Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors hold off Fresno State

The Hawaii basketball team came up big when it counted in a 62-52 victory over Fresno State on Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Warriors built a 22-point lead in the first half, then weathered a Fresno State rally in the second half before settling for the 10-point win.

After opening the Western Athletic Conference season with five consecutive losses, the Warriors have now won back-to-back games to improve to 2-5 in conference and 11-8 overall. Fresno State is 7-10 overall and dropped to 3-4 in the WAC with its fourth consecutive loss.

“Great win for us,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “We got back to doing some things that left us for a couple of weeks. We started to shoot the ball again … we got back to rebounding … we made more free throws than they shot, which is a big goal of ours. And our turnovers we kept it down to 12.”

Sophomore center Vander Joaquim and senior forward Bill Amis both finished with double-doubles to lead the Warriors. Joaquim had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Amis had 11 points and 10 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double game.

“I was really pleased with the overall effort, especially on the boards,” Arnold said. “And our defensive tenacity was where it needs to be.”

Sophomore forward Joston Thomas added 12 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Bo Barnes rediscovered his long-range shot, scoring 12 on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. Junior guard Zane Johnson added nine points – all on 3-pointers.

“Only two (wins) – we only got two – we’re going to try run off a couple more,” Thomas said. “Whether it’s the WAC, the NCAA, or just preseason games, winning is fun. Everybody wants to win, nobody wants to be a loser, so we’re going to try to keep this going.”

The key to the victory was a resounding first half surge that gave the Warriors a 41-21 lead at intermission.

During a seven-minute stretch late in the first half, Hawaii went on a 17-0 run to take a 41-19 lead. Barnes and Johnson combined to go 7 for 10 from 3-point range in the first half.

“It’s a good situation to be in,” Arnold said. “I hope we’re up 20 a lot at halftime, but obviously we need to come out with a little more energy to make sure we hold that lead. Give Fresno State a whole lot of credit for not giving up and fighting back. And give our guys some credit for finishing.”

The Bulldogs got back in the game by opening the second half with a 7-0 run. Fresno State eventually got as close as five (48-43 with 7:08 remaining, then 54-49 with 3:25 remaining), but Hawaii’s big man played big in the final minutes.

Joaquim scored 10 of his points in the final 6:30 of the game to help the Warriors hold on for the win. Arnold said it was part of the plan to get the ball in the low-post to Joaquim late in the game because Fresno State’s center, Greg Smith, had four fouls.

“You go at someone with four (fouls) because they don’t want to foul out,” Arnold said. “We did try to pound it inside more. We weren’t making our outside shots, so I think we called his number four or five straight times and he came through.”

Joaquim said: “I felt very comfortable because Smith had four fouls and he wanted to stay in the game. So the coaches wanted to go to me so I can score on him and he can foul out.”

Joaquim’s short jump shot with 3:25 remaining gave Hawaii a 56-49 lead, and the Bulldodgs tucked their tails after that.

“We didn’t panic,” Arnold said. “They hit some big shots, guys that normally don’t hit shots hit shots for them. And then we won at the foul line, where we went inside and drew some fouls. That’s the way you need to win tight games.”

Hawaii went 11 of 18 on free throws, while Fresno State showed why it is one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the country by going just 2 for 7.

The Warriors also out-rebounded the Bulldogs 42-32. Hawaii shot just 40.7 percent from the field, but limited Fresno State to 36.7 percent shooting.

Garrett Johnson led the Bulldogs with 14 points. Smith, a 6-foot-10 sophomore who is considered a pro prospect, finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Hawaii will host another WAC game on Saturday, when San Jose State visits the Sheriff Center. The Spartans, who did not play on Thursday, are 9-8 overall and 1-5 in the WAC.


  1. What’s up with Brumfield, is he gone for good??
    Hope UH doesn’t lose any scholarships with Salter and Coleman gone already.

  2. joachim “the dream”

  3. Awright Warriors! At’s the way to go. Stay on the right track. Go Warriors!!!

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