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Warriors looking for a heroic effort against UC Davis

It was only a year ago that UC Davis was considered the “hot” team of the Big West Conference, only to be cooled off by a rebuilt Hawai’i team.

Now it is the Warriors who are the hot team of the Big West, and the rebuilding Aggies will be looking for revenge from last year.

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Hawai’i will host UC Davis at the Stan Sheriff Center in a meaningful Big West game on Saturday night (7:00 p.m. start). The Warriors, who are on a seven-game winning streak, are 15-2 overall and 4-0 in the conference. Another win would keep the Warriors atop the conference, and draw comparisons to the legendary “Fabulous Five” teams of 1970-71 and 1971-72, as those were the last UH teams to start seasons 16-2.

The Aggies, who won the Big West regular season championship last year, are 7-10 overall and 2-2 in conference. UC Davis lost just two conference regular-season games all of last season, and one came at Hawai’i. A second loss came later in the year when the Warriors upset the top-seeded Aggies in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Tournament.

UC Davis finished 25-7 last season, and Hawai’i was the only team to beat the Aggies twice. The Aggies lost several key players from last season, including guard Corey Hawkins, the Big West Player of the Year.

The Aggies were one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the country last season, but are playing with a more deliberate and balanced attack this season.

Six-foot-6 forward Josh Fox, the only senior on the roster, is averaging 13.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and is shooting 54.4 percent from the field.

Siler Schneider, a 6-3 freshman guard, is averaging 10.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Four other players are averaging close to nine points per game: 6-4 junior guard Brynton Lamar (9.4), 6-10 sophomore forward Nolan Berry (9.2), 5-10 junior guard Darius Graham (9.2) and 6-10 junior center Neal Monson (8.9). Monson also leads the Big West in rebounding at 8.9 per game.

The game could come down to a contrast in styles, as the Aggies rank last in the Big West in scoring at 65.5 points per game, while Hawai’i is first at 80.6. The Aggies are also last in the conference in free throw percentage (.616), and are committing the most turnovers per game (15.0).

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Hawai’i leads the Big West in numerous other categories, including rebounding (38.2 per game), assists (16.4) and steals (8.3).

Junior forward/center Stefan Jankovic leads the Warriors in scoring (15.2), rebounding (6.4), overall field goal percentage (.566) and 3-point percentage (.438).

Sophomore guard Isaac Fleming has provided needed spark of late, and was rewarded with the Big West Conference Player of the Week Award for last week. Through four conference games, he is averaging 18.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Senior point guard Roderick Bobbitt is averaging 13.4 points per game, leads the team with 26 3-pointers, ranks second in the Big West in assists at 5.3 per game, and leads the conference with 2.2 steals per game.

Other key contributors include junior forward Mike Thomas (7.4 points, 5.1 rebounds per game), senior guard Quincy Smith (6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists per game), senior forward Sai Tummala (6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds per game) and junior center Stefan Jovanovic (5.5 points, 4.2 rebounds per game).

Junior forward Aaron Valdes, who is second on the team in both scoring (14.8) and rebounding (5.3), remains questionable due to a turf toe injury. He was not in uniform for the past two games due to the injury.

If there is a pre-game advantage, it could come in the form of rested legs. Hawai’i’s last game was an 86-79 overtime road victory at Cal State Fullerton on January 16. UC Davis beat UC Riverside, 58-55, in Davis, Calif., on Thursday, and arrived in Honolulu on Friday afternoon.

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As noted in the video above, Saturday is “Superhero Night” and all fans are encouraged to wear costumes. The UH student with the best superhero costume will win a hoverboard.

The UH basketball team will wear Batman shirts during warm-ups, and UC Davis has agreed to wear Superman shirts during warm-ups.

Both teams will line up on the court before the game with those shirts on during a moment of silence for T.J. Fernandez. He is a former Pearl City High School student who passed away last week.

The Warriors met Fernandez last season during a community service project and dedicated the season to him. In addition to being a fan of the UH basketball team, Fernandez also was a fan of comic book superheroes.

(KHON2 News video of Fernandez is below)

HAWAI’I VS. UC DAVIS
When:
Saturday, January 23, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Tickets: Lower Level – $26 all available seats; Upper Level – $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens (ages 65-older), $5 for students (ages 4-18). Military members are eligible for 50 percent discount on adult tickets. Parking is $6.
TV: Live on OCSports (channels 16 and 1016)
Internet video: Live streaming on bigwest.tv
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Internet audio: Live on espn1420am.com
Live stats: hawaiiathletics.com
Promotions: Free autograph session with the UH team, approximately 15 minutes after the game ends. Hawaiian Airlines will distribute 200 foam shaka hands, and award 30,000 HawaiianMiles during a halftime promotion.
Theme night: “Superhero Night” – all fans can wear superhero costumes; the UH student with the best costume will win a hoverboard.

Screen shot 2016-01-21 at 10.46.40 PM

Saturday’s Big West Games
Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton
CSUN at UC Santa Barbara
Long Beach State at UC Riverside
UC Davis at Hawai’i, 7:00 p.m.

8 Comments

  1. Trap game?
    If davis zone defend more assists to turnovers outshoot warriors from FT line to 3 line..
    Davis has good coach jim les..
    If they handle uh guard defensive pressure and josh fox and 2nd leading rebounding team
    Stay even on the boards..would be upset of season..
    Fans who can go
    If 10450 SRO crowd not at game, all last six home games
    Very disappointing
    Tv and cost, plus million people in honolulu, majority don’t follow UH MBB.
    Team just play better..verge of fab five staure?

  2. The Stan will fill up when the big goose (Irvine) is in town. They have become our rivalry and everyone knows that this is the team that’s standing in the way of our Dance appearance. But tomorrow’s game should be no slouch too—maybe 8,000? Interest is growing and that’s a plus. But don’t arrive exactly when the game starts because you will be met with a long line trying to buy tickets and getting into the arena.

  3. People need to have confidence in our team. Believe in Coach Ganot, his staff, and the players. The end result will take care of itself. A win. The team wins because it is prepared to do the job. Legs are fresh.

  4. Take care of business as usual – be efficient in offense, rebounding and defense.

    As pretty as Hawaii 5-0!

  5. Some guy last home game on post game show complained about not enough turnstiles being open. He arrived 10 minutes before game time and had to wait in line. I was born and raised in Hawaii, but sometimes people from Hawaii make me shake my head and roll my eyes and say things I won’t repeat here.

    I’ll be there and in my seat by 6:45 to honor TJ with the team. Can’t wait. Go Bows!

  6. Uhfanzonly1, I mean, CP3ball, could you at least try to type coherently?

    Servante, I dunno, is Irvine really a rivalry if we rarely win? I mean, we’ve won once in the past 2-3 years.

  7. Have to have either Bobbitt or Fleming playing well.. with team playing well with them.. Janks the X factor.. he is playing with so much confidence , showing WHY he was near 3 plus star get out of Virginia Prep Academy, along with NWC.. and other NBA, or NBDL league types out of Cananda.

    very impressed with Janks.. hey. depend on what goes down.. NCAA or bust. .and whatever happens with deal with NCAA. wish Janks and Valdes the best.

    For me, UH alumnus? That Janks, Rod hopefully I don’t know. Quincy definite, good student.. , Sai grad student.., and Aaron Valdes. this May 2016.. walking that line.. grad ceremonies. and getting that VERY expensive degree. more important then winning the NCAA tournament.. they could win it.. get rings.. etc. accolades. however. not every one plays for 13 years in NBA like AC Carter did.

    Mahalo Janks for staying with UH for past 2 1/ 2 years.. great guy !

  8. Really admire Charlie Wade and Men VB team. And his program, scramble to split a few scholarships.. Young team, however some great freshmen !
    They adjust, and are winning. Great coaching, by , IMO.. the Second best coach at UH besides Shoji.
    The WVB and MVB team, probably insulated.. just doing their thing with good student athletes.. and they are fun to watch.. AND win, compete for National Titles.. way to go Dave, maybe last year.

    … and ONE of these years.. maybe this? Wade will get National title and Banner where it should be, hanging in the SSC rafter,.. along with , the One in our minds from 2002 , with Costas T. led team. vacated..
    Now Ganot has to go Shoji, JJ, Wags, and Wade .. Murakami, even Trap, when he had those 10 consecutive winning seasons, and National Men Baseball Collegiate Coach of the Year Award. !

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