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Warriors look to heat up in Idaho

The Hawai’i basketball traveled from cold Logan, Utah, to colder Moscow, Idaho, on Friday. The Warriors will now have a day for their shots – and defense – to heat up.

Hawai’i will play another road game on Saturday evening at Idaho. The Western Athletic Conference game is scheduled to start around 6 p.m. (Hawaii time) at the Cowan Spectrum in Moscow, Idaho – where the temperatures are in the 20s.

The Warriors are 11-9 overall and 3-3 in the WAC following a 77-72 road loss at Utah State on Thursday. Idaho is 11-9 overall and 4-2 in conference following a 74-66 home win over San Jose State on Thursday.

“As upset as we are, and we are … we have to change our focus off this game a and only take from this what we can learn from it and then get right on Idaho and try to get a split,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said after the loss at Utah State. “If we can get a split, I’ll be a happy man.”

The Warriors will have to be at their best against an Idaho team that has become the WAC’s most efficient offense. The Vandals lead the WAC in field goal percentage (.479) and 3-point percentage (.406, which is 12th in the nation).

Hawai’i, however, leads the WAC in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot at a .406 clip. Utah State hit for a .490 percentage on Thursday – the highest for a Hawai’i opponent this season.

“We have to get back to the drawing board and figure out how to make sure that we stop Idaho defensively so that we don’t give up 49 percent,” Arnold said.

The Vandals feature a balanced attack, with three players averaging double-figure points. Shooting guard Deremy Geiger, a 5-foot-11 senior, leads the team with 13.2 points per game, and ranks second in the WAC with 60 3-pointers and is also second in the conference with a .469 percentage from long range. He went 7 of 10 from 3-point range in the win over San Jose State.

Kyle Barone, a 6-10 junior center, is Idaho’s top post player with averages of 12.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He averaged 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in Idaho’s two wins over Hawai’i last season.

It should make for an intriguing match-up with Hawai’i center Vander Joaquim, who is averaging 14.0 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.

Other key players for the Vandals include 6-5 forward Stephen Madison (12.2 points, 5.6 rebounds per game), 6-7 forward Djim Bandoumel (87 points, 4.3 rebounds per game), and 5-11 point guard Landon Tatum (7.3 points, 4.4 assists per game).

“The last couple years we’ve played Utah State pretty well, but we’ve never played Idaho well,” Arnold said. “We need to come out and play our best basketball of the year because that’s the team that just beat this team (Utah State).”

Hawai’i senior guard Zane Johnson had an inaccurate shooting night at Utah State, but still leads the Warriors in scoring with 15.5 points per game, and leads the WAC in 3-pointers per game at 3.2.

Junior forward Joston Thomas is averaging 13.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. In Hawa’ii’s six WAC games, he is averaging 17.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

HAWAI’I VS. IDAHO

When: Saturday, January 28, 6 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Cowan Spectrum, Moscow, Idaho
TV: Live in Hawai’i on OCSports (channel 12 or 1012)
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Internet: Live video streaming on www.espn3.com

(WarriorInsider.com file photo courtesy Brandon Flores)

3 Comments

  1. Tonight would be a good time to play a bounceback game. Good defense, minimize the turnovers and if Zane can hit for 20 something points……………we should be good. They need to focus and as Coach says, know your roles and play your best.
    Go Warriors!

  2. Good Luck Tonight Warriors! Fans drove 8 hrs to watch the game! Give them something to remember!

  3. Good win Warriors. Way to finish the game strong!

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