Hawaii men’s basketball: Rainbow Warriors seek streak-buster

Hawaii’s head coach Eran Ganot furiously yelled at a referee on a foul call during UH game vs. Long Beach State on Feb. 12. / Photo by Andrew Lee, Special to the Star-Advrtiser

Will it be tonight?

That’s what the Hawaii men’s basketball team has to be asking itself heading into Thursday night’s nationally televised battle with similarly skidding UC Riverside at SRC Arena.

Or — perhaps the Rainbow Warriors are telling themselves something to the effect of “it will be tonight.”

UPDATE: UH got its streak-buster in dramatic fashion, beating UC Riverside 56-55 after squandering a 17-point second-half lead.

The Rainbows’ four-game losing streak has hung over them like a storm cloud for the last two weeks. First, there was the disappointing road trip to the Central Coast of California. Then there was the perplexing home loss to then-last-place Long Beach State.

On this plus side, UH is now back to full health with the return of Samuta Avea and Bernardo da Silva, though that did not allow it to overcome UC Irvine in a 70-63 loss at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday.

At this moment, it’s hard to believe UH was 5-1 and tied with Irvine for first at the start of February.

So now Eran Ganot’s group heads into SRC as a 2-point underdog to the Highlanders, who’ve also lost four straight, for the 6 p.m. contest on ESPNU. Somebody’s picking up No. 5 in a row, while someone else busts their slide.

Should UH stumble again, it will have matched its longest losing streak of the Ganot era.

Longest losing streaks under Ganot:
>> 5 games, Jan-Feb 2018 — Cal State Fullerton (66-69); at UC Santa Barbara (82-84, OT); at Cal Poly (64-78); UC Riverside (60-64); Cal State Northridge (71-77).
>> 4, Dec 2016 — vs. Seton Hall (57-68); vs. Princeton (62-75); Illinois State (45-71); Utah (52-66).
>> 4, Feb 2020 — at Cal Poly (75-79); at UC Santa Barbara (66-76); Long Beach State (49-50); UC Irvine (63-70).
>> 3, March 2017 — at UC Davis (59-68); at Long Beach State (75-84); vs. Long Beach State (62-73).
>> 3, Nov 2018 — vs. Seton Hall (54-64); vs. Fresno State (64-79); at UCLA (61-80).
>> 3, Feb-March 2019 — at UC Santa Barbara (61-79); at Cal Poly (80-88); CSUN (73-84).

As you can see, there haven’t been many extended streaks of the bad kind in Ganot’s five seasons, making the current one pretty remarkable. On average, UH has undergone one of three games or longer a little more than once per season.

Over its losing streak, UH is averaging 63.25 points, compared to 72.75 over the four wins that preceded it. It is shooting only .397 from the field over the skid, compared to .441 during the winning streak. Leading scorer Eddie Stansberry has been locked down over the last four, with just 10.75 points per game, compared to 17.0 during the winning streak.

This post will be updated.