Rainbow Warriors set to tip-off Big West play

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Warrior basketball team ended non-conference play on a high-note with a 84-59 win over Howard, hoping this will put a disappointing Diamond Head Classic behind them, building momentum for Big West Conference play.

"We pride ourselves on being good after a loss, we're 4-0 after a loss so we're trying to stay the ship with this (Long Beach) game," said forward Jack Purchase. "Get ourselves playing right going into conference, that was our main focus."

Purchase led the way for the 'Bows in Friday's routing of the Bison (3-13), scoring a team-high of 22 points with two assists. Along with Purchase, there were four other Warrior players that scored in double-digits.

This was a glimpse of what this team could be, and something head coach Eran Ganot hopes to expand upon for their conference games.

"Overall we've improved as the year has gone along, we have flashes," Ganot said. "But we're not going to get where we need to get to unless we extend those flashes and become more consistent."

The Warriors (9-4) have struggled this season to finish games, sometimes coming out flat in the second half, but last Friday's performance proves that Ganot's squad can finish strong and will need to in order to make a big splash in the Big West.

"A step in the right direction with the way we played in the second half, I think habits take a long time to build, good habits," Ganot said. "So we can't say we've answered the second half lows with one game but it was a start and I just thought that a big part of it was our approach and our aggressiveness; our energy; our talk."

Hawaii's good habits have to be on display this week as they open up its conference schedule with a road game in the Golden State.

This marks the second-straight season that UH will open Big West play on the road, but Ganot thinks that his Warriors are ready for the road.

"You're going to be playing in a lot of battles and a lot of quick turnarounds," Ganot said.  "And you know, we've had two-three game tournaments that were tough but I think will help us long-term in terms of that approach."

The Warriors will take take on Long Beach State (6-10) at "The Pyramid" to tip-off Big West play on Thursday, Jan. 4. UH is 0-5 when playing the 49ers in their house since joining the Big West.

Tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m. HT and will be livestreamed on WatchESPN.

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