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Warriors look to keep moving up against Cal Poly on Thursday

A successful road trip last week propelled the University of Hawai’i basketball team closer to the top of the Big West Conference standings. If the Warriors want to prove their worth as a contender, two games at home this week will provide the test.

First up for the Warriors this week is an unpredictable Cal Poly team on Thursday.

Hawai’i, which is on a three-game winning streak, is 11-11 overall and tied for fourth place in the Big West at 5-4. The Mustangs are 7-16 and 2-7, but their two conference wins came against teams that were in first place at the time (UC Irvine on Jan. 26, and UC Davis on Feb. 2).

The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center. It will be televised in Hawai’i on OCSports (Oceanic channels 16 and 1016).

The Warriors are returning from a road trip that resulted in a 72-63 win at UC Riverside and a 76-72 win at CSUN.

Senior forward Noah Allen was named the Big West Player of the Week after tallying 41 points and nine rebounds in the two road wins. Over his last seven games, Allen is averaging 23.4 points per game and shooting 60 percent from the field.

Allen leads the Warriors in both scoring (14.5) and rebounding (5.6). In conference games only, he leads the Big West with 18.4 points per game.

Junior forward Gibson Johnson is second on the team in both scoring (10.3) and rebounding (4.5). Sophomore forward Jack Purchase is averaging 10.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, and leads the team with 53 3-pointers.

Sophomore guard Sheriff Drammeh is contributing 9.3 points and 2.4 assists per game; sophomore point guard Brocke Stepteau is averaging 7.5 points and 3.2 assists per game; freshman guard Leland Green sat out the last game at CSUN due to an illness, and is averaging 6.7 points and 3.3 assists per game.

While Hawai’i has already completed home/away games with both UC Riverside and CSUN, this will be the first meeting with Cal Poly this season.

The proof of Cal Poly’s inconsistencies can be summed up in three games: the Mustangs are the only Big West team to beat both first-place UC Davis and second-place UC Irvine this season; however, the Mustangs are also the only Big West team with a loss to lowly UC Santa Barbara this season.

Although the Mustangs have lost more games than they have won in the last five years, they have emerged as the best NCAA Division I team in the category fewest turnovers per game during that five-year span. This season, they are averaging just 10.2 turnovers per game, which is best in the Big West and sixth in NCAA-I.

They also lead the Big West in 3-pointers made (8.3 per game) and 3-pointers attempted (24.5 per game). Almost 42 percent of Cal Poly’s shot attempts come from beyond 3-point range.

Cal Poly also traditionally relies on a group effort, and this year is no exception. Victor Joseph, a 6-foot junior guard, is usually the team’s first guard off the bench, and he leads the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game. Donovan Fields, a 5-10 sophomore who also usually plays a reserve role, is averaging 10.2 points per game.

Kyle Toth, a 6-2 senior, is averaging 10.3 points per game and leads the team with 52 3-pointers and a .413 percentage from 3-point range. Ridge Shipley, a 6-foot senior guard, is contributing 9.7 points and 3.3 assists per game.

Luke Meikle, a 6-9 junior, is the team’s top post player with averages of 8.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. The Mustangs are statistically the worst rebounding team in the Big West with an average of 31.3 boards per game and a minus-5.5 margin.

HAWAI’I (11-11, 5-4) VS. CAL POLY (7-16, 2-7)
When:
Thursday, February 8, 7:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center – Honolulu, HI
Tickets: Lower level – $30 for all seats; Upper level – $18-$20 for adults; $16 to $18 for senior citizens; $5-$7 for students (ages 4-high school). UH-Manoa students free with valid ID. Parking is $6.
TV: OCSports (Oceanic channels 16 and 1016 in Hawai’i)
Streaming video: www.bigwest.tv
Radio: ESPN1420 AM
Streaming audio: www.espn1420am.com
Live statistics: www.statbroadcast.com
Theme: “Star Wars Night” – fans are encouraged to wear Star Wars related apparel.

Wednesday’s Results
at UC Davis 74, Cal State Fullerton 65
at UC Irvine 64, UC Santa Barbara 47

Thursday’s Games
Long Beach State at UC Riverside
Cal Poly at Hawai’i, 7:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)

Saturday’s Games
UC Riverside at UC Davis
Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton
UC Santa Barbara at CSUN
UC Irvine at Hawai’i, 7:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time)

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