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Warriors look to finish pre-conference strong against Delaware State

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Before the University of Hawai’i basketball team can begin a new year of Big West Conference play on the road next week, it has one more housekeeping chore to take care of in 2016.

The Warriors will host Delaware State in the final pre-conference game of this season, Thursday, December 29, at the Stan Sheriff Center. The game is scheduled to start around 8:00 p.m., following a game between the UH women’s team and Grand Canyon that will start at 5:30 p.m.

The game is a “Whiteout,” and fans are encouraged to wear white shirts.

Hawai’i is 5-7 after salvaging a seventh-place finish in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The Warriors went 1-2 in the holiday tournament, beating Southern Miss, 60-46, in the seventh-place game.

Delaware State, which competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, is 3-11.

The Warriors are a team still searching for consistency, as evidenced by changes in the starting lineup in six of the past seven games. However, it has been a combination of the same six players as “starters” – Sheriff Drammeh, Leland Green and Brocke Stepteau at guards, Noah Allen and Jack Purchase at forwards, and Gibson Johnson at center.

Allen, the lone senior on the active roster, continues to lead the team in scoring (12.5 per game), rebounding (5.9) and total steals (14). He is also third on the team in assists (2.2 per game) and 3-pointers made (17). However, he struggled in the Diamond Head Classic, posting a total of 17 points and rebounds while shooting 26.9 percent from the field.

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Johnson is second on the team for both scoring (11.1) and rebounding (4.7); Purchase is averaging 9.8 points per game and leads the team with 26 3-pointers.

In the victory over Southern Miss, head coach Eran Ganot went with a three-guard starting lineup with Drammeh, Green and Stepteau together in the backcourt. Drammeh is averaging 9.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game; Stepteau is contributing 7.2 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game; Green is averaging 3.0 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win over Southern Miss.

The Warriors have lost four of their last five games, but their struggles pale in comparison to a Delaware State team that has 10 losses by double-digits, including six losses by 20 or more points. The Hornets arrived in Honolulu off road blowout losses at Indiana (103-56) and at Iowa (89-57).

The Hornets own only one victory over a NCAA Division I team, but it serves as a sign of their potential – a 79-72 upset win at St. John’s on November 29.

Delaware State head coach Keith Walker (33-60 in his fourth season at the school) has stayed with the same starting lineup all season: 5-foot-10 Devin Morgan and 6-2 DeAndre Haywood at guards, 6-5 Kavon Walker and 6-7 DeVaughn Mallory at forwards, and 6-9 Demola Onifade at center.

Morgan leads the Hornets in scoring (13.7) and assists (3.3), and is tied for the team lead with 36 3-pointers. Waller is averaging 10.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, and also has 36 3-pointers with an impressive .537 percentage from 3-point range. Haywood is averaging 10.1 points and 2.1 assists per game; Mallory is contributing 9.8 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game.

The Hornets have already played 11 road games this season.

HAWAI’I (5-7, 0-0 Big West) vs. DELAWARE STATE (3-11, 0-0 MEAC)
When: Thursday, December 29, 8:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: OCSports (Oceanic channels 16 and 1016)
Streaming Video: www.BigWest.tv
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM.
Audio Webcast: www.espn1420am.com
Live Stats: www.Statbroadcast.com
Ticket Information: $30 (lower); $18-$20 (upper-adult); $16-$18 (upper-sr. citizen); $5-$7 (upper-youth, ages 4-HS); UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking $6. Ticket good for both the men’s and women’s games.
Whiteout: All fans are encouraged to wear white shirts
Promotions: Bud Light is the game sponsor and will award fantastic prizes throughout the game. Sign up at the sports marketing table near Gate A for your chance to win a Bud Light Prize Pack (filled with various Bud Light items) during the Bud Light “Basketball Musical Chairs” contest at halftime. Also, sign up for your chance to win round trip interisland tickets for one during the Bud Light “Shooters Challenge” in the second half. Must be 21 years of age to participate.

Some highlights from earlier Delaware State games this season (red jerseys in both videos) …

2 Comments

  1. Just to be honest, no game is a easy game for this UH team but this one should be a W. Looks like this Delaware State is a team that gives up easy when they get down. Key for UH is to get ahead early and keep it going. Easier said than done but Lets Go Bows!

  2. Bows are No. 1 in the Big West for scoring defense and 45th in the nation.

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