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Warriors look to rebound at home against Samford on Sunday afternoon

Before the University of Hawai’i basketball team can begin final examinations on Monday, it will test its resolve against Samford on Sunday.

The Rainbow Warriors will host the Bulldogs in a Sunday afternoon game at the Stan Sheriff Center. It is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. as part of a basketball doubleheader with the UH women’s team. The Rainbow Wahine are scheduled to host Hope International at 1:00 p.m., and fans with tickets to the men’s game can arrive early to watch the women’s game.

Hawai’i is 6-3 following an 89-64 road loss at then-No. 13 Oregon on December 7. Samford, which is located in Alabama and is a member of the Southern Conference, is 6-5 and coming off a 113-90 road win at Houston Baptist on December 7.

“Obviously we learned a lot from watching the Oregon film once we got back,” UH senior guard Eddie Stansberry said. “Just build off of that, come into these practices and change the bad habits that we made in those games.”

In particular, the Warriors need to work on their defense and rebounding. Oregon shot 62.7 percent from the field and out-rebounded Hawai’i 31-19.

“When we have weeks like this, we treat it like gold,” junior forward Samuta Avea said. “We don’t get practices like this very often, so whenever we have this good amount of time to sharpen the iron with each other, it’s a good time that we have to take advantage of.”

The Warriors’ offense is led by Stansberry, who is averaging 19.3 points per game and has made 33 3-pointers in nine games so far this season. He is shooting 45.2 percent from 3-point range and 88.6 percent on free throws. He has scored at least 20 points in six games this season, and made seven 3-pointers while scoring 24 points in the loss at Oregon.

“It’s definitely a good feeling, but I’d rather see the W at the end of the day,” Stansberry said.

Avea is averaging 11.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Junior point guard Drew Buggs is averaging 10.9 points, 5.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. Senior forward Zigmars Raimo is contributing 9.6 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore center Dawson Carper is scoring 6.7 points per game and is shooting 69.2 percent from the field.

Samford will bring a dynamic point guard and a solid starting unit. Josh Sharkey, a 5-10 senior, is averaging 16.3 points, 9.6 assists and 3.9 steals per game. He would lead the nation in assists and steals, but does not have enough games to qualify for the official stats (he missed three games due to injury earlier this season).

Robert Allen, a 6-8 sophomore forward, is averaging 14.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Brandon Austin, a 6-5 senior guard, is averaging 13.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, and leads the team with 29 3-pointers. Jalen Dupree, a 6-8 senior forward, is contributing 12.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and is shooting 60.9 percent from the field. DeAndre Thomas, a 6-4 sophomore guard, is at 7.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

Scott Padgett, a former NBA player and collegiate standout at Kentucky, is in his sixth season as head coach at Samford.

Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot remains on an undisclosed and indefinite medical leave of absence, although he has been able to meet with the team this week. Chris Gerlufsen will remain acting head coach in Ganot’s absence.

HAWAI’I (6-3, 0-0 Big West) vs. SAMFORD (6-5, 0-0 Southern)
When: Sunday, Dec. 15, 3:30 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. Men’s ticket also good for the UH women’s game beginning at 1:00. Parking is $7.
Autograph session: The Rainbow Warrior basketball team will be signing autographs following the game at Gate B.   

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