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Updated: New-look Warriors rally past UC Davis, 74-61

Sixteen days and two road losses after its last home game, the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team returned to the Stan Sheriff Center Sunday night with a new-look lineup and — most importantly — a new result.

The Rainbow Warriors rallied past UC Davis, 74-61, to improve to 3-4 after recent losses at Pepperdine and Pacific. The Aggies fell to 1-8.

“We’re still a work in progress,” UH head coach Gib Arnold said. “This is a bigger win than you would think, because we were sitting at 2-4 and if we lost it would have been three in a row.”

Arnold unveiled a surprising starting lineup that included senior point guard Miah Ostrowski, who just re-joined the team on Thursday after spending the past four months as a starting receiver in football. The starting lineup also did not include leading scorer Zane Johnson or leading rebounder Vander Joaquim.

But the early platoon system and different lineup combinations paid dividends, especially in the game’s final eight minutes which included a 14-0 run that turned a 56-51 deficit into a 65-56 lead.

“I like the energy we had, especially in the second half, so this might be something we continue,” Arnold said. “Competition is the most important thing — if we can go out there and compete, we’ll always get a chance to win.”

UC Davis led 56-51 after Eddie Miller’s 3-pointer with 9:53 remaining, but Bobby Miles’ layup at the 8-minute mark started UH on a 14-0 run capped by Joaquim’s jumper with 3:40 on the clock to put the Warriors ahead, 65-56. Harrison Dupont finally broke the string with a jumper 10 seconds later, but Trevor Wiseman answered with a layup at 3:09 to start a 5-0 spurt that made it 70-58 after two free throws by Johnson with 1:04 left.

“It started with defense, I think (the Aggies) went nine straight times without a basket, and in their last 15 possessions, they only scored twice,” Arnold said. “They shot 45 percent in the first half, but only 25 percent in the second half. That led to long rebounds, which led us to getting out and running the break.”

UC Davis had led, 39-34, at halftime after draining 6 of 13 shots (46.2 percent) from 3-point range. Ironically, Arnold said it was a switch to a 2-3 zone in the second half that helped change that stat to 4 of 17 (23.5 percent) in the final 20 minutes.

“We manned them the entire first half and they made 6 of 13, so I figured it couldn’t get any worse,” Arnold said. “A lot of teams that shoot well don’t see a lot of zone, and they had good movement against our man. Against the zone, I think they got a little more stagnant.”

Aggies coach Jim Les said his team was not aggressive enough during that crucial stretch.

“I felt like we didn’t play — when we got that lead back in the second half — to win the game,” Les said. “We played in a conservative mode.”

Arnold said it was stagnant play in practice this week that prompted his own lineup changes.

“I thought in practice, we were still going through the motions, so I wanted a clean slate,” Arnold said. “I wanted to start the five players who were playing the hardest. Starting is not that big a deal to me but it is for the players, so I told them if you want to start, you’ve got to play harder than the other group. These guys (who started) did a really good job.”

Ostrowski needed only 49 seconds to make an impact, delivering a nifty assist to center Davis Rozitis for a layup and 2-0 lead. He made another crisp assist to Wiseman at the 17:04 mark and finished the game with eight assists, two points and one steal in 24 minutes.

“It feels good, I’m excited to be back with the boys,” said Ostrowski, who is playing despite a broken rib that he describes as “minor.” “That’s just my role, to distribute the ball before scoring, if I score at all. Once I get the outlet, I’ll run and the guys did a great job filling the lanes and finishing.”

Arnold substituted all five players at the 16:51 mark and rotated the lineup freely throughout the game.

Johnson finished with a game-high 19 points in just 30 minutes, and Joaquim added 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds in 29 minutes.

“We lessened their minutes, usually Zane will get about 37 and Vander 36, but I think it helped because we had livelier legs at the end,” Arnold said. “It doesn’t matter who starts, I just want everyone to just give their all during the time they’re in there. If you are a selfless player, then all you care about is winning, and those are the kind of guys I want to coach.”

Miles, a sophomore guard making his first start in four games, had seven of his nine points and all three of his assists in the second half. Junior forward Hauns Brereton, making his first start of the season, finished with six points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. Rozitis, a 7-foot sophomore starting for the second straight game after coming off the bench in the first five games, added six points and three rebounds in 10 minutes.

Wiseman, the only Warrior to start all seven games so far, scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Hawai’i made 17 of 26 free throws, compared to 1 of 4 for UC Davis, and out-rebounded the Aggies 44-29.

Tyler Les led UC Davis with 14 points, Miller added 13 points and contributed 12 points.

Hawaii’s next game is scheduled for Friday, December 16, on the Big Island. The Warriors will play NCAA Division II Hawaii-Hilo, and the game will be played in Kona.

(Photos courtesy Brandon Flores)

28 Comments

  1. To not start top level players is not smart. A good practice player is not always a good game player. You are messing with the future of some of these players. Not a good formula for success.

  2. What do you mean by ‘future of some of these players’? As far as I can tell, both Vander and Zane had good games and the team won. It sure beats losing.. I give Gib credit for willing to try different approaches because whatever he’s been doing hasn’t worked.. I’m still not sold on whether he’s a good X’s and O’s coach, but at least he doesn’t allow any of the players to get bigger than the program..

  3. Don’t feed the troll. ‘hawaiifan09’ is apparently moonlighting as ‘Respect The Players’ now.

  4. they had a great game. There seemed to be more harmony on the court last night there are things that need to be worked on but that is an ongoing thing for any team good job coaches and players

  5. I think what Gib did was good for the team. We needed energy and a wakeup call to everyone that if you don’t perform, you’re gonna be on the bench. We looked so bad the past few games that this was a positive.

    The thing I am worried about is on the post game show the announcer mentioned that Stokes is unhappy here and has made comments about it. This is a HUGE PROBLEM. We need stokes, the guy is a talent and in a year or 2 will be one of the best guards on the west coast. 13 minutes for him is awful, we need to keep him involved and feeling good. This guy is no David “Jeep” Hilton, he’s the real deal. Dayton, any further information on all this about Stokes? I figure the announcer wouldn’t have said anything if it wasn’t credible. I hope he doesn’t decide to leave…

  6. Amen War Fan 79! They looked better last night than what we have seen in the past few games. The returning point guard Ostowski really did a great job watching the whole floor. He knew who was on their game and who wasn’t. Made sure things happened and the warriors where in control of the game. True Point guard!
    Go Warriors!

  7. keep benching the new york city player of the year and supposedly a former highly touted recruit in thomas and see what happens…so far this is a joke..apparently the big west is one of the weaker conferences and we barely beat the worst team…lineups are wack like mac

  8. We don’t have superstars on the team, hence platoon system sounds like a good idea. What we do have are 10 capable players—not too far apart in abilities. Need competition (and reward) in practice to motivate all. No pain no gain. Plus 3 quality points now. Hope to see more full court press in future games. Zone did contribute to the win but I think UC Davis was a bit tired at that point and when they saw zone their minds and bodies froze. Platoon system wore them down just enough to make a difference in the end. That’s what Gonzaga did to us.If we are to go anywhere we need all 10 contributing. Platoon could be the way to go. Good strategy by coaches—thinking outside the box. Stokes should not be worried. He is the future point for us. This is his first year in college ball and mistakes will come. If he puts his faith in himself, coach, team, and guy above he will be ok. Hang in there bro. My hopes are up again after watching game.

  9. Coach Gib has done a good job helping Joston — Both build his future as a better team player — he can still work on his outside shot ’til he gets it –and using what’s available to him …

    Freshman Season is a Tough Transition especially when it feels like things aren’t going your way — Finals ? Girls ? PT ? — like Coach Gib pointed out to Shaq he is Way Ahead of PT schedule even for Great Players … Learn from Miah — you don’t always have a Good-to-Great Player to Learn with, without having to take All the Heat Himself — Weave those skills into his game and he’ll be Way Better for it …

    Hopefully Coach & Co. can keep helping Shaq can see The Bigger Picture here …

  10. hawaiifan09 clearly has no basketball sense. NONE!!! Stokes is a great player who has a ton of potential. And hes going to be just fine. So will thomas. But this game and this business is about winning. Coaches are not played to make certain players happy, they are paid to win. Shaq was the NY player of the year and Thomas was highly recruited and after 6 games they were 2-4 as starters. Miah was the Hawaii player of the year 2 years in a row. Kid has guts and if lastnight is any sign of things to come we will be just fine. If we have miah from the beginning of the season this team is 5-1. So please hawaiifan09 keep your negativity to yourself especially after a 13 point win… Zane and Vander are the core of this team. This team will go as far as they take us, but its up to gib to put the right people around them. Lastnight he did just that..

  11. Just for clarification: Miah was never Hawai’i State Player of the Year, at least not by the two major newspapers.

    He was a first-team Advertiser All-State selection all four years at Punahou, but the Advertiser’s State Players of the Year during that period were as follows:

    2007: Keone Reyes, Kaimuki
    2006: Kawika Shoji, ‘Iolani, and Junior Ale, Kahuku
    2005: Kyle Pape, ‘Iolani
    2004: Derrick Low, ‘Iolani

    The Star-Bulletin’s State Players of the Year were the same each year, except for Shoji in 2006.

  12. What’s the meaning of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result?!? I think good coaches realize this and they act before the problem gets bigger. I don’t envy Coach……….there’s a lot of pride and egos he has to take care of. And anyway, a win is a win is a win. Go Warriors!

  13. Warrior fan – You’re the one with absolutely no basketball sense, NONE!! Tell me how a “great” player, who has been playing basketball non-stop for at least 5 months, gets shown-up by walk-on who essentially has only half a season of Division I experience after not playing competitively for 3-1/2 years and who has had not played any basketball in at least 5 months, except for 3 recent practices. That does not happen to players who are actually “great.”

    Stokes is a decent player with a good bit of talent, and he does have some potential, although I doubt that he has a “ton” of it. If he accepts coaching, works hard and focuses on team goals, Stokes should be able to become a first rate, mid-major point guard. There is certainly room for him to get a lot “smarter” about how the game is played at the Division I level, but I’m not sure that there is as much room for growth in his physical abilities and skills. In those areas, he may well be one of those guys who has matured at a young age and more or less maxed out. “Great” he is not. “Great”, I fear, he will never be. Warrior fan, you should hope and be happy if one day, sooner rather than later, Stokes fulfills his promise of being truly good.

    The same can be said of Joston Thomas. He has a ton of ability, but out of junior college he WAS NOT highly recruited, and if you actually had any sense about what goes into the making of a really good player, it would easy for you to see why – all that trash between his ears. Gib’s obviously doing what he can to get as much out of Joston as he can without wrecking the team’s psyche, but I bet he’s not enjoying it much. Put Brereton’s brain (and maybe heart) in Joston’s body and you would have a great player. As it is, you have a coach’s headache.

  14. i like the fact you have the time to read what i write knowing you aren’t gonna agree with my opinion..i think your name should be fan of hawaiifan09..the 13 point win was no indication of a easy win and playing against a bottom feeder…c’mon!!!..gib organizes lineups too much…LET THEM PLAY!!!..college students are still young and some stubborn..for thomas it’s too late for him to go some where else to play..stokes could leave any second and we be screwed..lost coleman, salter, williams, lay, and barnes..i’m sure it had to do with gib

  15. “lost coleman, salter, williams, lay, and barnes..i’m sure it had to do with gib”

    I hope it had to do with Gib; they all sucked (or in Williamsʻs case, had the maturity level of a 6 yr old).

    Stokes will be fine, but right now we need a pg that wonʻt turn it over unnecessarily and understands post entries. 12-15 minutes is about right for now.

  16. coleman was unproven, salter and williams were probably the only two guards in years that could create and hit shots, lay was a the spark, and barnes was a better 3 point shooter than hauns..12-15 minutes means coming off the bench and being a role player..if so he’s gone

  17. If he leaves, he leaves. It’s not like we can’t find someone else to shoot the second most shots and shoot around forty percent…those guys are a dime a dozen. I will also say that NYC point guards must have fell off cuz I think Miah is probably killing him everyday in practice the same way he killed bobby last year. Difference is that bobby RESPECTS the fact not resents it

  18. Steppin’ Back …

    All you guyz … probably care about UH Basketball 10X the average Hawai’i ‘so-called BB fans’ who stay masterfully disguised as 3,000 (on a good night) to 5,000 empty seats …

    And Whether i agree (to most of what’s written) or not, There Is Truth in what Each of you are bloggin’ — and That Is a Good Thing …

    wouldn’t be surprised if Coach keeps tabs on what his customers are thinking by checking this blog site — his comments on radio or post-game shows seem to address many of your questions …

    Thanks for The Forum, Dayton, Wes, Dean, PACRISK & Co,. … …

    [P.S. This site — on average — is way smarter than a lot of other sites — with more or less “participation” …]

  19. GreedyInc. you sound dum nyc guard have not fell off when kemba walker was the best guard in the country and also jimmer last year and this year tu Holloway is a nyc guard and doron lamb and many more nyc guards so don’t understand how we fell off when we still making pros

  20. Be patient with Shaq. Playing the point ain’t easy… He has a good head on his shoulders and is no doubt learning what it takes to be a full-time college PG, but he won’t pick it all up overnight.

  21. Well said Jojo.. Many are ASSUMING that Shaq’s unhappy and is going to leave because his playing time is going to take a hit with Miah being back. I think Shaq will be willing to learn some from Miah this year and contribute what he can while developing his game…and he’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. That the position will be his for the taking next year. I’m sure he understands it’s rare that a freshman comes in and plays 30 minutes a game. Had Miah been with the team from game one, this wouldn’t even be a discussion right now. We will still Shaq’s scoring/slashing ability at times, but he just needs to learn shoot higher percentage shots and know when to dish it off on a drive. If he ends up leaving, which I highly doubt, then he was more about getting his and not about worried playing as team. He still has development needs.

  22. Miah, take Shaq under your wing , good leadership goes a long way, Shaq will be alrignt , he has a good head on his shoulders. His shot selection will improve along with the touch, just keep playing and believing Shaq, Miah got your back. You will soon see both in the lineup at the same time, two best ball handlers, and Shaq stroking it from the 2 position.

  23. Shout out to my guy j because nyc guards NEVER completely fell off but in my era (late 90s early 2000) Starbury, then Tracy McGrady, then Elton Brand, Lamar Odom,and Ron Artest were repping nyc. I probably got spoiled by those cats (and those are just the ones who made it big). Just sayin….

  24. warriorfan we aren’t assuming shaqs not happy..we know and even one of the radio commentators said it themselves

  25. Well h09, please enlighten me on how you KNOW, for a fact, that he is not happy? Have you spoken to him about it? Do you have inside information? Other than a “radio commentator” allegedly saying he wasn’t happy, based on what he said he saw in the game(which I must have missed because I watched AND reviewed the various clips where he looked to be cheering at times), who most likely doesn’t have a psych degree, what are you drawing your conclusion from? You are just assuming he’s unhappy.

  26. nah it’s alright you just don’t wanna believe

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