Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors look to maintain momentum against CSUN on Saturday

Chinese New Year will be celebrated at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday night, so it might be fitting to expect basketball fireworks in the form of points when the University of Hawai’i hosts CSUN.

In what could be an entertaining, high-scoring game, the Rainbow Warriors will host the Matadors in a crucial matchup of Big West Conference contenders. The game is scheduled to start around 8:00 p.m., as part of a UH basketball doubleheader at the Stan Sheriff Center. The UH women’s team will host Long Beach State at 5:30 p.m. Fans with tickets to the UH men’s game can use those same tickets to attend both games.

Hawai’i is 13-6 overall and 4-1 in the Big West. CSUN is 9-14 and 4-3.

Two current trends are in play that favor the Warriors. For one, Hawai’i is 3-0 in the Sheriff Center against Big West opponents so far this year. Second, CSUN has alternated wins and losses in seven consecutive conference games this year. Win, lose, win, lose, etc. … and the Matadors are coming off a 79-67 home win over UC Santa Barbara on Thursday.

In any case, CSUN is the top-scoring team in the Big West, averaging 75.0 points per game. They also have the top two individual offensive players in the conference in Lamine Diane and Terrell Gomez.

Diane, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward, is averaging 27.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game. He was last season’s Big West Player of the Year, but missed the first 13 games of this season due to eligibility issues. In two games against Hawai’i last season as a freshman, Diane averaged 26.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.

Gomez, a 5-8 junior guard, has emerged as one of the best shooters in the nation. He is averaging 20.7 points per game and currently ranks second in NCAA Division I with 83 3-pointers.  He also ranks second in NCAA-I for free throw percentage at .940. In two games against Hawai’i last season, he averaged 28.5 points per game and made 12 3-pointers.

Diane and Gomez account for 64 percent of the team’s points and 60 percent of the field goal attempts. However, there are several other capable scorers on the supporting cast.

Darius Brown II, a 6-1 sophomore, is averaging 9.8 points and 4.4 assists per game. Elijah Harkless, a 6-4 sophomore, is contributing 9.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Lance Coleman II, a 6-6 junior, is averaging 7.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

As good as the Matadors are on offense, they also live up to their nickname on defense. CSUN ranks last in the Big West for points allowed (78.7), opponent field goal percentage (.461), opponent 3-pointers (9.5 per game) and opponent 3-point percentage (.376).

That could bode well for a Hawai’i team that averages xx points and xx 3-pointers per game. The Warriors are also riding the momentum of their three-game winning streak, including last Saturday’s thrilling 76-75 win over UC Davis.

Eddie Stansberry hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining  to cap the Warriors’ rally from nine points down with four minutes remaining.

Stansberry leads the Warriors in scoring at 16.7 points per game, and ranks third in the Big West with 57 3-pointers.

Hawai’i won its last game without injured starters Samuta Avea and Bernardo da Silva. Avea could return this Saturday, although his role remains to be determined. The 6-6 junior forward is averaging 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game and ranks second on the team with 32 3-pointers.

While Avea was out, sophomore Justin Hemsley filled in with 14 points and seven rebounds in the win over UC Davis.

The Warriors also have the Big West individual leaders in assists (Drew Buggs) and rebounds (Zigmars Raimo). Buggs, a 6-3 junior point guard, is averaging 9.6 points, 6.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Raimo, a 6-9 senior forward, is averaging 9.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

Seven-foot sophomore Dawson Carper is averaging 5.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game and has a .600 field goal percentage. Justin Webster, a 6-3 freshman, is averaging 7.7 points per game and has seen increased minutes in recent games.

HAWAI’I (13-6, 4-1 Big West) vs. CSUN (9-14, 4-3 Big West)
 Saturday, Feb. 1, 8:00 p.m.  HT
Where: 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 or $15 for adults, $18 or $13 for senior citizens, $8 or $5 for students. UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking is $7.
Doubleheader: The UH women’s team will host Long Beach State at 5:30 p.m. Fans with tickets to the men’s game can use those tickets to attend both games.
PromotionsCalifornia Hotel & Casino is the sponsor on Saturday and will award a Vacations Hawaii trip for two to the newly renovated California Hotel & Casino to the winner of the “Shaka Nene” contest at intermission. Fans can register to participate at the sports marketing table located at Gate A.  The Majestic Culture and the Arts Association invite fans for picture taking with the Lion Dance group to celebrate Chinese New Year from 4:30p.m. located on the concourse level (Ewa Side) of the Stan Sheriff Center and they will perform a traditional Lion Dance at halftime. Also on Saturday, a special Chinese New Year’s themed food menu will be featured by Sodexo.

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