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Road Warriors need to ride momentum at home

© 2014 Chasing The Moment Photography

Like it or not, the University of Hawai’i basketball team had to return home sometime. When’s the last time that was even an issue?

Actually, it’s been more than a decade since a Hawai’i team last experienced such consistent road success. The 2001-02 team went 8-4 in road and neutral-site games during the regular season, en route to an eventual 27-6 overall record and NCAA Tournament appearance.

This season’s Warriors are 6-3 in road and neutral-site games, including the current record-tying streak of four in a row against Big West Conference opponents. Hawai’i currently has a better record on the road (4-2) than at home (3-2) in Big West play.

“We like the road,” junior point guard Keith Shamburger said. “We’re more focused. “We just sit there, basically we’re just doing homework and just spending time with each other … it’s just being ready right when tip-off goes.”

Hawai’i is now 18-7 overall and tied for third place in the Big West at 7-4. Up next is a showdown with first-place UC Irvine (17-9, 8-2) on Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

It is the most meaningful game of the season, in terms of the Big West regular-season title hopes for the Warriors. A victory would pull them a half-game behind the league leaders with four games to go; a loss would likely – though not mathematically – drop them out of contention for the regular-season championship.

“We know how important this is for us right now,” Shamburger said.

Sophomore guard Quincy Smith added: “We need this win. Me and a lot of the other guys been looking at the teams and who they play, and they’ll probably win the rest of their games, so we really need this victory.”

ShamburgerPoly_Chase

What’s more, the Warriors already own a 90-86 overtime win over the Anteaters in what could be considered the most thrilling game of the Big West season so far. UC Irvine rallied from a 10-point deficit in the first half to take a 10-point lead in the first half, then the Warriors rallied back and forced overtime on a desperation 3-pointer from Shamburger that banked in at the final horn.

“They’re going to come out ready,” junior guard Garrett Nevels said. “I know they’re mad that we beat them over at their place so they’re going to come ready. They’re going to come ready so we’re going to ready. That’s all I can say. It’s going to be a good game.”

The Warriors are considered the top offense in the Big West, as they lead the conference in points per game (80.5) and field goal percentage (47.1) in conference play. Meanwhile, the Anteaters are considered the top defense in the Big West, as they lead the conference in fewest points allowed (60.5) and opponent field goal percentage (.356).

As if all that were not enough, it will also be a chance for Hawai’i fans to see the tallest player in the country in action. Mamadou Ndiaye, a 7-foot-6 freshman, is the nation’s unofficial leader in field goal percentage at .746 (88 for 118, which are not enough field goals to qualify for the official lead). He also leads the Big West with 84 blocked shots.

He had 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and eight rebounds before fouling out in 22 minutes of action in the loss to Hawai’i last month.

15 Comments

  1. Very important home game here! UH students need to pack the house, help the Warriors protect it!! The biggest D1 player in the nation is coming to town and he won’t be easy to stop. In any case, a regular season title is still somewhat within reach. You know, despite the recent road success, I still feel like this team is not playing to its full potential.

    -Shamburger, it’s awesome to have a true point guard that can hit shots; just a little more confidence, knocking down open jumpers to keep the defense honest; that could be the key to unlocking an unstoppable, NCAA tournament worthy Hawaii team.
    -Nevels, I’d like to see him be a little more aggressive, trigger happy even. We’ve seen glimpses of his arsenal but I feel like he knows he doesn’t need to score and will take the back seat in games where other guys are going off. Not a ‘bad game’ all year, so go for it!
    -Standhardinger, I know it’s your senior season and you’ve been doing great, but you don’t have to pull the trigger every time you get the ball in the post. If you don’t have good positioning or are getting double teamed, dish it back out to the guards, let them make a play, win as a team!
    -Spearman, you’ve been one of my favorites but it seems like once the crowd/players get in your head, you fall off your game. Be mentally strong, lean on your teammates and make good decisions.
    -Fotu, offensively you’re bar-none. Defensively, a little more anticipation will go a long way, especially against those bigs that outsize/outweigh you.

    Okay, not like the players are going to read this but just my 2 cents for this team. I think they’re awesome, best team in a long time and they’re only going to get better. Thursday night should be a blast. Let’s GO BOWS!!!

  2. There is some merritt to what Keith said about the fact that the team is more focused on the road. If all the players would duplicate what they do on the road in getting ready, they would never lose any home games. But such is life, the fleeting pleasures of youth, as the Sirens come calling; and who can resist, less you are tied to your room as a prisoner and a guard kept watching 24/7. But on the road you are confined to your room and coaches guard your every move. Indeed behind every greatness there is a story of sacrifice.

  3. And there was valid ‘mention’ of potentially too many on-court distractions …

    While UHMBB earned a half-time lead, it might have been a larger lead or more tightly focused without the Aloha Shirt warm-ups … i hope the ‘whole team’ is NOT wearing wigs Thursday Night — Even Though i would enjoy it along with 4-7000 others — i don’t think we’re “That Good” (yet? ever?) that we can give anything less than our best (like on the road) and expect to consistently Win … For Example, even Na Wahine is More Likely to be Upset @ Home on the ir Emotional Senior Night…

    Discussion Points….

  4. Isaac, servante and Eagle, good thoughts observations…This UH team, could do this..go 6-2 on the road, and 4-4 at home…crazy as it sounds, it is possible.Keith and others nailed it on the head, with their fellow students, and though Jamie Smith does awesome job with promotions Maniacs, can be major distraction. Also, the Youth, that was alluded to, there is the opposite sex, a major attraction and sometimes distraction. These guys have girl friends which is fine. Remember Vander had one, and we know what happened last CIT game!
    Key: Focus, Gib might have to come out drill master, or have Fish and Taylor get on the guys. I like how, Gib mentioned after Fullerton win on the road, post game show, he might have too many O and D sets, the guys get confused, lose their man on defense, or guys were throwing the ball right into the hands of the quick Fullerton guards.
    Think that Gib has probably his biggest coaching, and focusing job of the year for this Irvine game, actually all the remaining 5 games. UH, play like they do in Cali, they could easily go 5-0 and have share of BWC regular season title possibly. Lose Focus, wig night, what going to do with friends after game, or other in house, team problems, UH could go down.
    I think UH, will remember the two past Thursday nite, home losses, and come out firing, UH has to score 90 points and hold irvine to 84 pts, bottom line guys, just win by one, whether regulation or 3 OT’s, Your team is on the verge of some great things for Gib year 4, and preparation for a big run at NCAA’s!

  5. UCI plays solid D on the inside while Hawaii is porous and vulnerable down low. Bow’s will have to shoot well on the perimeter to keep pace. On the road, UCI’s big men shutdown our inside game until they ran into foul issues. It will be a tough game and Hawaii will have to play at their best to stay within reach going into the final 5 minute frame. Foul problems to key players on either side could be the tipping point in this game…

  6. Aloha Warrior Insiders. Just wanted to let you know that your concern about the Aloha Shirts has been noted. Although seeing the team wearing the shirts may have been a surprise to our fans, the novelty would have long worn off for our players who chose their shirts and wore them to class two days prior to the game. I don’t think our performance in that game can anyway be attributed to the Aloha shirts. UC Santa Barbara are a very good team (#2 in the Big West, with the best RPI in the conference). We started the game on a 4-0 run and led the entire first half. We struggled from the field late in the second half. The Aloha shirts were a distant memory by that point.

    Less has been mentioned about the games where we have had characters on the court (Superhero Night and last year’s Star Wars Night), probably because we are 2-0 in those games… Regardless, this pre-game show would be more of a distraction for our opponents than ourselves, as we know what’s coming.

    Likewise when we had ‘60s hippie night last year, we played ‘60s music throughout warm-ups. Our players were prepared for this and wore their headphones. Do you think Long Beach were prepared to warm-up to the Beatles? They were out of rhythm right from the tip.

    I mention this just because I want to reassure you that a lot of thought goes into what we do and don’t do. In the end our number one priority as a coaching staff is ensuring that our team plays at an optimal level.

    My academic background is in sport psychology, specifically in performance. I have studied audience & crowd effects and arousal at the master’s degree level and understand how theses variables impact sports performance. This is why I am so passionate about improving the atmosphere of the SSC. I understand the benefits it has on performance.

    I have seen our players distracted by the pre-game “show” once, but that was on the road to UNLV last year. During their intros they closed the shutters on their lights and turned the volume on the speakers all the way up, thus maximising the impact of the high energy intro video played on their jumbotron. On top of that, fire blasted out of the backboards each time a guy in the video made a big play, and beams of light shot around the arena on their digital advertisement boards. At the conclusion of the video, there was a deafening indoor firework display to the likes I had never seen or heard before. This was followed by a “Chicago Bulls” style intro of the starting five accompanied by spotlights and smoke. I don’t think the smoke cleared the court until the second half! The whole thing gave me goose bumps. I’m sure it had an effect on our players and contributed to our slow start. However, it didn’t impede UNLV’s performance because they were prepared for it.

    Rest assured there is no plan for the whole team to wear ‘fro wigs before Thursday’s game, though we do have one player who will play the entire game with a ‘fro. We do have some very BIG things planned for the student section tomorrow night (even bigger than Mamadou), but you’ll have to come to the game to see for yourselves. My first two weeks back were a bit of a scramble, but now thanks to funding from the Manoa Maniacs, we have some things that should really get the students pumped.

    Thanks to everyone on Warrior Insider for your support. I’m really excited to be back. Please join in with the cheers, and be the person to lead the cheers in your section. You all have the power to make a positive difference to the atmosphere of the SSC. It’s not all on the students!

  7. Mahalo, Jimmy!

    Appreciate The Sports Psyche Working In OUR Favor — Big Time Psyche!

    I’m Sure the Players (and Coaches) Appreciate it too!

    I WAS Thinking that The Usual Fro-Star had Incorporated “All That” Really Well into His Game…
    Like Tops in Efficiency And Effectiveness…But a Wig wasn’t likely to help the others;}

    I DO Consider It a Party Every Game @SSC!
    Student / Fan Participation
    BEST Environs in The BWC!

    Thanks, Jamie!
    Welcome Back!

    Psyche ‘Bows!

  8. Well stated Jimmy The Britt(aka Jamie Smith!). You have been an awesome breath of fresh air for UH MBB! The inclusion, and promotion of Basketball, getting the students involved is fantastic(pun intended!) We know, that what you do, since you are also a member of coaching staff is greatly appreciated. Don’t remember, since Fab Five days of the 1970’s when there was this much interest in MBB, especially since Gib has the team focused, and really playing well. Jamie, keep up the good work, …true, the fan experience, to really take it to the next level, SSC in future should be about 1/3 or more filled with students, that would be awesome, The Stanley Super Supporters of SSC!(like Duke’s Cameron Crazies!)
    Jamie, get the crowd going, for some of us older ones, and working ones, who can’t make it to game, we appreciate the ROAR, and excitement you bring to the court.
    Mahalo for coming back, and to ones that helped you get back to the States! You wil be part of the staff that hopefully, well actually is the foundation of a team, that draws the most attendees in the Big West to home games!
    With additon, to this great year, potential Post Season rides, and next year’s team, enjoy your help and Rainbow Warriors, approaching the top 30-35, and 25 rankings next year.
    Your support and very hard work is super appreciated by young , and old, die hard and newbie fans of UH!
    Go Jamie! and Rainbow Warriors, with Wig Night, might frighten Mamadou into foul trouble! Look for UH MBB team to give great effort and get win against Irvine. should be a Winning Party!
    : D
    Go Bows!

  9. Mahalo Jamie Smith. Very hard worker. And UH supporter to the Max!
    😀
    Go Rainbow Warriors, and thanks again Jamie!

  10. Thanks Jamie smith we all appreciate everything that yo have done and hope you will be here next year as well!

  11. Awesome Jamie, keep up the good work. Looking forward to the game, get the W!!!

    GO THE MIGHTY WARRIORS..

  12. I am honestly surprised that the Warriors had a successful road trip. This team is now showing upside of being consistent on the road now. What the Warriors need to do now is take advantage of these home games because they cannot afford to loose at home. I believe that LBSU game should have been a win, actually I believe the Warriors should be unbeaten at home in conference play.

  13. People just like to think that there’s a difference in the way UH plays at home versus on the road. The road performance may have been different in the past when UH had to play in altitude of Colorado St., or the atmosphre of The Pit. But now we play against small Cali teams, and so many of our key players are from Cali. These road trips are more homecomings.

    Look at our games vs Riverside:

    HOME: won 100-69 (+31 blowout, with 26 pt halftime lead)
    road: won 87-76 (+11 but was close to the end)
    The difference?

    HOME: shot 49.3% FG, 7 triples 35%, 25-32 FT 78%
    road: shot 53.7% FG, 7 triples 47%, 22-29 FT 76%
    Look at that, UH shoots just the same (if anything, better on the road).
    But wait, if UH shot better on the road, then why was the game so much closer?

    HOME: Riverside’s Taylor Johns fouls out in 19 minutes, 1-4 FG 4 points
    road: Taylor Johns plays a full 34 minutes (he barely got out of the game), 8-10 FG 19 pts, 9 reb, 6 blk
    Also Riverside’s Chris Patton shot 8-13 FG 21 pts, 6 reb in just 26 minutes.
    This is what happened in the home game that UH won in blowout fashion: got Johns out of there, which resulted in better rebounding by UH, which got us more possessions, and that is why we blew them out at home.

    Holy cow UH shot better on the road. But at home we outrebounded Riverside 42-28, thus getting 69 FG attempts vs 51 by UCR. On the road, Riverside used their two big men more effectively and kept rebounding close (36-33 UH), combined with better ballhandling; UH only shot 54 FG vs 64 by UCR. The road game completely flipped the FG attempts (yet was played at the same pace), and that’s why the game was closer.

    You can do the same thing with the Cal Poly game. UH shot 46% on the road, and 49% at home. 4 triples away, 2 triples at home. UH has no problem with their offense on the road.

    One thing to watch vs. Irvine will be what Mamadou does. Just for fun, he is a premiere player in the league. In the first game, Mamadou played only 3 minutes 1st half because refs got him for 2 fouls. And in OT Mamadou played only 3 minutes and refs got him for 2 fouls. He scored nothing in 1st half and OT, no rebounds, no blocks. But in 2nd half, he only got whistled once, and played 16 minutes with 12 pts 8 rebounds. He can put up a monster game if he stays out of foul trouble.

    Worth noting however, is that UH still shot 48% in 2nd half with Mamadou on the floor. UH’s offense wasn’t even slowed by him. The big thing in the first game, even beyond what Mamadou did, is UH outrebounded Irvine 40-32, and Irvine only made 3 triples. Irvine averages 6 triples a game, and four guys shoot it well enough. Keep the rebounding edge and don’t let the other team go off on triples in our place, because Mamadou can’t really score that much to keep pace with UH by himself.

    Mamadou is a force, but he isn’t really that good (everyone knows just foul him), and he doesn’t play that much really. Beat Irvine, don’t try to beat Mamadou because that isn’t enough.

  14. Keep up the great work Jimmy The Brit!

    Haters gonna hate, no matter what. You are making a huge difference with the student section, and the game atmosphere as a whole. Not since the Bowzos in Klum Gym way back when has there been such enthusiasm at UH games. Still waiting to see what you guys can pull off to get another ovation from the rest of us old folks in the crowd like you did last year with the roller coaster cheer!

  15. Jamie Smith is awesome!!!!!

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