|Courtesy of Zyaire Porter T.G. Sportstv1|
Anaheim, Calif. -- With a big night from Long Beach State 49ers’ point guard Justin Bibbins, they advance to the semifinals of the Big West tournament with a 73-62 win over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The junior guard took it upon himself to end the season for the Rainbow Warriors with his spectacular play.
“The bigs set great screens on the pick and rolls and got me open for jumpers.” said Bibbins. “I didn’t have to hunt for it, it just came to me within the offense. That’s what is great about this team… It doesn’t matter who is scoring, whoever has the hot hand, that’s who we’re going to. Tonight was just my night.”
First, it was Bibbins weaving through the defense and draining a mid-range jumper then he bounced a no look pass that found Roschon Prince in traffic, which he powered in for a bucket. That was just the start of a 19-2 run during a seven minutes and 18 seconds frame, in which they held Hawaii without a single field goal.
In contrast, Hawaii opened the game by scoring the first five points and look to seize control. For the Rainbow Warriors, it was Gibson Johnson who couldn’t be stopped in the early going, as he set the tone by making his first five baskets. After Johnson cooled off, Noah Allen carried the load for the Rainbow Warriors when he caught fire by scoring 10 consecutive team points in the last four minutes of the first half, including two three pointers. Hawaii held a 35-33 lead at halftime.
Bibbins scored 19 points in the first half on six for seven shooting, including all five of his attempts from the line. He scored nine of the 49ers’ first 13 points, which the 49ers desperately needed him to do because they struggled to put the ball in the basket throughout the first 12 minutes.
“Justin set the tone for us mentally,” said Long Beach State Head Coach Dan Monson. “He came out and was just so impressive offensively. He really carried us until we could get some other guys comfortable in the flow.”
The second half played out just like most of the game did, with the teams continuing to trade baskets. Only this time around, it was Long Beach who used a 15-6 run to take a lead they wouldn’t give up.
Hawaii 6-0 run to tie the game at 54 at 10-minute mark to make things interesting but a Bibbins jumper ended their hopes and it also jumpstarted an 10-0 run that put the 49ers in complete control of the game to easily close it out.
Bibbins was a perfect 9-9 from free throw line in the game en route to his game-high 27 points. He has now made 21 consecutive from the charity stripe. Barry Ogalue was a perfect 7-7 from the floor in scoring 16 points. Temidayo Yussuf was also perfect from the floor; he made all four of his shots and added nine rebounds.
Long Beach State has advanced to the semifinals in eight of the last nine years.