Illinois (2-0) at Hawaii (3-0)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 12:30 a.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii.
Television: OC Sports. Home Record: Illinois 2-0, Hawaii 3-0. Away Record:
Illinois 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Neutral Record: Illinois 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Conference
Record: Illinois 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Series Record: Illinois leads, 6-0.
GAME NOTES: In advance of their appearance in the 29th annual Maui
Invitational, the Illinois Fighting Illini make a stop in Honolulu where they
will take on the Hawaii Warriors at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Illinois, which is under first-year head coach John Groce, is off to a 2-0
start after taking care of Colgate in the season opener, 75-55, at home as
part of the regional action of the Maui Invitational, and then on Monday the
Illini topped St. Francis by a more lopsided final of 89-64.
The Illini have won five straight non-conference road games, a streak that
stretches all the way back to 2008's 69-63 triumph over Vanderbilt. The team
has just one other true road game against a foe outside of the Big Ten
Conference coming up next month against powerhouse Gonzaga.
For the Warriors, they are off to a 3-0 start for the second time in three
seasons under head coach Gib Arnold. The team has kicked off 2012-13 with
three wins by at least double digits, the first time that's happened since
2001-02 when the program went on to post a school-record 27 victories and earn
an invite to the NCAA Tournament.
In a span of four days Hawaii topped Maryland-Eastern Shore (76-64), Arkansas-
Pine Bluff (81-54) and Houston Baptist (73-60), the latter taking place on
The Warriors have never beaten Illinois, coming up empty in all six previous
meetings. The Illini have won a total of four games in Honolulu, including a
narrow 79-77 final back in 2007. Hawaii has a record of just 10-17 against
opponents from the Big Ten Conference.
Against St. Francis, the Illini opened with 7-of-15 shooting from behind the
three-point line in the first and finished 11-of-25 beyond the stripe in the
comfortable victory. The squad also made good on 49.2 percent from the floor
overall which helped to compensate for a lackluster 14-of-22 showing at the
free-throw line. Four starters scored in double figures, beginning with Tyler
Griffey who tallied 17 points, followed by Tracy Abrams with 15, Brandon Paul
14 points and Nnanna Egwu with 10. The team has scored 82.0 ppg over the first
two outings, but the group has not been all that great at the charity stripe
(.563) and that should be a concern for coach Groce. The unit is led by Paul
with his 17.0 ppg and is he also tied for the lead with 5.5 rpg as they've
spread the wealth in that department in order to top the competition by 10
boards per contest.
Less than eight minutes in against Houston Baptist, the Warriors had a double-
digit lead and were able to keep up the pressure the rest of the way as they
registered the 13-point victory at home. Vander Joaquim registered a double-
double for the hosts with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Christian
Standhardinger followed suit with 14 points and a game-high 11 boards as well.
Brandon Spearman tacked on 15 points and Hauns Brereton 11 points, while Jace
Tavita was held scoreless but still had input with his game-high eight
assists. The Warriors had an awful time shooting the ball from three-point
range (2-of-13) and turned it over 17 times, but at least they outscored the
Huskies at the free-throw line, 17-7. In his first three games with the
program, Standhardinger has been huge with averages of 17.3 points and 8.0
rebounds per outing, while Joaquim has delivered 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds
per outing while shooting 62.1 percent from the floor.
Obviously Standhardinger has pumped some new blood into the Warriors already,
but his ability to defend top-quality foes like Illinois will be put to the
test in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois 77, Hawaii 72
11/16 10:32:00 ET