Warriors in rare underdog role at Northridge

Hawai’i center Bernardo da Silva, who scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Warriors’ 78-67 victory at Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday, is expected to play a big role again Saturday at CSUN. (Brandon Flores Photography file photo)

It’s not often that the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team enters a game at Cal State Northridge as the underdog, but that is expected to be the case on Saturday when the Warriors continue their first Big West Conference road trip with a visit to CSUN.

Different prognosticators have presented the Matadors as 1- or 1.5-point favorites in the matchup, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. (Hawai’i time) and will be shown via livestream for subscribers on ESPN+. The game also will be broadcast live via radio by ESPN Honolulu 1420AM.

UH is 10-4 in games at Northridge, including four straight victories, and the past two wins came by an average of 24 points. Last year’s 26-point win marked the biggest margin of victory in school history for a Big West road game.

But this time the Matadors are 11-3 overall and 2-0 in league play under new coach Andy Newman, including a stunning 76-72 non-conference win at UCLA on Dec. 19. CSUN is coming off an 84-68 victory at Long Beach State last Saturday, with returnee Dionte Bostick scoring a game-high 21 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists, and newcomer Keonte Jones adding 18 points, 10 boards, five assists and four steals.

Returnee De’Sean Allen-Eikens and Fresno State transfer Jordan Brinson each contributed seven rebounds and 14 and 10 points, respectively, and yet another first-year Matador, Mahmoud Fofana, added 11 points and six boards.

“They do have some good returners … and they added some pieces,” Warriors coach Eran Ganot said. “Those guys who returned have made a jump. Look at their balance at both ends, and you can see why they’ve gotten off to a great start. Their offensive numbers, their defensive numbers, their rebounding numbers are good across the board, and that usually leads to success. They’re 11-3, and it’s a byproduct of all that.”

Hawai’i (9-5, 1-1 Big West) is coming off a 78-67 victory at Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday, led by point guard JoVon McClanahan’s 19 points and five assists, with Bernard da Silva adding 18 points and eight rebounds. Justin McKoy also had 18 points, and Noel Coleman added 11 points and six boards.

Ganot said the Warriors needed to shift gears quickly in preparation for CSUN, which is well rested.

“We gotta win the turnaround — our 48 hours have to be better than their one week,” Ganot said. “Our guys are pretty professional and excited about the opportunity.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Theme Blog Explorer by Kantipur Themes