Warriors take on Sacramento State in North Shore Classic opener

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

Just like the location where it is being staged, the inaugural Patty Mills North Shore Classic could be considered a hidden gem in the oversaturated world of pre-conference basketball tournaments.

The University of Hawai’i basketball team is one of four mid-major programs with high expectations for this season that are participating in the two-day tournament. It is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Cannon Activities Center on the campus of Brigham Young-Hawai’i in La’ie, O’ahu.

The Rainbow Warriors will face Sacramento State in the tournament opener at 3:30 pm on Friday. Southern Utah and Texas State will meet in the second game at 6:00 pm The championship and third-place games will take place on Saturday.

Both of the Hawai’i games will be televised live in Hawai’i via Spectrum Sports (channels 12 and 1012).

The Warriors improved to 3-1 and aced a pre-test last weekend, defeating NCAA-II Hawai’i Pacific, 79-55, at the Cannon Activities Center. The venue will be the same this week, but the competition steps up.

Here’s a quick look at the other three teams in the tournament:

Sacramento State (3-2)

The Hornets are predicted to finish sixth in the 10-team Big Sky Conference. They opened this season with a 76-50 road loss at then-No. 7 UCLA. They are also 1-1 against Big West teams – a 65-55 win at UC San Diego, and an 82-71 home loss to UC Davis.

Sacramento State’s top scorer is Zach Chappell, a 6-foot-3 senior guard who is averaging 12.0 points per game. Cameron Wilbon, a 6-5 junior who has been the first player off the bench during the first five games, is next at 11.4 points per game.

The Hornets’ big man is familiar to the Warriors. Callum McRae, a 7-1, 280-pound senior, is averaging 10.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He played the previous four seasons at UC Riverside.

Head coach David Patrick is in his first season at Sacramento State. He was the head coach at UC Riverside from 2018-20 and originally recruited McRae.

Sacramento State’s top five scorers previously played at other NCAA-I programs: Chappell (San Jose State), Wilbon (Robert Morris), McRae (UC Riverside), Akol Mawein (Oklahoma) and Gianni Hunt (Oregon State).

Southern Utah (3-2)

The Thunderbirds were 23-12 last season, and advanced to the semifinals of The Basketball Classic. Three starters return, but they were predicted to finish ninth (out of 13 teams) in the Western Athletic Conference preseason poll.

Southern Utah’s three victories this season have been blowouts against lower level teams: La Verne, Saint Katherine and Bethesda. Perhaps more impressive is the Thunderbirds’ most recent loss – an 82-76 road loss at No. 6 Kansas. Southern Utah had the lead early in the second half, and trailed by only one point with less than a minute remaining.

Tevian Jones, a 6-7 senior forward, is averaging 19.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and leads Southern Utah with 14 3-pointers. Maizen Faucett, a 6-6 senior forward, is contributing 11.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Harrison Butler, a 6-5 junior guard, is averaging 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Head coach Todd Simon is in his seventh season at Southern Utah, and the Thunderbirds had 20+ wins in each of the last two seasons.

Texas State (3-2)

The Bobcats are the two-time defending regular-season champions of the Sun Belt Conference, and are predicted to finish second this season. They were 21-8 last season, and lost in the first round of the NIT. Two starters and two key reserves return from that team.

Texas State already owns two impressive road wins this season: a 70-66 victory at Rhode Island on November 12, and a 59-55 victory at Cal on November 21.

Mason Harrell, a 5-9 senior guard, is an undersized and dynamic scorer. He is averaging 19.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He is already the only player in Texas State history to record both 1,000 points and 300 assists in a career.

Tyrel Morgan, a 6-5 senior forward, is averaging 11.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Brandon Davis, a 6-1 junior guard, is contributing 9.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

Head coach Terrence Johnson is in his third season at Texas State. He was an assistant coach for the Bobcats for five seasons before becoming head coach.

PATTY MILLS NORTH SHORE CLASSIC
Friday’s Games

3:30 pm – Hawai’i vs. Sacramento State
6:00 pm – Southern Utah vs. Texas State

Saturday’s Games
4:30 pm – Sacramento State vs. TBA
7:00 pm – Hawai’i vs. TBA

HAWAI’I vs. SACRAMENTO STATE
When:
Friday, November 25, 3:30 pm
Where: Cannon Activities Center, La’ie, O’ahu
TV: Spectrum Sports (Channels 12 or 1012)
Video streaming: bethebeast.com
Radio: ESPN Honolulu (92.7 FM, 1420 AM, espnhonolulu.comSideline Hawaii app)
Live stats: statbroadcast.com
Tickets: eTickethawai.com

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