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Warriors set for Maui match with NC A&T

WAILUKU — Despite a whirlwind Saturday schedule that had them on three different islands, seniors Zane Johnson and Miah Ostrowski do not plan to make Sunday a day of rest.

Johnson, Ostrowski and the rest of the Hawaii basketball team will play a Sunday game on Maui against North Carolina A&T. The game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. at the War Memorial Gymnasium, and it will be televised live on OCSports (channel 12).

“We got like six hours of sleep the past 48 hours, but we know we have to be ready for the game, so we’ll get our sleep (Saturday night) and then be ready for this game,” Johnson said.

The Warriors beat Hawaii-Hilo, 79-66, on the Big Island on Friday night, and Johnson and Ostrowski woke up at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning to get a flight back to Honolulu.

They made it to the Stan Sheriff Center just in time to participate in the mid-year graduation ceremony for UH-Manoa students. After “walking” at the ceremony, Johnson and Ostrowski returned to the airport to get on a flight to Maui to re-join the rest of the Warriors.

“It was long – very long – and kind of boring, but it was worth it,” Johnson said. “We were able to go with our families for a little while, then got back to the airport.”

They made it to Maui in time to join the rest of the Warriors for a late-night practice at War Memorial Gymnasium. Because of a high school basketball tournament at the gym, the Warriors were not able to start practice until around 9:30 p.m.

Hawaii is 4-4 after the victory over UH-Hilo. North Carolina A&T – which is a NCAA Division I program from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference – is 4-7.

The Aggies have already played a brutal non-conference schedule, so a trip to Maui would seem nothing out of the ordinary. They have played seven road games so far, and have lost all seven. Most recently, North Carolina A&T lost at Saint Mary’s, 84-45.

The Aggies have been inconsistent, as they have scored 87 or more points in four games, but have been held below 50 points in two other games.

Nic Simpson, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, leads the Aggies’ balanced attack with 10.7 points per game. Marc Hill, a 5-8 senior guard, is the only other player averaging double-figure points at 10.0 per game.

“We just know that they’re going to try and run up and down and they’re really athletic,” Johnson said. “We need to be ready for everything.”

Johnson, who had his worst game of the season against UH-Hilo, still leads the Warriors in scoring at 14.3 points per game. Freshman point guard Shaquille Stokes is next at 11.5 points per game, and junior center Vander Joaquim is averaging a double-double with 11.0 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

Hawaii vs. North Carolina A&T

When: Sunday, December 18, 5 p.m.
Where: War Memorial Gymnasium, Wailuku, Maui
Tickets: $12 adults, $8 senior citizens, $6 students
TV: Live on OCSports (channel 12)
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Autograph session: The Hawaii players and coaches will be signing autographs in the gym after the game.

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