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Warriors searching for shooting touch against Prairie View A&M

After hitting a cold shooting spell in Utah last weekend, the University of Hawai’i basketball team will look to warm up again at home this week.

The Rainbow Warriors will host Prairie View A&M on Wednesday in a game that may not be as easy as it sounds. The non-conference game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center, and it will be televised live in Hawai’i on Spectrum Sports (channels 16/1016). The Warriors, who lost at Utah, 80-60, on Saturday, are 4-2 overall.

The Panthers, who are in the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC), are 2-5, but have shown signs of improvement over the past two weeks. In particular, they beat Eastern Kentucky (80-70) and Georgia State (71-56) to win the Middleweight Bracket of the MGM Events Tournament at Las Vegas during Thanksgiving week.

After that, Prairie View lost by just three points at UC Santa Barbara (69-66). UCSB has emerged as one of the top teams in the Big West Conference so far this season at 7-2.

On November 10, Prairie View A&M lost by 21 points at Utah, 83-62; Hawai’i lost by 20 to that same Utah team. Like most SWAC teams, the Panthers play almost all of their non-conference games on the road. This season, the team from Prairie View, Texas, has already played seven away games in five different states (Utah, Oregon, Nevada, California and New Mexico). Their first home game of this season is scheduled for December 29.

The Panthers have a pair of dynamic scorers in Zachary Hamilton and Gary Blackston. Hamilton, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, is averaging 17.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last season. He also led the team in scoring last season at 15.1 points per game. He has scored in double-figures in 14 straight games, dating to last season.

Blackston, a 6-2 junior guard, is averaging 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He had 21 points and nine rebounds in the loss at UCSB.

Other key players include 6-1 junior guard Dennis Jones (11.7 points per game) and 6-9 senior forward J.D. Wallace (5.3 points, 7.6 rebounds per game).

Hawai’i has struggled to shoot consistently so far this season, but the Panthers have had similar struggles. The Warriors are shooting 43.9 percent from the field overall, 25.0 percent from 3-point range, and 63.9 percent on free throws; the Panthers are shooting 38.6 percent from the field overall, 32.9 percent from 3-point range, and 69.7 percent on free throws.

The Warriors are led by senior forward Mike Thomas, who is averaging 13.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Fellow senior forward Gibson Johnson is averaging 11.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Sophomore guard Leland Green is contributing 9.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, and leads the team with seven 3-pointers. Thomas, Johnson and Green have started every game this season.

Others in the main rotation include junior guard Brocke Stepteau (8.3 points per game, .654 field goal percentage), junior guard Sheriff Drammeh (8.0 points, 2.2 rebounds per game), junior forward Jack Purchase (6.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 rebounds per game), freshman forward Samuta Avea (6.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game), freshman guard Drew Buggs (5.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game), and sophomore guard Brandon Thomas (4.5 points per game).

The last meeting between these teams was on December 30, 2014, when the Warriors prevailed, 76-68. Mike Thomas was a sophomore on that Hawai’i squad, and finished with 14 points and four rebounds in that win.

Hawai’i has an all-time record of 20-0 against teams from the SWAC, including an 82-70 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on November 10.

It is the first of two games this week for the Warriors, who will host NCAA Division II Hawai’i-Hilo on Saturday.

HAWAI’I (4-2, 0-0 Big West) vs. PRAIRIE VIEW A&M (2-5, 0-0 SWAC)
When:
Wednesday, Dec. 6, 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.

2 Comments

  1. Let’s Go Bows!

  2. WARRIOR TIME BABY! Purchase to have a breakout night ! Come on!

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