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Warriors host Cal Poly in Big West home opener

If there is a word to describe the University of Hawai’i basketball team’s upcoming opponent, it could be dangerous.

The Rainbow Warriors will host Cal Poly in a Big West Conference game on Wednesday at the Stan Sheriff Center. It is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m., and will be televised in Hawai’i on Spectrum Sports (channels 16/1016).

Hawai’i is 10-5 overall and 1-1 in the Big West, following a split on the road in Southern California last week. The Mustangs are 6-10 and 1-1, following a split at home in San Luis Obispo, Calif., last week.

Cal Poly happened to be involved in the two most exciting games of the first week of Big West play last week. On January 4, Luke Meikle drained three free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining to give the Mustangs a somewhat-controversial 80-79 win over UC Santa Barbara (a foul was called on Meikle’s desperation shot from half-court).

Then on January 6, Cal Poly erased a 12-point deficit in the final five minutes of regulation, but eventually lost in overtime to Cal State Fullerton, 101-97. The Mustangs hit 19 3-pointers in the loss, including seven by senior guard Victor Joseph, who finished with 33 points.

Cal Poly leads Big West teams in 3-pointers made per game (9.3) and 3-pointers attempted per game (25.0). By comparison, Hawai’i averages 6.4 3-pointers made per game on 20.4 attempts.

In addition to the last game with 19 3-pointers, Cal Poly made 16 3s in a loss at Stanford and 14 3s in a win against College of Charleston earlier in the season. For what it’s worth, the Hawai’i all-time record for 3-pointers in one game is 14.

The Mustangs also lead the Big West in free throw percentage (.745) and fewest turnovers per game (11.3).

Their key players are the starting backcourt duo. Joseph, a 6-foot shooting guard, is averaging 14.9 points per game, and ranks third in the Big West with 39 3-pointers. Donovan Fields, a 5-10 junior point guard, is averaging 14.3 points and 4.7 assists per game, and leads the Big West in free throw percentage at .921.

The Mustangs also have some size inside, with 6-9 senior Luke Meikle averaging 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, 6-7 junior Jakub Niziol averaging 7.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, 6-7 junior Josh Martin at 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and 6-10 sophomore Hank Hollingsworth contributing 4.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

The Warriors have a balanced attack, led by 6-7 senior forward Mike Thomas (12.2 points, 6.1 rebounds per game). In the two Big West games last week, Thomas shot 14 for 16 from the field, and his overall field goal percentage is now at .583 for the season.

Junior guard Sheriff Drammeh is averaging 11.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game; senior forward Gibson Johnson is contributing 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

The Warriors have been utilizing two point guards in the recent starting lineup. Junior Brocke Stepteau is averaging 9.9 points and 2.3 assists per game, and freshman Drew Buggs is at 7.3 points and 3.8 assists per game.

Junior forward Jack Purchase is averaging 7.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, and leads the team 22 3-pointers.

The Warriors have won the last five meetings with the Mustangs, including a home-and-away sweep in both 2016 and 2017.

Cal Poly’s Joe Callero is in his 10th season as head coach of the Mustangs, while Eran Ganot is in his third season at Hawai’i.

HAWAI’I (10-5, 1-1 Big West) vs. CAL POLY (6-10, 1-1 Big West)
When:
Wednesday, Jan. 10, 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: 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. Let’s Go Bows!

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