‘Bows Big West title defense begins Thursday at Cal St. Fullerton

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HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team (6-7) begins defense of its Big West title when it opens conference play on the road at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, January 5. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. HT at Titan Gym.

The game at Fullerton (6-7) will mark UH’s first road contest of the year. All 13 of UH’s non-conference games were on O’ahu (11 at Stan Sheriff Center, two at Bloch Arena). UH was 7-1 in Big West road games last year, and tied a program record for “true” road wins for a single-season.

The Rainbow Warriors’ road success helped fuel them to the Big West regular-season (13-3) and tournament titles last year. It was a program-first on both fronts since UH joined the conference in 2012-13.

The ‘Bows will now defend their title with nearly an entirely new roster. Just three players –Sheriff Drammeh, Brocke Stepteau, and Zach Buscher – were active members of last year’s championship squad.

Following its game at Fullerton, UH will take on UC Irvine (7-9) on Saturday, January 7. The Anteaters shared the Big West regular-season title with UH last year.Game 14 Tipoff Notes

Television: ESPN3. Trent Rush (PxP) and Richie Schueler (color)Streaming Video:WatchESPN.com

Radio: ESPN 1420 AM. Bobby Curran (PxP).Streaming Audio:espn1420am.comLive Stats: FullertonTitans.com

Twitter: @HawaiiMBB #HawaiiMBB

Coaches: Eran Ganot is in his second season at UH (34-13). Dedrique Taylor is in his fourth season at CSF (36-69).

About Cal State Fullerton: The Titans hold an identical record as UH and have won three of their last four….CSF was picked sixth in the preseason media poll…CSF is led by the backcourt of Tre’ Coggins (20.4 ppg) and Khalil Ahmad (16.5 ppg), both all-Big West HM picks last year…Coggins leads the league in scoring, while Ahmad made his return to the lineup two games ago.

Series Information: UH leads, 7-2

Bow Bits: UH is tops in the Big West and 43rd in the nation in scoring defense (64.5) and also leads the conference in turnovers forced (14.8)…the ‘Bows are undefeated in nine Big West meetings against the Titans (eight regular season, one tournament game)…sophomore forwardJack Purchase has been the team’s leading scorer in the last three games, averaging 17.0 ppg while going 13-of-28 from behind the arc…in its last defense of a regular season conference title, UH finished in a tie for fifth in the WAC in 2003 (9-9).

#HawaiiMBB

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