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Warriors face Matadors in Big West quarterfinal

Twenty wins and a fourth-place finish don’t really matter much to the University of Hawai’i basketball team right now.

The true test for the Warriors begins on Thursday, when they play Cal State Northridge in the quarterfinals of the Big West Conference Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

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“We talk all season about one game at a time, but now it really is,” head coach Gib Arnold said. “It’s down to a 40-minute season. Win and you move on to the next 40-minute season … lose and you go home.”

The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time), and it will be televised live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket (Oceanic channel 228).

The Warriors are 20-10 overall, having already reached the program’s first 20-win season since 2004. They are the No. 4 seed in the eight-team tournament after going 9-7 in Big West action. The Matadors are 15-17 overall and the No. 5 seed at 7-9.

The teams split the regular-season series: Northridge won 79-78 on January 11 at Northridge; the Warriors won 77-63 on February 1 at Honolulu.

“I think the best defensive team is going to win this tournament to get to the NCAA Tournament,” Arnold said. “I think we really gotta lock in. Everybody knows everybody, everybody’s played a lot against each other, so you’re really going to have to execute on the defensive end.”

Interestingly enough, it will be a match-up of the two top offenses in the Big West. In 16 conference games, the Warriors were the top scoring team at 77.9 points per game, followed closely by the Matadors at 77.8.

The Warriors also lead the conference in field goal percentage at .465, while the Matadors lead in free throw percentage at .809. Northridge actually leads the nation with an overall free throw percentage of .786.

“Obviously a very athletic team, I think the most athletic team in the conference,” Arnold said of the Matadors. “We have our work cut out for us, but obviously we feel like we can beat any team in the conference. If we play our best basketball, it gives us a great shot.”

The game will feature three of the premier forwards in the Big West: Christian Standhardinger and Isaac Fotu for Hawai’i, and Stephen Maxwell for Northridge. All three were named to the All-Big West first team this week.

Standhardinger leads the Warriors in both scoring (17.7) and rebounding (8.4), while Fotu is next at 15.2 points and 6.1 rebounds, and also leads the team with a .593 field goal percentage. Fotu averaged 18.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in the two previous meetings with the Matadors.

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Maxwell, a 6-foot-7 junior, leads the Matadors in scoring (17.9), rebounding (9.0) and field goal percentage (.563).

Both teams, though, have strong supporting casts. The Warriors have relied all season on their starting five of Fotu, Standhardinger, Keith Shamburger, Garrett Nevels and Brandon Spearman. Those five are combining to score 65.2 points per game, while the rest of the team is averaging 14.6.

Nevels is averaging 13.4 points per game and leads the team with 57 3-pointers and a .413 percentage from 3-point range; Spearman is averaging 11.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game; Shamburger is averaging 9.0 points and a Big West-leading 5.4 assists per game.

The top reserves are Quincy Smith (4.9 points, 2.7 assists), Davis Rozitis (3.7 points, 3.4 rebounds) and Aaron Valdes (3.3 points, 2.1 rebounds).

The Matadors rely primarily on a trio of dynamic scorers: Maxwell, 6-6 forward Stephan Hicks and 6-foot guard Josh Greene. Hicks is averaging 16.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game; Greene is averaging 15.6 points per game, and ranks third in the Big West with 70 3-pointers.

Other key players for the Matadors include 6-9 center Tre Hale-Edmerson (6.6 points, 6.5 rebounds), 6-3 reserve guard Aaron Parks (6.7 points), and the rotating guards of Landon Drew (5.2 points, 3.5 assists) and J.J. Thomas (7.0 points per game as a starter in the last five games).

“Every team here wants to win it so bad and we want to win it just as bad,” Fotu said. “It’s just going to take everything we have and all the energy we have and all the effort we have.”

The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to the semifinals on Friday.

— — — — — — —

Isaac Fotu added another honor to his sophomore season resume when he was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 9 second team.

The NABC selected 25 All-District teams, and all members of the first and second teams from each district are eligible for All-America honors.

Fotu is one of just three players from the Big West Conference selected. UC Santa Barbara’s Alan Williams was named to the District 9 first team, while Long Beach State’s Mike Caffey joined Fotu on the second team.

— — — — — — —

Thursday’s Games
Cal Poly vs. UC Santa Barbara, 9 a.m.
Cal State Fullerton vs. Long Beach State, 11:30 a.m.
UC Riverside vs. UC Irvine, 3 p.m.
Cal State Northridge vs. Hawai’i, 5:30 p.m.

Game 31 Tipoff Notes
What:
2014 Big West Tournament
Who: No. 4 seed Hawai`i vs. No. 5 seed Cal State Northridge
When: Thursday, March 13, 5:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Honda Center (18,366) – Anaheim, Calif.
Television: Fox Sports Prime Ticket (Oceanic channel 228)
Streaming Video: None
Radio: 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: ESPN1420am.com
Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com

22 Comments

  1. Rainbow Warriors! Just bring it. Defend, rebound, and shoot that ball well! Get the Win. and move on to semis.
    Fans want you to do well. For Hawaii and global fanbase!

    Give all out effort, and come away with victory, going to be tough, have to hang with the attacking of rim, and 3 line shooting of the big 3 for Matadors.
    Just leave it all out. Guards, play smart, play well, defend, and shoot well from FT line and 3 line.

    Go Warriors!

  2. Welcome to MARCH MADNESS where with each WIN you get ONE MORE GAME to extend your season. Every team is now in the best shape of their season. It is all up to who wants it more.

    You are already the Best Offensive Team in the Conference, one of the Best in the Nation. Play loose and shoot with confidence.

    DEFENSE wins Championships. DEFENSE wins Championships. DEFENSE wins Championships.
    Play with Pride, Purpose and take each possession Personally.

    CRUCHTIME matters. Be the ONE to Step Up when it Counts.

    The entire Warrior Nation is behind you.

    GO BOWZ

  3. Despite their ‘losing’ records, Northridge is good. Not as good as UH though! Warriors, just play confident, bring everything you got, everything out on the table cuz it’s time to RUN! Let’s GO BOWS!!!!

  4. I’ll list + and – for UH:

    + UH has rebounding advantage over CSUN, allowing UH 33 more shots in 2 games. Here’s some simple calculation: 15 more shots a game, if you shoot ~40% that is ~12 more points a game. (no allowance made for triples by UH, on offensive rebs).
    – CSUN gets to the line a lot against UH, they’re too quick. Luckily in UH’s win, CSUN only shot 56% FT. In UH’s loss, CSUN shot 90% FT. UH cannot control CSUN’s FT shooting, so this will be the big swinging factor.
    – game is on national TV. This is a ——— for UH.

  5. Congratulations to Fotu (and Christian) for the honors that have been recently announced. To the team, play like Warriors! Be aggressive from tip off till the game ending buzzer! To the Hawaii supporters on the road with our Warriors, make the arena rock! Looking forward to Win #21!

  6. Game day is here! Let’s get a win!

    Yes, Northridge is a dangerous team, but probably the most inconsistent in the conference. They beat the top two teams (UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara), but also lost to the two bottom teams (UC Riverside and UC Davis). Let’s hope we catch them on one of their “down” games and we have an “up” game.

  7. GO THE MIGHTY WARRIORS!! All your KIWI fans are ready…. Bring it on.

  8. LET’S GO BOWS! WISH I COULD BE THERE!

  9. Turn out the lights, the party’s over. Santa Barbara is gone. That’s good for UH. Hope we can capitalize. Now if UH wins and Fullerton beats Long Beach, UH will play Fullerton and Irvine (if they beat Riverside) will play 7th seeded Poly. If Riverside wins, UH wins, and Fullerton wins, Hawaii will be the highest seeded remaining and they will play Riverside. Fullerton will play Poly. This is absolutely crazy!!!! It’s too far fetched. Then again, I never thought Poly would beat Santa Barbara by 31 points. That, is crazy!!!!

  10. It was good for UH that Cal Poly played UCSB. Those are two of the tougher defensive teams in the Big West. One of them got knocked out. Just so happened to be UCSB.

    Like I said, lucky UH did not play Cal Poly first round. CP plays stellar defense, routinely holding teams to under 60 points. CP also beat UH five times in a row. CSUN is a much better matchup for UH, as they have lately been giving up ~90 points to the likes of Fullerton/Riverside/Idaho.

    UH will get their points against CSUN.

  11. Cal Poly getting hot at the right time. Unreal beat down of UCSB. They are one and done.
    UH has to play even better to get W. Cannot look past anyone.

    either way, UH bring the 100% , last man standing effort, win or lose, give it their all.
    Fans will be proud and loud.
    Hope UH can shoot well!

    Uhfanzonly1.
    Go Bows!
    Go Rainbow Warriors!

  12. Dayton, Mahalo for real time updates and scenarios for UH.
    KEY: UH HAS TO WIN, otherwise, all for naught.

    come on UH MBB team, gotta fight, for victory.
    Any other fans agree, in these tournaments, the team that can hit threes, really get hot, on a run, and cause other team to miss, play well defensively, they can win the tournament and go NCAA’s. Cal Poly , a sub .500 regular and BWC season record could win the whole thing and go to NCAA’s with losing overall record!
    Go Bows, get the win!
    😀

  13. UH achilles heel nemesis Santa Barbara is gone.

  14. UC Irvine routs UC Riverside, 63-43, in third game.

    Semi 1 is set for Friday: UC Irvine vs. Cal Poly, 3:30 p.m.

    Semi 2 will be Long Beach State vs. Hawai’i/Northridge winner at 6 p.m. (HI time)

    On to the main event of the evening …

  15. furious is only minor of what I feel….gib Arnold is a failure

  16. Shamburger sucks. I can’t believe they went away from Standhardinger and Fotu.

  17. why foul with 18 seconds left up 3???

  18. Hawaiifan09 I agree that was a fail by coach Arnold. It’s on him should’ve told Shamburger to pass the ball to Standhardinger or Fotu.

  19. Yes. Wonder, Standhardinger waiting for pass from Shamburger. Plus the foul early in the clock. However, some coaches do that, so no 3 pointer. The offensive foul by Isaac, the execution. From Gib on down to ball boy. Matadors, Key huge shots by Greene, and Maxwell, and the Big hitting the sealing FT’s. Tough, tough loss.

    The positive: UH made a 30 point turnaround, from 17 pts down in first half to take a 13 point lead in second, only to lose it in OT. Cannot fault the guys effort, from game 1 till game 31, real Warriors. When you Lose, you lose, as a Coach and team. These guys really battled hard. Young guys, and Hawaii fans are proud of team

    UH should shut it down for season, No CIT…if there is any invite. However you never know, I think the guys are heartbroken, for awhile, always next year!

  20. This game should have never gone into overtime poor execution in the end of regulation as they went away from there two 1st team all big west players. I feel for the seniors especially Spearman as they showed him crying.

  21. Hawaii deserved what they got. Bad management and bad execution. In an otherwise wonderful effort by the Rainbow Warriors to comeback from 17 down and take the lead, it came down to the last 18 seconds. First, why foul with 18.7 seconds and we’re up by 3. On top of that, we fouled the best free throw shooter in the conference who shoots more than 90%, Josh Greene. He makes both free throws and we’re up only by 1. Then we can’t get the ball in and Northridge call time out and they execute and Maxwell score and go up by 1. Smith dribbles into the forecourt and Fotu makes a stupid offensive foul at 8.2 seconds left. We have to foul at 7 seconds and they make both free throws to go down by 3. With time running out, Spearman misses a 3 pointer and misses and we lose. Lost in all of those frantic seconds is the fact that Hawaii had no time outs left. We should always save 1 timeout left for these such situations at the end of the game. It cost us dearly.
    Oh well, season over! Time for March Madness.

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