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Warriors face Anteaters in first Big West road game

The Hawai’i basketball team passed the first portion of its Big West Conference test, and the Warriors have a 3-0 record to show for it. Now the questions get a little tougher.

The Warriors will play their first Big West road games ever this week. It starts at UC Irvine on Wednesday, followed by a game at Long Beach State on Saturday.

“Obviously it’s a tough road trip,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said. “You look at those two teams and both of them are ahead of us in all the preseason polls – Irvine being a team with all their starters back and Long Beach being picked first in every poll.”

Vander3UCR

But what matters is now, and the Warriors are currently the team atop the standings. Hawai’i is 9-5 overall and 3-0 in Big West games. UC Irvine is 7-9 and 1-2.

Wednesday’s game will take place at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, and it will be televised nationally on ESPNU, starting at 6 p.m. (Hawai’i time).

The Warriors departed Honolulu on Monday afternoon, and will stay in Garden Grove, California, for the duration of the trip.

“It’s to be determined how much different it is, but by the looks of it, (we take) one flight, one hotel, two games – I think it will definitely help our legs,” Arnold said.

The Anteaters are 4-1 at home, with the only loss to LSU. They are coming off two close road losses last week – 74-71 at UC Santa Barbara, and 72-67 at Cal Poly.

Irvine relies on a balanced attack, with six different players averaging between 6.4 and 13.6 points per game. Like Hawai’i, the Anteaters have used several different starting lineups this season.

Daman Starring, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, leads the team with 13.6 points per game and 31 3-pointers. He is shooting 47 percent (31 of 66) from 3-point range, and also contributes 4.5 rebounds per game.

Adam Folker, a 6-9 senior forward, is averaging 9.1 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game, and is the only Irvine player to start every game this season. He does have a glaring weakness – 27.9 percent free throw shooting (12 of 43).

Michael Wilder, a 6-2 senior, was a preseason All-Big West Conference selection, and is considered the team’s top all-around player. He is averaging 8.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

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The Anteaters normally start three guards, but they do have post players with size. In addition to the 6-9 Folker, 6-8 Will Davis II is averaging 6.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, and ranks second in the Big West with 30 blocked shots. 7-footer Conor Clifford and 6-10 John Ryan also get playing time off the bench.

The Warriors, of course, rely on their inside strength. The starting frontcourt of 6-10 Vander Joaquim (14.4 points, 8.8 rebounds), 6-8 Christian Standhardinger (15.7 and 7.6) and 6-8 Isaac Fotu (11.3 and 7.4) are the top three scorers and rebounders for Hawai’i. Junior guard Brandon Spearman is next in scoring with 10.4 points per game.

“We play a game that win on the road – we pound it and we do a good job on the boards,” Arnold said. “We just have to make sure we keep the turnovers down.”

The Warriors are also hoping that freshman guard Brandon Jawato continues his hot shooting. He has made his last nine 3-point shots, including a 7-for-7 performance last week against UC Riverside that earned him Big West Conference Player of the Week.

In three Big West games, Jawato is averaging 14.7 points per game, and is 12 for 15 (80 percent) from 3-point range.

GAME INFORMATION: Hawai’i at UC Irvine
When:
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 6:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Bren Events Center (5,000) – Irvine, Calif.
Television: Live on ESPNU.
Streaming Video: None.
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: Live audio streaming on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com

15 Comments

  1. It will be a great test for the team to finally play on the road. Irvine comes in as the 13th best rebounding team in the country. Hawaii, comparably, is the 19th. Hawaii will have to win the boards and pound the ball in the paint. I don’t think we can rely as much as we have on our outside shooting against a good rebounding team like Irvine. But it still would be great if Jawato can catch fire again. I watched Irvine’s game against Pepperdine, and they are a balanced team. It should be a hard-fought game and an even match-up for us (barring any unusual performances).

    Go Warriors!

  2. To have chance to win, and I think UH can, take care of the ball, take care of the ball. Run offense to perfection. If Gib uses 10 guys again, everyone buys into role. especially on the road. I think Irvine is 4-1 at home, they know their rims, so they will be comfortable in and out

    . Yeah, if Jawato, Clair, Spearman, Hauns, Ozi, can hit about 6 -8 threes, along with the Big 3 dong their thing, and all fight, to the last man standing., I say UH can come off with a first road victory of season. Guys, you have to play about 2 or 3 times better than your last game. Keep getting better . You guys can challenge for regular and Big West Tourney crowns. Here we go, UH go get the win.

  3. Hey TEAM,

    You are dogged by 4.5 points; Bite or chew the Anteaters!

    Do what the Wahine did to win on their last game!

    May the special help be with you..

  4. cmags… nice find on the Katz blog.

    WOW!!!! Vegas has UH as 7 point road underdogs…. I will be paying a visit to the sportsbook at lunch!!!

    Vegas still doesn’t quite have a good grasp of UH. I believe the only info they are looking at is UH’s terrible 1st 15 min @ UNLV and the two close wins vs Northridge and Fullerton.

    I think 7 points is way too many points to give UH considering the size/rebounding advantage it has over the Big West.

    If Roop and Tavita take care of the ball, UH will win easily. UCI is not a good perimeter shooting team and are worse than UH at the Free Throw line. UCI only shoots 43% from the field and 33% from deep, but they do crash the offensive glass, averaging 12.5 off. rebs per game. Vander, Fotu, Standhardinger will need use their size and dominate the boards.

    If the TOs are under control and UH limits 2nd chance points, UH will win by double digits. If UH gets sloppy at either, then it could go either way.

  5. This game should be a pick-em at the books.

  6. I envisioned our Warriors as maybe a 3.5-4pt underdog for todays contest…but 7 points?? Wow…seriously considering placing 4-5 units on them. I haven’t felt this good about a UH line since they played Illinois at home. Take it to the bank! And maybe even take the moneyline while you’re at it :-)

  7. That’s nice publicity from Katz. He’s alway had good things to say about UH since his days as a Fresno State beat writer. He got to know the WAC well during that time and respected how Riley Wallace handled the unique challenges of running a D-1 program in Hawaii.

  8. No idea why Irvine would be a favorite. They have been inconsistent… nice win vs a shaky Reno, and pushed UCLA, but UCLA has let a lot of inferior teams hang around in the early season.

    Irvine lost to a terrible UCSB team to open Big West play. They lost a 10pt lead to UCSB and was down by 11 at before losing by 3.

    The only common opponent Irvine and UH has played is @ UNLV. UH started terrible but outplayed UNLV for most of the last 25min. Irvine was in the game at halftime, but were completely demolished in the 2nd half and lost by 28.

    I think Jefferson and Spearman’s services will be needed tonight to contain Daman Starring. He is Irvine’s only good shooter, 47% from deep. Michael Wilder is the other shooter but he hasn’t been shooting a good %

  9. Looks like some great match-ups tonight…best one is Jawato vs. Starring! Who will outshoot the other? Will Brandons streak continue?? I’ll be happy if he at least makes his first 3 or 4 :-)

  10. I too think Irvine is favored a bit high, but I guess Hawaii will always have that stigma of being a poor road team. In Irvine’s last week loss @ UCSB, they didn’t have their best shot blocker, Will Davis. He might have been suspended from what I can gather. Yet, I think Hawaii has a good momentum going into this game (while UCI is coming off of two losses). It would be great to get a win here, because Long Beach State on Saturday is going to be a tough one.

  11. If UH takes care of the Ball and Coach subs freely to run down UCI. I think it’s a ROMP

  12. UH is a poor road team. They can’t take care of the ball even at home. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. UH is not a good outside shooting team. The 3 bigman will have to carry the load. The anteaters will intentionally try to get UH big men in foul trouble. Without them, we’re impotent. It will take near perfect effort from Fotu, Standhardinger, and Vander to pull it off. It’s too much to ask Brandon Jawato to hit 3′s time after time.

  13. Ratbird,

    Well Rb, UH just has to prove history wrong. I think Gib’s team isn’t about only B Jawato. They have the Bigs, and role guys,if BJ. is off, really if he can hit 2 or 3, would be great,UH other guys with 3 pt shooting ability? Yep: still have Clair, Hauns, Spearman, Ozren, even Vander if they stay off of him at top of key. Harper too.

    If Jawato, Clair, Hauns, Spearman, Ozren, Manroop can hit at least one three ball, and get the loose balls, and rebound and defend and run. I give them a chance. Heck, if you watched that UNLV game first half, I could have sworn they were going to lose by 40-45 pts, easy, in second half , these role guys, played with supreme effort, came within eight, and to a top 25 team on the road, lost by respectable 14 pts. Gib knows it, team does, UH has to play better every game, Riverside at home is done, now Big challenge against Irvine. Now guys have to produce.we will cheer em on!

    Rb, we have to watch or listen to game, I think by first 10 minutes and last 10 minutes, UH either close or leading, they pull of win, if first 10 or last 10 , trailing by large double digit, they might lose. This team are battlers. they did it in class, now they take that IQ to road, hopefully get 2 wins, or split. Should be good game, watch the first ten minutes, see if warriors are in game key.

  14. Oops I almost forgot, Mr high motor, 2 ball, 3 ball, run the break, rebound, dive for loose balls, get steals, get a block, take a charge, go off for 20 pts in Hawaii or on Mainland, Christian Standhardinger, heck if you have 12 guys like that, and that is where this years team is at, role guys,…UH battling hard they have chance with most any team in the nation here or away. Rb, hope they get a good first win!

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