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Warriors face tough road tests

The Hawaii basketball team passed some early tests already this season, but now comes a big one.

The road.

After opening the season with five straight wins at home, the Warriors departed on Sunday for their first road trip of the season, and will play games at Cal Poly on Wednesday, then at Brigham Young on Saturday.

Head coach Gib Arnold is in his first season as head coach of the Warriors, but he inherited a losing streak of 12 consecutive away games for Hawaii teams.

“We’re looking forward to getting on the road,” Arnold said. “It takes a different mindset to go on the road. This will be our first road trip, so as a coach I’m looking forward to learning who we are and where we are; which guys can step up under pressure.”

Cal Poly and BYU both beat Hawaii handily in the Stan Sheriff Center last season.

The Mustangs defeated the Warriors 102-89, and several of their key players are back. David Hanson, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, leads the team in scoring with 17.2 points per game. He scored 18 in the win at Hawaii last season.

Shawn Lewis, a 6-4 senior guard, is contributing 13.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He had 17 points and eight rebounds against the Warriors last season. Will Donahue, a 6-8, 265-pound junior center, is the team’s top post player with 10.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.

Hawaii is expecting a small group of fans to be in attendance. Six of the players on the Hawaii roster are from California, and each of them expects at least a few family members to attend.

The tougher test will come on Saturday against BYU, which is ranked No. 21 in this week’s AP Top 25.

The Cougars have one of the top point guards in the country in 6-2 senior Jimmer Fredette. He is averaging 24.8 points and 4.8 assists per game. He had 20 points and eight assists in BYU’s 83-65 win at Hawaii last season.

Saturday’s game will be played at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, instead of in Provo. The arena is home to the NBA’s Utah Jazz.

“Shoot, it’s the NBA, we should be awestruck,” Arnold said of playing there. “That’s the big boys. I think we’re all looking forward to that game.”

Hawaii will have 10 active players available on the road trip, and four of them are averaging double-figure points: Hiram Thompson (14.2 points per game), Joston Thomas (13.2), Bo Barnes (12.6) and Zane Johnson (11.3).

Senior forward Bill Amis traveled with the team, but will remain sidelined with a foot injury. Junior point guard Anthony Salter did not make the trip because Arnold granted him some time off to attend to personal matters.

The Warriors will be on the road for a total of seven days, but Arnold said there will be no time for sightseeing.

“We’re not going to stop in Park City to go skiing when we get to Utah, put it that way,” he said.

(Photo by Brandon Flores)

1 Comment

  1. UPDATE:

    CAL POLY 54, HAWAII 53

    The Warriors lost a heartbreaker on the road, as Cal Poly scored on a putback at the buzzer to take the victory.

    Hawaii trailed 52-48 with less than two minutes remaining, but Zane Johnson hit three free throws with 1:01 remaining, then Joston Thomas scored on a driving layup to put the Warriors ahead, 53-52 with 22 seconds remaining.

    On Cal Poly’s final possession, they missed two shots but got the offensive rebound both times. Chris O’Brien got the final offensive board and made the winning basket as the final horn sounded.

    Johnson led Hawaii with 11 points, and Thomas scored 10. Vander Joaquim had six points and 11 rebounds.

    Hawaii shot 51.4 percent from the field, but committed a season-high 27 turnovers.

    It was the first loss of the season for Hawaii, which dropped to 5-1 under first-year head coach Gib Arnold. Cal Poly improved to 3-3.

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