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Warriors aiming for sweep of UC Riverside

The Hawai’i basketball team now knows what it takes to win on the road. The Warriors will need to do it again on Thursday at UC Riverside if they want to make a run toward the top of the Big West Conference.

Hawai’i will open the second round of games in the Big West regular season with a road contest at UC Riverside. The game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. (Hawaii time) at the SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif.

The Warriors are 11-9 overall and in a three-way tie for third place in the Big West at 5-4. The Highlanders are 5-15 overall and in ninth place in the conference at 2-6.

Hawai’i’s largest margin of victory in the first round of Big West games was a 76-61 win over UC Riverside on January 5 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Jawato2Miami

“We handled them fairly easily the first time they came in here, but they’ve improved a lot,” Hawai’i assistant coach Scott Fisher said.

Since its loss at Hawai’i, UC Riverside is 1-4, but the four losses have been by an average of 5.8 points. Included in that stretch is a 91-82 loss in overtime to first-place Long Beach State.

The Warriors and Highlanders are similar in that both teams like to get the ball into the post.

Riverside’s top player is Chris Patton, a 6-foot-10 junior center who is averaging 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. In Big West play, he is averaging 15.4 points with a .675 field goal percentage. The Warriors held Patton to eight points on 3-of-8 shooting in the game at Honolulu.

Riverside’s other top scoring threats are forwards Chris Harriel and Josh Fox. Harriel, a 6-4 junior, is averaging 10.8 points per game and leads the team with 28 3-pointers; Fox, a 6-6 freshman, is averaging 10.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

“They’re a very efficient team,” Fisher noted. “They’re patient, they’re methodical offensively. Defensively, they really do a good job of keeping the ball out of the paint. It’s going to be a challenge.”

The Warriors have an even bigger – and more productive – frontline. Forward Christian Standhardinger leads the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game and is second in rebounding at 7.7. The 6-8 junior is coming off his career best game – 31 points and 16 rebounds in a breakthrough road win at UC Santa Barbara last Saturday.

Vander Joaquim, a 6-10 senior center, is averaging 14.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He had 11 points and 11 rebounds in the previous win over Riverside.

Isaac Fotu, a 6-8 freshman forward, is contributing 10.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and leads the Big West with a .625 field goal percentage.

Fotu2_UCR

The difference in the first meeting was Hawai’i’s outside shooting. In particular, freshman Brandon Jawato scored 21 points on 7-for-7 shooting from 3-point range.

“We can’t second-guess our shots,” Fisher said. “When we get our shots, we gotta take them, whether it be a 3 or a 2 or anywhere else. But we’ve got to make sure we run our offense with a bit more precision, certainly on the road.”

It would also help if the Warriors can keep the Highlanders below their current averages. Riverside ranks last in the Big West in scoring (60.9 per game), field goal percentage (.425), 3-pointers (4.7 per game), 3-point percentage (.283) and free throw percentage (.575).

Riverside’s free-throw percentage ranks 343rd out of 345 NCAA Division I teams.

A big difference from the first meeting between the teams in Honolulu will be the atmosphere. When the Warriors beat the Highlanders four weeks ago, the attendance in the Sheriff Center was 6,214. Riverside is averaging just 627 fans per home game, and has drawn a combined total of 5,018 fans to its eight home games this season.

“I don’t think it makes a difference,” Fisher said. “We practice in front of 10 to 15 fans every day in Gym 2 … a game’s a game.”

GAME INFORMATION: Hawai’i (11-9, 5-4 Big West) at UC Riverside (5-15, 2-6 Big West)
When: Thursday, Jan. 31, 5:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: SRC Arena (2,750) – Riverside, Calif.
Television: None
Streaming Video: Available on BigWest.tv
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM will carry the game live. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, and KTOH on Kaua’i.
Audio Webcast: Available on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at gohighlanders.com

5 Comments

  1. Defense and win the rebound battle. Get a lot of Offensive boards, reset on O and putbacks. Pressure, traps, etc. Play to win, and don’t be careless with the ball. PLAY BIG BOY BB guys, you can win. Seniors and Jrs lead, freshman will follow your effort for 40 minutes. GET THE W!

  2. So are the coach,s and players saying that they didnt know what it took to win on the road until that first road win?..doesnt make sense to me..jus sayin

  3. Just Some of My Thoughts …

    Learning to Focus & Play 40: The “Average GOOD” Worker barely gets 3.2 hours of Actual Productive Work out of an 8 – 10 hour PAID Work day; this is for people who get PAID 25 to $100,000 per year — When we measure, the VERY Best Workers get maybe 4.2 hours of Productive Work [FTR -- I try to "Cheat" (Compensate) by working 12 -20 hrs/day, so i can stay ahead daily and not hold up other peoplesʻ work] — AND whatever we think of The Good ʻOl USA, we tend to be among the Worldʻs “Worst Workaholics” and Among the Most Productive along with the Germans (GO, Christian!), Japanese, Koreans and Chinese…. [The French take off 4-6 weeks off at a time... My High-Producing Friends & Family ʻTake Prideʻ in "Donating" Our Leave...Americans generally take less time off than even Many Euro-Countries...]

    SO, Assuming (Fairly, i think) that OUR Student-Athletes are Far Above Average — i AM Impressed that they can score 3.0 as a Team WHILE Practicing/Working Out HARD 2-3 hours a day and mssing 3 days of classes and out of town 5 days at a shot (ten for this two week excursion)…But Clearly, like most teams, they struggle to show up consistently And Play Well versus the Competition & Hard All the Time Five are on the Court…

    Several of the Better Teams NOW in the Big West — Cal Poly & Long Beach included — had “OFF” years in the last three/four years WHEN THEY Had Big Incoming Freshmen Classes — Similar to this yearʻs UH Team they HAD TO Learn to Focus & Play 40+ At the D-1 Level -. i had hoped that D-1 Experience (Vander @UH, Jace @ Utah, Christian @ Nebraska, Spearman @ Dayton) would have triggered faster team learning or More Performance Consistency…MAYBE All That IS Kicking in and Overcoming Now…Itʻs Not Unusual for JC Recruits (like Hauns) to kick in somewhere in the second year….

    BUT i think There is Another Factor that Steepens the Needed Climb & Learning Curve

    For HAWAIʻI AND Anyone Travelling EAST (Losing Time & Synch) — TRAVELLING EASTWard & Playing seems Consistently MUCH MORE Difficult — Last Night on Jeff Portnoy & Jackson Wheelerʻs Hoops Talk Radio Show, Top Ten SYRACUSE Coach Jim Boeheim noted that the Reason he doesnʻt like travelling to Hawaiʻi is that, “…travelling to Hawaiʻi we seem to play fine on Maui or Oʻahu, but when we take that trip back East — [NOTE: Thatʻs Heading Back HOME tor Them] — itʻs a disaster for the first couple of games or several days …” When the NFL played in Europe regularly, the US Teams consistently suffered travelling East to Europe; and the European Teams consistently had better Winning Percentages although No perceived Talent advantage…

    SO I would contend Heading EAST AND ʻOn the Roadʻ is a Double-Whammy for Hawaiʻi; that is When other Big West Teams travel East, at least theyʻre travelling HOME… TO WIN, Most Teams need to Play 10 points better than the Home Team….AND Versus these (Horrible?) BW Refs?…Harder to do when youʻre also fighting the effects of Travelling East …

    No Matter …
    Must Apply Enough Energy, Effort, Skill, Execution & Smarts, etc….
    To Compensate, Overcome and WIN…
    GO ʻBOWS!
    GO WARRIORS!

    ——————-
    Prospects:
    Winnable Game Today (although Riverside has played well at home)
    TOUGH Game Saturday — we were fortunate (lucky?) to Win @ Home

  4. Win tonight and UH is in 3rd place outright. Lose and they fall way down to 7th place. One game can make a big difference. 5 teams currently have 4 losses, including Hawaii. It would be a bad sign if we lose this one. Win and at least the team is in decent shape with an opportunity to win on Saturday at Fullerton. But, Fullerton wants revenge badly after losing to UH on Jefferson’s buzzer beater. That’s not going to be easy by a long shot. Every possession must be valued. Every single free throw attempt could make the difference, every block, every steal, every turnover, every travel, etc. etc. Everything is magnifield.

  5. If the big guys dominate the boards and turnovers are kept to a minimum, UH should win this game just from the height advantage.
    Go Warriors!

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