UC Santa Barbara (8-18) at Hawaii (16-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 28, 11:59 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: OCSports. Home Record: UCSB 6-6, Hawaii 12-5. Away Record: UCSB 2-12, Hawaii 3-6. Neutral Record: UCSB 0-0, Hawaii 1-0. Conference Record: UCSB 4-10, Hawaii 9-6. Series Record: Hawaii leads, 5-4.
GAME NOTES: The Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara try to bring an end to a three- game slide on Thursday night, as they visit the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors for a Big West Conference showdown at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
Currently buried near the bottom of the Big West standings with a record of 4-10, the Gauchos have lost eight of their last nine outings overall, which is why they are 10 games under .500 on the campaign overall. The most recent setback for the program came out of conference against Sacramento State last Saturday in a narrow 51-50 final.
As for the Rainbow Warriors, in their first season in the league after coming over from the Western Athletic Conference, they are on solid ground in the upper half of the conference standings entering the week, thanks to nine wins in 15 chances. Like UCSB, Hawaii also went out of conference last weekend as it dominated Northern Arizona at home in an 84-50 final in order to snap a two-game slide.
Hawaii won the first meeting of the season a month ago by a score of 78-73 on the road, as Christian Standhardinger put together a massive double-double for the visitors with 31 points and 16 rebounds. With the victory, the Rainbow Warriors assumed a 5-4 lead in the all-time series.
A 3-pointer by Taran Brown with less than 20 seconds remaining in regulation pushed the Gauchos to a 50-49 lead over Sacramento State last Saturday, but the defense then turned around and allowed the Hornets to hit the game-winning layup in the waning moments of the one-point decision. While the visitors had four players score in double figures, the only one answering that description for UCSB was Brown who tallied 18 points, while Alan Williams accounted for eight points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots in the setback.
Although he missed a few games, Williams is easily the top performer at the offensive end against league foes as he tallies 18.5 ppg, shooting 50.6 percent from the floor. Williams is averaging a double-double in those contests as well with his 10.8 rpg, yet his efforts on the glass merely have the unit tied with the competition in overall rebounding per game. Kyle Boswell is second on the scoring chart with his 13.3 ppg, thanks to his 44.7 percent shooting beyond the arc, but a shoulder injury has him listed as questionable for this contest.
The Warriors scored the first points of the game against NAU last weekend and never looked back, as all but one starter scored in double figures for the hosts in the 34-point pummeling. Vander Joaquim delivered a double-double with 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while Standhardinger tallied a game- high 21 points and also cleared nine boards. Hauns Brereton and Isaac Fotu chipped in 13 and 10 points, respectively, and Davis Rozitis claimed 10 rebounds in just 13 minutes off the bench as the team won the rebounding battle, 47-32.
Over the course of 15 conference bouts, Standhardinger leads the Rainbow Warriors with 16.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest, shooting almost as well from the floor (.570) as he is at the free-throw line (.619), which is more of an indictment of the latter. The progress of Standhardinger has meant that Joaquim doesn't have to shoulder all of the load in the paint anymore, but he is still contributing at a high level with 12.3 ppg and 7.6 rpg for the group.
The work of Standhardinger and Joaquim, as well as Isaac Fotu, in the paint is what makes the Rainbow Warriors such a tough matchup for many Big West opponents this season, and that should continue when UCSB stops by.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 74, UC Santa Barbara 63
02/28 10:33:47 ET