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Warriors strive to gain momentum at Fullerton

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The University of Hawai’i basketball team is hoping the schedule works out in its favor the next two weeks.

The Warriors will close the regular-season on the road, with a Big West Conference game at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m. Hawai’i time). Normally, a road game three nights after a game in Honolulu would be a tough task for the UH basketball teams, but there are some factors in the Warriors’ favor.

For one, Cal State Fullerton is already locked in as the last-place team in the Big West, and thus has not qualified for the eight-team conference tournament next week at Anaheim, Calif. What’s more, the Titans are in last place by a large margin.

Fullerton is 9-21 overall and 1-14 in the conference. Its only Big West win came more than a month ago against eighth-place CSUN.

Hawai’i is 19-12 overall and tied for fifth place at 7-8, including an 81-61 win over Fullerton on Feb. 14. A Hawai’i win on Saturday will secure fifth place and the No. 5 seed for next week’s Big West Tournament.

Looking a bit ahead, the location of the game could also work for Hawai’i. The Warriors arrived in Fullerton on Tuesday night, and will remain there through the Big West Tournament, instead of returning to Honolulu after Saturday’s game. The Honda Center, where the tournament will be staged, is about five miles away from the hotel that the Warriors are staying during the trip.

Of course, a win on Saturday would give the Warriors needed momentum going into the tournament, not to mention feel-good vibes in the four days between the Fullerton game and the start of the tournament.

Sophomore wing Aaron Valdes continues to lead the Warriors in both scoring (13.7) and rebounding (5.2). Sophomore forward Stefan Jankovic has emerged as a consistent scorer, and is second on the team in both scoring (11.3) and rebounding (5.1). He averaged 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in the last four games.

The Warriors have been relying on a balanced attack all season, and the 20-point win over Fullerton last month was a good example.

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In the 20-point win over Fullerton last month, sophomore forward Negus Webster-Chan scored 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting from 3-point range. Junior point guard Roderick Bobbitt added 17 points, four assists and three steals, and junior guard Quincy Smith had his best game of the season with 13 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

The Titans, however, were not at full strength when they were in Honolulu. Leading scorer Alex Harris sat out with an injury, but is now back in the starting lineup. He leads Fullerton in scoring (15.8) and assists (3.4).

Junior guard Lanerryl Johnson scored 23 points in the loss at Hawai’i, and is averaging 12.4 points per game. Steve McClellan, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound forward, is averaging 6.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

The Titans are on an eight-game losing streak, but if they do have something to play for, it is their seniors. Five of them will be honored before the game, including starters Harris, McClellan, Moses Morgan and Josh Gentry.

Because Fullerton has not qualified for the Big West Tournament, Saturday’s game will be its season finale.

Saturday’s game will not be televised, but will be broadcast on the internet at www.espn3.com.

(WarriorInsider.com file photos courtesy Matt Osumi)

Saturday’s Big West Games
Cal Poly at UC Santa Barbara
Long Beach State at UC Riverside
UC Irvine at UC Davis
Hawai’i at Cal State Fullerton, 3 p.m. (Hawai’i time)

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4 Comments

  1. Go Bows… going to be a tough game.. however.. just find a way to win, get ready for BWC tournament.. the 20th win.. that is a milestone.. remarkable.. fight and finish strong.
    Win As A Team!

    Go Warriors !!

  2. GO ‘BOWS!

    GET The Fullerton-Anaheim “Home Vibe”
    GOTTA WIN ONE!
    No One Wants to Tie Second Best (Last Ten Years)

    Back-to-Back 20+Wins
    ONLY Accomplished By Fab Five
    (There’s The “EASY” Schedule for The Boo-Birds)
    And AC-Led Teams

    WANNA WIN Four?
    SPIN It Up TODAY…
    Would Be Really Hard
    To NOT Be Able To Beat The BWC ‘Weakest’ Team
    Then Expect to Beat ‘All theTop Teams

    Really Need Two or More
    IF Team Wants Benjy Coaching Next Season
    Then Posting The 10-Year Best Record of 21-Plus Wins
    In Your ‘First Try’
    Especially or Even IF ‘with someone else’s players’
    Would be Outstanding for The Resume’
    And Better for The Returning Players

    Winning Three Would Mean they made the BWC Championsip Game
    And Win or Lose, Facing Off for BWC Supremacy Puts the Conference “On-Alert”
    With Theoretically Everyone Coming Back
    BUT the G-Man (Versus Recruiting–Team “Should” Be Better)

    It Could Be Like ONE WEEK To Earn A Job (Benjy’s Said he wants)
    Apparently UH Admin “Lives and Thinks (Maybe NOT) In Their Own World” — TRULY “Bubble-Creatures”
    [Evidence: WHAT Possible Good Logic Would Derive from Waiting to the Last Week to DECIDE Whether To Self-Ban Post-Season, OR PUNISH “Greater Than” Boeheim And Dean Smith MEGA-Violators Weeks Before the Season? Or To Think That an AD Has ANY Significance In Actually Making a Better “Choice” of Basketball Coach, What With ALL the Exerted Influence Already Displayed, New-AD likely will ONLY Have a Choice between Two (maybe three?) “Finalists” with Priorities / “Ranking Factors” All Too Loud & Clear – CAN YOU POSSIBLY IMAGINE THESE GUYS Actually Giving Ben Jay OR His Successor Freedom And Autonomy — AS IF ANY Boss Has Immediate Greater Trust in a New Hire? (For High Influence High-Visibility Environments, Second-Guessing and “Checking-With-Me-And-MY-Boss-Next-Level-Up” would be The Norm (NOT Trying to Invoke Any Losing-Karma) …IF The WINNING Mattered to The Bubblers
    “Buying” One More Season Provides the Opportunity to “Clean Up” The Deficiencies — Better Grades and Attendance, Tougher Standards of Discipline? Better Hotel Manners…(At Least “Looking” Like It); Better Half-Court and Late-Game Choices …Could All Start THIS WEEK…

    Bottom Line
    Play Hard and Smart ‘Bows!
    Play 50 and Finish STRONG
    WIN! Win, Win Win

  3. eagle: UH with Benjy at the Helm… If All team healthy, and Janks/ NCW firing great on Offense from beginning of season, no question, MBB team would have been at 11-4 or 10-5 at the least going into final BWC regular season game.. Those injuries, and ailments, just really werid.. untimely, another HUGE factor, when Power That Be, makes decision to hire or not Benjy.
    you are right, though.. UH gets the Fullerton win, not going to be easy…Need their best BB ever this season to get W.. momentum going into first round hopefully 4 vs 5 seed game.. Then for UH to win that first game, of BWC tourney, historic… first win opening game in years.. so that would put UH MBB with Benjy as interim coach at 21 wins overall, and into the semis..that would carry great weight.. Agree with you and Dave R. the overall running of program, the Academics, the making sure young men are doing well on the road, or away from the court.. Benjy has assistants checking on that, however, Benjy has to make sure that Assistants are doing their, jobs.. and if they are, UH MBB has that 2.7 or better GPA and 2 guys graduating, and have at least 21 wins for final season record.. or better yet made the NCAA tournament and won opening round game.. HUGE RESUME..
    I hope he gets the job.. Benjy Taylor.. can unify team, and those families that he calls every single week, they will have peace of mind !!
    Go Benjy and The Bows.. Important to get huge win against Fullerton, who will come out hot.. UH stop the 3 ball shooters.. instead of All the time gamble for steals.. get on the shooters. stick like glue however DO NOT FOUL 3 point shooters.. just do not let them get shots off..

  4. UH 39-31 Half-Time

    FINAL UH 91 – CSUF 70

    Back-to-Back 90+ Point Games
    Back-to-Back 20-WIN Seasons!

    Way to Go, ‘Bows!

    GO GET THREE MORE!

    FINISH STRONG!

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