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Warriors host UH-Hilo on Saturday

Before the University of Hawai’i basketball team can begin focusing on next week’s final examinations for Fall Semester classes, the Rainbow Warriors will need to pass one more quiz on the basketball court.

Hawai’i will host fellow UH System school Hawai’i-Hilo on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. in the Stan Sheriff Center. The final result and statistics will count for the NCAA Division I Warriors, but will serve as a non-counting exhibition contest for the NCAA-II Vulcans.

Hawai’i is 5-2 following a tougher-than-expected 72-60 win over Prairie View A&M on Wednesday. UH-Hilo is 3-4 following a 90-84 upset of Concordia (Calif.), which is considered one of the top teams in the West Region of NCAA-II.

Hawai’i is undefeated in nine previous meetings against the Vulcans, with an average margin of victory of 26.0 points per game. Last season, the Warriors beat the Vulcans, 86-55.

Sheriff Drammeh (16 points, 4 assists), Gibson Johnson (14 points, 8 rebounds) and Brocke Stepteau (11 points, 7 assists) played key roles for the Warriors in last year’s win over the Vulcans.

Senior forward Mike Thomas leads the current UH team in both scoring (13.1) and rebounding (6.9). Fellow senior forward Johnson is contributing 11.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Junior point guard Brocke Stepteau is averaging 9.4 points per game, and leads the team with a .645 field goal percentage, including .500 from 3-point range. Freshman point guard Drew Buggs scored a season-high 17 points in the win over Prairie View, and is now averaging 6.9 points and 2.0 assists per game.

Others in the main rotation for the Warriors include sophomore guard Leland Green (9.0 points, 2.4 rebounds per game), junior guard Drammeh (7.3 points, 2.5 rebounds per game), sophomore forward Jack Purchase (6.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists per game), freshman forward Samuta Avea (6.0 points, 2.8 rebounds per game), and sophomore guard Brandon Thomas (3.9 points per game).

A point of concern so far this season for the Warriors has been outside shooting. Hawai’i ranks near the bottom of NCAA Division I for total 3-pointers made (35) and 3-point percentage (.257).

For the sake of comparison, UH-Hilo has made 64 3-pointers in seven games this season, at a percentage of .356 (though all against NCAA-II competition). What’s more, UH-Hilo’s top two shooters – Ryley Callaghan and Trey Ingram – are a combined 40 for 92 (.435) from 3-point rane.

It is also interesting to note that Hawai’i registered a zero in the steals column in the win over Prairie View on Wednesday. It snapped a streak of 822 consecutive games with at least one steal. That streak started in 1990.

As mentioned above, the Vulcans are led by the backcourt duo of Callaghan and Ingram. Callaghan, a 6-1 senior guard, is averaging 17.4 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game. Ingram, also a 6-1 senior guard, is averaging 16.1 points, 3.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Denhym Brooke, a 6-8 junior, is the Vulcans’ tallest player and is averaging 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, and leads the team with a .676 field goal percentage. He is a former teammate of Avea at Kahuku High School.

Devin Johnson, a 6-7 junior forward, is contributing 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Randan Berinobis is a 6-3 senior guard/forward who leads the Vulcans in rebounding at 6.4 per game, and also scores 7.1 points per game.

The Vulcans are led by GE Coleman, who is in his fifth season as head coach at UH-Hilo. They finished 10-16 last season, and were picked to finish 10th (out of 14 teams) in the Pacific West Conference Preseason Poll for this year.

HAWAI’I (5-2, 0-0 Big West) vs. UH-HILO (3-4, 2-0 PacWest)
When:
Saturday, Dec. 9, 7:00 p.m. (Hawai’i Time)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: Live on Spectrum Sports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV (Must be a Spectrum cable subscriber to stream in Hawai’i).
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KPUA on the Big Island, KTOH on Kaua’i, and KNWJ in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Audio Webcast: ESPN1420am.com/Sideline Hawai’i App.
Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: Lower Level – $30 for all seats; Upper Level (prices vary by section) – $18 or $20 for adults, $16 or $18 for senior citizens (65-older), $5 or $7 for students (ages 4 to high school). UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking is $6.

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