Hawaii (11-9) at UC Riverside (5-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 31, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Student Rec. Center (3,168) -- Riverside, California. Television: None. Home Record: Hawaii 9-5, UCR 4-4. Away Record: Hawaii 1-4, UCR 1-9. Neutral Record: Hawaii 1-0, UCR 0-2. Conference Record: Hawaii 5-4, UCR 2-6. Series Record: Hawaii leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: Having finally captured their first true road win of the 2012-13 campaign, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors try to make it two in a row on Thursday night as they clash with the UC Riverside Highlanders in Big West Conference action at the Student Rec. Center.
Spending most of their time earlier this season at home in Honolulu, the Rainbow Warriors have played four of their last six contests on the mainland and finally the team broke through with a 78-73 triumph over UC Santa Barbara last Saturday. The win snapped a brief two-game slide for a Hawaii squad that is now 5-4 in conference play.
Meanwhile, the Highlanders have bowed in two straight and five of the last six games overall. The squad was taken out by UC Davis last weekend in a 79-72 final, which means the Highlanders are not only just 1-9 on the road and 1-11 away from home overall this season, they are also a mere 2-6 in conference action coming into this week.
Hawaii won the first meeting of the season out on the island, 76-61, earlier this month as the hosts shot 55.1 percent from the floor and a stellar 10- of-16 beyond the arc, compared to just 3-of-16 from long distance for the Highlanders. As a result of that victory, the Rainbow Warriors lead the all- time series by a 2-1 margin.
Despite lackluster accuracy at the free-throw line once again (25-of-39), the Rainbow Warriors still played well enough to capture that first road win of the season last weekend. Christian Standhardinger put together a monster effort for the visitors as he not only scored 31 points, but he also cleared 16 rebounds, as the Warriors posted a 45-30 advantage on the glass. Also logging a double-double was Vander Joaquim with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Hauns Brereton tacked on 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists as he made his way back into the starting lineup. Standhardinger, the only player to have started every game for Hawaii, leads the group with 15.5 ppg and is second on the unit with 7.7 rpg as they top the competition by seven boards per contest at the moment. Joaquim (14.0 ppg) is another double-double waiting to happen with a team-best 8.4 rpg, while Jace Tavita has proven to be a valuable asset thanks to his willingness to sacrifice his own offense (2.5 ppg) in order to average slightly more than five assists per game.
UCR shot an impressive 50.9 percent from the floor last weekend against UC Davis, including 8-of-20 behind the 3-point line, but still that wasn't enough as the team was outscored 19-8 at the free-throw line in the seven-point decision on the road. Josh Fox led all scorers with 22 points, adding nine rebounds, followed by Chris Harriel with 18 points before fouling out, and Chris Patton who tallied 12 points and nine boards of his own. Robert Smith handed out eight assists, but as a starter who played 36 minutes, it was unacceptable for him to be held scoreless. Struggling to be a perimeter threat for the most part this season, the Highlanders are hitting long-distance attempts at just 28.3 percent, which is far below the competition (.376) through 20 games, and that's one of the reasons why the team is being outscored by almost seven points per game. Patton leads a trio of double-digit scorers with his 12.4 ppg.
Now that the Rainbow Warriors have broken the ice on the mainland, there's no reason to think they can't dial up another win in California this week, especially if Standhardinger handles the action in the paint as well as he has.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 69, UC Riverside 59
01/31 10:31:59 ET