Pacific (9-7) at Hawaii (9-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 17, 11:59 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: OCSports. Home Record: Pacific 6-2, Hawaii 8-4. Away Record: Pacific 1-4, Hawaii 0-3. Neutral Record: Pacific 2-1, Hawaii 1-0. Conference Record: Pacific 3-1, Hawaii 3-2. Series Record: Series is tied, 4-4.
GAME NOTES: Hoping to avoid their first three-game slide of the season, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors hit the floor at the Stan Sheriff Center on Thursday night to challenge the Pacific Tigers in Big West Conference action.
Last week, the Warriors were on the mainland for just the second time this season, making a pair of stops in California to clash with league foes. Unfortunately, the trip did not bear fruit as Hawaii suffered a 68-64 setback against UC Irvine on Jan. 9, and then took another four-point loss (76-72) versus Long Beach State last Saturday.
As for the Tigers, they are tied for second place in the conference standings with Cal State Fullerton at 3-1, trailing only LBSU which has won four of five league outings. Last Saturday, Pacific ran its win streak to three in a row with a 77-55 thumping of Cal Poly at home.
In a relationship that dates back roughly five decades, the teams have split eight previous encounters. The most recent of those meetings took place in December of 2011 with the Tigers capturing a 64-54 win at home.
The Tigers connected on an impressive 65.0 percent from the floor in the first half, 63.6 percent for the game, as they ran away from Cal Poly rather easily last weekend. The hosts also converted 10-of-16 tries behind the 3-point line, while the defense held the Mustangs to just 37.0 percent success from the field. Lorenzo McCloud tallied 13 points while both Sama Taku and Rodrigo De Souza dropped in 10 points as the Tigers tried to spread the wealth by sitting the starters early. Through 16 games, Pacific has just a single double-digit scorer in McCloud with his 11.6 ppg and yet the team is still outscoring the competition by an average of more than four points per contest. More than just the leading scorer, McCloud is also the top assist man with 60, which is twice as many as his closest teammate.
Once again the Rainbow Warriors had a healthy lead against an opponent and let it slip away as they suffered the four-point loss to Long Beach State last Saturday. Hawaii was ahead by as many as seven points in the first half and then proceeded to convert 53.3 percent from the floor after the break, but by then they were already behind. Brandon Jawato came off the bench to tally a team-best 16 points and Vander Joaquim chipped in 13 and six boards, but the big problem for the Warriors was at the free-throw line where they made good on just 7-of-15 chances. Joaquim, who is scoring 14.3 ppg on the season and is the top rebounder for the program with 8.5 rpg, is preparing to become just the 15th player in program history to post 1,000 points for his career, needing just nine to make it happen. Joaquim would certainly have an easier road if Christian Standhardinger (14.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg) were able to bounce back from a disappointing showing against the 49ers.
As long as the front line for the Rainbow Warriors comes ready to play, Joaquim should reach his milestone and the hosts should pick up the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 71, Pacific 66
01/17 10:33:18 ET