Hawaii (15-10) at Montana (19-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 9:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dahlberg Arena (7,500) -- Missoula, Montana. Television: None. Home Record: Hawaii 10-5, Montana 10-2. Away Record: Hawaii 4-4, Montana 9-4. Neutral Record: Hawaii 1-1, Montana 0-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 6-4, Montana 12-1. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors head to Dahlberg Arena in Missoula tonight to take part in the annual BracketBusters event as they challenge the Montana Grizzlies.
So far this season Hawaii, which operates as member of the Western Athletic Conference currently, has broken even away from home with a mark of 4-4 in true road dates and 1-1 on neutral floors. The team last played on Valentine's Day when it stole an 82-58 victory from New Orleans at home. The win was the second in a row and the fourth in five games for the program.
As for the Grizzlies, members of the Big Sky Conference, they've been waiting to get back to action for a week now since defeating Sacramento State on the road, 67-58. That victory was the eighth in a row and the 14th in the last 15 contests for Montana, as the team tries to keep pace with Weber State atop the Big Sky standings.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the teams are tied at two games apiece, but this is the first matchup in close to four decades and the first to be played on the mainland as well.
Hawaii dominated the paint against the Privateers the last time out, posting a 42-28 rebounding advantage and a 44-16 scoring edge en route to the 24-point home win. Vander Joaquim scored 19 points, pulled down nine rebounds and blocked four shots for the Warriors, followed by Joston Thomas and Shaquille Stokes with 16 and 11 points, respectively, as the hosts has a total of 10 players score in the rout. Oddly enough, Jeremiah Ostrowski was not one of them, although he did hand out 10 assists. Ostrowski, who has appeared in just 18 of the team's 25 games, is by far the top passer for the group with his 118 dishes, so that makes it easier to overlook the fact that he has shot only 36.1 percent from the floor. Joaquim leads the way in the paint with 9.9 rpg and his 14.8 ppg paces three players in double figures as Zane Johnson (14.6 ppg) and Thomas (14.1 ppg) follow closely behind.
Derek Selvig handled the action in the paint for the Grizzlies last weekend as he posted 14 points and 14 rebounds in the win over Sacramento State at the Hornets Nest. Will Cherry accounted for a team-best 17 points, converting 12- of-15 at the free-throw line while struggling from the floor at 2-of-8. Art Steward checked in with 16 points and eight boards, but his four turnovers pushed the team's total in that department to 16 which was rather awkward. Cherry, the leading scorer in three straight games and four of the last five, is now producing a team-best 15.8 ppg, his 85 assists and 63 steals also among the best for the group at the moment. Selvig (8.7 ppg), who is shooting better from three-point range (.448) than he is the floor (.385), is topping the list of rebounders with almost six and a half per game. Defensively, this group has held the opposition to just 61.7 ppg this season.
The Warriors are certainly playing better on the road this year, but if Montana is able to keep the game low-scoring then the visitors could be in for some trouble tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana 65, Hawaii 58
02/18 10:32:29 ET