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Warriors need a win against UC Riverside on Wednesday

Like it or not, the pressure is on the University of Hawai’i basketball team when it hosts UC Riverside on Wednesday.

For starters, the Rainbow Warriors need to end a three-game losing streak if they want to remain in contention for the regular-season championship of the Big West Conference. Second, UC Riverside is winless in the conference so far this season, and Hawai’i can ill afford to be “that” team that allows the Highlanders to break through.

Hawai’i is 13-8 overall and 4-4 in the conference after a disappointing 0-2 road trip last week. UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara are the current co-leaders at 7-2, but they play each other on Thursday.

UCR is 5-17 and 0-8. Every other team in the Big West has at least two conference wins

Wednesday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center, and it will be televised in Hawai’i on Spectrum Sports (channels 16/1016).

The Warriors have already played two Big West teams (UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly) twice this season, but this will be the first meeting with UCR this season (a rematch will take place next week at Riverside, Calif.).

The Highlanders created their own turmoil before the Big West season even started, when then-head coach Dennis Cutts was fired on New Year’s Day. Justin Bell was named interim coach, and the wins have been elusive since.

Then there’s this: Dikymbe Martin, a 6-1 sophomore guard and the team’s best player, has missed the last five games due to an indefinite suspension for violating team rules. There has been no official announcement of his return.

Martin is averaging 13.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, and leads the Highlanders with 21 3-pointers and a .457 percentage from 3-point range. As a freshman last season, he averaged 19.0 points per game in two games against Hawai’i.

And for some bonus bad news, the Highlanders have also played the last two games without starting center Alex Larsson, who is recovering from an ankle injury. The 6-10 senior is averaging 10.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, and has a .541 field goal percentage. His status for Wednesday’s game is also uncertain.

The only player who has started every game for UCR is Chance Murray, a 6-3 senior guard who is averaging 10.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. He is second in the Big West in steals with 35.

Twelve different players have started games this season for UCR. By comparison, Hawai’i has used seven different starters.

Senior forward Mike Thomas leads the Warriors in scoring (13.4) and rebounding (6.3), and leads the Big West with a .605 field goal percentage.

Junior guard Sheriff Drammeh is averaging 11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Senior forward Gibson Johnson is contributing 10.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, and has a .538 field goal percentage.

Other key contributors include junior guard Brocke Stepteau (9.8 points, 2.7 assists, .482 3-point percentage), junior forward Jack Purchase (7.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 38 3-pointers), freshman guard Drew Buggs (7.4 points, 4.0 assists, 3.4 rebounds) and sophomore guard Leland Green (6.1 points, 2.0 rebounds).

Some noteworthy team statistics: Hawai’i is averaging 71.1 points per game and shooting 45.9 percent from the fiel dagainst Big West competition, while UCR is averaging 61.1 points per game and shooting 37.2 percent. Defensively, Hawai’i is allowing 69.9 points per and opponents are shooting 46.0 percent; UCR is allowing 71.9 points per game and opponents are shooting 44.2 percent.

Hawai’i (13-8, 4-4 Big West) vs. UC Riverside (5-17, 0-8 Big West)
When:
Wednesday, Feb. 7, 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: 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.

Wednesday’s Games, Feb. 7
CSUN at UC Irvine
UC Riverside at Hawai’i, 7:00 p.m.

Thursday’s Games, Feb. 8
UC Santa Barbara at UC Davis
Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton

Saturday’s Games, Feb. 10
Cal State Fullerton at UC Davis
UC Irvine at UC Riverside
Cal Poly at Long Beach State
CSUN at Hawai’i, 7:00 p.m.

3 Comments

  1. Losing this game would probably be the loss of the century, however I don’t see that being even remotely possible. UCR has not won since their head coach was fired, their star player is suspended, their second best player is injured, they only have one clear-cut starter. Yes, we’re on a losing skid but all 3 games were against some of the conferences top teams and were all very winnable. Cal poly probably played their best second-half of the year against us and it proved too much to overcome, especially with the one sided reffing (18 to 8 free throw disparity).

    I’m going to enjoy watching UH get back on their feet and crush UCR by 30. Sorry, not sorry! Let’s GO BOWS!!

  2. Knowing UH luck, all those Riverside guys will play tomorrow!

    I still agree with LetsGoBows that there is no way UH should lose to Riverside even if they get all the starters back. Of course I thought that about the Cal Poly game and then I couldn’t believe how Cal Poly kept making shots out of their butts. But I think Riverside is way worse than Poly.

  3. 2000 fans max

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