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Warriors want to end Nevada streak

The Hawaii basketball team traveled through a snowstorm to get from Logan, Utah, to Reno, Nev., on Thursday. Now comes the hard part.

“It got pretty scary there trying to get out of Utah,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “(The snow) was coming down pretty hard. There were cars pulled over on the side of the road all over the place just because it was too hard to drive.

“But we made it. We’re here and now we can focus on the next game, which is Nevada. We know it’s going to be another tough one”

The Warriors will spend the final day of 2010 trying to stop an undesirable streak of losses in Reno. Hawaii will play a Western Athletic Conference road game on New Year’s Eve at Nevada, where the Warriors are 0-13.

But this may be as good a chance as any for the Warriors to score a victory at Nevada. Hawaii is 9-4 (0-1 WAC) after a tough loss at conference-favorite Utah State on Wednesday. Nevada is 3-10 – its worst start in 40 years.

The game will be televised on ESPNU starting at 3 p.m. (Hawaii time).

“We’re all disappointed with the loss (at Utah State), but we’ll learn from it and get better from it and hopefully it shows by the time we tip it off against Nevada,” Arnold said.

The Warriors have been relying on a young group of players early this season, but if there is one WAC team that can relate, it is the Wolf Pack. Nevada normally uses 11 players in its regular rotation, and six of them are freshmen. What’s more, only one of those players in the rotation is a senior – reserve center Illiwa Baldwin.

“They’re tough to prepare for because they’re new and they’re constantly changing,” Arnold said. “But they’ve got a lot of good athletes, so anybody they put out there can get it done for them.”

The Wolf Pack is relying on a balanced attack, with 6-foot-5 sophomore Malik Story leading the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game. The transfer from Indiana is also the team’s top shooter, with 32 3-pointers in 13 games and a .457 percentage from long range.

Nevada’s top post player is Dario Hunt, a 6-8 junior who is averaging 13.1 points and a WAC-best 10.2 rebounds per game.

Olek Czyz, a 6-7 forward, recently became eligible after transferring from Duke. He has started the last three games and is averaging 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Besides the home winning streak against Hawaii, Nevada will also have the advantage of preparation time. While the rest of the WAC teams opened conference play on Wednesday, Nevada had the night off. The Wolf Pack last played on Monday night, and then had the rest of the week to prepare for the Warriors.

Hawaii has been using a rotation of eight players recently, and three of them are freshmen and two are sophomores.

“We’ll go with what we have,” Arnold said. “We’re young, we have a short roster, but we’re going to battle and play hard like we always do.”

Hawaii junior guard Zane Johnson is averaging 15.2 points per game and leads the WAC with 40 3-pointers and a .878 free throw percentage. Senior point guard Hiram Thompson is averaging 12.3 points and 3.5 assists per game, and sophomore forward Joston Thomas is contributing 11.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Senior forward Bill Amis is on the road trip with the Warriors, but is not expected to play. He has sat out the last nine games with a stress fracture in his right foot.

1 Comment

  1. If the Warriors wanted to ‘end the streak’ maybe they should have showed up.. Big step backward against a team with a crappy record..

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