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Warriors look to stay atop Big West against UC Davis

The University of Hawai’i basketball team will be celebrating its past while attempting to create more memorable moments for the future when it hosts UC Davis on Saturday.

The Big West Conference game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Rainbow Warriors are 12-6 overall and tied for first place in the conference at 3-1. The Aggies are 8-12 overall and in fifth place at 2-2.

This is the 100th season of UH basketball, and it will be celebrated on Saturday. Past coaches and players will be recognized at halftime, and a video featuring memorable moments from UH basketball history will be displayed. All fans who attend will receive a commemorative ticket in recognition of the 100seasons.

Of utmost importance to the current Warriors, however, is the game itself. Hawai’i is in the middle of a three-week homestand that already produced two victories last week.

Following a 70-63 win over UC Santa Barbara last Saturday, the Warriors have had a full week to prepare for this game. Meanwhile, UC Davis lost a home game to Cal State Fullerton, 78-74, on Wednesday.

Interestingly enough, UCD is 2-0 on the road and 0-2 at home in Big West games. However, Hawai’i is 2-0 at home in Big West play, and 11-3 overall in the Sheriff Center this season.

The game will feature a matchup of dynamic backcourts. Hawai’i has 6-3 junior Drew Buggs and 6-3 senior Eddie Stansberry; UCD has 5-11 freshman Ezra Manjon and 6-3 senior Joe Mooney.

Buggs leads the Big West in assists at 5.8 per game, and is also contributing 9.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Stansberry ranks second in the Big West for scoring (16.4 points per game) and 3-pointers made (52).

Manjon is averaging 12.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, and was named the Big West Player of the Week for his performance last week (17.5 points, 5.0 rebounds per game). Mooney is averaging 14.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, and ranks second on the team with 43 3-pointers.

It is worth noting, however, that UCD has been starting four guards in its recent games. The other two are Elijah Pepper, a 6-4 freshman averaging 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, and Damion Squire, a 6-foot sophomore averaging 5.7 points per game.

Yet another guard, 6-2 senior Stefan Gonzalez, normally plays a reserve role, but he is still averaging 9.4 points per game and is tied with Stansberry for second in the Big West with 52 3-pointers.

The Aggies’ main big man is Matt Neufeld, a 6-11 senior center who is averaging 9.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, and has a .578 field goal percentage.

Hawai’i should have a size advantage, even without 6-9 freshman Bernardo da Silva, who has a foot injury.

Zigmars Raimo, a 6-9 senior, leads the Big West in rebounding at 7.6 per game, and is also contributing 8.9 points and 3.6 assists per game. Samuta Avea, a 6-6 junior, is averaging 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, and is second on the team with 32 3-pointers.

The Warriors also have three 7-footers in Dawson Carper, Mate Colina and Owen Hulland. If the Warriors elect to go smaller to match the Aggies, 6-3 freshman guard Justin Webster may play extended minutes. He is averaging 7.6 points per game and ranks third on the team with 21 3-pointers.

HAWAI’I (12-6, 3-1 Big West) vs. UC DAVIS (8-11, 2-1 Big West)
When: Saturday, Jan. 25, 7:00 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.
Promotions: American Savings Bank is the sponsor of Saturday’s 100 seasons of Men’s Basketball celebration game.  All fans attending the game will receive a commemorative ticket celebrating 100 seasons of Men’s Basketball and the first 200 fans will receive a cooler tote bag.  At halftime, a special video will be shown along with introducing many of the past Men’s basketball players and coaches.
Autograph session: The current Rainbow Warrior basketball team will be signing autographs after the game on the concourse level near Gate B.

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