Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors preparing for ‘huge game’ with Anteaters

There’s really no way to hide an upcoming game featuring a team that is in first place with a 7-foot-6 center.

The University of Hawai’i basketball team will host league-leader UC Irvine – and its 7-6 freshman giant Mamadou Ndiaye – on Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Warriors are 18-7 overall and tied for third place in the Big West Conference at 7-4; the Anteaters are 17-9 and 8-2, including a 90-86 overtime loss to Hawai’i last month in Irvine, Calif.


“It’s obviously a huge game, for us and for Irvine,” head coach Gib Arnold said. “Our mentality right now is it’s a 40-minute season. This game is it. We’ve got all our preparation for Irvine, all of our preparation to play the best we can Thursday night. It’s a big game. It’s one that we need, one that we need if we want to win this conference championship.”

The Warriors went through a film session and then a strategic practice on Tuesday night in preparation for the Anteaters.

UC Irvine does not necessarily have a go-to player, as its leading scorer is freshman guard Luke Nelson at 12.1 points per game. The other four starters average between 8.4 points and 11.6 points per game each.

“They’re a little bit tougher on the scout and obviously the big kid in the middle (Ndiaye) demands a double team,” Arnold said. “That’s what makes them good, they’re pretty well-balanced.”

The mere presence of Ndiaye presents a challenge, and Arnold describes him as “the best shot blocker in the conference, and maybe in the country.” The Warriors worked around him the last time, with Isaac Fotu draining 13 of 16 shots from the field – with most of his 30 points coming from baseline jumpers. Ndiaye was also limited to 22 minutes in the first meeting with the Warriors due to foul trouble.

Both teams will bring momentum – Hawai’i is on a three-game winning streak, and tied a school record last week by winning its fourth consecutive road game; UC Irvine is on a four-game winning streak.

Game 26 Tipoff Notes
Hawai’i (18-7, 7-4 Big West) vs. UC Irvine (17-9, 8-2 Big West)
When: Thursday, Feb. 20, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu
Television: Live on OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: BigWest.tv
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 HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: $26 (lower); $18 (upper-adult); $16 (upper-sr. citizen); $5 (upper-youth, ages 4-HS); UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking $6.
Promotions: First Hawaiian Bank is the sponsor on Thursday and will award $100 in cash and $200 in Zippy’s gift cards throughout the game. UH season-ticket holders in all UH sports and members of the military receive 50% off adult tickets. Bank of Hawaii is the sponsor of Saturday’s contest and will distribute 1,000 tote bags and award a $100 gift card at halftime. There will be an autograph session with the men’s basketball team in the arena concourse near Gate B following the game.
UH Student Promotions: Thursday’s game is “Wig Night” and the first 400 students receive free wigs. Also, students are encouraged to wear green to the game. Saturday’s game is “Thrift Shop Night” and students are encouraged to participate in the “Thrift Shop Lip Sync” on the scoreboard during a coaches’ timeout.


  1. If ALL 5 Starters get their averages and more, plus the 3 men off the bench provide 10-12 pts, rebounds, energy on O and D. Be agressive to rim, shoot well from outside, and play fast tempo. UH should win. Going to be a rough and tough game, since it is two of the top 3 teams in the league and so much at stake, maybe officials let a lot of physical contact without fouls go on, unless the obvious touch fouls of guys driving to the basket!

    Looks like UH, coaches’ and team will be ready! Fear not just the Fro, Irvine respect the Bows! And Bows respect but have not fear for Irvine, play to win, all out hustle, defend home court for 40 minutes, or OT’s, get the Win guys, and all will be happy until UC Davis game, then that autograph session will be awesome!

    Go Rainbow WARRIORS!
    P.S. Mahalo again for your hard work in developing theme nights, Fright Fro Wigs!Put fear into Mamadou!
    Go Jamie Smith, great job!!

  2. Can’t remember the last time Hawaii was in contention for the league title with a big game this late in the season. Versus Tulsa about a dozen years or so ago maybe? I just know it’s been a long time, so I really hope the arena is rocking on Thursday. Be there!

  3. we’d probably get close to 9000 if this game was on saturday

  4. The beauty of any athletic contest is that you never know what’s going to happen on a given day or night. Yeah, we beat Irvine on the road, but to me, that doesn’t mean anything for tomorrow’s game. Who knows, Irvine might dominate, Hawaii might dominate, or it could go down to the wire, and possibly overtime. One thing is certain, there are critical plays at critical junction during the game will tip the game in one team’s favor. Shamburger’s 3 pointer to send the game into OT the first game was a big one that propelled UH to win it at the end. UH is more desperate because they are 2 games behind in the standings. Irvine is sitting atop of the standings so they have that luxury that even losing they would still be either tied or still leading the conference. Hawaii will be favored I’m sure by a small margin based on the home court. And remember, we lose the last two times at home on Thursdays. You can’t sweep at home unless you win the first one.

    The way I see, defense and rebounding is first, field goal and F/T percentages, stay out of foul trouble, keep the turnovers down. Winning basketball has never changed. It’s the SSS theory (Stops, Shots, and Solid execution).

  5. Bow’s have to find their touch on jumpers. Period. Just repeating what Coach Gib said and what all who follow our team realize.
    Great game for our fans.
    Great game for our conference.
    Also, a little luck on the rim will help.
    Go Hawaii!

  6. If UHMB want it bad enough they can take this game and the Big West Tourney. This team got more talent than anyone else in the league. It’s all about focusing and blocking other things out. But if one key player does not prepare he will drag everyone else down with him. That’s why they call it a team sport. It’s preparation on and off the court and it’s a team effort. So captains, you are the leaders of the team and need to keep everyone on the same page. That means go to bed early, get enough rest, nutrition, and mental preparation. Just like on the road. This team can go deep but it comes with a price.

  7. I think Captain Christian Standhardinger said it well after the Diamond Head Classic, and the Potential of this year’s team, ” If the Team Stays Together” , unified, no sulking, bickering, One Ohana, all for the team Win, not stats or PT, they can do something special.
    Christian, love how, if he is not scoring as much, Fotu, or Nevels carrying the load, he Rebounds, that is how a team wins, Find ways to help Team win.
    I still believe, Hawaii has to come out and play even harder at home, than on the road, Complete focus, on winning, of course the outside, and it does not have to be 10 three pointers out of 20 attempts, which would seal the deal, take the mid range, game of Fotu, Standhardinger, Nevels, Shamburger Smith and Spearman, and the shots have to fall. They shoot high 40% -50% form field and 38% or better from 3 line, plus even or outrebound Irvine, UH will win. Anything less, UH still can win, with great guard play, the PG’s and controlling the tempo and running the O and D, hopefully scouted well and as Gib stated, even simplifying some of the sets, so guys don’t get confused, UH Can Win. Protect home court, hope there will be 7000 in attendance, even though important game, Honolulu is a bedroom community, that 6000-7000 will make noise of 23, 000 for sure!

Leave a Response

Login or fill in the fields below to comment. (New user? Register)