Gameday: at UC Riverside

Some early morning road relief arrived for Hawaii in the form of point guard Roderick Bobbitt.

Bobbitt was cleared to play late Wednesday, made it to the mainland this morning and rejoined the Rainbow Warriors (13-2, 2-0 Big West) in the Inland Empire, well in time to play tonight against UC Riverside (9-9, 0-2). The 5 p.m. (HST) game will be streamed on ESPN3.

Amazingly, it is UH’s first road game since playing at Texas Tech on Nov. 28.

It’ll be interesting to see how much coach Eran Ganot employs his top playmaker today. Bobbitt missed out on some recent practices, but he remains the single most important factor in team success.

Don’t expect leading scorer Aaron Valdes to give it a go on his turf toe today. As of Tuesday, he wasn’t yet planting and running. Saturday against Fullerton might be possible, but even that would seem to be pretty fast to play again.

Riverside prevailed at SRC Arena last year, 66-62, in what was the Highlanders’ first Big West defeat of the Rainbow Warriors. The tandem of Taylor Johns and Jaylen Bland was actually pretty quiet in that one (22 combined points), but Steven Thornton (now departed) scored 22 of his own as well, including a 12-for-13 effort at the line.

Despite the 0-2 start to conference play (including a staggering collapse at home against Fullerton), Riverside believes it is still on an upswing as a program.

A win today for the Rainbows would qualify as a quality one, given the uncertainty with Valdes and Bobbitt leading into it.