MANOA — The University of Hawai‘i men’s basketball team proved capable of competing with the Big West elite by splitting a conference series with UC Irvine last Friday and Saturday, handing the Anteaters their first conference loss.
By splitting the series with the Anteaters (9-5, 5-1), the ‘Bows moved up in the conference standings.
Hawai‘i (5-5 overall, 3-5 BWC) is now one step closer to moving to the middle of the Big West Conference standings as they get ready to host the Cal Poly Mustangs today and Saturday at 7 p.m. at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.
Hawai‘i’s series with the Mustangs was originally scheduled for Dec. 27 and 28, but was postponed because of COVID-19 issues.
Movin’ on up
A clean sweep would solidify the ‘Bows in the middle of the BWC pack.
Statistically speaking, the odds are in Hawai‘i’s favor, as the Mustangs have lost seven of their eight BWC games.
Cal Poly has only won three of all the games they’ve played.
Hawai‘i also has the historical edge over Cal Poly.
The ‘Bows have won eight of its last 11 meetings, including the previous five victories.
Another advantage Hawai‘i will have is that they are coming off a dramatic, 62-61, overtime victory over UC Irvine, a game in which the ‘Bows came from behind to erase a 10-point deficit.
Hawai‘i also overcame a significant height disadvantage to the Anteaters to stay close in both games.
One reason Hawai‘i has been able to compete against teams that have a definitive size advantage is simple: they can shoot the three-point basket.
The Bows’ currently rank 33rd nationally in three-point field-goal percentage.
The Mustangs have struggled with shooting from long distance this year, ranking 308th nationally in three-point shooting accuracy.
Shutting down Mustangs’ main weapon
Cal Poly is not loaded offensively, and the statistics proves it.
The Mustangs have only one player averaging in double digits, and that is Alimamy Koroma. He is averaging 11.9 points per game with five rebounds, and is shooting 43.7% from the floor. He is the team’s primary weapon.
Guards Colby Rogers and Mark Crowe are combining for 17 points a game.
In contrast, UH has plenty of players who are significant contributors, with four averaging double figures in points.
Guards Justin Webster and James Jean-Marie lead the team in scoring, averaging a combined nearly 25 points per game.
The supporting cast includes guard Junior Madut and forward Casdon Jardine.
Madut and Jardine average a combined 21 points.
After this series, the ‘Bows are scheduled to play University of California Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. next Friday and at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.