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Warriors take on Portland in season opener

Now it counts. After numerous “preview” showings, the University of Hawai’i basketball team will officially open its 2018-19 season on Friday, when the Rainbow Warriors host Portland on the opening night of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic.

Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. in the Stan Sheriff Center, following an earlier Rainbow Classic game between North Texas and Humboldt State (scheduled to start 4:30 p.m.). The three-day tournament will continue with games on Saturday and Sunday. Hawai’i is scheduled to play at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. All Hawai’i games will be televised on Spectrum Sports (channel 12).

“It’s a great opportunity for us on our home court, defend home court,” senior guard Brocke Stepteau said. “Try to win our tournament, the Rainbow. We’re excited to play our first game against Portland.”

The Warriors have had more time than usual to prepare for this season, thanks to a “Down Under Tour” to Australia in August. That trip included four exhibition games, and the Warriors also scored an impressive 81-45 exhibition win over NCAA Division II neighbor Hawai’i Pacific last week.

“We feel pretty comfortable, and I think we had a good showing for our first exhibition game,” Stepteau said. “We move the ball, we share the ball a lot; unselfish guys. We’re just looking to get the open shot, it doesn’t matter who scores, we just work for a good shot. Defensively, we’re going have each others’ backs, fly around the court and try to bring intensity.”

Stepteau is one of several key returnees from last season’s 17-13 team. Nine players started at least one game last season, and seven of them are back this season — guards Stepteau, Drew Buggs, Sheriff Drammeh and Leland Green, and forwards Jack Purchase, Zigmars Raimo and Samuta Avea.

The top two post players from last season – Mike Thomas and Gibson Johnson – graduated. However, three 7-foot freshmen have been brought in to fill the void. Mate Colina and Owen Hulland were recruited out of Australia, and Dawson Carper is from Colorado.

“From the first day we’ve been here until now, you can definitely see the progression,” Colina said. “With Owen and Dawson, we keep pushing each other in training and keep getting each other better. It’s definitely going to help all three of us get to compete for a spot.”

Eddie Stansberry, a 6-2 junior guard, transferred from San Francisco City College and is expected to add instant shooting to the mix.

Friday’s opening opponent, Portland, appears to be an offensive-minded team. The Pilots scored a 111-103 victory Multnomah (Ore.) this week. Although Multnomah is a NAIA program, the game counted as an official win for Portland.

In previous weeks, Portland won two exhibition games, and scored 94 points in each win.

Josh McSwiggan, a 6-foot-7 junior forward from England, tallied 37 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Multnomah. He shot 17 for 25 from the field.

Marcus Shaver Jr., a 6-2 sophomore guard and former Hawai’i resident, added 23 points, nine assists and six rebounds for Portland. He led the team in scoring last season with 12.3 per game.

Franklin Porter, a 6-4 junior guard, had 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the win. He is the son of head coach Terry Porter, who is a former NBA point guard.

The Pilots finished 10-22 last season, including 4-14 in the West Coast Conference. Despite returning several key players from last season, the Pilots are picked to finish 10th (last) in the WCC Preseason Poll.

‘Iolani School graduate Hugh Hogland, a 6-10 redshirt freshman, is expected to play a reserve role for the Pilots this season.

OUTRIGGER RESORTS RAINBOW CLASSIC
When:
November 9, 10 and 11 (see schedule below)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: All Hawai’i games will be live on Spectrum Sports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: All Hawai’i games on BigWest.TV (Must be a Spectrum cable subscriber to stream in Hawai’i).
Radio: All Hawai’i games 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: Upper Level – $30 all seats; Lower Level – $18 or $20 for adults, $16 or $18 for senior citizens (ages 65 and older), $5 or $7 for students (ages 4 through high school). Upper level prices vary by section. UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking is $6.

Daily Schedule
Friday, November 9

4:30 p.m. – Humboldt State vs. North Texas
7:00 p.m. – Hawai’i vs. Portland

Saturday, November 10
4:30 p.m. – North Texas vs. Portland
7:00 p.m. – Hawai’i vs. Humboldt State

Sunday, November 11
6:00 p.m. – Hawai’i vs. North Texas

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for all you do Dayton. Unfortunately the game is on Spectrum channel 12 not channel16. i have been watching wahine volleyball on channel 16 but I can not get channel 16. Spectrum tells me I have to upgrade my service from 80 something dollars to 140 something dollars:(

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