East Tennessee State (2-8) vs. Hawaii (5-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 23, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: ETSU 1-2, Hawaii 4-3. Away Record: ETSU 1-5, Hawaii 0-1. Neutral Record: ETSU 0-1, Hawaii 1-0. Conference Record: ETSU 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the East Tennessee State Buccaneers and the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors takes place on Sunday as part of semifinal- round action of the 2012 Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
As the host of this annual event, the Rainbow Warriors are a team that the locals certainly root for, but again the team has dropped to the losers side of the tournament bracket following a 73-58 setback versus Miami-Florida on Saturday. The defeat was the third in the last four games overall for a team that has played all but two of nine games so far this season in this very building.
As for the Buccaneers, their first game in this event had them pitted against fourth-ranked Arizona yesterday, a situation that resulted in a 73-53 loss for ETSU. The defeat was the fifth in a row and the sixth in seven tries for a program that has just two total wins on the season, only one versus another Division I opponent.
Both squads will be back in action on Christmas Day, competing in the championship round against either Ole Miss of San Francisco.
ETSU never stood a chance against the Wildcats on Saturday, the team making a total of just six field goals in the first half and shooting 31.0 percent from the floor for the entire game. Jarvis Jones tried to keep hope alive for the Buccaneers as he exploded for 21 points, but he shot just 1-of-8 behind the 3- point line, the team a mere 6-of-23 on the perimeter. Jones has only seen action in three games thus far for the Bucs, but with an average of 15.0 ppg he at least gives the team a boost on offense to some degree. Now, take into account he shoots just 33.3 percent from the floor and 13.0 percent on the perimeter, and it is easy to see why this is a team that owns only two victories. Lester Wilson is responsible for 17.0 ppg and a team-best 6.6 rpg for a program that is producing a mere 57.4 ppg thus far.
Both Hawaii and Miami shot poorly in the first half of Saturday's game, but while the Hurricanes picked up the pace in the second half with 63.0 percent shooting from the floor, the Warriors simply could not keep up. Sure, the hosts made good on 51.9 percent from the field and 6-of-12 beyond the arc after the break, but at the same time the team was outscored at the free-throw line by a 12-3 margin. Brandon Jawato was the lone double-digit scorer for the Warriors as he tallied 12 points off the bench, while Vander Joaquim responded with nine points and seven rebounds in the losing cause as well. Christian Standhardinger, who finished with only seven points and five boards on Saturday, continues to lead the program in both categories after nine games with 15.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per outing. Joaquim checks in with 13.3 ppg and 7.2 rpg, but between the two there are just 15 assists and 42 turnovers, which makes it difficult to get quality play at both ends of the floor.
As long as Standhardinger can bounce back from a weak outing and the Warriors can control the glass, expect the hosts to respond positively in Sunday's action.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 68, East Tennessee State 63
12/23 10:32:16 ET