Hawaii (16-15) vs. New Mexico State (24-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 9, 9:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Orleans Arena (7,471) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: WAC Sports Network. Home Record: Hawaii 10-7, NMSU 14-3. Away Record: Hawaii 4-7, NMSU 7-5. Neutral Record: Hawaii 2-1, NMSU 3-1. Conference Record: Hawaii 6-8, NMSU 10-4. Series Record: New Mexico State leads, 13-4.
GAME NOTES: Despite losing five straight games to close out the regular season, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors have cleared the first hurdle in the 29th annual Western Athletic Conference Tournament, and now face the New Mexico State Aggies in the semifinals at Orleans Arena tonight.
On Thursday afternoon, the sixth-seeded Warriors surprised the third-seeded Idaho Vandals with a 72-70 decision in the quarterfinals. Hawaii is a team which has more WAC Tournament titles than any other current member with three, but the team hasn't brought home the trophy since 2002 and hasn't been to the championship game since then either.
As for the second-seeded Aggies, winners of this event in both 2007 and 2010 with victories over Utah State, they had little trouble advancing as they dismissed Fresno State in a 65-49 final yesterday. With the victory NMSU is now an impressive 12-4 in the tournament over the years.
As far as an all-time series is concerned, the teams split a pair of meetings during the regular season, with each winning at home. The Warriors posted a 91-87 victory in Honolulu in January and then NMSU returned the favor a month later with a convincing 115-73 victory in Las Cruces, which means the all-time series now numbers 13-4 in favor of the Aggies.
The winner of this meeting will be back in action tomorrow to play for the tournament title against the survivor of the Louisiana Tech/Nevada contest.
A jumper by Hauns Brereton in the final seconds was just what Hawaii needed as the Rainbow Warriors slipped by Idaho in a two-point decision during the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament at Orleans Arena yesterday. Brereton finished the afternoon with 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors, while Vander Joaquim paced the program with 20 points and a team-best 13 boards. Shaquille Stokes tacked on 17 points and three assists, but shot only 5-of-14 from the floor. Jeremiah Ostrowski delivered nine of the squad's 15 assists. The Warriors picked up the win despite shooting only 18-of-30 at the free- throw line and 2-of-10 beyond the arc. Over the course of 31 games this season Hawaii has shot only 32.4 percent behind the three-point line and 66.2 percent at the free-throw line, numbers that are both below what the competition has been able to accomplish. Keeping the team competitive has been Joaquim with his 14.2 ppg and 9.6 rpg, while Ostrowski (4.0 ppg) is by far the top passer for the group with 162 assists, even though he missed time early in the campaign.
Wendell McKines recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, both of which were game highs, as he helped guide New Mexico State to the 16-point win over Fresno State in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament at Orleans Arena on Thursday afternoon. Also scoring in double figures for the Aggies were Tyrone Watson and Daniel Mullings with 13 and 11 points, respectively. In addition to limiting Fresno State to a meager 31.4 percent accuracy from the field, the Aggies also handled the Bulldogs rather easily on the glass, 46-29. As a team this season, the Aggies have topped the competition on the glass by more than eight rebounds per game and much of the credit goes to McKines who averaged 10.9 rpg to go along with his 18.4 ppg. The other active double-digit scorers for NMSU are Hernst Laroche and Hamidu Rahman with 11.9 and 10.3 ppg, respectively, as the team outscores foes by an even 10 ppg.
Chances are the scoring won't get as far out of hand as it did in the last meeting, but you can be sure both offenses will be given a little more freedom tonight. As long as McKines doesn't get into foul trouble and is able to maintain a presence in the paint, expect the Aggies to prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 81, Hawaii 73
03/09 10:33:38 ET