By Brian McInnis
Raise your hand if you thought Hawaii would have a better conference road record (4-2) than home (3-2) coming down the stretch of Big West play.
That's reality, and it's certainly the first time in recent years that is the case. UH has a record active streak of four away games in a row coming off wins at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton last week.
The second-half execution at Fullerton wasn't perfect, but you have to credit the Rainbow Warriors for coming back from eight points down with eight minutes to play. And credit shooting guard Garrett Nevels specifically for his cold-blooded shot-making down the stretch, both from the corner on the go-ahead 3-pointer and at the foul line to put UH up three in the final seconds.
UH will have the opportunity to extend the streak even further with upcoming away games at Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara — though those will be two of the tougher ones of the season.
First up, though, is a tester at home that will either keep UH around in the regular-season title race or all but eliminate it from contention for the top seed at the Big West tournament. The 'Bows stole one at UC Irvine last month on Keith Shamburger's miracle shot to send the game to overtime.
The Anteaters will look to settle the score on Thursday in Honolulu, in what's being dubbed "Wig Night," the second straight year that "Frotu"-esque theme was chosen for the UCI game.
Congratulations to forward Christian Standhardinger for his deserved Big West Player of the Week award, his second of the season. Cases could even have been made for Nevels, Isaac Fotu and Shamburger, as well.
Standhardinger was able to foul out UCI's 7-foot-6 freshman center Mamadou Ndiaye in the last meeting. Maintaining that aggressiveness and limiting the shot blocker's minutes due to foul trouble could be key in the rematch.
One final note: Maybe teams will stop scheduling UH for their homecoming games in the immediate future. The Rainbow Warriors are 3-0 on those nights in two years of Big West play — twice at CSF and once at UCI.