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UPDATED: Warriors pull away from New Orleans, 82-58

An unimposing New Orleans team tried to steal the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball squad’s heart Tuesday night, but the Warriors refused to fall and pulled away for an 82-58 non-conference victory at the Stan Sheriff Center.

A Valentine’s Night crowd of 5,355 watched Vander Joaquim score 19 points, grab nine rebounds and block four shots and Joston Thomas add 16 points as UH improved to 15-10, while the NCAA Division II-bound Privateers fell to 15-12.

“Interesting game for us, taking a break from the (Western Athletic Conference) against a team I thought we should beat,” Warriors coach Gib Arnold said. “I didn’t want to take them lightly, and I don’t think that we did. It’s not an easy game to play, and I understand that.”

UH jumped out to leads of 15-2 and 24-4 lead in the first eight minutes, only to see New Orleans claw back and close it to 30-25 after Antonio Wertz’s two free throws with 5:30 remaining in the half. The Privateers continued to hang close and trailed 39-30 at the break.

“They did a good job driving and using on-ball screens, and they hit a couple tough shots,” said Warriors point guard Miah Ostrowski, who had seven of his game-high 10 assists in the first half.

Much of the comeback — which included a 16-2 run highlighted by Brandon Canady’s four-point play — came against Hawai’i’s second unit after the midway point of the first half.

Joaquim hit two free throws to push the lead to 45-34 three minutes into the second half, but Canady answered with a 3-pointer and then a three-point play to close it to 45-40 with 15:50 left. Joaquim then converted an alley-oop pass from Ostrowski to start a 9-0 run capped by Trevor Wiseman’s layup that made it 54-40 with 12:51 remaining, and the Privateers could not get closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

Hawai’i eventually built the lead to 75-50 on a Shaquille Stokes free throw at the four-minute mark. Stokes, a freshman guard, contributed 11 points and three assists off the bench, including nine points in the second half.

“I was pleased to see Shaq back out there, having fun,” Arnold said. “I told him he’s gonna be in games when it counts, and he’ll be in at the buzzer. He’s an extremely important part of our future.”

Ostrowski said the entire Warriors bench will be important in the immediate future, which includes a “BracketBusters” game at Montana on Saturday, followed by WAC games at New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech next week.

“We’ve got three straight games on the road, so we’ll need as many guys as possible,” Ostrowski said. “The second- and third-string guys got minutes tonight and a lot of guys are more confident now, so that was good to see, because we’re gonna need everyone.”

Arnold said the BracketBusters game Saturday represents an important challenge.

“As for Montana, we’re gonna address it like a WAC game,” Arnold said. “It’s a real good game for us. It doesn’t count in the (WAC standings), but it counts as far as who we are. They’re a very good team with three straight 20-win seasons and one of the highest winning percentages in the country at home. It’s a tough place to play, they have great fans and the place will be rocking, but we’re gonna go up there and battle.”

Canady led New Orleans with 16 points and Brandon Knight added 15 points.

All 12 Hawai’i players in uniform saw action, which added some excitement for the fans who stayed for the final two minutes. Freshman walk-on Tyler Brown scored the first point of his collegiate career after converting one of two free throws.

Sophomore Garrett Jefferson then ended the game with a highlight-reel dunk (see photo sequence below) off an assist from walk-on Pi’i Minns.

(WarriorInsider.com photos by Brandon Flores)

7 Comments

  1. AGREE with al’s Positive Shaq Stokes comments (see earlier post comment);

    Pass First, AND Take the Good Open Shot, better & more responsible ball-handling; Jeremy Lin ‘should be’ a Good Role model (esp. as he discusses and learns to overcome his high turnover rate; One of Lin’s highest comments from coaches is his understanding of that (Harvard smart) decision between pass-first and still averaging 20+ ppg; Miah also a better (full) role model now that he’s hitting his threes …

    Hauns is looking like the most consistent shooter — and as Coach Sellito points out doesn’t take bad shots; still waiting for that “explosion”; the kind that a playoff 27 ppg average player is capable of and comfortable with…

  2. Forward to the 6:41 mark for the funniest shaka/wave ever. WTF Akana!?

  3. if hauns was explosive he’d be dangerous

  4. Hey Gib,

    Zane, will defend, lead, hit clutch free throws etc. rebound..he is better, but if he is off on the perimeter…hey give Shaq a shot as extra shooter, green light when he is in system, find screens, if sees better shot inside with the bigs , get it to them..

    Hauns and Shaq, could be a difference maker in run to any Post season play.

    Gib, give him a shot, you are one of the most flexible and creative, (platoon system, offense for defense subs, box and one, traps, straight , press, run, sets)MBB coaches I have seen in 46 years..

    How bout giving Shaq a shot, …as long as he is in system and , he follows the coaches instructions, stays positive, instead of next year, this year…could and I know , as long as not jacking crazy threes, but in system…let him be wing shooter, and off guard,,,will make your bigs more potent and take pressure off of Zane.

    Zane relax,…you will be fine…Zane, Miah, Hauns, Bobby, Shaq, Tre, hitting mid to 3 pt shots consistently will translate to Post season… I am sure..

    And keep up with that awesome defense, in the west, you can, and I am sure in the east and mid america defende some of the best..

    I am old, yet this team is quite exciting now…take care of ball and let the shooters shoot, the rebounders(the whole team)rebound, the defenders defend(the whole team), take care the ball, and hit 75% free throws from littles to bigs..you guys will be going through hopefully post season play thru late March 2012!

    Go get em Gib…Give the shooters a chance , in system and all in…!!

  5. A good tune up game before this tough road trip. Good to see everybody taking part in this game. I think it’s great for morale and keeps everybody loose before leaving home. Pack those warm clothing, because it’s freezing up there.

  6. Uhfanzonly1 – Good Comments — On tonight’s KHON news, Coach Gib noted that Shaq played well, (the most important thing that happened out there last night) and we need to have him in the game helping us more (like you said) …

    Thanks KKEA for providing radio coverage of DAC (Downtown Athletic Club)_ Meeting — Noon Today …

    Coach Gib made “many” significant, some bold statements — Big Winners have Big Goals, No Fluffy Back-Door “Safe-Talk” Including:

    Watch (Next Year) these players who most of you don’t get to see:

    – Brandon Jawato — he’s gonna be a Great Player for us …And

    – Christian Standhardinger could be the Best Player on the court for us Next Year (and we have a lot of great players coming back);

    – Recruit Caleb Dressler: The Washington State Playoffs started Last Night — Caleb had 33 Points, 22 Rebounds and 10 Blocks, the Only Triple-Double in the State of Washington this season …

    – Orel Lev’s Three Years in the military make him a Tough Player
    [Remember how no one could push Israeli Haim Shimonovich around ?]

    – and yes Isaac Fotu is big time athletic …

    [NO Offense — Corrections/ Additions / Clarifications Welcomed …]

    His “Biggest Joke”: Six Years ago when we were recruiting SOCAL, i turned to the coach next to me and said, “Mark my words, watch that 6-2 Chinese kid (Jeremy Lin). In Six Years he’ll have the Biggest Week in the History of the NBA …”

  7. Orel Lev leaving the program, 3 years is a long time,no guarantees of his returning, or if his skills erode much like Hiram’s did. I wouldn’t count on him returning, maybe we get Gerry Blakes is Warrior uniform next fall ! Yes!! We will need a point and shooting guard to compete with the returnees.

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