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Warriors look to finish strong at Northridge

When the Hawai’i basketball team last played Cal State Northridge, the calendar year was still 2012. Yes, much has changed since the Big West Conference season opener.

In an odd bit of scheduling, the Warriors will close their regular-season schedule on Thursday with a Big West road game at Cal State Northridge. The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time) at the Matadome in Northridge, Calif.

The same teams met in the Big West opener on December 29, with the Warriors prevailing, 74-71, at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“We do look at that film,” head coach Gib Arnold said of the first meeting. “We’re a much different, much better team since then. But you still have to look at the tendencies because they’re looking at it, too, and seeing how they hurt us. We need to make sure we correct those because they’re doing some new things but a lot of the same things as well.”

The Warriors are 17-12 overall and in fifth place in the Big West Conference at 10-7. The Matadors are 13-17 overall and in ninth place at 4-13.

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While the Warriors are playing to determine their seeding for next week’s Big West Conference Tournament at Anaheim, Calif., the Matadors have already been eliminated from qualifying for the eight-team tournament.

Hawai’i could end up as the 3, 4, 5 or 6 seed, depending on the outcome of this game and several others on Thursday and Saturday.

“We need to get some of that momentum back, and winning a game, a road game, heading into the (Big West) Tournament would help us do that,” Arnold said.

But if the previous 17 Big West games are any indication, there are no easy wins in this conference – not even against a Northridge team that is on a six-game losing streak, and essentially has nothing to play for, except pride.

“We got our work cut out for us,” associate coach Benjy Taylor said. “We’re going to have to defend them well and rebound the ball well. They’re pretty good. It’ll be a tough game, last game of the year at their place. We struggled with them here a little bit, so we have to play well to win.”

In another odd twist, Northridge cannot even promote this game as “Senior Night” because there are no seniors on its roster.

The Matadors are led by a pair of impressive sophomores in 6-foot-6 wing Stephan Hicks and 6-7 forward Stephen Maxwell. Hicks is averaging 16.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, and Maxwell is at 14.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

In the first meeting in Honolulu, Hicks finished with 25 points and eight rebounds, while Maxwell added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Warriors will counter with their big three of 6-10 center Vander Joaquim, and 6-8 forwards Christian Standhardinger and Isaac Fotu. Those three combined for 45 points and 30 rebounds in the win over Northridge, with Joaquim (12 points and 11 rebounds) and Fotu (16 points and 11 rebounds) recording double-doubles.

Of greater concern for the Warriors is the backcourt situation. Senior point guard Jace Tavita has an injured pinkie finger on his left (non-shooting) hand. He is expected to be ready to play, although junior Garrett Jefferson and freshman Manroop Clair have been preparing for extended minutes.

Interestingly enough, Clair got most of the minutes (28) at point guard in the first win over Northridge, and he finished with five points, three rebounds and two assists.

Taylor noted that taking care of the basketball will be a key for the Warriors, as the Matadors lead the Big West in steals at 8.5 per game.

“If we can take care of the ball and have three turnovers like we had here in our last game and stay even with them on the boards, we have a pretty good chance of winning, I think,” Taylor said.

GAME INFORMATION: Hawai’i (17-12, 10-7 Big West) at Cal State Northridge (14-17, 4-13 Big West)
When: Thursday, March 7, 5:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: The Matadome (1,600) – Northridge, Calif.
Television: None.
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 HawaiiAthletics.com

18 Comments

  1. Guys take care of the ball 10 or less turnovers. shoot well, rebound and defend. get the win! Stay together, and Roop and Gee Jefferson and Jawato, carry the guard spot, make up for loss of Jace and Spearman. You guys can do it. Stick together, listen to coaches, and maximum effort from tipoff to final buzzer, you guys can get the important 18th win of season, and momentum for tournament!

  2. UH MBB team, play smart, hard, together, great attitude, great energy.

    Gib do best you can with a smaller roster. Sometimes, when back to the wall, you lost very key players, team rises to the occasion!

    Watch out, Northridge senior nite, and they have nothing to lose. Play spoiler role. If you guys get the win, it will a good start to a possible, and hopefully 4 game win streak and BWC tourney title!

    Go Warriors!!

  3. I apologize, Northridge has no seniors, so not senior nite. However they just want to win last BWC game of season., get momentum for next year, all the more so Warriors have to get lead, hold on and finish!!

  4. It’s an important game for momentum. Good luck team. Play hard and smart!

  5. Man up warriors. Do your job. Come on.

  6. Interesting that CSN is 3 point favorites for this contest. Of course, UH was 3 pt faves against Cal Poly, so I like the chances.

    Jace and Spearman may be non-factors tonight, but they were non-factors last time anyways, combining for 21 minutes, going 0 – 5 from the field and committing 6 turnovers (which surely we can anticipate better numbers running the Jefferson/Clair combo).

    Main factors from the last match were Christian, Vander, Fotu, Jawato and Hauns, all of whom are healthy and playing well as of late. A couple of important stat lines from last time is that Hawaii committed 18 TO’s against CSN’s 9. Hawaii also shot 52% from the FT line.

    I don’t anticipate Hawaii committing 18 TO’s nor shooting that bad from the stripe (majority of the misses were Christian, who has improved a lot since then). Like Coach was saying, Hawaii is a much different team from the last time these two met.

    Bottom ine, the last time these two teams met, Hawaii was a few more free throws and a few less turnovers away from turning this thing into a blowout. I remember watching, and the game wasn’t as close as the score makes it look.

    About 5 hours ’til tip-off, very excited to watch the boys go at it! Let’s go BOWS!!

  7. Isaac, Agree with your thoughts. UH improved from last Dec 29th when teams first met. Northridge does have the athletic, quick, high jumping fowards that give UH’s Bigs trouble, by crashing boards for offensive putbacks, plus, Northridge has the athletic, guards who give Hawaii trouble in transition , driving to the rim, or on runouts. However, this Hawaii Team has show a lot of toughness , when you think they are in trouble, 8 to 10 points down with 5 minutes to play, in last 50 seconds they have a chance to win, on the road or at SSC. A real wild roller coaster of emotions, for coach, players and fans.

    I hope whomever plays, even Harper, in there to help spell guys, or hit a FT or clutch catchup couple of 3 pointers will play tough Defense, get that 6, 7, 8 stops in a row, and UH gets the 10-14 point scoring runs. UH however you guys do it, play tough, smart and get the W, so important for momentum for Big West tournament and a drive to NCAA’s or other post season play tourneys!
    Go get em team!

  8. Home court in basketball is a huge advantage. The surroundings, rims, lighting, referees, especially the fans all make a difference. It’s like you (the team) against the world when you’re on the road. To win on the road, you just have to be a better team and be more talented, and even that you can still lose the ball game. Just ask the top teams. There’s no shock if we lose this game. In fact, I would be surprised if we win tonight. Somebody has to play well, someone who you don’t expect. Who will be that player?

  9. Maybe one Christian Warrior Standhardinger, gets that look in his eyes, and goes off UCSB on the road style! This time 32 points, and 18 rebounds, 2 blocks, 3 steals and shoots 8 for 8 from FT line to help UH get win!

    Derek, you are correct, it is tough to win on road, back in the day even mighty UCLA with Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton, consensus #1 teams in NCAA, lost game away from Pauley Pavilion. As long as UH gives 100% effort, no blowout loss. Can come back home, renergize, look at scout for all other 7 teams in BWC tourney, and give it their best shot, who knows, UH or any team can win in Anaheim!

    Would be nice though, and surprisingly good if UH got this win at Northridge, UH are underdogs, like they should be, and one never knows, the underdogs have been winning this crazy NCAA MBB season!

    Go team!

  10. Good luck guys, give all of yourself, it can be an ugly win but a win is win.
    Play with pleasure and joy, because basketball is what you love

    GO WARRIORS!!!! CHAMPIONS GO!!!!!

  11. This game is important for momentum reasons. Need to stabilize the ship before the Big West tournament. UH just need to do what it does best… pound the boards. I

    Keys to victory are the same in virtually every game:

    1. Win the rebounding
    2. Vander must be aggressive and decisive.
    3. Control turnovers

  12. Speaking of the tournaments… Las Vegas now hosts 4 conference tournaments. Mtn West, WCC, WAC and now the Pac-12 tourneys are there now.

    The Pac 12 decided to move the tourney to Vegas because attendance was dismal at the Staples Center the past 2 years. Only need the Big West and Big Sky to move to Vegas to have every west coast based conference tourney in Vegas.

    The MWC, WCC tourneys sell out every year, the Pac 12 should be well attended also. When I watched the WAC tourney last year, attendance was so-so during the UH games. Pretty weak turnout by UH fans in my opinion. The finals was poorly attended, then again, it was La Tech and New Mex St in the finals.

    I looked at the attendance for the Big West Tourney and was pretty well attended. A little over 5,000 watched the semi-finals and 7,500 watched the finals. Not bad since its far more people than most Big West teams draw, but the Honda Center is 18,000+ capacity, so there’s a ton of empty space.

    I think the Big West should move to Vegas once their Honda Center deal is up. The 8,000 seat Orleans arena would be perfect and I think will be very well attended because its only a 4-6 hour drive for all the California teams and California residents love coming to Vegas.

    Having watched the WCC tournament at Orleans Arena 2 years ago, it’s an awesome atmosphere for a conference tournament.

  13. Ozi Mum, Aussie Mum, Memphis Mum and
    Tonganator Dad…

    You have been supporting team throughout the season, win or lose! Hope the team will win for their familes too!
    Go Warriors, your Ohana support your efforts! If UH Warriors( or Rainbows, Bows)win the BWC tournament or go far in another post season tourney, the team should give big shout out of appreciation to their parents, family and friends. Great job Warrior, Global Nation!

    Go Warriors!

  14. Victory today Warriors , nothing less !!

  15. Poor coaching. Poor defensive strategy to defend the 3 point line. Poor substitution patterns. The guys looked gassed out there. Fotu, very few touches. Very puzzling. And Jawato fouling out in how many minutes? Best to throw away the tape on this one. Looks like they are going to meet up with the 3 seed, which probably is Cal Poly. One and done is a very good possibility. Oh well. All we can do is hope and pray for some good karma.

    Probably that Cal-Northridge guard Greene had a career night. Seems like somebody on the other team has a career night against us.

  16. after losing to #238 ranked CS Northridge now I know for sure if Hawaii was in the Mountain West they would be in last place. Hawaii’s 17-13 record is so deceiving because they play cupcake city opponents.

  17. according to USA Today http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/bkt1213.htm

    ranked #342 MD Eastern Shore
    ranked #299 AR Pine Bluff
    ranked #319 Houston Baptist

    ranked #262 North Dakota
    ranked # 293 E. Tennessee St.
    ranked #306 Northern Arizona

  18. Tough loss. Seems like they can’t get over the hump and the team is not playing cohesively.

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