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Warriors look to gain momentum at UC Davis on Thursday

Forget the standings already. The University of Hawai’i basketball team needs to regain winning momentum, regardless of where it ends up in the final regular-season standings.

The Rainbow Warriors will close the regular season with two road games – at UC Davis on Thursday, and at CSUN on Saturday. Pending the outcomes of those two games, plus the outcomes of several other conference games, the Warriors could finish anywhere from second place to seventh place.

Hawai’i is 16-12 overall and in fifth place in the Big West Conference at 7-7. UC Davis is 14-16 overall and tied for third place at 8-6. Thursday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 Hawai’i Time) at The Pavilion in Davis, Calif. It will not be televised, but will be available via online streaming video at www.bigwest.tv.

The Warriors are 2-6 over the last four weeks, including a dismal 49-43 home loss to UC Riverside last Saturday. They are hoping to turn it around on this road trip against teams that they already defeated earlier in the season.

Hawai’i beat UCD, 76-75, on January 25 in Honolulu. Senior guard Eddie Stansberry scored 25 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining to lead the Warriors.

Stansberry leads the Warriors in scoring at 15.5 points per game, and ranks third in the Big West with 81 3-pointers.

Junior forward Samuta Avea is averaging 10.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, and could be a wildcard in Thursday’s game. He did not play in the first meeting with the Aggies due to a back injury.

Junior point guard Drew Buggs is averaging 9.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Justin Webster is contributing 9.2 points per game, and senior forward Zigmars Raimo is at 9.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game.

The Warriors have struggled offensively during Big West action. They are averaging 66.5 points per game against conference opponents while shooting just 40.5 percent from the field. However, they are limiting opponents to 66.9 points per game and 45.4 percent field goal shooting.

UCD is considered the top shooting team in the conference. The Aggies rank first in the Big West for 3-pointers per game (8.9), 3-point percentage (.421), and free throw percentage (.797).

While UCD averages 75.2 points per game, its opponents are scoring 74.2 per game. The Aggies are also allowing opponents to shoot 48.5 percent from the field. What’s more, UCD ranks last in the Big West in rebounding at 30.2 per game.

Joe Mooney, a 6-3 senior guard, leads the Aggies in scoring at 13.1 points per game, and ranks second on the team with 61 3-pointers. He was limited to just six points on 2-of-7 shooting in the loss at Hawai’i.

The two Aggies who caused problems for the Warriors in the last meeting were 6-2 senior Stefan Gonzalez and 5-11 freshman Ezra Manjon.

Gonzalez made seven 3-pointers in the loss at Hawai’i and is averaging 11.1 points per game. He ranks second in the conference with 82 3-pointers, and ranks third in the nation with a .491 percentage from 3-point range.

Manjon is averaging 12.2 points and 4.1 assists per game. He had 22 points, six assists and five rebounds in the loss at Hawai’i.

HAWAI’I (16-12, 7-7 Big West) at UC DAVIS (14-16, 8-6 Big West)
When: Thursday, March 5, 7:00 p.m. PST/5:00 p.m. HT
Where: The Pavilion (8,000) – Davis, Calif.
Television: None
Streaming Video: BigWest.tv
Radio: 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: ucdavisaggies.com
Coaches: Head coach Eran Ganot is in his fifth season at UH (85-55). Jim Les is in his ninth season at UC Davis (134-151).
Series Information: UH leads, 10-6.

Big West Conference
Wednesday’s Result
CSUN 72, at UC Irvine 70

Thursday’s Games
Cal State Fullerton at UC Santa Barbara
Cal Poly at Long Beach State
Hawai’i at UC Davis

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