GAME NOTES: Headed to the mainland to play just their sixth true road game of the season, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors settle in against the UC Riverside Highlanders for a Big West Conference battle at SRC Arena.
Hawaii just finished off a four-game homestand at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu by earning a split, thanks to a 69-60 win over Cal Poly last Saturday night. With the victory, the Warriors moved to 12-4 at home and a game over .500 in conference play at 5-4.
Meanwhile, the Highlanders are further down in the Big West standings with only three league wins in nine chances. The program has alternated wins and losses over the last five contests, the most recent installment in that trend being an 88-76 defeat at the hands of Long Beach State at home last weekend.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Rainbow Warriors are ahead by a count of 4-1 after crushing UCR in Honolulu last month by a lopsided score of 100-69.
The front line for the Rainbow Warriors went on the attack last Saturday as Isaac Fotu and Christian Standhardinger led the charge in the nine-point home win against the Mustangs. Fotu knocked down all but three of his 13 field goal tries as he finished with a game-high 26 points, while Standhardinger registered a double-double consisting of 18 points and a game-high 12 boards. The pair also combined to shoot 15-of-17 at the free-throw line, which alone was better than Cal Poly's 6-of-8 effort.
One of the top scoring teams in the country this late into the season, Hawaii is putting up 81.0 ppg thanks in large part to the efforts of Standhardinger and Fotu who have been pouring in 17.5 and 15.8 ppg, respectively, not to mention combining for better than 14 rpg as well. Keith Shamburger (8.7 ppg) may be shooting only 33.3 percent from the floor, but it is crucial to have him in the lineup due to his team-best 116 assists.
The Highlander lit up with 52.6 percent shooting from the field in the first half against LBSU last weekend, but at the same time the defense allowed the visitors to make good on not only 56.4 percent from the floor, but also 9- of-13 beyond the arc. Needless to say, the 49ers had a 10-point advantage at the break and rode that on to victory. Taylor Johns did all he could to keep UCR in the mix with 20 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Sam Finley and Chris Patton with 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Over the course of nine conference games, the Highlanders have been posting a decent 70.9 ppg while shooting 45.4 percent from the floor, but the defense has been unable to make that stand up. Opponents are producing 77.2 ppg thanks to 43.4 percent accuracy out on the perimeter, making the efforts by Finley (16.8 ppg), Patton (13.9 ppg) and Johns (13.8 ppg) go for naught more often than not.
As long as Fotu and Standhardinger can have their way in the paint and clean the glass as well as they do, this is a meeting that should again be headed for the Hawaii win column.
Game Date and Time