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Warriors aim for road win at Cal Poly

The University of Hawai’i basketball team will try to regain late-season momentum on Saturday, when it plays a Big West Conference road game at Cal Poly.

The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. at the Mott Athletics Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. It will not be televised, but video livestream will be available at bigwest.tv.

The Rainbow Warriors are 16-10 overall and tied for third place in the conference at 7-5 following a 79-61 loss at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday. The Mustangs are 5-19 and 1-10.

Hawai’i fell behind early and never fully recovered in the loss at UCSB. If there is a team to get better against, it is the Mustangs.

Cal Poly’s 10 conference losses have been by an average of 14.9 points per game, including a 75-54 loss at Hawai’i on Feb. 14. The Mustangs have lost five in a row, including a 74-47 loss at UC Irvine on Thursday.

With four regular-season games remaining, the Warriors can still finish as high as the No. 2 seed for the Big West Conference Tournament in March. A win for the Warriors on Saturday is especially crucial because second-place Cal State Fullerton is playing at third-place UC Santa Barbara. 

Despite Thursday’s setback, the Warriors remain the Big West’s best deep-shooting team. Hawai’i leads the conference in 3-pointers made per game (8.8) and 3-pointers attempted per game (24.3). They are doing it with a team approach, as evidenced by a Big West leading 15.6 assists per game.

Senior forward Jack Purchase leads the Warriors in scoring at 11.7 points per game, and is also grabbing 6.0 rebounds per game. He ranks fourth in the Big West with 64 3-pointers. Junior guard Eddie Stansberry is averaging 11.3 points per game and ranks third in the Big West with 69 3-pointers.

Junior forward Zigmars Raimo is averaging 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and is shooting 54.9 percent from the field. Senior guard Brocke Stepteau is averaging 9.7 points and 3.1 assists per game, and ranks third in the Big West for free-throw shooting at 86.7 percent.

Sophomore point guard Drew Buggs leads the Big West in assists at 5.7 per game, and is also contributing 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 17 points in the win over Cal Poly in Honolulu.

Freshman reserve center Dawson Carper had the best game of his young career in the first meeting with Cal Poly, finishing with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

The Mustangs have struggled all season, and they rank last in the conference in scoring (63.7 per game), field goal percentage (.404), free throw percentage (.629) and assists (10.8 per game).

Donovan Fields, a 5-10 senior guard, has been a bright spot for Cal Poly. He is averaging 15.6 points and 4.2 assists per game.

Other players of note for the Mustangs include 6-4 senior guard Marcellus Garrick (9.8 points per game, 45 3-pointers), 6-5 sophomore forward Mark Crowe (9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds per game, 49 3-pointers), 6-7 senior forward Kuba Niziol (6.8 points, 3.7 rebounds per game) and 6-10 junior center Hank Hollingsworth (5.3 points, 5.0 rebounds per game).

Since joining the Big West Conference in the 2012-13 season, Hawai’i has an 8-5 record against Cal Poly, including 3-3 in games played in San Luis Obispo.

HAWAI’I (16-10, 7-5 Big West) at CAL POLY (5-18, 1-10 Big West)
When: Saturday, Feb. 23, 7:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. HT
Where: Mott Gym (3,032) – San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Television: None
Streaming Video:BigWest.tv
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:GoPoly.com

Saturday’s Games
Long Beach State at UC Riverside
Cal State Fullerton at UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis at CSUN
Hawai’i at Cal Poly

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