Long Beach State (13-8) at Hawaii (13-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 7, 11:59 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: OCSports. Home Record: LBSU 8-2, Hawaii 9-5. Away Record: LBSU 5-6, Hawaii 3-4. Neutral Record: LBSU 0-0, Hawaii 1-0. Conference Record: LBSU 9-1, Hawaii 7-4. Series Record: Long Beach State leads, 7-5.
GAME NOTES: The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors try to make it four wins in a row on Thursday night, as they host the top team in the Big West Conference, the Long Beach State 49ers, at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
The Warriors, who are all alone in third place in the Big West standings since making the move from the Western Athletic Conference, are back on the island after posting three straight wins on the mainland, something that hasn't been done by the program since the 2003-04 campaign. The squad managed to slip by Cal State Fullerton last Saturday, 77-75, in order to move to 7-4 in league action.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have lost only once in 10 league bouts this season and were nearly perfect during the month of January when they posted an 8-1 mark. Over the weekend, LBSU was able to avenge that one loss last month against Cal Poly (79-73) by delivering a 50-48 victory versus the Mustangs at home and run its overall win streak to nine games.
The 49ers won the most recent meeting between these two squads last month with a 76-62 triumph at home, which means LBSU now leads the all-time series by a 7-5 count. The last win for the Warriors was a 61-57 decision back in 2007.
For the first time since last March, the 49ers held an opponent under 50 points, but still the team didn't leave itself much margin for error as it defeated Cal Poly by a mere two points. In a game that featured eight ties and seven lead changes, James Ennis led the way with 23 points on 5-of-8 shooting beyond the arc. Defensively, the 49ers limited the visitors to just 31.5 percent shooting from the floor as the starting five combined to shoot only 10-of-43 from the floor. For Ennis, it was his 26th straight game with double- digit scoring and now he is carrying an average of 17.2 ppg. Ennis is also leading the squad in rebounding with 6.6 rpg, but still the program is losing that battle by three per game against the competition. In conference games the team is sporting a scoring average of 73.1 ppg, which is more than six points per game better than the opposition at the moment.
Hawaii led by as many as 10 points in the first half over the weekend, but then the team fell behind by 12 less than nine minutes later, needing a minor miracle to capture the two-point road win over Fullerton. Christian Standhardinger stepped up with 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals for the visitors, while Vander Joaquim notched a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 10 boards. Hauns Brereton and Isaac Fotu both tallied 13 points and Brandon Spearman added 11 points for the Warriors in the close call. In conference games this season, Standhardinger leads the way in the scoring column with 16.4 ppg and he is also one of the top rebounders with close to eight per game. Joaquim (12.1 ppg) is tops with 8.3 rpg and Fotu (11.1 ppg) accounts for another 5.9 rpg, yet at this stage the program is beating opponents on the glass by just barely three rebounds per game.
The Rainbow Warriors certainly are more comfortable playing at home, no matter how well the recent road trip wrapped up. Hawaii proved it could come back and win in a tight spot, so expect the squad to fight hard.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 72, Long Beach State 68
02/07 10:31:44 ET