Guess which Big West team owns the longest active winning streak against Hawaii at the Stan Sheriff Center?
That would be UC Riverside, tonight’s opponent.
Improbably, the down-on-their-luck Highlanders (5-17, 0-8 BWC) look to make it three straight here against the Rainbow Warriors (13-8, 4-4), who’ve hit relative hard times themselves in the last week and a half, having lost three straight. UH is favored by 11.
UCR, though, has been without its best player in Dikymbe Martin for the last five games, and he’s out for a sixth straight because of an unspecified violation of team rules (he did not make the trip). Meanwhile, center Alex Larsson is day to day with an ankle injury.
Those two were instrumental in UCR’s six-point win here last year, so it’ll be interesting to see who they turn to. DJ Sylvester and Chance Murray figure to be the other top options.
UH is looking for a much-improved performance in the realms of rebounding and defense. Over their losing streak, they’ve allowed 60-plus FG% in a game (to Cal State Fullerton) and were outrebounded by 17 in another (at Cal Poly). So, that’s not good.
This just in: UH is shaking up its starting lineup, with Brocke Stepteau and Leland Green in the backcourt, Samuta Avea on the wing, and Jack Purchase and Zigmars Raimo up front. Of those, only Green and Stepteau have started lately. Raimo and Avea are making their first career starts.
The last conference opponents to win three straight years at Hawaii are Idaho (2010, 2011, 2012) and Utah State (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).