Warriors move on to Pacific
STOCKTON, Calif. – The Hawai’i basketball team literally put UC Davis behind it on Friday, packing up and getting on a bus to relocate to Stockton, where it began preparations for its next road game.
“I think you just learn from your mistakes,” head coach Gib Arnold said of the 24-point loss at UC Davis on Thursday. “It’s part of this game. Last time I checked, there are no undefeated teams left. Everybody’s got to learn how to bounce back. This team has done it all year.”
The Warriors will have to bounce back again on Saturday if they want to regain the second-place spot in the Big West Conference.
Hawai’i will play a conference road game at Pacific in what amounts to a game for second place. The Warriors are 15-10 overall and 9-5 in the Big West; the Tigers are 14-10 and 8-4.
The game is schedule to start at 5 p.m. (Hawai’i time) in the Alex G. Spanos Center on the UOP campus.
“We just have to bounce back and make sure we do all the tough things and all the things that matter – getting on the ground and creating chaos and being aggressive defensively,” senior wing Hauns Brereton said. “All that stuff that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet, you gotta do it.”
The Warriors will have to be at their best against a Pacific team that is 6-0 at home against Big West teams this season. The Tigers have the most balanced offense in the conference, with only one player averaging double-figure points – senior point guard Lorenzo McCloud at 11.1 points per game.
“I still think McCloud is the ‘head of the snake’ as we like to call it,” Arnold said. “He’s the guy that we have to get to because he can hurt you. But as far as a leading scorer … it’s different every night for them.”
Thursday was a perfect example. Travis Fulton, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, led the Tigers with 16 points in a 66-59 home win over Cal State Northridge. The game before that, Fulton did not score a single point.
“Anybody in their starting five and their first three subs can get 15 to 20 points,” associate coach Benjy Taylor said of the Tigers. “Who ever gets hot for them, they keep going to him.”
After McCloud, the second-leading average on the team belongs to 6-7 reserve forward Ross Rivera at 8.7 points per game. Fulton and guard Sama Taku are next at 8.5 points per game each.
“We have to understand everybody’s tendencies because their points are pretty spread out,” Brereton said. “Any different night, a person might go off and we just have to be ready for that.”
The Warriors already own a victory over the Tigers – a 60-52 win on January 17 in Honolulu.
Senior center Vander Joaquim had 16 points and nine rebounds in that victory, and he will need to return to similar form for the Warriors to be successful. Joaquim and the other Hawai’i big men had a frustrating night at UC Davis on Saturday, as he, Christian Standhardinger and Isaac Fotu combined for 16 points and 11 rebounds.
“We had a tough night, we had an off night,” Arnold said. “We didn’t do some things we usually do … (we have to) re-focus, re-energize yourself and just give a greater effort on Saturday.”
Standhardinger is still one of only three players in the Big West averaging at least 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in conference play. He is at 16.1 points and 8.2 rebounds (UC Santa Barbara’s Alan Williams is at 18.2 and 10.0, and Cal State Northridge’s Stephen Maxwell is at 17.4 and 9.2)).
Joaquim is averaging 13.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, and three other Warriors are averaging at least 9.0 points per game – Brandon Spearman (9.8), Fotu (9.6) and Brereton (9.0). Since being re-inserted into the starting lineup on January 26, Brereton is averaging 14.8 points per game over six games.
The Warriors got to practice in the Spanos Center on Friday evening, and Arnold said he was pleased with the effort displayed during the 90-minute workout after the disappointing loss the night before.
Perhaps as expected, Arnold and his coaching staff got on the Warriors about the Thursday performance, but they lightened the mood after practice by challenging the players to a half-court shooting contest. The players won, 2-1, with Garrett Jefferson and Standhardinger each hitting one, while Brandyn Akana was the only coach to knock one in.
GAME INFORMATION: Hawai’i (15-10, 9-5 Big West) at Pacific (14-10, 8-4 Big West)
When: Saturday, Feb. 16, 5:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Spanos Center (6,150) – Stockton, Calif.
Streaming Video: Live video streaming is 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: Live audio streaming on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at PacificTigers.com