Utah State (16-14) at Hawaii (15-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 3, 11:59 p.m. (ET).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: None. Home Record: USU 13-4, Hawaii 10-6. Away Record: USU 3-10, Hawaii 4-7. Neutral Record: USU 0-0, Hawaii 1-1. Conference Record: USU 7-6, Hawaii 6-7. Series Record: Utah State leads, 13-4.
GAME NOTES: Losers of four straight, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors try to close out the regular season on a positive note tonight as they host the Utah State Aggies in Western Athletic Conference action at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Since winning four of five games during one stretch, the lone loss coming against a Nevada team that has already claimed the WAC regular season title, the Warriors have hit the skids. On Thursday night, the team was thumped by a visiting Idaho squad, 82-63, which means the Warriors are now 6-7 in conference play and tied with Louisiana Tech for fifth place in the standings.
As for the Aggies, they've been sporadic at best against the rest of the WAC, but two nights ago the team was able to post a second straight win and the third in the last four outings with a 71-61 triumph over San Jose State on the road. With the victory USU moved to 7-6 in WAC play, and that has the team all alone in fourth place.
The Aggies won the first meeting of the season against Hawaii at home in late January, 77-72, which means USU is now ahead in the all-time series by a count of 13-4.
Preston Medlin scored a game-high 26 points as Utah State delivered a 10-point win over San Jose State in Western Athletic Conference play at The Event Center two nights ago. Medlin shot 5-of-8 behind the three-point line and grabbed five rebounds for the Aggies, followed by Brockeith Pane and Mitch Bruneel with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Utah State shot 55.1 percent from the floor on the night and turned the ball over just eight times, making up for the fact that the squad cleared just four offensive rebounds. Medlin, who has held at least a share of the scoring lead in each of the last eight outings, leads the team overall this season with his 16.5 ppg, thanks in large part to his 43.8 percent accuracy behind the three-point line. Pane (12.1 ppg) handles the passing (122 assists) while Kyisean Reed (10.0 ppg) helps Pane look good by shooting 62.2 percent from the floor.
Hawaii led by three points early on against the Vandals on Thursday night, but that advantage was short-lived as the hosts made just 33.3 percent from the floor in the period and 34.9 percent for the entire game. Zane Johnson refused to give up easily though, scoring 18 points as he made good on 4-of-8 shots behind the three-point line. Joston Thomas added 16 points and Jeremiah Ostrowski seven points and a team-best nine assists, while turning the ball over just two times. Kept under wraps for the most part on Thursday, Vander Joaquim is still the team leader in scoring and rebounding with averages of 14.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per contest. Joaquim is also tops on the unit with 54 blocked shots, the rest of the team combining for just 45 rejections over the course of 29 games. Johnson (14.1 ppg) and Thomas (13.8 ppg) also carry some of the scoring burden for the program.
Not having to travel on short notice should be an advantage for the Warriors, but considering how USU seems to be getting back on the right path, assuming a win for the hosts would not be wise.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 70, Hawaii 65
03/03 10:46:17 ET