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A lot on line against LaTech

A 16th victory for the Hawaii basketball team would be especially sweet on Thursday night.

The Warriors will host Louisiana Tech at the Stan Sheriff Center on Thursday with a chance to clinch two significant achievements.

First, Hawaii will officially qualify for the Western Athletic Conference Tournament with a victory over the Bulldogs. That would be significant because the Warriors did not qualify last year (only the top eight teams in the conference get invited), and were predicted in the preseason to finish last this season.

Hawaii is 15-10 overall this season, and in sixth place in the WAC at 5-7. LaTech is 12-16 overall and in ninth place in the WAC at 2-10.

If the Warriors – and first-year head coach Gib Arnold — earn their 16th win of the season on Thursday, it would also assure a winning season for the program for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

“Yeah, we all know how big this game is,” sophomore center Vander Joaquim said. “But we have to keep playing like how we’ve been playing. We can not worry about the WAC Tournament or anything like that yet. We have to take care of this game first.”

Hawaii already owns a victory over the Bulldogs this season. On Jan. 15, the Warriors beat LaTech, 56-48, in Ruston, La., to end a 15-game road losing streak.

“They are a better team, but I think we’re a much better team, too, from a month ago,” said assistant coach Brandyn Akana, who scouted the Bulldogs. “I think it all starts with defense. We’re going to have to really defend.”

The Warriors could get some help before the game starts. LaTech’s leading scorer, DeAndre Brown, is on an indefinite suspension and is not expected to play. He ranks third in the WAC in scoring with 15.8 points per game.

But without Brown, LaTech defeated Georgia State, 51-45, in a non-conference game last week.

The Bulldogs have one of the top double-double threats in the WAC in 6-foot-7forward Olu Ashaolu, who is averaging 14.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

Hawaii is led by junior guard Zane Johnson, who is averaging 14.9 points per game and leads the WAC with 3.1 3-pointers per game.

Senior forward Bill Amis is averaging 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and Joaquim is contributing 9.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

And here is a brief video of junior point guard Miah Ostrowski explaining some of the battle scars he got from Hawaii’s last game, a road victory at UC Davis:

2 Comments

  1. I hope they come out fired up tonite. One game at a time, right? Go Warriors!

  2. We’re wrapping these sissies!!! 41-22, go bows!!!

    I don’t know if Arnold has told his players this, but we got a legit shot at 20 wins this year so hopefully we can get there. 20 wins, what a does that feel like again? I can’t even remember anymore. Nash’s team in Japan has 18 games left and at 14-20 may not even get 20 wins! haha!

    Give ’em Gib!!!

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