GAME NOTES: A couple of Big West Conference teams with identical league marks take the floor at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu tonight, as the Long Beach State 49ers clash with the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.
The Rainbow Warriors have rattled off three straight wins and are now 3-2 in conference play after conquering a couple of Golden State foes last week. Hawaii first took down UC Davis in convincing fashion a week ago, 90-73, but then had to go to overtime in order to defeat UC Irvine at the Bren Events Center, 90-86, over the weekend.
Now a decent 3-2 in true road dates this season, the Rainbow Warriors still perform far better out on the island in their own facility where they are 10-2 in 2013-14.
As for the 49ers, a team which won the season opener against Hawaii Pacific but then proceeded to drop nine in a row, they've rebounded nicely to generate six wins in the last nine counters. Over the weekend, LBSU captured a 76-62 victory versus Cal State Northridge in order to match Hawaii in the league standings.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the 49ers are holding on to a 7-6 advantage.
In a game that featured eight ties and seven lead changes, the 49ers fought back from a seven-point deficit in the first half to defeat Cal State Northridge by 14 at the Walter Pyramid last weekend. Mike Caffey accounted for a game-high 23 points, Dan Jennings registered a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyler Lamb delivered 10 points as the team survived just 3-of-20 shooting behind the 3-point line.
Caffey, who has the most starting experience of any player this season for a team that hasn't had a single person start all 19 outings, checks in with not only 16.5 ppg, but also a team-best 81 assists, not to mention 4.5 rpg. However, all of that good work still should not overshadow the fact that he has shot only 60.9 percent at the free-throw line. Lamb is good for another 16.1 ppg, which means the pair combines for almost half of the team's 66.7 ppg on the season.
Isaac Fotu scored 30 points, shooting 13-of-16 from the floor, as the Rainbow Warriors survived in overtime against UC Irvine on Saturday night. Garrett Nevels contributed 19 points, although he shot just 1-of-6 behind the 3-point line for the Rainbow Warriors, while Keith Shamburger produced a double-double consisting of 17 points and 11 assists. Also scoring in double figures for the visitors were Christian Standhardinger and Brandon Spearman with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Rather stunningly, the Rainbow Warriors didn't get a single point from the reserves.
Standhardinger, who is shooting just 24.1 percent beyond the arc these days, continues to pace the program in scoring (18.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg), but as Fotu showed the last time out, he too can take over a game when given the chance. After 19 contests, Fotu checks in with 14.9 ppg and 6.3 rpg and has combined with Standhardinger to deliver 37 of the unit's 84 blocked shots. Throw in Nevels (14.4 ppg) and Spearman (11.5 ppg) and it is easy to see how this group generates 82.7 ppg.
When everything is clicking on all cylinders, the offense for the Rainbow Warriors is tough to beat. As long as Standhardinger and Fotu control the paint, there's no reason to think Hawaii cannot rule at home once again.
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