For the second time in eight days, Hawaii and Long Beach State will meet in a basketball game. This time it’s in the Pyramid.
Both teams are seeking to rebound. The ‘Bows imploded in the past Saturday’s second half when UC Santa Barbara scored 45 points on 65.4 percent shooting (including 71.4 percent on 3s). The 49ers won their first two Big West games, then lost the next five. On Saturday, they fell to UC Irvine, 82-80. The 49ers have led or were tied at the 10-minute mark of each of their seven Big West games (UPDATE: That’s with the exception of the UH game; the Rainbows were up six with 10 minutes left.)
The ‘Bows have struggled with their 3s the past two games, hitting 12 of 50 (24 percent). The big three — Jack Purchase, Eddie Stansberry and Brocke Stepteau — are a combined eight of 30 (26.7 percent) in both games.
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Pyramid power? Here’s UH’s take:
• Zigmars Raimo: “You can’t really explain it. It’s a unique place to play. The atmosphere is always amazing there.”
• Drew Buggs: “It’s a tough environment. It’s going to be a battle. It’s a place we really want to get a win on the road.”
And from the other side:
LBSU coach Dan Monson: “Part of (the 49ers past success at home) is we’ve had good teams. This year, we’re not as good, and we’ve lost our last three home games. The arena is nice, and we’ve shown we can win it if you play well. But we’re far from being able to mail it in because we’re at home. We’ve got to get ourselves playing better.”
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More from coach Monson:
• On the eight-day turnaround: “There are benefits and there are negatives. You’ve got to focus on the positives. The benefit for us is it’s fresh in our memory. The second thing is the scout is fresh in our memory and the things that did not work out for us. The preparation is a lot easier. Guys are just one week removed from making the mistakes.”
• On trying to build toward the Big West Tournament: “That’s our job. Until that’s taken away, that’s going to be our goal. I think what’s shown is we’re not there. You can say we’re close, and I think we are, but the hardest step is getting over that last step.”
• On last week: “I think we rebounded the ball better. Again, it’s inconsistency. Against Hawaii, we really struggled offensively. We had a very poor night offensively. I thought we defended well enough to win, but you have to play both ends of the court. Saturday, we turn around and 48 hours later we score 80 points against Irvine and lose. We’ve got to put everything together.”
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And a few words from UH coach Eran Ganot:
• On the schedule: “Every year we’ve played a team twice before we’ve seen another team once. Either way, you’re going to be familiar with each other because it’s conference play. We have to respond to a tough setback the other day. But that’s the nature of what we all sign up for.”
• On defense: “We’ve been good over the year mixing coverage. Point of attack and team, whether it’s a perimeter player or post, we’ve been beat up pretty good inside the past couple games. We have to take some ownership in terms of point of attack and one-on-one defense, and continue to mix in some support there. When there’s a balance of an attack, if they have a guy shooting around that post, where can you get help from? That’s a good challenge.”
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Drew Buggs is from Long Beach and the game is in Long Beach:
“It’s home for me,” Buggs said. “It’s going to be fun. I’m going to have people there. I’m going to treat it like any other conference game. I’m going to go out there and compete and try to get a win.”
Buggs, who did not receive an offer from LBSU, said he has attended many games in the Pyramid.
“I grew up going to a lot of Long Beach State games. It’s fun to play somewhere that you’ve watched so many games. I played there in high school in the state regional championship game. I was a fan when (the 49ers) had Casper Ware, Larry Anderson and T.J. Robinson. I’ve been following Long Beach State basketball for a while.”
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Buggs is expected to guard Deishuan Booker, who is averaging 25.9 points in Big West games. Booker is Harden-esque in inducing fouls. He averages 12 free throws in Big West games.