UH Notebook: Warrior basketball hosts defending Big West champs


HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team will play host to a Big West Conference showdown today against defending league champion Long Beach State.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Stan Sheriff Center, and the game will be televised live statewide on OCSports.

The Rainbow Warriors (14-5 overall, 3-2 Big West) are on a three-game win streak including a rare two-game road sweep at UC Davis and UC Irvine last week. Long Beach State (7-12, 3-2) is coming off a 76-62 home victory over Cal State Northridge, which edged Hawaii, 79-78, Jan. 11. The 49ers also notched a 63-62 road win at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where the Rainbow Warriors were beaten, 77-65, Jan. 9.

Long Beach State’s 10 nonconference losses came against name-brand programs Arizona, Loyola Marymount, Kansas State (twice), Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth, Washington, Creighton, North Carolina State and Missouri. The 49ers defeated USC, 72-71, and won at Nevada, 80-77, in overtime.

UH and Long Beach State are tied with UC Santa Barbara for third place in the Big West standings, just one game behind first-place UC Irvine (4-1).

Rainbow Warriors junior point guard Keith Shamburger was named Big West Player of the Week after scoring 17 points and dishing out 11 assists in the victory at UC Irvine, during which he banked in a game-tying 3-point shot as time expired in regulation. He has 21 assists and only three turnovers in his past three games.

Sophomore forward Isaac Fotu scored a career-high 30 points at UC Irvine, making 13 of 16 field goals, and now ranks sixth in the nation in field goal percentage at 61.6 percent. Junior shooting guard Garrett Nevels added 19 points, including the go-ahead basket in overtime.

Hawaii will continue its home stand Saturday with a 7 p.m. game vs. Cal State Northridge (10-11, 2-4). That game also will be televised statewide on OCSports.

WAHINE HIT ROAD: The UH women’s basketball team, meanwhile, is at Long Beach State today for the first of four straight road games over the next 10 days.

The Rainbow Wahine (10-7 overall, 4-1 Big West) are on a four-game win streak including a home sweep of UC Davis and UC Irvine last week. The win streak is Hawaii’s longest since the 2006-2007 season and the 4-1 conference start is the best since the 1999-2000 campaign.

Senior post Kamilah Jackson continues to lead the way by averaging 16.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, followed by senior forward Shawna-Lei Kuehu (10.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Ashleigh Karaitiana (10.4 ppg).

Long Beach State (10-9, 2-3) is coming off a 77-54 loss at Cal State Northridge, a team the Rainbow Wahine defeated, 54-44, on Jan. 12.

UH has a rematch at CSUN (8-12, 4-2) on Saturday.

WOMEN’S WATER POLO OPENS SEASON: The Rainbow Wahine water polo team opens its season Thursday at Santa Clara, followed by a road match at Cal State East Bay on Friday and matches vs. UC Irvine, Stanford and UC Davis at the Stanford Invitational on Saturday and Sunday.

Hawaii, ranked No. 7 in the nation by the Collegiate Water Polo Association, returns 11 lettermen from last year’s team which won the Big West championship and advanced to the NCAA semifinals. Among the returnees is redshirt freshman attacker Kiana Krzyska, a 2012 Kamehameha-Hawaii graduate from Kurtistown.

WARRIOR SPIKERS BEGIN ROAD SCHEDULE: The UH men’s volleyball team begins its 2014 road schedule with a pair of matches at UC Santa Barbara today and Friday.

The Rainbow Warriors are 5-2 overall, 3-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation after a home sweep of UC San Diego. UC Santa Barbara is 3-2 and 2-2 coming off a five-set home loss to UC Irvine last Saturday.

UH fell one spot to No. 11 in this week’s AVCA poll; UC Santa Barbara also dropped one spot, to No. 9.