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Warriors embark on first WAC road trip of 2012

The Hawai’i basketball team got to stay home for the holidays, and the Warriors responded with a 7-2 record in games played between December 16 and January 7.

Now it’s time to hit the road again.

Hawai’i will play two Western Athletic Conference road games this week – at Fresno State on Thursday, then at Nevada on Saturday. The Warriors departed Honolulu on Tuesday night, and in addition to warm clothes, they packed a little bit of confidence.

“It was good and I think we’re playing as good as we’ve played all year,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said of the team’s recent homestand.

The Warriors are 9-6 overall and 1-0 in the WAC. Fresno State is 7-10 overall and 0-2 in the WAC. Thursday’s game will start at 5 p.m. (Hawaii time) at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.

“It’s always a little bit tougher to execute offensively on the road because it’s a new arena, but you can always play great D,” Arnold said. “Our mindset is you can have an off night shooting but you can’t have an off night defensively, and that’s how we’re approaching these games.”

The Bulldogs opened WAC play with road losses at Utah State and Idaho last week. Fresno State ranks last among WAC teams in scoring at 65.4 points per game (Hawaii is second at 73.2), but the Bulldogs have one of the top individual scorers in the conference in 6-2 sophomore Kevin Olekaibe.

He is averaging 18.0 points per game, and leads the WAC with 50 3-pointers. The only other Bulldog averaging double-figure points is Jonathan Wills, a 6-6 senior wing who is at 11.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

“They like to penetrate and they set a lot of long-ball screens,” Hawai’i senior guard Zane Johnson said. “Their top four guys all shoot 3s. We just have to be ready to play … if we play our defense, it doesn’t really matter what they have – we can just lock in and guard.”

Johnson leads the Warriors with 14.7 points per game and 43 3-pointers. The Warriors opened the WAC with an 82-69 home win over San Jose State. Junior center Vander Joaquim (20 points, 14 rebounds) and junior forward Joston Thomas (27 points, eight rebounds) were key factors in that game, and they could be again against Fresno State.

The Bulldogs do not have a true center, and 6-8 Kevin Foster and 6-7 Jerry Brown have been the top post players. Foster is averaging 6.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, and Brown is contributing 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Hawai’i teams have traditionally struggled on the road against Fresno State, with an all-time record of 4-16 against the Bulldogs in Fresno, Calif.

The Warriors have struggled even more in Reno, Nev., where they are 0-14 against Nevada. What’s more, Nevada has emerged as the top team in the WAC so far at 12-3 overall and 2-0 in the conference. Arnold, however, said the Warriors will not prepare specifically for Nevada until Friday.

“We worked exclusively on Fresno (this week),” Arnold said. “It’s difficult, but you have to approach it that way. You have to get that first one.”

Hawai’i at Fresno State

When: Thursday, January 12, 5 p.m. (Hawaii time)
Where: Save Mart Center, Fresno, California
TV: None
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM

15 Comments

  1. This is the last time we’ll play Fresno at the Save Mart Center as part of the WAC! I hope they can go out with a win. Leave that place with a decisive victory, walk away and never look back!

  2. Go Warriors. Take it to em!

  3. Last time at nevada too. time to get a win there, I don’t remember UH ever getting a win there. Come on guys you can do it.

  4. Going into hostile territory, but as long as you guys play as one team, one goal……WIN. Everything should work out great.
    Go Warriors!

  5. lose both games

  6. Likely IF they take their current (or improving) level of ability and awareness and apply Your (H-9) LAME Level of Lack of Awareness or Lack of Winning Attitude … i’m guessing you Did Not play sports esp. Team Sports — IF You Did, you probably did not enjoy it — losing so much …Hope You ARE Enjoying the Ever-Increasing Levels of UH Success ANY Way ….

    Example: I don’t think we ever signed three Legit High School Recruits — Last Year Was Close but they obviously weren’t (yet) qualifiers (which might be why we could get them to “sign”) … UH has never (before) had a strong four/five year program … versus just trying to milk one (or two) seasons out of JUCOs …

    GO Warriors ! WIN Thursday !

    Then Yeah, Also Sweep Saturday …. DO-Able — Nevada Must Be Catchable — it’s time for them to experience another Loss …

  7. sound like you’re a coach of a womens basketball team..you all just like women…only wanna hear compliments and don’t wanna hear the truth

  8. So what’s the truth? Is it this: shamburger gonna tear it up…. (I wonder who posted that? He scored 6 points.)

  9. he did tear it up..he played crappy

  10. Clyde and Eagle right on point!…Good luck tonight and in the future!!…Go Warriors!…

  11. Man, Hawaiifan09….you are really negative. I mean as a fan (your screen name would lead us to believe you are a fan), you have to believe your team is going to win every game going in. Sometimes the team you are playing looks better on paper, but hey man, upsets happen…that is why they play the games. Hawaii has a very solid club this year and could beat most teams on any given night. I think they win tonight and Saturday, but if they don’t I will just keep cheering for them in the next game. Go #21…your game is coming around, just like I knew it would!!

  12. Calling Mr. Garrett Jefferson. You are wanted at the top of the key. Your job is to frustrate and stop Kevin Olekaibe at all cost. You are to make sure that he gets no wide open looks. Then the rest of the team should be able to take care of their business. Succeed in this and your job is secure and the team will be able to rely on you more and more in the future. You are more important than many people realize. Throw its star off and the rest of the wheels will come off.

  13. Good Point ! Shut down the 15-20 point scorers (minus five, minus ten, held SJSU duo 15 under average) and you’re up … and force the opposition out of their comfort zone …

    Yeah, they got torn — almost blown and kept-blown out. SJSU fought back better than i thought they would be able; often don’t play well on the road like many teams: but 6-8 Senior Wil Carter 21 points, 21 rebounds … [Vander-like, even Joston-like, is the good news)

    i wouldn’t count Shamburger & Kinney out yet (were #’s 3 & 4 in WAC scoring) — BUT with better ‘D’ maybe we can beat them Three out of Three this year (instead of 2 of 3 LY)…

    but that’s another road trip … we have a chance to be even better by then …

    For this Trip — Good ‘D’, Gut Out a Win, Even Two …. Go Warriors !

  14. +1 DormDad21. Most of us believe in this team.

  15. WAY TO Go When it Matters !
    Vander playing like a Champion makes key shots down the stretch to Earn the Overtime and with Zane lead the 7-0 O.T. start, Then Hits Free-Throws to open/maintain the Lead … Playing like a Champion …

    Hawai’i doesn’t win very often @ Save-Mart …

    Fresno fought back hitting threes to Challenge in Regulation and Overtime …

    But Hawai’i holds up its end for an (Ugly) Road Win… A Conference Road Win …

    GO Get Another This Week, Warriors !

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