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Warriors need to focus on HPU before looking ahead

Before final exams and the big test that is the Diamond Head Classic, the University of Hawai’i basketball team first must complete another task.

The Warriors will host NCAA Division II neighbor Hawai’i Pacific on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. After this game, the Warriors will have a 10-day stretch to complete final examinations for the semester, and prepare for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic during Christmas week.

Smith2_UAPB

“It’s definitely big,” senior guard Quincy Smith said. “We’ll be (7-1) if we win this next game, then we get to take care of all our school work and we get a couple days off to let our bodies rest. Then we play Northern Iowa, which is a really good team.”

The final result and statistics will count for Hawai’i, but it is an exhibition game for HPU. The Warriors are 6-1, with all six victories in the Sheriff Center; the Sharks are 4-3, with all seven games against NCAA-II competition.

The teams met in an exhibition game last season, with Hawai’i prevailing, 62-55. Mike Thomas scored 15 points, and Aaron Valdes had 13 points and 10 rebounds in that game.

“Obviously, we can’t overlook HPU,” junior forward/center Stefan Jankovic said. “That’s a game this Saturday that we have to win, we have to dominate, we have to show we’re a better team.”

Jankovic did not play in last year’s exhibition against HPU, and he sat out a game against Hawai’i-Hilo earlier this week with a back injury. He is expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday.

Unlike the young and small Hilo team that Hawai’i beat earlier in the week, the Sharks are a bit bigger and more experienced. In particular, NCAA-I transfers Chauncey Orr and Joel Feigler have emerged as the top players in their first season at HPU.

Orr, a 6-foot-4 guard who played at Bowling Green last season, is averaging 15.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, and leads the team with 15 3-pointers. Feigler, a 6-10 forward who played at Central Arkansas last season, is contributing 13.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Among HPU’s key returnees from last season are 6-2 junior guard Connor Looney (12.1 points, 3.1 rebounds per game) and 6-8 senior forward Luke Hager (9.0 points, 8.0 rebounds per game).

The Sharks also have previous experience against NCAA-I competition. They opened this season with exhibition game road losses at nationally-ranked Wichita State (91-57) and Missouri-Kansas City (72-61).

For UH, Valdes is coming off a 33-point game against Hilo, and continues to lead the Warriors in scoring at 19.0 points per game. Jankovic is next with 13.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, and sophomore guard Isaac Fleming is averaging 11.4 points per game.

In addition to the victory over Hilo, the Warriors beat Chaminade in an exhibition game last month, and also played BYU-Hawai’i in a private scrimmage during the preseason.

“We have to respect the teams on the island,” Jankovic said. “There’s some bragging rights, too. We’re the only D-1 here, but we have to maintain that we’re the best team here.”

HAWAI’I VS. HAWAI’I PACIFIC
When:
Saturday, December 12, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Tickets: Lower Level – $26; Upper Level – $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens (65 and older), $5 for students (ages 4-18)
TV: OCSports (channels 16 and 1016)
Streaming video: www.bigwest.tv
Radio: ESPN1420 AM
Audio webcast: www.espn1420am.com
Live stats: www.hawaiiathletics.com

13 Comments

  1. Orr must be legit. He comes from good genes. His dad (and coach at Bowling Green) is Louie Orr, a former Syracuse star and NBA player.

  2. 1 Joel Feigler Sr. Forward 6-10 200 Las Vegas / Durango Central Arkansas
    Darnell Bettis 2 Darnell Bettis R-Fr. Guard 6-1 170 Los Angeles / University
    Chauncey Orr 3 Chauncey Orr R-Sr. Guard/Forward 6-4 207 Bowling Green, Ohio / Bowling Green Bowling Green State
    Connor Looney 4 Connor Looney Jr. Guard 6-2 182 Palmer, Alaska / Palmer
    Rema Lascelles 5 Rema Lascelles R-Jr. Forward 6-6 180 Derby, England
    Colfax Nordquist 10 Colfax Nordquist Jr. Forward 6-3 185 Elk Grove, Calif. / Pleasant Grove
    Jordan Martin 12 Jordan Martin Jr. Guard 5-11 160 Goodyear, Ariz. / Millennium Cochise
    Luke Hager 15 Luke Hager Sr. Forward 6-8 215 Chicago / Whitney Young UNC Wilmington
    Elliott DeFreitas 20 Elliott DeFreitas Jr. Forward 6-10 220 Essex, England / County Upper Des Moines Area
    Tyba Murphy 23 Tyba Murphy Fr. Guard 6-3 175 Melbourne, VIC, Australia
    Trevor Baker 30 Trevor Baker Fr. Guard 6-2 170 Phoenix / Pinnacle
    Ethan Eads 32 Ethan Eads R-Fr. Forward 6-8 215 Modesto, Calif. / Central Catholic
    Clayton Guy 33 Clayton Guy Jr. Forward 6-6 220 Kansas City, Mo. / Rockhurst Penn Valley
    Jesse DeVries 40 Jesse DeVries Fr. Forward 6-6 205 Fort Worth, Texas / Northwest
    Nikola Urli 50 Nikola Urli R-Fr. Forward 6-7 230 Zagreb, Croatia

  3. Above HPU roster…hope good game with UH..

  4. Q got some bulging muscles.
    Jank is fair…

    All-together now:
    * Keep your head straight,
    * Look at the basket.
    * Perform your fake(s).
    * Find that opening.
    * Bend your knees slightly.
    * Feel for your center of gravity with your toes.
    * Aim with your hands above your head.
    * Finishing with control (don’t score ahead of the shot)!

    Earned your “bragging rights”.

  5. Dayton & Co., can you verify the game will be televised on OC Sports at 7? According to my DVR, it’s going to be women’s basketball from 7 to 9, but I have Hawaiian Telecom so idk if that changes anything…

  6. Rod did not practice with 1st team Thursday and Friday, per SA article today. Isaac was with the first team on Friday.

    HPU is much bigger (taller) than UH- Hilo. They also have 4 players shooting at least 40 % on three’s and one at 36 %.

  7. Hmmmm … McInnis reporting that Bobbitt did not practice with the first team the past two days, with Fleming inserted into the first five. I’m surprised, and yet I’m not. Hopefully, this is a learning/teaching moment.

  8. Newspaper says OC Sports will have the game at 7 pm today.

  9. Reading comprehension, folks. McInnis said that Bobbitt was a “spectator” at practice, meaning he didn’t practice at all. Not that he lost his spot in the 1st team.

  10. I stand corrected. Today’s article proves me wrong. McInnis’ tweet was different.

  11. Coach’s decision, Roderick not available for tonight’s game. He is at the game though.

  12. Team teaching moment not sure these exist lots of talk about this and the importance of team but what happens at games is very different march will be tough especially given coach only has 7-8 players max

  13. do we have an offence as we are being outplayed by a team who take that extra pass our depth was questioned tonight we need to go deeper than 7 not a great turnout either but still good atmosphere

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