Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Leave the Islands for Big West Tilt at UC Davis Aggies

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The road has not been kind to the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors this season despite only playing seven road games. But that’s to be expected, what team wouldn’t want a trip to Hawaii to play some ball? The Warriors are just 3-4 on the road as they head to Northern California for a critical two-game road trip beginning tonight, with a Big West match-up against the UC Davis Aggies.

Hawaii has won five straight, the longest winning streak for the program since it began 2004-05 with eight straight wins. UC Davis has alternated wins and losses over their previous six, having lost the last to Cal Poly.

Hawaii’s struggles on the road are as evident as any team in the country. They haven’t won by more than five points on the road and all three wins came in their last road trip. Every team struggles at times on the road, it’s a way of life in college basketball–Hawaii has a built in excuse, they travel more than any team in the country. They don’t use the excuse.

For the ‘Bows, Christian Standhardinger continues to shine, scoring twenty points in each of the previous two games and thanks to 22 rebounds over the same span, he’s tied for the team lead in rebounds with big man Vander Joaquim at 8.1 per game. These two help make the Rainbow Warriors one of the best rebounding teams in college basketball, something UC Davis will have to find an answer for, as the Aggies average six less rebounds per game.

The Aggies have another answer. He’s the main reason they went into Honolulu on January 20th and won by 11. His name is Corey Hawkins, and he’s an absolute stud. He dropped 40 on the ‘Bows in the previous meeting on 10-14 shooting (8-9 from three) and 12-12 at the line. He grabbed 12 boards for good measure. Hawkins averages 19.2 points per game, tops in the Big West. The nine three-point attempts in the last meeting were his most in a game this year, so he’s not really a perimeter threat–he only shoots 33.8%  from three-point range. He’s deadly at the free throw line as well, making 88 percent.

The Aggies are more than a one-man show. They shoot 47 percent from the floor as a team (31st in Division I) thanks to J.T. Adenrele (12.3 ppg, 57.6 FG%)  and Ryan Sypkens (14.5 ppg, 48.1 FG%). UC Davis has no problem putting points on the board (71.5 ppg) but they sometimes have a hard time defending, allowing 73.4 ppg.

The home team is favored even though they’re only 2-8 on Thursdays this season. Look for the visitors to notch their sixth-straight win and even their road record at 4-4. Hawaii is just a better team, and it’ll be hard for Hawkins to repeat his 40-point night from a month ago.

Hau’oli La Aloha. Or Happy Love Day.

Follow Ryan Darcy on Twitter @Ryan_D_Rants

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