Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors host UC San Diego on Thursday

If the University of Hawai’i basketball team wants to catch the teams above it in the Big West Conference, defeating the teams below would seem to be a good way to make up ground.

WarriorInsider.com file photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

The Rainbow Warriors will get two chances to do just that this week when they host UC San Diego on Thursday, then Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.

Thursday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. Hawai’i Time at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center, and will be televised in Hawai’i via Spectrum Sports. Video streaming is available outside of Hawai’i via ESPN+.

Hawai’i, which went 1-1 on the road last week, is 17-7 overall and tied for third place in the BWC at 8-4. UC San Diego is on a three-game losing streak and is 8-16 overall and in ninth place at 3-9.

The Warriors already own a 62-49 conference win at UCSD on January 5, and have a 5-0 career record against the Tritons.

But UCSD is not to be taken lightly, mostly because the Tritons have a dynamic backcourt in 6-3 junior Bryce Pope and 6-2 freshman Roddie Anderson III. Pope ranks third in the BWC in scoring at 18.6 points per game, and also leads the Tritons with 47 3-pointers. He scored 16 in the loss to Hawai’i earlier this season, and went 0 for 3 from 3-point range.

Anderson is averaging 11.9 points and 3.4 assists per game, and scored 15 in the loss to Hawai’i last month.

The Tritons also have size inside, with 6-7 sophomore forward Francis Nwaokorie averaging 11.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, and 7-foot center Emmanuel Tshimanga contributing 7.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

Hawai’i junior center Bernardo da Silva got the better of it in the previous matchup, tallying a career-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

WarriorInsider.com file photo courtesy Brandon Flores

The Warriors have remained in contention through the BWC season behind the strength of their defense and an iron starting unit.

Hawai’i leads the BWC in scoring defense, allowing 62.0 points per game. The Warriors also lead the entire nation for fewest 3-pointers allowed at 98, and rank seventh nationally for 3-point percentage allowed at .278.

Hawai’i has used the same starting lineup in every game this season, and those five starters are accounting for 87 percent of the team’s points in BWC games.

Junior guard Noel Coleman leads the scoring at 13.3 points per game, followed by senior forward Kamaka Hepa (11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds), junior point guard JoVon McClanahan (10.1 points, 3.1 assists), da Silva (10.0 points, 6.8 rebounds) and senior forward Samuta Avea (9.9 points, 4.3 rebounds).

Sophomore forward Beon Riley has emerged as the top reserve, averaging 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

The Warriors are 11-3 at home this season, and lead the conference in attendance with an average of 4,823.

All fans attending Thursday’s game are encouraged to wear green.

HAWAI’I (17-7 overall, 8-4 Big West) vs. UC SAN DIEGO (8-16, 3-9)
Thursday, February 9, 7:00 p.m. Hawai’i Time
Where: SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, HI
TV: Spectrum Sports Hawai’i (channels 12/1012)
Video streaming: ESPN+
Radio/audio streaming: ESPN Honolulu (92.7 FM, 1420 AM, espnhonolulu.com, Sideline Hawaii app)
Tickets: EticketHawaii.com

Thursday’s Games
UC Davis at UC Riverside
CSUN at CSU Bakersfield
Cal Poly at UC Irvine
UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach State
UC San Diego at Hawai’i

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

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