Idaho (16-12) at Hawaii (15-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 1st, 11:59 p.m. (ET).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: None. Home Record: Idaho 10-4, Hawaii 10-5. Away Record: Idaho 5-7, Hawaii 4-7. Neutral Record: Idaho 1-1, Hawaii 1-1. Conference Record: Idaho 7-6, Hawaii 6-6. Series Record: Idaho leads, 12-6.
GAME NOTES: Coming off a very disappointing three-game road trip on the mainland, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors are back home in Honolulu for the final two games of the regular season. First up for Hawaii is a visit from the Idaho Vandals for another Western Athletic Conference showdown.
Hawaii's defense was beaten and bruised during the recent three-game slide, giving up no less than 84 points and a maximum of 115 to New Mexico State a week ago. The Warriors stopped off in Ruston, Louisiana before flying home and were treated to an 84-67 setback by the Bulldogs of LaTech. With the loss, Hawaii is now just 6-6 in conference, and that has the group tied with Utah State for fourth place in the standings heading into tonight's action.
As for the Vandals, they were just enjoying their longest win streak of the season recently, five games, but that came to an end last Friday night when the team was beaten back by Utah State on the road, 67-50. The loss puts Idaho at 7-5 in conference, and that means the team is occupying third place in the standings all by itself.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Vandals are ahead by a count of 12-6 and are 5-3 in Honolulu as well. However, it was Hawaii that won the first meeting of the season back in late January with a 76-70 decision in Moscow.
In front of a crowd of more than 10,000 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, the Vandals were held to just 36.0 percent shooting from the floor and made just 8-of-15 at the free-throw line as well in the loss to Utah State. Deremy Geiger emerged as the only double-digit scorer for the Vandals with his 13 points, adding four assists and four rebounds in the losing cause. Over the course of 12 conference games, the Vandals have four players scoring in double digits, but no one is putting up more than Geiger with his 12.1 ppg on the strength of his 41.9 percent effort from behind the three-point line. Immediately following is Kyle Barone (12.0 ppg) who has made it a point not to even attempt a single shot out on the perimeter and instead camp out in the paint where he can come up with close to eight rebounds per game. Throw in Stephen Madison and Djim Bandoumel with 10.5 ppg apiece and you'd think Idaho would be posting more than only 65.5 ppg.
Hawaii led by eight early on in the meeting with Louisiana Tech, but then the perimeter defense for the visitors fell asleep and the Bulldogs made good on 11-of-24 shots behind the three-point line to run away with the victory. It also didn't help that the UH offense turned the ball over 22 times. Vander Joaquim tried to give the Warriors some support with his double-double consisting of 20 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Zane Johnson tacked on 11 points and Jeremiah Ostrowski pitched in with 10 assists, seven rebounds and six points. In just conference games this season, Joaquim is averaging a double-double with 17.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, both of which pace the Warriors, his 66.9 percent shooting from the floor being head and shoulders above his efforts at the free-throw line (.584). Joston Thomas (16.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg) can also be a major contributor in the paint, but trying to keep up with the competition of late has been too much to handle for the Warriors.
Wanting to give the seniors something positive to look back on, the Rainbow Warriors have the pieces they need in order to get back into the win column, you just have to wonder how wounded they've become from the recent slide.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 71, Idaho 66
03/01 10:32:48 ET