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Warriors look to revive defense on Senior Night Saturday

Before the University of Hawai’i basketball team can say goodbye to its seniors on Saturday night, the Rainbow Warriors would like to welcome back their defensive principles.

Hawai’i will host CSUN in the regular-season home finale on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. The game is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m., and fans are encouraged to wear white shirts for the “White Out.”

Hawai’i is 16-11 overall and in fourth place in the Big West Conference at 7-6. The Matadors are 12-17 overall and in sixth place at 6-7.

Seniors Sheriff Drammeh, Jack Purchase and Brocke Stepteau will be recognized during a post-game celebration.

A victory over the Matadors would make it especially joyous, but the Warriors  will need to resurrect a defense that went missing during an 0-2 road trip last week. Hawai’i surrendered 79 points at UC Santa Barbara, and then a season-high 88 at Cal Poly. The Gauchos shot 50 percent from the field, and the Mustangs shot 53.3 percent.

With no weekday game this week, the Warriors have a full week to repair their defense and prepare for CSUN. Appropriately – or maybe inappropriately – enough for the Warriors, CSUN is the Big West’s best offensive team.

The Matadors rank first in the Big West in scoring (76.4) and field goal percentage (.464). They also have the top two individual scorers in the conference. Freshman forward Lamine Diane leads the Big West in both scoring (24.2) and rebounding (10.9), and is in consideration for conference Player of the Year honors. Sophomore guard Terrell Gomez ranks second in scoring (19.3) and is first in 3-pointers made (101).

Gomez scored 30 and shot 7 for 12 from 3-point range in an 84-79 loss to Hawai’i on January 17 in Northridge, Calif. Diane added 28 points and 16 rebounds in that game.

The other key contributors for CSUN are 6-5 junior guard Rodney Henderson Jr. (11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds per game) and 6-1 freshman guard Darius Brown II (8.3 points, 5.5 assists per game).

CSUN’s weaknesses have come on defense. The Matadors rank last in the Big West in points allowed (79.4), and 3-pointers allowed (8.6 per game) and opponent 3-point percentage (.386).

Those numbers could work in Hawai’i’s favor. The Warriors rank first in the Big West for 3-pointers made (8.7) and third in 3-point percentage (.360).

In the win at CSUN in January, junior guard Eddie Stansberry hit four 3-pointers and scored 25 points. Junior forward Zigmars Raimo added 21 points and 11 rebounds in that win.

Senior forward Purchase is averaging 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, and ranks fourth in the Big West with 66 3-pointers. Stansberry is averaging 11.3 points per game and ranks second in the Big West (behind CSUN’s Gomez) with 71 3-pointers.

The question mark for Hawai’i is sophomore point guard Drew Buggs. He suffered an ankle injury in UH’s 88-80 loss at Cal Poly last Thursday, and his status will likely be a game-time decision. He is averaging 8.7 points per game and leads the conference in assists at 5.6 per game.

If Buggs is unavailable, the senior guard duo of Stepteau and Drammeh will have to play a larger role. Stepteau is averaging 9.7 points and 3.4 assists per game; Drammeh is averaging 7.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

Since joining the Big West Conference in the 2012-13 season, Hawai’i has a 10-4 record against CSUN, including 5-1 in games played in the Sheriff Center.

HAWAI’I (16-11, 7-6 Big West) vs. CSUN (12-17, 6-7)
When: Saturday, March 2, 8:00 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: 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.

Wednesday’s Result
at CSUN 70, UC Riverside 68

Thursday’s Games
Long Beach State at UC Santa Barbara
Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton
UC Irvine at UC Davis

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

1 Comment

  1. Let do this Bows! Gotta finish strong. I still think UH is capable of winning the championship if they shoot lights out and catch some breaks … like somebody else knocking UCSB out so we don’t have to play them!

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