Hawai’i Begins Conference Play Thursday Against Long Beach State

Levin, Gabe
Gabe Levin leads Long Beach State in scoring this season, averaging 15.0 points per game. (Header: Hawai’i Athletics)

LONG BEACH, Ca. — Thursday night, the Hawai’i Warriors will be on the road to begin their Big West conference play slate against the Long Beach State 49ers.

The 9-4 Hawai’i Warriors are entering Big West play with a glaring weakness on the offensive end of the floor, as they shot just 30.65% from three point range during non-conference play.

Similarly, Long Beach State also has a low three point shooting percentage, as they hit on just 36.39% of their attempts from long range.

Head coach Eran Ganot and the Warriors coaching staff will need to plan ahead in order to stop the pairing of Gabe Levin and Bryan Alberts for the 49ers. Over the first 16 games for Long Beach State, the pair have combined to average 29.0 points and 8.9 rebounds.

In his first year with the 49ers, Alberts is averaging 14.0 points per game, while shooting 41.4% from three point range.

A sneaky player for the 49ers is their 6’3″ junior guard Deishuan Booker, who is leading all eligible players in the Big West with 5.7 assists per contest. Booker has at least five assists in nine of the 15 games he’s played in this season. He didn’t suit up in Long Beach State’s last outing, a 77-59 win over Texas A&M-International.

As of late, a pair of Warriors have been heating up, with Jack Purchase nearly shooting a staggering 50% from three point range, and Sheriff Drammeh is averaging 16.2 points per game over their last six games.

Drammeh has a pair of 20 point performances in his last five outings.

Hawai’i needs Purchase to continue his hot streak from three point range, as they will need a lot of them in their upcoming Big West games.

Long Beach State has a staggering 73 more turnovers on the season than the Warriors, so if Hawai’i wants to find an opening in this game, it could be points off of turnovers. The 49ers have 75 more rebounds than the Warriors, as well as 40 more blocks. Hawai’i has racked up 35 more steals than the 49ers.

How Each Team Can Win This Game

Hawai’i can win this game by continuing their hot streak into conference play.  Against Howard in their last game, Purchase was 6-of-9 from three point range, as well as contributing a game-high 22 points. As a team, they shot 56.5% from beyond the arc, trending upward from their 30.65% seasonal average.

The Warriors need a big rebounding game from their captain, senior forward Michael Thomas, as he leads the team with 6.1 rebounds a game. Drammeh is averaging just over 16 points a game in their last six outings, so if the Warriors keep up their hot streak they can win this game.

Long Beach State can win this game by controlling the boards and forcing the Warriors to hit shots from three point range. If the 49ers can get their usual 29.0 points per game from Levin and Alberts, plus key contributions from their role players, they have as good a shot as any of winning this game.

– T. Zust