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Warriors look to avenge road loss at UC Riverside

Thursday’s Valentines Night victory was all about hugs and feel-good moments for the University of Hawai’i basketball team. Now it’s time for revenge.

The Rainbow Warriors  will host UC Riverside in a Big West Conference game on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. The game is scheduled to start around 8:00 p.m., following a UH women’s basketball game against Long Beach State that is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.

Fans with tickets to the men’s game can arrive early to watch the women’s game. Fans are also encouraged to wear black shirts for the basketball doubleheader.

It will be a chance for the Warriors to avenge a 75-71 upset loss at UC Riverside on January 19, and maintain a spot in the top three of the Big West standings.

Hawai’i is 15-9 overall and tied for third in the conference at 6-4. The Highlanders are 9-17 overall and tied for seventh place at 3-7. 

The Warriors are coming off a 75-54 home win over Cal Poly on Thursday. Sophomore point guard Drew Buggs scored a career-high 17 points and passed for eight assists to lead Hawai’i’s balanced attack.

Freshman reserve center Dawson Carper also had the best game of his young career, finishing with 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting.

Junior forward Zigmars Raimo scored 10 points, and now leads the team in overall scoring at 11.4 points per game. He also leads the Warriors in rebounding (6.4) and steals (34), and has a .550 field goal percentage.

Senior forward Jack Purchase is averaging 11.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He ranks second on the team with 58 3-pointers, and his 3-pointer in the second half of the win over Cal Poly on Thursday tied the UH record for career 3-pointers made at 180. His next 3-pointer will put him alone at the top.

Junior guard Eddie Stansberry has slumped in recent games, but is still averaging 11.3 points per game and leads the team with 63 3-pointers.

Senior guard Brocke Stepteau is averaging 9.4 points per game, and Buggs is contributing 9.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and a Big West leading 5.7 assists per game.

If there is a lower-rated opponent for the Warriors to be concerned about, it is UC Riverside. Hawai’i had its worst defensive performance of the season in the loss at Riverside. The Highlanders shot 53.7 percent from the field, including 52 percent (13 for 25) from 3-point range.

Dragan Elkaz, a 6-foot-5 freshman from Australia, had his best game of the season in the first game against Hawai’i. He scored 25 points and shot 7 for 10 from 3-point range. For the season, he is averaging 7.8 points per game and is tied for the team lead with 54 3-pointers.

UCR’s top player is Dikymbe Martin, a 6-1 junior guard. He is averaging 15.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 rebounds per game, and is tied for the team lead with 54 3-pointers. He had 19 points and five assists in the win over Hawai’i last month.

Martin also scored 18 in UCR’s 71-57 upset of UC Santa Barbara on Thursday.

Martin and Elkaz are the primary shooting threats, but the Highlanders also have an inside game, led by 7-foot senior Menno Dijkstra (6.8 points, 3.8 rebounds) and 7-1 freshman Callum McRae (6.2 points, 3.9 rebounds).

It is worth noting that the Highlanders are 1-11 in road games this season, with their only road win coming at last-place Cal Poly last month. However, UCR has also defeated Hawai’i in the Sheriff Center in each of the last three seasons.

HAWAI’I (15-9, 6-4 Big West) vs. UC RIVERSIDE (9-17 , 3-7 Big West)
When:
Saturday, February 16, 8:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
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:  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.

Promotions
Hawaiian Airlines
 is the sponsor of Saturday’s “Military Night” game.

  • Active, DOD civilians, reservists, and retired members of the military will receive 50% off regularly priced tickets in select areas by logging in or signing in to govx.com.
  • Register for the Hawaiian Airlines “Military Obstacle Course” halftime contest at Gate A for the chance to win 40,000 Hawaiian Miles
  • Fans are encouraged to wear black for Military Night.
  • It’s also “Youth Night.” Purchase one adult priced ticket and receive up to four (4) complimentary youth tickets.  Purchase only at SSC ticket office on day of event (while supplies last).

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

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