Clash of the Titans and Warriors
The Hawai’i basketball team will face a titan of a task in its next Big West Conference game – control one of the top offenses in the nation.
The Warriors will host Cal State Fullerton in a Big West game on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. It will be a contrast of styles, with the inside strength of the Warriors going against the outside shooting of the Titans.
Interestingly enough, both teams are 7-5 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
“Fullerton has probably the best guards in the conference,” Hawai’i assistant coach Brandyn Akana said. “Very, very talented.”
Indeed, the Titans’ backcourt features the two top scorers in the Big West Conference. Kwame Vaughn, a 6-foot-3 senior, leads the conference with 19.0 points per game; D.J. Seeley, a 6-4 senior guard, is second at 18.4.
Vaughn also leads the team in rebounding with 5.2 per game, and is contributing 3.8 assists per game; Seeley leads the team in assists at 4.2 per game, and leads the Big West with 28 steals.
“They love to spread you out, penetrate and kick, a very good 3-point shooting team,” Akana said. “They love to get it and go.”
The Titans have other weapons, most notably 6-4 senior Sammy Yeagar and 6-1 sophomore Alex Harris. Yeagar is averaging 14.3 points per game and leads the team with 28 3-pointers. He hit eight 3s and scored 30 points in Fullerton’s Big West victory over UC Santa Barbara last week. Harris is averaging 9.8 points per game and is second on the team with 27 3-pointers.
Led by its perimeter game, the Titans are currently ranked third among all NCAA Division I teams in scoring at 83.8 points per game. They also rank fifth in free throw percentage at .786, and ninth in 3-point percentage at .409.
A key number to watch could be 80 points. Fullerton is 6-0 when scoring 80 or more, and 1-5 when scoring less than 80.
The Titans’ weakness happens to be Hawaii’s strength. Fullerton has only one true post player that gets significant playing time – 6-7 junior forward James “Deuce” Johnson is averaging 6.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
The Warriors will counter with its “big three” of 6-10 center Vander Joaquim, and 6-8 forwards Isaac Fotu and Christian Standhardinger. Joaquim is averaging 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, Standhardinger is averaging 15.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, and Fotu is contributing 9.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
“Basically, they’re going to try and push it, get the ball up the floor, and we’re going to pound it inside,” Akana said. “You’re going to see both worlds of Big West basketball right here.”
The size discrepancy is evident in the rebounding statistics. The Warriors are averaging 42.6 rebounds per game, and are out-rebounding opponents by an average of 8.9 per game. The Titans are averaging 32.6 rebounds per game, and are getting out-rebounded by opponents by 2.7 per game.
Of course, the Warrior guards will have to be on guard, and head coach Gib Arnold again plans to use a rotation of players in the backcourt, including Jace Tavita, Hauns Brereton, Garrett Jefferson, Brandon Spearman, Manroop Clair and Brandon Jawato.
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The second video above features a recent pregame meal for the team. Chris McMillian, the team’s Director of Basketball Operations, is in charge of setting up the meals before each game.
He was able to establish sponsorship deals from several local restaurants to supply food for the team this season. In the above video, the restaurant of the day was Kiss My Grits. Others that have been providing meals this season include P.F. Chang’s and JJ Dolan’s.
GAME INFORMATION: Hawai’i vs. Cal State Fullerton
When: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: Live statewide on OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: Live video streaming is available on ocsports.tv.
Radio: 1500 AM The Buzz will carry the game.
Audio Webcast: Live audio streaming on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: $26 (lower); $18 (upper-adult); $16 (upper-sr. citizen); $5 (upper-youth, ages 4-HS); UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking $6.
Promotions: Toyota Hawaii is the sponsor and will distribute 1,000 Toyota key holder wrist lanyards.