Warriors seeking road revenge at UC Davis
DAVIS, Calif. – The real Hawai’i basketball team is hoping to show itself to UC Davis on Thursday.
The Warriors who lost to UC Davis, 93-82, on January 19 in the Stan Sheriff Center certainly had a different look. In that loss, the Warriors started three freshmen and one senior (Vander Joaquim), and senior wing Hauns Brereton did not play at all due to a knee injury.
This time around, the Warriors will likely have three seniors – including Brereton – and no freshmen in the starting lineup. How it plays out remains to be seen.
The Big West Conference rematch between the Warriors and Aggies will start at 5 p.m. (Hawai’i time) at The Pavilion on the campus of UC Davis.
Hawai’i, which is on a five-game winning streak, is 15-9 overall and in second place in the Big West at 9-4. UC Davis is 9-13 overall and in sixth place at 5-6.
“We take it personal,” Joaquim said of the loss to UC Davis last month. “We had a good week of practice, so now we just have to be ready to perform.”
The Warriors arrived in Sacramento on Tuesday night, and went through a two-hour workout on Wednesday evening at UC Davis’ practice gym.
The Warriors are focused on slowing down a UC Davis team that is the only Big West opponent to reach the 90-point mark on the Warriors this season. In particular, Hawai’i can not allow UC Davis guard Corey Hawkins to score 40 like he did in Honolulu.
“In the conference, he’s only made 15 (3-pointers), and most of them came from our game,” Hawai’i assistant coach Brandyn Akana noted. “We’re going to treat him as a shooter. He proved that to us … we’re going to have to slow him down and take away some of those shots.”
Hawkins, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, leads the Big West in scoring at 19.3 points per game. He went 8 for 9 from 3-point range in the win over the Warriors, but has gone 4 for 12 from long range since then. Akana said Hawkins’ points usually come from “driving, pull-ups, getting to the basket, transition.”
The UC Davis player who usually shoots the 3 is Ryan Sypkens. The 6-4 junior is averaging 14.4 points per game and leads the Big West with 83 3-pointers and a .485 percentage from 3-point range. Those stats also rank among the top ten in the nation for both categories.
The Warriors will also try to contain point guard Paolo Mancasola, who had a career-high 11 assists in the win at Hawai’i.
Hawai’i will also try to utilize its size advantage in the post. The Aggies normally use a rotation of eight players, and the three tallest are 6-9 Josh Ritchart, 6-7 J.T. Adenrele and 6-5 Ryan Howley.
The Warriors top three scorers are all 6-8 and taller. Junior Christian Standhardinger leads the way with 16.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He is averaging 22.4 points and 11.2 rebounds over the last five games and has earned the last two Big West Player of the Week awards.
Joaquim is averaging 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, and freshman Isaac Fotu is contributing 9.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and leads the Big West with a .636 field goal percentage.
The Warriors also have a rejuvenated backcourt featuring Brereton, Jace Tavita, Brandon Spearman and Brandon Jawato.
Brereton is averaging 14.4 points per game during the five-game winning streak; Tavita leads the Big West in assists with 5.3 per game; Spearman ranks fourth on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game; Jawato leads the team with 39 3-pointers and a .464 percentage from long range.
GAME INFORMATION: Hawai’i (15-9, 9-4 Big West) vs. UC Davis (9-13, 5-6 Big West)
When: Thursday, Feb. 14, 5:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: The Pavilion (5,931) – Davis, 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 ucdavisaggies.com