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Warriors looking for strong finish against Cal State Fullerton on Thursday

If the University of Hawai’i basketball team wants to make a final push to get back near the top of the Big West Conference standings, now is the time.

The Rainbow Warriors will host Cal State Fullerton in a Big West game on Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center. It is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m., and is being promoted as “Wear Pink” game – fans are encouraged to wear pink to bring awareness to breast cancer.

Hawai’i is 15-11 overall and in fifth place in the conference at 6-6. The Titans are 10-17 overall and in sixth place at 5-7.

The Warriors have lost five of their last six games, but can still finish as high as second place with a strong run during these final two weeks/four games of the regular season.

Hawai’i already owns one victory over the Titans – a 75-69 win at Fullerton, Calif., on January 9. Both teams have been up and down since.

Hawai’i played a stretch of six games when starters Samuta Avea and Bernardo da Silva were out or limited due to injuries. The full roster is now available as the Warriors look to gain momentum for the Big West Conference Championship Tournament, March 12-14 at Anaheim, Calif.

Hawai’i is led by its backcourt duo of senior Eddie Stansberry and junior Drew Buggs. Stansberry leads the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game and is third in the Big West with 78 3-pointers. He scored a game-high 25 points in the victory at Fullerton last month. Buggs leads the conference in assists at 5.8 per game, and is also contributing 9.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

It makes for an intriguing matchup with Fullerton’s backcourt of Austen Awosika and Brandon Kamga. Awosika, a 6-3 senior, is averaging 13.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He had 22 points and five assists in the first game against Hawai’i. Kamga, a 6-5 senior, is averaging 15.4 points per game overall and 19.1 points per game against Big West opponents.

Each team also has a capable backup guard. Hawai’i freshman Justin Webster is averaging 9.3 points per game and ranks second on the team with 36 3-pointers. Fullerton sophomore Wayne Arnold is also averaging 9.3 points per game and leads the Titans with 50 3-pointers.

The game will also feature two of the conference’s top rebounders. Hawai’i senior forward Zigmars Raimo is averaging 9.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Fullerton senior forward Jackson Rowe is averaging 15.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Against Big West opponents, Rowe is averaging 17.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, including 16 points and nine rebounds in the loss to Hawai’i last month.

The Titans like to play at a fast pace – they are averaging 74.1 points per game, but allowing 77.3 against Big West opponents. By comparison, Hawai’i is averaging 66.3 points per game, but allowing 67.6.


Wednesday’s Results
CSUN 73, at Long Beach State 64

Thursday’s Games
UC Irvine at Cal Poly
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside
Cal State Fullerton at Hawai’i

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

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