Hawaii men’s basketball: Rarity for UH, Big West as home game vs. UC Irvine picked up on ESPN2

The Stan Sheriff Center court will play host to an ESPN-televised Big West Conference game for the first time on Feb. 15. / Star-Advertiser file photo by Jamm Aquino

It’s a regular occurrence for a Hawaii basketball Big West road game to get picked up on Fox Sports Prime Ticket, ESPN3, ESPNU, or even once in a while, ESPN2.

But Big West home games? That’s never happened — until Tuesday.

UH announced its marquee home game against Big West co-leader UC Irvine on Feb. 15 will be broadcast on ESPN2, marking the first time in UH’s eight years of Big West membership a conference game at the Stan Sheriff Center is being picked up by the Worldwide Leader.

Game time remains at 7 p.m.

“I think it’s a statement,” coach Eran Ganot said. “This is a great opportunity for this group. … We’ve been talking for some time about getting our first home conference game on national television again. To have that is a credit to a lot of work and sacrifice and a team effort.”

Kanoa Leahey, who would’ve been on the call for Spectrum Sports, has been tabbed for play by play for the national matchup with a color analyst to be determined. Leahey has regularly done several games a year for ESPN, including during the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic but also on the mainland.

UH and UCI are currently tied atop the standings at 4-1, although the Anteaters beat the Rainbow Warriors 74-60 at the Bren Events Center on Jan. 11. UH is coming off a momentous last-second win over UC Davis on Saturday thanks to Eddie Stansberry’s corner 3-pointer in front of a season-high crowd of more than 4,600.

Former Rainbow Warriors Fabulous Fiver and former head coach Bob Nash will have his jersey retired at the game.

It’s believed to be the first UH regular-season home game — not including Diamond Head Classic, and the ESPN College Hoops Tip-off Marathon games that ended a few years ago — to be broadcast on one of the primary ESPN channels in at least 15 years, perhaps 20 or even more.

“That was great news. Our team got really hyped,” senior forward Zigmars Raimo said. That was the first in 20 years, or something like that. It’s been a while since a conference game has been televised (here). And I think we deserve it. We were working pretty hard and we are in first place in the Big West right now. People are excited to see us. That’s what we live for, that’s what we work so hard for. … Can’t wait for that game as just a challenge to UC Irvine.”


  1. Warrior Lifer January 29, 2020 7:56 am

    Wow, crazy to believe that UH has never played a home game on an ESPN network in that long. Huge opportunity for them. But they can’t look ahead, they have to stay focused and take care of business until the UCI game to stay atop the standings.

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