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Warriors host late night “Blackout”

There are a lot of different points for the Hawaii basketball team to focus on tonight: ESPN game, championship of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, “Blackout” game, late-night start …

Ultimately, it will come down to simple basketball for the Warriors – score more points than Central Michigan.

“It’s exciting, it’s fun to be a part of all that stuff,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “But all I want our guys to focus on is the basketball game. We’re facing a very good Central Michigan team, so that’s the biggest concern.”

The Warriors will host the Chippewas at 11 p.m. on Monday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. The late-night start will accommodate ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon – 24 consecutive hours of college basketball coverage.

It will also be the final night of the three-night Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic. Hawaii is the only 2-0 team in the tournament through the first two nights, so a victory on Monday will give the Warriors the title.

“We’re excited about these two wins,” senior point guard Hiram Thompson said after Hawaii’s 84-70 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. “We know this is a big game for us … we really want to win, especially on ESPN.”

Central Michigan is 1-1. The Chippewas beat Cal State Fullerton (70-67), then lost to Montana State (65-58).

Hawaii defeated both Cal State Fullerton (84-70) and Montana State (77-59).

Hawaii assistant coach Benjy Taylor, who has been scouting Central Michigan during the tournament, described the Chippewas as “one of the more physical teams we’ll face all year.”

Jalin Thomas, a 6-foot-4 senior guard/forward, leads Central Michigan in scoring with 18.0 points per game. Trey Zeigler, a 6-5 guard, is contributing 16.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Zeigler is the son of head coach Ernie Zeigler, and was considered one of the top high school recruits out of Michigan.

Central Michigan’s biggest starter is William McClure, a 6-7, 240-pound senior. He leads the team in rebounding with 11.5 per game.

“I don’t think they’re too much worried abut that – the fact that we’re taller,” Taylor said. “We’ll try to use it to our advantage, but they’re certainly not intimidated by that … they’re awfully strong physically. Definitely one of the best rebounding teams we’ve seen this year.”

The Warriors have been relying on a balanced attack, with four players averaging double-figure points: Hiram Thompson at 19.5, Bo Barnes at 19.0, Bill Amis at 15.5 and Joston Thomas at 12.0.

Amis leads the team in rebounding with 8.0 per game, while Thomas is grabbing 5.5 per game. The Warriors have been effective from long range, with 20 3-pointers in their first two games at a .426 percentage. Barnes, a true freshman, leads the way with 10 3s and a .556 percentage from beyond the arc.

Monday’s game is being promoted as a “Blackout” and fans are encouraged to wear black shirts. Arnold said the team will unveil new uniforms for the ESPN game that will fit with the theme of the night.

(Photo by Brandon Flores)

2 Comments

  1. With the renewed energy on this team let’s hope for a good showing tonight. UH could sure use a great game on national TV. Is Central Michigan suppose to give UH a tough game? Hope the late nighters all wear black tonight.

  2. Should be a tough game. The Hawaii coaches are concerned because Central Michigan has some strong players (although not tall) who like to play physical. We’ll see how the young Warriors respond.

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