HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team seeks its third straight win when it hosts Utah Valley on Sunday. Tipoff is 5:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Warriors have won six of its seven at home this season, including a pair of double-digit wins over Prairie View A&M and UH Hilo to begin its current homestand. Redshirt freshman Drew Buggs was the leading scorer in both those games, including a season-high 17 points against Prairie View A&M.
UH and Utah Valley will meet for the first-time ever. The Wolverines hail from the Western Athletic Conference, which UH was formerly a part of for 33 seasons (1979-2012). This will be the second squad from Utah that UH will face in a two-week span. The ‘Bows lost at the University of Utah, 80-60, on Dec. 2.
Following its game against Utah Valley, UH will host the ninth annual Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, opening up with nationally-ranked Miami.
Hawaii: Senior forward Gibson Johnson will face two of his former teammates from a Salt Lake Community College squad that won the 2016 junior college national championship: junior guard Conner Toolson and his younger brother, sophomore guard McKay Johnson…junior forward Jack Purchase ranks eighth nationally in assists-turnover ratio (4.83-1)…Purchase has 29 assists to just six turnovers this season…UH received one vote in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll…UH is 6-1 at home this year and 9-2 in its last 11 homes games dating back to last season…six of UH’s eight games have been decided by double-figures, including the last five contests…UH’s two losses this year are against Nevada and Utah, who are a combined 15-4 on the season…UH leads the Big West in assists at 14.8 per game…a total of 60 percent of the team’s field goals have been assisted…UH has out-rebounded six of its first eight opponents, including a +12 advantage in each of the last two contests…the UH bench has contributed no less than 25 points in each of the last six games.
Utah Valley: After dropping its first two games at Kentucky and at Duke, the Wolverines have won six of their last eight games…Utah Valley will host Bethesda on Thursday before traveling to the islands this weekend…the team is led by 7-0 senior center Akolda Manyang, an Oklahoma transfer who leads the team with 15.7 ppg and 9.7 rpg…four others average double-digits for a squad that averages 78.8 ppg and shoots 48.9% from the floor.