Hawaii (11-3) at Cal Poly (4-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mott Athletics Center (3,032) -- San Luis Obispo, California. Television: None. Home Record: Hawaii 9-2, Cal Poly 3-1. Away Record: Hawaii 1-0, Cal Poly 0-7. Neutral Record: Hawaii 1-1, Cal Poly 1-1. Conference Record: Hawaii 0-0, Cal Poly 0-0. Series Record: Cal Poly leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors kick off their Big West Conference schedule on the mainland tonight, as they challenge the Cal Poly Mustangs at the Mott Athletics Center.
Hawaii, which has played all but three games at home thus far, is playing a true road game for just the second time in 2013-14. The team is currently enjoying a four-game win streak and has won nine of the last 10 overall, thanks in part to a 77-73 victory over Nebraska Omaha last week at the Stan Sheriff Center.
As for the Mustangs, they are heading in the opposite direction as they drag a four-game losing streak into this meeting. The team has actually won only once against another Division I foe since the end of November, taking down Santa Clara on Dec. 7. Last weekend, the squad paid a visit to the University of Delaware and was turned away by the Blue Hens in an 82-72 final.
The Mustangs lead the all-time series by a count of 4-1, taking a massive 88-59 decision at home last year in what was the most lopsided game of the season for the Rainbow Warriors.
The most recent meeting was far more competitive, a 64-61 final in Honolulu during the first week of March.
With eight ties and seven lead changes, the meeting with Omaha was far tighter than the Rainbow Warriors would have hoped last week, but still the hosts came out on top even as they shot a dismal 2-of-16 behind the 3-point line and just 39.7 percent from the field overall. Isaac Fotu erupted for 26 points, one of four starters in double figures, followed by Garrett Nevels with 12 points and Keith Shamburger 10. Christian Standhardinger produced a double-double with the requisite 10 points and 10 rebounds. helping the hosts to a 44-34 rebounding advantage.
Standhardinger, a career 16.4 ppg scorer, is the overall leading point producer for the program with 17.8 ppg, not to mention the top rebounder with 7.4 rpg, which is more than enough reason for him to remain in the paint and not out on the perimeter where he has converted just 26.1 percent of his 3- point tries. Nevels (13.6 ppg), Fotu (13.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Brandon Spearman (11.0 ppg) help to push the offense to an impressive 82.0 ppg.
The Mustangs traveled to the other side of the country last Saturday, only to be outscored by Delaware at the free-throw line by a substantial 32-10 margin, en route to the double-digit loss. Anthony Silvestri managed to produce 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting behind the 3-point line, followed by Kyle Odister with 12 points, but that was it for Cal Poly's double-digit scorers.
Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Chris Eversley scored eight points and pulled down six rebounds, not to mention turning the ball over five times versus the Blue Hens. For the season, Eversley is first in both scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg) for the Mustangs, and should make more of an effort to remain in the paint where he is much more effective than when he is letting loose with 3-point shots that connect at only a 29.2 percent clip.
As a team, Cal Poly is shooting only 29.7 percent from the outside and is scoring 64.9 ppg, which means as long as Hawaii controls the tempo, victory should belong to the Rainbow Warriors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 84, Cal Poly 71
01/09 10:33:53 ET