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Warriors want to wipe out losing streak at “Whiteout”

The Hawai’i basketball team still has something to play for in its regular-season finale on Saturday.

Fourth place may not seem like a lofty goal compared to what was attainable just a few weeks ago, but that is the highest place in the Western Athletic Conference standings the Warriors can get to when they host Utah State on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

But there are more reasons why the Warriors need a win. It will be “Senior Night” and senior guards Zane Johnson and Miah Ostrowski will be honored after the game. It is also a “Whiteout” and the Warriors are hoping for as many fans with white shirts as possible.

Umm … there’s also that losing streak the team would like to end.

“We’re still going to compete for you,” is Johnson’s message to the fans. “We apologize for the past couple games. We’re trying to figure out. But we’re going to play 100 percent and hopefully you guys can wear white and come out and support us.”

When asked what it will take to end the four-game losing skid, Johnson replied: “Defense, heart, rebounding, boxing out, playing together, having each other’s backs, everything. We just need to sharpen everything up and get back to the way we were playing Christmas time and sharpen everything up.”

The Warriors are 15-14 overall and tied for fifth place in the WAC at 6-7. Utah State is 16-14 overall and in fourth place at 7-6.

Hawai’i will be either the No. 4 or No. 6 seed for next week’s WAC Tournament at Las Vegas. A win over the Aggies would likely give the Warriors the No. 4 seed (although they could still get the 6 seed if Louisiana Tech upsets Nevada). A loss to the Aggies would give the Warriors the No. 6 seed.

“We need the momentum, but all that really matters is that tournament,” junior forward Hauns Brereton said. “Even if we were undefeated going into that tournament, we would have to win that tournament. So whether we’re last or first, you go into that tournament the same.”

Utah State has won its last two games, including a victory over Idaho – the same Idaho team that just beat the Warriors, 82-63, on Thursday. The Aggies also own a previous win over the Warriors this season – a 77-72 victory in Logan, Utah.

“They’re a solid team, well-coached,” Johnson said of the Aggies. “There’s a reason why they’re always successful, and that’s because their system works. They’re always tough to guard. If we play the way that we should play and not the way we have been playing … I think we can have a good game and compete with them.”

Preston Medlin, a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard, leads Utah State with 16.5 points per game and 77 3-pointers. He scored 25 in the win over Hawai’i in January. Brockeith Pane is contributing 12.1 points and 4.1 assists per game.

The Warriors had a stunning 48-28 rebounding advantage in the loss at Utah State. Junior center Vander Joaquim had 24 points and 14 rebounds in the loss, but is coming off one of his worst games of the season with four points and nine rebounds in the loss to Idaho.

“It will be senior night the night we are there,” Utah State head coach Stew Morrill said. “Obviously their size and their rebounding advantage they had on us in Logan will certainly be huge factors in that game. We’ve to do a better job of rebounding to have a chance in that game.”

Joaquim still leads the Warriors in both scoring (14.4) and rebounding (9.7). Johnson is next at 14.1 points per game, and is now the career leader in 3-pointers made in UH basketball history. He broke the record in the loss to Idaho.

“I’m glad it’s over with,” he said of the record. “I just wish we could have won and helped a little more to win, but I’m glad it’s over with and move on.”

In two seasons at Hawai’i, Johnson has made 179 3-pointers. Former UH great Predrag Savovic held the previous mark of 178, and he did it in three seasons. Johnson also holds the single-season record for 3s (he made 98 last season). He has 81 3-pointers this season, which makes him the only player in UH history to reach 80 3-pointers in two different seasons.

Ostrowski has been just as important during his senior season. He currently leads the WAC in assists with 6.8 per game. Only three previous UH point guards have led the WAC in assists – Troy Bowe, Anthony Carter and Mark Campbell.

Both last season and this season, Ostrowski pulled two-sport duty, playing for the Warrior football team before joining the basketball team in December. Although this is his final season for basketball, he still has one more season of football remaining.

The Punahou School graduate has also become a fan favorite. He also earned a place in the hearts of those fans last season with one of the most emotional performances in UH basketball history. He scored 15 points and had six assists in what would be a heartbreaking 89-84 double-overtime loss. That game came four days after the death of his father, Kui. The opponent that night … Utah State.

HAWAI’I VS. UTAH STATE
When:
Saturday, March 3, 7:05 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu
Tickets: $26 lower level, $18 upper level adults, $16 upper level senior citizens, $5 upper level students. Parking is $6.
TV: Live on OCSports (channel 12 or 1012)
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Internet: Live video streaming available (pay per view) at www.ocsports.tv
Whiteout: All fans are encouraged to wear white shirts.

(WarriorInsider.com file photos courtesy Brandon Flores)

5 Comments

  1. Yes Zane and Miah, should be at least 6000 plus tonite. Hawaii die hard, truly want to support and want team to do well. Just relax, play together, have fun and come out with win.

    Thank you Zane for coming over from Arizona, that 3 point record in just under 2 seasons is amazing, good job. Miah, appreciate you coming over and bringing energy and passion to team from UH football.
    You are one of only 7 on DI level playing basketball and football, outstanding.

    Most of all, your whole team including you seniors seem like nice young men. Other teams , although outstanding athletes or McDonald’s AA etc, have issues, egos, etc. Keep up the positive spirit, Zane and MIah accomplished the greatest goal for student/athletes, you got your degrees. Congratulations.

    We will be there , hopefully 6000 plus strong..Give it your best, the fans, we will do our best to cheer you on..get this win and go get that WAC tourney title and go dancing!!

    Mahalo!!

  2. Hope the athletic recruits Gib is looking at is in the house tonight. Could be a very special night.

  3. Warrior Fans get out to the arena tonight , we need everyone of you, Warriors need to protect their house and get to the playoffs with a positive showing tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Fans, Coaches ….. PLAYERS !

    ALL IN !!

    Leave it ALL On The Floor !
    (Through the Hoop !)

  5. Something is horribly wrong with this team. everyone is shooting lights out against them…

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