Another strong defensive effort helped Long Beach State men’s basketball hold on to a 64-60 win over Hawaii on Saturday at Walter Pyramid. The Beach (10-18, 5-7) handed the Rainbow Wahine (15-11, 6-6) their first home conference loss last week.
“I’m happy for our guys because they’re starting to get rewarded for their identity,” LBSU coach Dan Monson said. “We’ve figured out that if we’re going to win games it’s going to be at the defensive end. It’s got to be with our rebounding. It’s got to be with our toughness.”
Sophomore Michael Carter III scored a team-high 15 points, and sparked a 13-2 run in the first half that helped give LBSU a 34-24 halftime lead.
LBSU led by as many as 16 in the second half, but Hawaii got back into the game while LBSU made 11 turnovers in the last 8 minutes. However, the Beach was able to hold on at the free throw line to seal a crucial victory in terms of the conference standings.
The Beach is still only two games out of second place in the Big West with four games left on the regular season schedule. The Beach has won three of its last four games.
LBSU had a 40-33 rebounding edge on Hawaii while six Beach players had at least six points. Seven players had four or more rebounds, led by senior Jordan Roberts’ seven.
“After the injury to Romelle Mansel I felt like I had to bring more of a defensive mentality to the lineup,” Roberts said.
Freshman Joshua Morgan finished with 10 points to go with six rebounds and two more blocks. Morgan is now tied for ninth all-time in career blocks with 67 at the Beach.
LBSU hosts CSUN on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in another game televised live on ESPN3.