The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team is still in the thick of the Big West Conference race, but they’ve hit a big bump in the road with three consecutive losses. Just a week ago, the Rainbow Warriors were just a half-game behind league leader UC Irvine. Now, however, they’re in a three-way tie for second place. With seven games remaining, there’s still time to right the ship. A win tomorrow night against Irvine would go a long way in getting back on track. Here’s a look at some statistical trends and notes heading into the match-up against the Anteaters:
COMING UP SHORT: After going 4-0 in games decided by five or fewer points, the Rainbow Warriors have lost their last two close contests: 75-79 to Cal Poly and 49-50 to Long Beach State. Perhaps more disturbingly, Cal Poly and Long Beach State are two of the weaker teams in the Big West, going a combined 7-11 in the conference (15-33 overall).
ELITE EIGHT: So far this season, eight different Rainbow Warriors have led the team in scoring: Eddie Stansberry, Drew Buggs, Zigmars Raimo, Samuta Avea, Justin Webster, Justin Hemsley, Bernardo da Silva and Dawson Carper.
OFF MARK: Hawaii is on a three-game losing streak. In those games, the team’s FG percentage has been a woeful 38 percent. (Their season average is 43.5 percent.) The team’s three-point percentage for the past three games is 27.5 percent, well below heir season average of 34 percent.
STEADY EDDIE: ESPN Honolulu’s Gary Dickman likes to refer to UH guard Eddie Stansberry as “Steady Eddie.” For the most part, the nickname rings true: The senior sharpshooter has recorded 11 games with 20 or more points, including a career high of 28 points against Portland State. Last season, Stansberry only had two games of 20-plus points.
MISSING ’MUTA: Hawaii has gone 2-3 without small forward Samuta Avea, the team’s second-leading scorer (11.1 points per game) and second-leading three-point shooter (32 on the season).
COMING ON STRONG: After averaging 7.3 points per game before the start of Big West Conference play, freshman guard Justin Webster has noticeably upped his game. In nine conference games, Webster has averaged 10.3 points per game.
WEARING DOWN?: Point guard Drew Buggs has played all 40 minutes in four of the last five games. And in that fifth game, Buggs played 44 out of a possible 45 minutes (an overtime road loss to Cal Poly). This season, Buggs is averaging 35.3 minutes per game. The team leader in minutes is Stansberry (37.1).
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