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Up next: Warriors look to rebound against Maine

After a disappointing Christmas game, the University of Hawai’i basketball team can still finish the year on a positive note when it hosts Maine on Sunday.

The Rainbow Warriors are 8-5 following a fourth-place finish at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. They ended the three-day tournament with a 70-53 loss to Georgia Tech on Christmas Day. Prior to that, No. 21 Washington beat Hawai’i, 72-61.

The Warriors were particularly dismal shooting the ball in those two losses, connecting on just 31.4 percent of their field goal attempts. More telling they went 10 for 54 (18.5 percent) from 3-point range.

“We’re trying to figure out a way to manufacture some points when our perimeter guys aren’t scoring the ball,” UH acting head coach Chris Gerlufsen said after the loss to Georgia Tech.

Maine could be the remedy the Warriors need right now. The Black Bears, who are in the America East Conference, are 3-9 this season, with only one of their victories coming against NCAA Divisio n I competition (a 66-64 win over winless Central Connecticut).

However, Maine has played a tough schedule that included road losses at Washington (72-53), Virginia (46-26 – yes, that score is correct), Connecticut (60-40) and UMass (74-53).

Maine also ranks among the bottom teams in NCAA Division I for scoring (57.1 points per game) and 3-point percentage (.287). By comparison, Hawai’i is averaging 69.9 points per game and has a .339 percentage from 3-point range, despite its recent slump.

If the Warriors are to get back to winning form, much will rely on their starting backcourt. Senior guard Eddie Stansberry leads the team in scoring at 16.5 points per game  and ranks 15th in NCAA-I with 40 3-pointers. However, he averaged just 6.0 points per game and shot 2 for 28 from 3-point range in the three games of the Diamond Head Classic.

“Eddie’s too good of a player; Eddie’s had stretches like this before and he’ll bounce back,” Gerlufsen said. “He puts more work in than anyone else on the team. He’ll respond and get better. He’s just going through a bad stretch right now.”

Junior point guard Drew Buggs also had a subpar Diamond Head tournament, but is still averaging 10.2 points and 5.6 assists per game.

Maine also struggled last season (5-27 record), but has numerous interesting storylines. Among them:

● Maine is the easternmost school in NCAA Division I; Hawai’i is the westernmost school in NCAA Division I. The schools are separated by more than 5,100 miles, and this is the first meeting between the programs.

● The Black Bears’ roster features 15 players from 10 different nations – Canada, Denmark, England, Latvia, Lebanon, Serbia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, and United States. Of the three American players, two are from the home state of Maine, and the other is from nearby Massachusetts.

● The top player is Andrew Fleming, a 6-foot-7 senior forward who is from the home state of Maine. He is averaging 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Earlier this season, he surpassed 1,000 points for his career.

● Head coach Richard Barron is in his s econd season as head coach of the Black Bears. From 1996-2017, he was a head coach for three different women’s basketball programs, including the Maine women’s team from 2011-17.

● Assistant coach Edniesha Curry is the only female serving as a full-time assistant coach for a NCAA Division I men’s program.

HAWAI’I (8-5, 0-0 Big West) vs. MAINE (3-9, 0-0 America East)
When: Sunday, Dec. 29, 5:00 p.m. HT
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: 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 Honolulu (1420 AM/92.7 FM), KRKH (Maui), KPUA (Hawai’i Island), and KTOH (Kaua’i).
Audio Webcast:ESPNHonolulu.com/Sideline Hawai’i App.
Live Stats:HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: Lower level – $32; Upper level (prices vary by section) – $22, $18 or $5 for adults, $18, $15 or $5 for senior citizens, $8 or $5 for students. Free for UH Manoa students with ID. UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking is $7.
Promotions: Jack in the Box is the sponsor of Sunday’s contest and will distribute Free Taco Certificates to the first 5,000 fans at Gate A and award Free Jack in the Box for a Year during the promotional contest at halftime.   

1 Comment

  1. Welcome Back, Coach Ganot !

    Nice Team you got Growin’…
    Now Go Win One !
    Then the Whole Big West !

    Great to have You back !

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