GAME NOTES: The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors continue their four-game homestand at the Stan Sheriff Center tonight, as they clash with the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in Big West Conference play.
Through the first two games of this run in Honolulu, the Rainbow Warriors have earned a split, with a 77-63 win over Cal State Northridge last Saturday night being the most recent result. With the victory, the program has won four of the last five overall and is now 4-3 in league play.
Meanwhile, the Gauchos entered the week tied with UC Irvine and Long Beach State for the top spot in the conference standings at 5-2. UCSB has won two straight and five of the last six contests overall, the lone setback being an overtime affair with UC Riverside (68-65) on the road. Last Saturday saw the squad take down UC Davis rather convincingly, 82-67, at home.
In terms of the all-time series between these two programs, Hawaii is ahead by a 6-4 margin.
Alan Williams was the star of the show for the Gauchos against UC Davis last weekend as he registered a massive double-double consisting of 27 points and a career-high 20 rebounds, adding four assists and a couple of blocked shots for good measure in the triumph. Also scoring in double figures were Kyle Boswell and Michael Bryson with 15 and 11 points, respectively, as the squad shot 53.7 percent from the field and watched the visitors make good on a mere 13-of-25 at the free-throw line.
While Williams grabbed the spotlight with his 20-20 game, the first such performance by a UCSB player since Eric McArthur way back in 1990, the Gauchos were also pleased to see the first-ever regular-season appearance by John Green who has been beset with multiple injuries since joining the program in 2011-12. Green played just seven minutes off the bench and finished with two points and three rebounds, but it's clear that his presence is something the team has been looking forward to for quite some time.
Still, this is a team that lives and dies with the exploits of Williams, one of only a handful of players nationally who is averaging a double-double with his 23.3 points and 11.1 rebounds per contest.
Hawaii shot only 5-of-24 beyond the arc and a disappointing 14-of-22 at the free-throw line against Cal State Northridge last Saturday, but that was still good enough for the hosts to bring home the double-digit win. Isaac Fotu tallied 20 points and eight rebounds, followed by Brandon Spearman with 15 points and a similar effort on the glass, while Garrett Nevels chipped in 15 points and four assists.
Christian Standhardinger, who produced only six points and five rebounds in the most recent outing, has had a number of sub par games, at least by his standards, in recent weeks. Nevertheless, Standhardinger is still first on the team in both scoring and rebounding on the season with 17.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg, while Fotu checks in with 15.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg, the latter also leading the conference and placing high nationally with his impressive 62.2 percent shooting from the floor.
Scoring 82.4 ppg on the season, the Warriors have had some high-scoring outings, but the two biggest ones came against competition outside of Division I, which is why this is another game that should be a bit too close for comfort.
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