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Big test in Big West for Warriors at Irvine

Nevels1_ChaseUCR

And now for the big show.

After a confidence-building road win at UC Davis on Thursday, the University of Hawai’i basketball team will try to prove its worth against the first-place team in the Big West Conference on Saturday night.

UC Irvine will host the Warriors at 5 p.m. (Hawai’i time) at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif.

Hawai’i is 13-5 overall and 2-2 in the Big West; the Anteaters are 13-7 and alone at the top of the conference at 4-0.

“It’s going to be a very, very physical game with them,” head coach Gib Arnold said. “We’re really going to have to rebound as a team. If we can keep the pace we had and the tempo we had (against UC Davis), we have a real good chance of going up there and getting another one.”

The Anteaters are on a six-game winning streak, with size and balance being the keys to their success.

Led by 7-foot-6, 290-pound center Mamadou Ndiaye and 6-8 forward Will Davis II, the Anteaters are the top rebounding team in the Big West at 40.2 per game and a plus 5.8 margin. Hawai’i is second in rebounding margin at 5.2.

Ndiaye, who is a freshman, has been garnering much of the attention because of his size, and he is averaging 8.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. His most impressive statistics are an astounding .789 field goal percentage and 66 blocked shots (3.5 per game).

Shamburger2_ChaseUCR

Davis is averaging 11.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and has a .597 field goal percentage.

The Warriors will counter with their own formidable pair of 6-8 forwards – senior Christian Standhardinger and sophomore Isaac Fotu. Standhardinger ranks second in the Big West in scoring at 18.4 points per game, and also leads the team with 7.7 rebounds per game. Fotu is next on the team in both scoring (14.1) and rebounding (6.3), and has a .596 field goal percentage.

UC Irvine has several big reserves, including 7-2 Ioannis Dimakopoulos and 6-10 John Ryan. The Warriors will be boosted by the possible return of 7-foot senior reserve center Davis Rozitis. He missed the last two games to clear up an academic issue.

Like Hawai’i, UC Irvine likes to employ a three-guard lineup around its two big men. Chris McNealy, a 6-4 senior, is the team’s leading scorer at 12.4 points per game, and also grabs 4.6 rebounds per game. Luke Nelson, a 6-3 freshman, is averaging 11.4 points per game and leads the team with 37 3-pointers. Alex Young, a 6-1 sophomore, is contributing 9.4 points and 4.6 assists per game.

Spearman1_ChaseUCR

It makes for an intriguing match up against Hawai’i’s trio of Garrett Nevels, Brandon Spearman and Keith Shamburger. Nevels is averaging 14.1 points per game and leads the team with 37 3-pointers and a .474 3-point percentage. Spearman is averaging 11.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Shamburger is contributing 9.1 points and 4.7 assists per game, and has 10 asssits with zero turnovers in his last two games.

The game will also feature the two top offenses in the Big West. The Warriors lead the conference in scoring at 82.3 points per game, and field goal percentage at .485. The Anteaters are second in both categories at 74.7 points and a .482 field goal percentage.

(Photos courtesy Chase Simmons / www.chasingthemomentphoto.com)

Game 19 Tipoff Notes
Who:
Hawai’i (13-5, 2-2 Big West) at UC Irvine (13-7, 4-0 Big West)
When: Saturday, Jan. 25, 5:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Bren Events Center (5,000) – Irvine, Calif.
Television: ESPN3 telecast available to Oceanic Cable “Sports Pass” subscribers on channel 290
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM. 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 UCIrvineSports.com

11 Comments

  1. Key: UH starting 5 stay out of foul trouble, take care of ball, shoot good shots, out run and uptempo Irvine, run away from the Big Guy, box, out, and give it Boom 100% effort, whatever you need to get W, Hope Rozitis, Smith, Valdes, Thomas, Jovanovich, Enos, can provide some extra points and rest for starters. Hey if Jovanovich and Rozitis, can hack a shack attack the 7’6″ big, might be a try, he is not a great FT shooter, however you never know, he might hit 4 for 4 key ones. UH just have fun, and give max effort, you have two championships to play for, Regular season crown, and the Big One, the BWC tourney championship!
    Go Rainbow Warrior MBB team, Give the Irvine Anteaters, a Hill of Effort, and a defeat. Do your best, and shoot lights out, !

  2. I think that 7’6″ center, is averaging UNDER 50%, 46% or something similar from FT line, he can tiptoe dunk like, Bhullar from NMSU, maybe better to foul him if close to basket. One or possibly two shots he might miss. Still think that uptempo, UH try to just outrun opposition to the offensive end, and score the first and fastest shot they can, before Irvine sets up in defense. They are pretty good on D.

    Appreciate, how hard Christian is working, has to be POY candidate, if UH can win tourney or regular season, actually that starting Five are Believing, especially after that close road loss at Northridge that they can win at home, and now on the road, either way, whatever outcome, UH play tough, stay close, and let game go down to wire, Otherwise, get that double digit lead, and hold on like at Cal Davis, Great effort, and now the bench plus Davis Rozitis, who will be tired, however, Davis, give his 100% effort, as a captain, and make up for his loss time, help team get the W. Heard , game is sold out, must be 5000+, including a lot of Hawaii Cali fans in that arena. should be whale of a game with the ESPN3 crew commenting, they always seem to start to home cook call the game, then if UH starts pulling away, they say: UH has a good, very good team I would agree, Give it your best guys, D, rebound, take care of ball, and shoot well, and come home, 2-0, 1-1,not bad, then sweep 4-0 SSC home stand!

  3. http://www.azcentral.com/sports/preps/articles/20140123freshmen-making-key-contributions-arizona-basketball-teams.html

    Hope the coaches don’t forget about this kid, he is tearing it up in arizona. He misses the beaches so lets bring him back in four years.

  4. NOT Necessarily The End of The World or Season

    WORST CASE UCI 5-0, UH 2-3

    BUT MAYBE, This IS The Real Beginning of
    THE SHOW…Best Case UH 3-2, UCI 4-1
    AND Notice SERVED: UH is A Team
    Maybe ‘The Team’ to be Reckoned With
    After a Slow Start (Banished?)
    And Learning/Adjustment Period
    (including a One-Point Team ‘Lesson’ (Failure?))
    CAN This UH Team Now Emerge And Overcome?

    Start Fast, Show UCI What Suffocating Defense FEELS Like
    Shoot Smart & Effective, Get the Refs to PAY Attention
    and Put UCI in Foul Dilemma
    BOOM & BURM ‘EM Christian And Isaac
    Spin, Bang, Body Up and Nail Free-Throws
    WIN The Battle of Front-Line Dynamic Duos
    Leave ‘Em In Frustration and Wonderment Tonight
    Let Them Cry from The Pine
    THEN Continue Their Frustration @ SSC And Anaheim

    Guards and TOTAL Team
    Harass Them into All-Court Scramble-Frustration
    And Shoot Them Into Submission

    OR NOT … Largely Up To US
    GO ʻBOWS !

  5. Hope we learned something from playing Sim Bhular.
    Rozitis and Stefan Jovanovic could really help us this game by just holding their ground strong, not fouling out, and helping in the guards in every way out-quick and out-pace UC Irvine. Our bigs did great the last game and will have to bring their game legs to Irvine. There is a great deal of BB IQ out there for the Bows and meshing that with a quick pace and solid defense will get us the win. IMHO Go Bows !

  6. Big game for the Our Program. Go Warriors!

  7. Hope OUR Scout Analysis Knows/Factors in
    What Long Beach And Northridge were doing
    To Almost Defeat BW-Undefeated Irvine

    AND What Fresno, Pacific, Boston and Pepperdine were doing
    As Teams Comparable to Hawaiʻi
    To Defeat Irvine
    (Although Irvine Might Have Already Also Learned from those Lessons)

    This UHMBB Team is Versatile Enough to Use
    the Parts of Packages Effective against other Teamʻs Weaknesses/Tendencies

    Go ʻBows !
    Beat The Anteaters
    To King of The Hill

  8. And so it begins…. The battle for conference supremacy starts now.

    UH must test the referees early in this game and see how they are going to call it. Standhardinger and Spearman need to get into the paint and try to get their bigs into some foul trouble. If the refs swallow their whistles, then UH must play its best game to win. UCI also employs a 2-3 zone, so Nevels, Shamburger and the bench guards need to have a good night shooting.

    If Standhardinger can get 10 FT attempts, UH should win, but it won’t be easy if UCI sags into their zone to protect their bigs.

  9. HAWAII WINS 90 – 86
    the radio with live stats are very exciting !!

  10. Standhardinger kept Ndiaye in Foul Trouble
    The Rest of The TEAM gave Him High-Pressure
    Remedial Free-Throw Humbleness Practice
    D-1 Or “NBA” Player?
    Then You Got To DO The Work
    Hack-a-Shaq Free-Throw Time
    ESPN 3 Announcers Say Tough to Shoot Downhill?
    Too Bad they made it Illegal to Dunk from Free-Throw Stripe
    BUT Ndiaye – 25 Straight? –
    May be Shattering NCAA Record @UCSB
    Somebody Got To LOSE That Game
    Irvine @UCSB And @CAL-POLY Next

    Home-Stand UHMBB Re-Match With Cal-Poly
    Could Be For FIRST Place in The BWC
    Wouldn’t a WIN in That Circumstance Be a Kick in BW Size 6 Pants?

    Carry It Through ‘Bows
    Takin’ Care of Business
    WIN the Ones You’re Supposed To
    AND Steal A Few You ‘Weren’t Supposed To’
    Like Tonight, @ UC Irvine
    2-0 Road Sweep, UH UP +2 ?
    KEEP Climbing, ‘BOWS!

  11. PAST Years,
    ‘Bows Might Get Arrogant OR Over-Confident
    And Follow-UP A Big Road Series Sweep
    With a THUD!
    Falling @ Home to a Dangerous LBSU Team,
    Re-Emeging from Their Own Vaunted Past
    And Dropping Us Back Into The Also-Rans…

    IS THIS Team Better?
    Smarter?
    Truly Respectful of ALL Opponents
    And Fearful of NONE
    Proving it By Working Harder Than Ever This Week
    WIN By Any Means Necessary
    BUT WIN!

    BETTER! WIN In Dominating Fashion
    Break 90+ Again?
    Start a NON-Stoppable Aura and Tradition
    Someone Suggested Striking Fear into the Opposition’s Hearts
    The Weaker their Own Self-Belief, The Faster the Cave when Trailing
    You Kinda Knew Last Night that As Good as Irvine was (4-0)
    They were NOT Gonna Cave when Hawai’i Hit its First EIGHT Shots
    And Doubled their score…
    Then Irvine Built their own 10-Point Second Half “Controlling” Lead
    BUT FOTU(!) and Shamburger and Nevels and Standhardinger Weren’t Buying It…
    AND IRVINE Stared Straight at Victory…
    And Caved…

    We Are NOT At the Point of Walking onto the Court and Winning Because We Just Showed Up…
    BUT This Team IS Creating its Own Legends and Earning True Believers…
    MORE Important…i think They WILL Work Harder Than Ever
    And Improve and OPEN UP That Gap Versus their BW Opponents
    AT LEAST That’s The Opportunity in The Next 12 (14?) Games
    GIB IS Smart Enough to Know This… HE Can See The Bigger Vision
    Of a WEST COAST (NOT Only Big West!) DOMINANT PROGRAM…

    GO! Big Time, ‘Bows!

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