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Warriors need to recover quickly for New Mexico State

If the recent loss to Louisiana Tech served as a wake-up call for the Hawai’i basketball team, then the arrival of New Mexico State must be like a hurricane-warning of an alarm.

In short, the Warriors know they need to be prepared – and in a hurry – when they host the first-place Aggies on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. The game is scheduled to start around 7:30 p.m., following a UH women’s basketball game at 5 p.m.

Hawai’i is 10-8 overall and 2-2 in the Western Athletic Conference after a disappointing 74-70 loss to Louisiana Tech on Thursday. New Mexico State is 14-5 overall and tied with Nevada atop the WAC at 4-0.

“It’s going to be a real physical game,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said. “The team that wins the battle of the boards is probably going to be the team that’s going to win the game.”

The Warriors were without their starting backcourt in point guard Miah Ostrowski (staph infection) and shooting guard Zane Johnson (stomach flu) in the loss to LaTech. The senior captains are again considered game-time decisions for Saturday.

“Zane took some shots today and Miah did not practice,” Arnold said. “We’ll see (Saturday) when they meet with the doctor and see how they’re feeling.”

The Warriors could use any additional help they can get against a New Mexico State team that leads the WAC in scoring (78.5 points per game) and rebounding (40.2).

The Aggies are led by one of the most talented players in the conference in 6-6, 230-pound forward Wendell McKines. He leads the WAC in both scoring at 18.6 points per game, and rebounding at 10.5.

The Aggies also have an experienced point guard in 6-1 senior Hernst Laroche, who is averaging 12.1 points and 3.6 assists per game. They also have an established center in 6-11, 245-pound Hamidu Rahman, who is averaging 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and leads the WAC with a .640 field goal percentage.

“As they’ve been the last few years, they’re huge and strong,” Arnold said. “Very, very athletic.”

Arnold was not in a good mood following the Warriors’ loss to Louisiana Tech on Thursday, but by Friday afternoon, he was imploring his players to remember that game.

“I don’t want to forget about that one, I think that was one that we need to learn from more than anything,” he said. “Never take anybody for granted and when your number is called, step up and make the most of it.”

Junior forward Hauns Brereton started in the loss against LaTech, although he was recovering from flu-like symptoms. He said he expects to feel “much better physically” by Saturday’s game.

“That game flipped a switch,” Brereton said of the loss to LaTech. “We have to bring if 150 percent this time.”

Johnson still leads the Warriors in scoring at 15.1 points per game and ranks second in the WAC with 52 3-pointers. Junior center Vander Joaquim is averaging 13.6 points and ranks second in the WAC in rebounding (behind only New Mexico State’s McKines) at 9.7 per game.

Junior forward Joston Thomas, is averaging 12.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. In the four WAC games, he is averaging 19.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

(WarriorInsider.com file photos courtesy Brandon Flores)

HAWAI’I VS. NEW MEXICO STATE

When: Saturday, January 21, 7:30 p.m. start
Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu
Tickets: $26 lower level, $18 upper level adults, $16 upper level senior citizens, $5 upper level students. Parking is $5.
TV: Live on OCSports (channel 12 or 1012)
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Internet video: Live streaming on ocsports.tv
Autographs: The Hawaii players and coaches will be signing autographs on the concourse level approximately 15 minutes after the game.
Doubleheader discount tickets: Fans who want to attend both the UH women’s and men’s games can purchase an upper level ticket for $10 ($8 for senior citizens, $5 for students), but must purchase those tickets before halftime of the women’s game.

6 Comments

  1. Hope Zane and Miah can see some action tonight. I think just token appearances by them will help calm down the team psychologically. But if they can’t go at all then the rest of the team will really have to bring it tonight. We need outside shooting if we are going to pull this one out. Can’t rely solely on Vander and Joston to score all the points. They will collapse even more tonight on the bigs so someone should have good looks from the outside. Be an open target for the bigs to spot you, then let it fly, and hope that someone catches fire.

  2. but that’s all we have is vander and joston

  3. Zane is a known quantity — i expect he’ll catch fire once his senior shell-shock is overcome by his realization that he only has Ten “or so” (13 including tonight);

    or so = whatever he helps make of it …

    Hauns will also catch fire and when he does become pretty consistent …

    IF Orel is anywhere near ready they ought to seriously consider adding his firepower to the mix — he can still get in more action than Bo Barnes did last year …

    (and maybe more than Miah last year if they don’t wait too long …Miah came in after 0-5 WAC and they had a ‘short season’ losing games they ‘should have won’ in both The WAC & Riley Tourneys…)

    FOR TODAY /Tonight — FIND A WAY to Pull Out The Win ! …

    Then Get Healthy !

  4. They will be creamed by New Mexico State. Vander and Josten can’t do it by themselves. Of the guards, Zane is the only pure shooter. I would start
    davis Rozitis with Vander and really clog out the middle.

  5. Hope coach Gibbs has, or will recruit a floor-general for next season, fingers crossed.

  6. OK…….it’s gut check time. Everybody needs to contribute tonite. You guys can do it, man.
    Go Warriors!!!

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