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Hawai’i vs. New Mexico State, today at 4 p.m.

LAS VEGAS — The Hawai’i basketball team wants to take its latest win and let it ride.

The Warriors will play New Mexico State in a semifinal game of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday. The game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. (Hawai’i time) at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

The Warriors advanced to the semifinals with a thrilling 72-70 victory over Idaho on Thursday. They look to take that momentum against a New Mexico State team that has won seven of its last eight games, including a 65-49 victory over Fresno State in a quarterfinal game on Thursday.

“We get to play 40 more minutes of basketball at this time of year, that’s all you can ask for,” Hawai’i associate coach Benjy Taylor said. “It’s March. Playing in March is always fun.”

The Warriors are 16-15 overall and the No. 6 seed for the WAC Tournament. New Mexico State is 24-9 overall and the No. 2 seed for the tournament.

The teams split the home-and-home series this season, with each team winning at home. However, New Mexico State’s 115-73 romp over the Warriors on February 23 in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is a loss the Warriors have not forgotten.

“They smashed us, they absolutely smashed us, 42 points,” head coach Gib Arnold said. “But we did beat them at our place.”

The Aggies are led by All-WAC forward Wendell McKines, who leads the conference in both scoring (18.4 per game) and rebounding (10.9). Point guard Hernst Laroche (11.9 points, 3.7 assists) and center Hamidu Rahman (10.3 points, 6.0 rebounds) are also key contributors.

Freshman wing Daniel Mullings caused the most problems for the Warriors in the loss at Las Cruces, as he recorded a triple-double.

The Warriors also have a variety of options, even with senior guard Zane Johnson unavailable for the duration of the WAC Tournament due to illness. Freshman Shaquille Stokes started in Johnson’s spot on Thursday, and responded with 17 points and three assists.

Junior center Vander Joaquim continues to lead the Warriors in both scoring (14.2) and rebounding (9.6), and got back to form in the win over Idaho with 20 points and 13 boards.

Junior forwards Joston Thomas (13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds) and Hauns Brereton (7.6 points, 3.2 rebounds) will also be expected to play key roles. Senior point guard Miah Ostrowski, who leads the WAC in assists with 6.8 per game, played 40 minutes against Idaho and will likely have to play marathon minutes again.

“Take care of the ball,” is what coach Taylor said will be one of the key factors for Hawai’i. “And just be active and keep them off the glass. They’re a great rebounding team.”

HAWAI’I VS. NEW MEXICO STATE
When:
Friday, March 9, 4 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
TV: Live on KFVE (channel 5 or 1005)
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Internet: Live video streaming available (pay per view) at www.WAC.tv and www.ESPN3.com

6 Comments

  1. Hey Gib and Team wish you well against NMSU. Have to all in, Hearts, Legs , desire.
    Play NMSU like how you did at the SSC, play with confidence…NMSU is going to try
    to pound you inside…Maybe you guys play match up zone, straight zones, man, whichever works best..hopefully NMSU will rely on threes, stop run outs…You guys know the deal..

    Win or lose, you have the respect,(the whole team ) of the state of Hawaii, and especially this
    long time fan.

    You guys can do it!
    All in, Play hard, smart and together , 40 ,minutes..!!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!

  2. Go get ‘um guys. Play with heart and desire. Hey guys, play loose and have tonite.
    Go Warriors!

  3. Guys, have fun tonite!!! 🙂

  4. Question, why is Brandon Jawato not up in Vegas with the team? I saw him skateboarding by the Baseball Stadium on Wednesday.

  5. Because he’s redshirting — Did you see any other redshirts on the road?

    Great Comeback effort, ‘Bows … Got To Be Ready to Play …
    Outstanding Fight Back …
    Playing from Behind is Tough — Playing from 20 Behind is too often gonna be a Loser …
    A 40 minute effort — maybe even a 37 minute effort — might have lifted the team into the Championship Game …

    Take the Lessons through the Off-Season “when players are made” — Work hard — Everybody work to improve 3 to 5 or more points per game — very do-able — and you’ll be playing From Ahead more often next season !

    How ‘ Bout Hauns’ Breakaway SLAM OVER 6-10 # 15 Tshilidzi Nephawe — That Sophomore will be back next season for NMSU so Hauns can do it again …

  6. As Gib said “We’re building a Program” (It’s Not just overnight) “We’re gonna have our day — where we’re in the Finals and we’ll be celebrating More Than a Tough Loss …”…

    Coaches Hit the Recruiting Trail tomorrow morning (?! yeah, a day ahead of NMSU and Nevada…)

    Gib said, “He’s gonna remember this team more like the one that fell behind by 20 in the first half –then held together” … (instead of falling apart like in the 40 point loss) and fought all the way back … “We just had Two Bad Weeks …”

    The Two Bad Weeks IS a Lesson Hopefully Learned by the Coaching Staff because ‘You CAN Work ‘Em Too Hard’. This week they had Sunday & Monday off with No Practices, then a short (45 minutes?) Tuesday Practice, and were ‘lucky’ it was enough to recover enough legs, e.g., for Miah to Go 40 in back-to-back games and several others near that much …

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