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Warriors look to continue winning streak against Alabama A&M this Saturday

Let’s face it, there are a lot of leftovers and clean-up duties to take care of at this time of the year.

For the University of Hawai’i basketball team, that comes in the form of one more non-conference tune-up game against a low-rated Alabama A&M on Saturday.

The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Rainbow Warriors are 8-5, coming off consecutive feel-good wins over Colorado and Rhode Island in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

In what has become the norm for this team, three different players led the Warriors in scoring in the three games of the Diamond Head Classic (Drew Buggs 16 vs. UNLV; Eddie Stansberry 18 vs. Colorado; Zigmars Raimo 19 vs. Rhode Island).

Raimo, a 6-7 junior forward, was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 13.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. In the 10-year history of the Diamond Head Classic, only six UH players have been selected to the All-Tournament Team: Dwain Williams (2009), Zane Johnson (2011), Brandon Spearman (2012), Isaac Fleming (2014), Roderick Bobbitt (2015) and Raimo.

Four players are now averaging double-figure points this season for the Warriors: Stansberry at 12.3, Jack Purchase at 10.9, Raimo at 10.8 and Brocke Stepteau at 10.5. Buggs is not far behind, averaging 9.3 points, along with 5.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Raimo is also averaging a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game, and is shooting 57.8 percent from the field. Stansberry leads the team with 37 3-pointers, while Purchase is second on the team in rebounding (6.2 per game) and 3-pointers (32).

Previous Hawai’i teams went 8-1 in the game that immediately followed the Diamond Head Classic finale on Christmas Day. The only loss came in 2010, when Hawai’i had to travel for a conference game at Utah State just four days after the Diamond Head Classic.

Even more noteworthy, Alabama A&M is from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and the Hawai’i basketball program is 22-0 over the years against teams from the SWAC, including a 76-51 win over Mississippi Valley State on December 16.

Here are some quick facts about the Bulldogs:

> Current record is 1-11

> NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rating: 341 (out of 353 NCAA Division I teams); Hawai’I is 141

> Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Alabama A&M has a record of 6-66

> The Alabama A&M campus is located in Huntsville, Alabama

> The Bulldogs were a NCAA Division II power before becoming a NCAA Division I program in 1998

> Dylan Howard is in his first season as interim head coach

> The Bulldogs rank near the bottom of the NCAA statistics in several offensive categories, including scoring (59.7; UH is at 71.7), field goal percentage (.383; UH is at .442), 3-point percentage (.295; UH is at .329) and free throw percentage (.595; UH is at .684)

> Top players are Jalen Reeder (6-5, Sr., G) 11.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg; Arthur Johnson (6-2, Sr., G) 10.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg; Andre Kennedy (6-7, Sr., F) 9.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg; Brandon Miller (6-0, So., G) 6.2 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.1 apg,

> The Bulldogs come to Hawai’i on a season-best one-game winning streak; they defeated Tulane, 67-59, at the Boardwalk Battle in Atlantic City, N.J., on December 22.

> For what it’s worth, Alabama A&M is ineligible for the 2019 postseason due to violations dealing with academics.

HAWAI’I (8-5) vs. ALABAMA A&M (1-11)
When:
Saturday, December 29, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu
TV: Live on Spectrum Sports (channels 12 / 1012)
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 – $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.

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