Riverside.
The Beach has four games left in the season as it finishes out Big West play and looks to improve its seeding for the playoffs that are just three weeks away. With a playoff spot already secure the focus is now on closing the gap between LBSU and the teams at the top of the conference.
“We need to win four games,” Monson said. “We’re not going to win our league in the regular season this year, but I’d trade that for a league championship in the tournament.”
The next game is a crucial matchup against UC Santa Barbara as The Beach looks to get in the win column on Thursday, Feb. 23, before returning to the Walter Pyramid on Feb. 25 against CSU Northridge.