GAME NOTES: The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors try to end their trip to the mainland on a positive note tonight, as they visit the Matadors of Cal State Northridge for a Big West Conference showdown.
Sporting an 11-3 record coming into this week, with nine of those victories coming at home in the Stan Sheriff Center, the Rainbow Warriors figured to be moving in the right direction. However, on Thursday night the squad was tripped up by Cal Poly in the conference opener, 77-65.
As for the Matadors, they too were in action two nights ago, but in their case they delivered an 89-77 win against visiting UC Davis in order to move to 6-1 at home on the campaign. The victory served to snap a minor two-game slide against the likes of South Dakota and Stephen F. Austin.
Hawaii leads the all-time series by a 7-2 count, but on the mainland the Rainbow Warriors are just 2-1. In March of last season, CSUN snapped a three- game series slide with an 88-75 victory at home.
Against Cal Poly Thursday night, the Rainbow Warriors shot just 4-of-19 behind the 3-point line and turned the ball over 14 times during the loss. Garrett Nevels led the offense with 16 points and Christian Standhardinger produced 15 points, but the pair also accounted for half the unit's miscues. Isaac Fotu dropped in 13 points and pulled down a team-best seven rebounds, while Quincy Smith pitched in with seven points and as many assists.
Standhardinger, a starter in all 15 games for Hawaii, continues to lead the team in both scoring and rebounding with averages of 17.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per outing, and thankfully he didn't take a single shot from 3-point range in the conference opener, seeing as how he is just 26.1 percent accurate on the outside. Nevels (13.8 ppg) and Fotu (13.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) are also key factors in the team producing 80.9 ppg, even though Hawaii fell far short of that standard versus Cal Poly.
In addition to shooting 62.0 percent from the field for the game against UC Davis, the Matadors also knocked down 5-of-12 beyond the arc and a near- perfect 22-of-23 at the free-throw line in their double-digit win. Stephen Maxwell, who hit all 10 of his chances at the stripe, came up with 26 points, Josh Greene posted 22 points and six assists, followed by Stephan Hicks with 17 points, while Drew Landon tacked on eight points and nine of the unit's 24 dishes.
A 55.2 percent shooter from the floor over the course of 16 games, Hicks leads the Matadors in scoring overall with 17.6 ppg, but following close behind is Maxwell with his 17.1 ppg as he connects on an even more impressive 60 percent from the floor. Greene, who is shooting better from 3-point range (.476) than he is the field (.434), checks in with another 15.2 ppg as the trip accounts for the bulk of the team's 76.1 ppg.
If Hicks and Maxwell are again able to get off uncontested shots and the Matadors continue their parade to the free-throw line they'll be tough to beat tonight. With Hawaii consistently having issues away from home, again the odds are against the Rainbow Warriors.
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