The Hawaii men’s basketball team will have a different starting lineup again Thursday night vs. league leader UC Davis.
Shooting guard Garrett Nevels returns to the lineup from a three-game absence, while Stefan Jankovic and Stefan Jovanovic are making their second straight starts coming off the 66-62 loss at UC Riverside.
Forward Mike Thomas and swingman Negus Webster-Chan are shifting to the bench. Thomas sprained a thumb at Riverside, though he is available to play, as is Webster-Chan.
Watch out for Davis senior Corey Hawkins. He’s averaging 27.8 points on nearly 60 percent shooting in four previous games against UH. He’s hit an absurd 18 of 23 3-point attempts in those games — this coming from a guy who wasn’t known as a strong 3-point shooter until this season.
For Davis, this is an opportunity at another statement win, as well as a chance to set a Division I program record for wins in a season (15). They’re still the underdog on betting lines in this game, so it’s clear the Aggies still have work to do to prove themselves Big West title favorites.
UH likewise can’t afford to drop too many more at home if the Rainbow Warriors entertain thoughts of a top-four seed in the conference tournament. A split this week would be livable against UCD and UC Irvine, but two would be better. No easy task, though.
Look for Aaron Valdes to go for a bounce-back game from his two-point outing at UCR.