The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 11:59 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: OCSports. Home Record: UCI 8-1, Hawaii 10-5. Away Record: UCI 3-10, Hawaii 3-4. Neutral Record: UCI 1-1, Hawaii 1-0. Conference Record: UCI 6-5, Hawaii 8-4. Series Record: UC Irvine leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: Enjoying their longest winning streak of the season, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors try to make it five in a row on Saturday night, as they entertain the UC Irvine Anteaters in Big West Conference action at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
New to the Big West this season after coming over from the Western Athletic Conference, the Warriors have a mark of 8-4 in league play after stunning Long Beach State in a 94-73 final two nights ago. Prior to the setback, the 49ers had lost only once in 10 BWC bouts.
Sporting the top overall record of any team in the conference at 14-9, Hawaii is currently in third place in the standings, trailing only LBSU and Pacific heading into the weekend.
As for the Anteaters, they too were in action on Thursday night, but in their case they had a two-game win streak snapped in a 70-61 defeat at Cal State Northridge. Just 3-10 in true road game this season, UCI is 6-5 in conference.
UCI won the first meeting of the season between these two teams back in January by a final of 68-64 at home, as Chris McNealy tallied 15 points, leading four players in double figures as the Anteaters got away with shooting only 39 percent from the floor. With the victory, Irvine assumed a 4-3 lead in the all-time series against the Rainbow Warriors.
Defensively, UCI held the Matadors to only 39 percent shooting from the floor the last time out, but still that effort wasn't good enough in the nine-point road loss. Daman Starring accounted for 15 points, although he shot just 5- of-14 from the floor, including 1-of-6 beyond the arc. McNealy and Alex Young chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the losing cause as well. Starring gives the Anteaters their best chance at a win more often than not as he leads the team in scoring with 13.3 ppg, then again he is the only double- digit scorer on the roster through 24 games. As they showed on Thursday, the defense tends to be the hallmark of the Anteaters as they limit the opposition to 64.2 ppg stemming from 38.5 percent field goal efficiency.
The Rainbow Warriors turned the ball over 23 times on Thursday night and normally an effort like that against the top team in the conference would send Hawaii to the loss column, but it wasn't the case this time around. Instead, the hosts had five players score in double figures as they shot 54.2 percent from the floor, including 7-of-14 beyond the arc, as they captured the lopsided victory. Christian Standhardinger registered a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Hauns Brereton responded with a team-best 21 points. Vander Joaquim posted 18 points, Brandon Spearman 16 and Brandon Jawato 12 points in just 10 minutes off the bench. Through 23 games, all of which he has been a starter, Standhardinger leads the way with 16.1 ppg and is tied with Joaquim (14.0 ppg) on the glass with eight rebounds per game as the team beats the competition by almost seven boards per outing.
Hopefully the Rainbow Warriors didn't expend all of their energy taking out Long Beach State in the last game because topping UCI will take some focus and effort, but not a whole lot if the hosts are able to shoot as well as they did a couple nights back.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 83, UC Irvine 71
02/09 10:43:49 ET