Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors need to play big at Pepperdine

For a team that has already traveled to China and Canada this year, a trip to California this week should be relatively easy.

The Hawaii basketball team departed Honolulu on Friday morning for Los Angeles. The Warriors will play a road game at Pepperdine on Saturday, December 3, at the Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif. It will be the first in a two-game road trip, as Hawaii will also play at Pacific on Tuesday, December 6.

“It’s probably the easiest one of the year, just right into L.A. and then up to Sacramento,” senior guard Zane Johnson said of the itinerary.

Saturday’s game, however, may not be so simple. Pepperdine is 3-3, with some inconsistent results so far this season. The Waves scored a 66-60 road victory at Arizona State on November 15, but they are coming off their worst performance of the season in a 62-39 road loss at UCLA on November 28.

“Pepperdine’s got a couple of really good bigs in Corbin Moore and Taylor Darby,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “They throw it inside and they can score in the low post. And then they have a nice inside-out game.”

Darby is a 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior who leads the team in scoring with 11.3 points per game, and is also grabbing 6.7 rebounds per game. Moore is a 6-10, 235-pound senior who is averaging 8.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Led by those two, the Waves are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 38.2-31.7.

Pepperdine’s weakness has been on offense. The Waves are averaging just 60.2 points per game with a .373 field goal percentage.

By comparison, Hawaii has a 2-2 record and is averaging 71.8 points per game with a .434 field goal percentage. While Pepperdine has just one player averaging double-figure points, Hawaii has three, led by Johnson’s 17.8 per game.

Freshman point guard Shaquille Stokes is averaging 11.8 points and 4.3 assists per game, and sophomore forward Trevor Wiseman is contributing 11.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Junior center Vander Joaquim is not far behind with 9.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

“I feel okay with our scoring,” Arnold said. “It’s our defense that really needs to step up for us to be successful on this trip, and for the rest of the season.”

Arnold was an assistant coach at Pepperdine for four seasons (1999-2003), and said he still has several friends at the school.

Saturday’s game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. (Hawaii time). It will be broadcast live on radio (ESPN 1500 AM) and peppe

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