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Warriors look to bounce back against Howard

After Princeton rained a second-half shower of points on the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team Christmas Day, Mother Nature poured on the Warriors Tuesday.

“The whole week (prior), I had planned to go to the beach, I was looking forward to it,” said junior forward Jack Purchase. “And then when I woke up (Tuesday), it was storming outside. So what I did was I went to Subway once, and that was it. I couldn’t leave the house, because I have a moped. So I was just (at home), chillin.’ ”

With so much downtime, Purchase did say he spent a few moments reflecting on UH’s 77-63 loss to Princeton, which dropped the Warriors to 8-4 and a sixth-place finish in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

“I’ll be honest, it’s always on my mind, how I play and if we win or not,” said Purchase, who was held scoreless after only three field goal attempts. “But sometimes you gotta move past it, get on to the next one. We’re just looking forward to this Howard game, and hopefully I can put on a better performance.”

Hawai’i plays host to Howard (3-12) at 7 p.m. Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center. The game will be televised live statewide on Spectrum Channels 16 and 1016 (HD), and broadcast via radio on ESPN 1420 AM.

It will be the Warriors’ final non-conference game before their Big West Conference opener at Long Beach State on Jan. 4.

“I feel like this is a big time for us, where we can make strides and a big improvement on the things we need to work on,” said sophomore guard Leland Green. “Also, we don’t have any school, so we can put all our focus into basketball right now. I think that will help us out a lot going into conference.”

Green also went scoreless against Princeton, going 0 for 6 from the field.

“Monday was definitely one of those days when nothing was falling,” said Green, a starting shooting guard who had scored at least two points in each of the previous 11 games. “I tried to help the team by doing something else, like rebound (and) defend, but it wasn’t enough to lift up the team and win the game, so that’s just something me and the team will have to go back and look at.”

Purchase, who had broken out of a previous shooting slump by hitting 12 of his previous 28 attempts (42.9 percent) from beyond the arc, said it was particularly frustrating because victory seemed more than possible after the first half finished tied at 31-31.

“Yeah it was (frustrating), because they beat us last year and we were looking forward to getting one back on ’em,” Purchase said. “We had a good first half, I thought we played well. But we haven’t been great in the second half all year, and so it’s something that let us down again on Monday.”

Like Purchase, Green said he spent some time Tuesday reflecting on some “woulda-coulda-shouldas.”

“I definitely thought about what I could do to help the team win,” Green said, “and also improve my individual game, too.”

The Warriors regrouped Wednesday afternoon for a weight-training session, two hour-plus practice at the SSC followed by film study.

“It was definitely good to get back on the court, get back in the gym and work on the things we needed to work on — sharpen up on a couple of things to get ready for the game on Friday, ” Green said.

Toward the end of Wednesday’s practice, assistant coach Marlon Stewart warned the Warriors that they were still showing signs of sluggishness that plagued them in Monday’s second half. Later, head coach Eran Ganot also pointed out that some practice performances were less than satisfactory.

Howard is coming off an 80-75 victory over North Carolina-Wilmington, and the Bison also came within 10 points in losses at George Washington (84-75) and Indiana (86-77).

“We always have to step it up a notch in practice,” Purchase said. “You normally play well if you practice well, so that’s what we need to focus on. We need to have good practices, we need to string them together, and hopefully it’ll lead into the game.”

HAWAI’I (8-4, 0-0 Big West) vs. HOWARD (3-12, 0-0 MEAC)
When:
Friday, Dec. 29, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. HT
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.

1 Comment

  1. Howard is US News National Universities rank #110, UH is #159.

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