Hawaii’s marathon road trip is finally coming to an end.
Can the Rainbow Warriors close it out with an ESPNU-televised win at UC Santa Barbara on Saturday? It would move fourth-place UH (16-8, 4-4 Big West) to an impressive 3-1 on its four-game odyssey through California.
UH seems to have caught a break with Alan Williams still shelved with a shoulder injury. He certainly changes the complexion of the game, as we saw two years ago when he missed the UH-UCSB game at the Thunderdome with another injury. Christian Standhardinger went off in points (31) and rebounds (16), while Vander Joaquim also posted a double-double.
Last year was a different story, as Standhardinger was held to 18 and seven and Isaac Fotu was ineffective with Williams throwing his weight around.
And, of course, there was the well-publicized fan incident. A UCSB student (since banned from the arena) ran up to Gib Arnold during a dead ball and got in the coach’s face. UH players showed a good deal of restraint in pushing the idiot away.
The fifth-place Gauchos (10-11, 3-4) are 2-2 without Williams, but are coming off losses at UC Davis and UC Irvine in which they were also hit hard by the flu bug. They should be back to something closer to full health and playing with a desperate edge.