Hawaii (17-12) at Cal State Northridge (13-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 7, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Matadome (1,600) -- Northridge, California. Television: None. Home Record: Hawaii 13-6, CSUN 5-7. Away Record: Hawaii 3-6, CSUN 5-10. Neutral Record: Hawaii 1-0, CSUN 3-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 10-7, CSUN 4-13. Series Record: Hawaii leads, 7-1.
GAME NOTES: Even though the regular season comes to an end for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors against Cal State Northridge on Thursday night, there's still several scenarios for the islanders when it comes to their place in the upcoming Big West Conference Tournament.
Hawaii, which is new to the Big West this year after coming over from the Western Athletic Conference, could finish anywhere from a tie for second place in the conference standings to as far down as sixth depending on the outcomes of other contests before the start of the tourney on March 14 in Anaheim, California.
The Rainbow Warriors, currently 10-7 in league play, are coming off a 64-61 home loss to Cal Poly last Saturday.
Meanwhile CSUN, the youngest team in the nation, is near the bottom of the standings with just four wins in 17 attempts. The team is currently suffering from a six-game slide after bowing to UC Santa Barbara last weekend, 83-74.
The Rainbow Warriors own a 7-1 advantage in the all-time series between these two teams, thanks to a 74-71 victory at home in the conference opener back on Dec. 29. This is the first-ever trip to the Matadome for Hawaii.
In a game that featured four ties and nine lead changes, the largest advantage for Hawaii at home against the Mustangs was just two points early in the first half. Playing catch-up almost the entire way, the Warriors were led by Vander Joaquim with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, while Isaac Fotu accounted for 17 points and nine boards. Hauns Brereton chipped in 13 points, but coming up small was Christian Standhardinger with only five points on 2- of-7 shooting from the floor.
Despite his weak effort against Cal Poly, Standhardinger is still the leading scorer overall for Hawaii with 15.6 ppg and is second on the unit with close to eight rebounds per contest as well. Joaquim, the most experienced player on the roster with 87 starts to his credit, checks in with 14.0 ppg and a team- best 8.1 rpg. Overall this season, the team is beating opponents on the glass by almost six rebounds per game, but in conference play the margin is cut in half.
CSUN led at the break against the Gauchos last weekend, but then the defense fell apart yet again for the Matadors as they allowed the visitors to knock down 60 percent from the floor in the second half, en route to the nine-point loss. Trying to keep Northridge in the mix was Josh Greene who tallied a team- best 25 points, but he shot only 4-of-14 behind the 3-point line while the rest of the squad was a combined 6-of-13 out on the perimeter. Landon Drew chipped in 11 points, and Stephen Maxwell grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds in the losing cause.
In conference play, the Matadors have allowed opponents to convert not just 50.4 percent from the floor but close to 40 percent behind the 3-point line as well, en route to 75.2 ppg. Granted, the Matadors have done well to generate 70.4 ppg themselves, but one look at their record shows that's still not good enough to remain competitive. Maxwell (15.6 ppg) and Hicks (15.2 ppg) have combined for more than 15 rpg, but just a collective 18 assists in more than 900 minutes of playing time.
Because the defense has been so lacking for the Matadors this season, expect Hawaii to take advantage and pick up a rare conference road win on Thursday night.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 77, Cal State Northridge 69
03/07 10:30:58 ET