Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Illinois edges Hawai’i with overtime buzzer beater

D.J. Richardson drained a 3-pointer from the corner at the final buzzer of overtime to give Illinois a thrilling 78-77 victory over Hawai’i on Friday night.

Moments earlier, Vander Joaquim hit a turnaround jumper at the final buzzer of regulation to force the overtime.

Joaquim scored five of his 22 points in overtime. Chicago native Brandon Spearman added 20 points for the Warriors, who dropped to 3-1 with the heartbreaking loss.

Joaquim also grabbed 11 rebounds. Christian Standhardinger added 12 points and Hauns Brereton scored 10.

Jace Tavita hit one of two free throws with 7.5 seconds remaining to give Hawai’i a 77-75 lead in overtime. On Illinois’ final possession, Richardson caught the ball in the corner in front of his own bench and made the shot. The play was reviewed by officials before it was ruled good.

The Warriors led by as many as 15 points in the first half and eventually took a 41-28 lead at intermission. Spearman had 11 in the first half, and Joaquim scored 10.

Spearman hit a 3-pointer to open the second half and push the lead to 44-28, but the Illini fought back to get as close as 52-47 with 10:19 remaining. Spearman again responded, this time with a put-back dunk to give the Warriors a 55-47 lead and momentarily halt the Illinois momentum.

But the Illini mounted another late rally and took a 61-60 lead on a driving layup by Tracy Abrams with 2:59 remaining.It was the first time the entire game that Hawai’i had surrendered the lead.

The lead went back-and-forth after that, with Illinois seizing the late momentum on a 3-pointer by Brandon Paul with 1:29 remaining to give the Illini a 66-64 advantage.

The Warriors had the final possession of regulation, and Spearman was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw. Christian Standhardinger grabbed the rebound and his putback attempt was blocked out of bounds. On the ensuing inbounds play, Joaquim scored on a turnaround jumper at the buzzer to force overtime at 66-all.

Illinois, which stopped in Honolulu to play this game before heading to the three-game Maui Invitational next week, improved to 3-0.

Hawai’i will play another home game on Tuesday, when it hosts North Dakota at 7 p.m. at the Sheriff Center.

More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.


  1. This was a very tough loss because they should have won it. THEY MUST work on their free throws, that’s why they lost this game.

    Gib should make Brandon handle the ball at the end of games, do not give the ball to Jace Tavita at the end of close matches.
    Hauns and Christian were not themselves it was too bad they didn’t have better games.

    Brandon and Vander were the MVPS tonight.

  2. as everyone said guard play will hurt us….all our guards cant well most of the team cant shoot free throws

  3. Guard play didn’t hurt UH, Spearman has a great game, maybe u mean Point guard play?? Jace has got to be a scoring threat and needs to cut down the turnovers.

  4. Great effort, monster games from Vander and Spearman..agree, Team has to hit at least 70% or better free throws, UH wins by a good margin…Too bad, however, if you are going to lose, ..they lost to a Big Ten team…not a mid major…

    PG..Tavita, has to go to basket sometimes, however, he is like Miah, not as quick …he is happy getting 9 or 10 assists..!! Still wish Gib had went after a JC pure point ..however..maybe , Brandon Spearman will be doing a lot of ball handling ..as well..

    Tough loss..however…good test…UNLV tough..DH Classic, tough…UH can only work to get better, and FT shooting and turnovers keep to 14 or 12 or less..

    Great crowd!!

    UH MBB team, clear and go..forget this game..learn from it..Gib and staff, correct mistakes, players. don’t hang heads., still have 26 more games till BWC tourney! Lot of BB to play!!

  5. What a heartbreaker.
    But if there’s anything as a good loss, this is it. I’m glad it happened against a power conference member and I’m glad it happened early in the season.

    Bottom line: PG play killed us on both sides. Abrams from ILL picked Jace apart. He must have had 4 or 5 steals off of him. Would have liked to see Garrett open up OT guarding Abrams. Abrams was just abusing Jace on both sides. Driving past him on every key play.

    Brandon Paul is a straight up baller. You can’t guard those shots he hit. Hand in his face but he was on fire all night.

    I feel for Spearman; he really wanted it. But he came to play. Expect big things from him in big games.

  6. It was really too bad the Illinois three point shooters found their groove in the second half. It should be positive sign that UH can hang with a middle of the pack Big ten team even though two of their top players did not play well at all. Hauns was 3- 11 shooting, and Christian was 4-15.

    Hope Standhardinger and Hauns have better games next time , and that Spearman keeps this high level of play the rest of the season.

  7. It was a very tough loss. The team is going to have to shore up their shortcomings and get ready for another game on Tuesday. We’re going to need to get a better at ball-handling quickly before the UNLV game. It was still great to see Spearman play the way he did. Vander also came through big. Too bad the guys couldn’t hang on.

  8. Loved the effort but not the 55% free throw shooting. This is a good team and looks like it will have a good season, but it has to be become competent from the foul line if it wants to do great things.

  9. Yes….thinking back to game..Spearman…Mr. Spearman is a gamer! Wow! I remember him scoring something like 46 pts to win the NCAA summer league championship game..now on a much bigger stage, against big time competition..he plays unreal..I think he went, close to all the minutes, regular and overtime..Brandon S. great,

    great game..and he doesn’t play with a “ME” atttude, he wants to help team win..Gib recruited a very, very good JC guard, …and Brandon proves he is DI guard..without question…each game from the first of season till now..he keeps upping the intensity…wow…and Vander , even though you know he is not 100%, clutch….

    Team has to pull through this, I think they will…have to figure out, those high ball screens, BWC , must be all those with good guards will do the same to UH..UH has, another, 7 games to get things together before BWC play..I think they will…

    The intensity, and effort, and crowd support..reminded me of the Xavier game , last year’s DH classic..except for the outcome..I guess a good thing , for me…Hawaii is playing at an effort and intensity, matching that Xavier game..4 games into young season , with new guys, Spearman, Tavita, Fotu, Standhardinger,…bodes well for

    now and going into DH classic..outrebounding a Big Ten team..usually in the past, you all recall, UH would get killed on the boards..now with their bigs, they are destroying other teams on the glass…pretty soon, UH will get all phases together..hit tough shots…don’t get picked, limit turnovers..fight through ball screens, and make

    FT’s…hey fans..they are 3-1, with a chance to go into DH classic at best 7-1, or after tough UNLV game on the road ..if loss…at maybe 6-2…get hot during DH classic and win that tourney..they go into BWC play, at 9-2 or with one loss in DH..8-3 , which I think they will do..then they have 18 game BWC season..which they could go

    13-5, or 12-6, with a Bracket Buster win here at SSC in Feb…that would be a record of possibly at best 23-7 or 22-8…however, way ahead of myself..still a lot of BBall to play..with the effort, and continued improvment, working on how to defend, and shooting FT’s and limiting turnonvers..and still dominate inside, along with

    Brandon Spearman’s combo, BWC all out effot performances…team can go far..BWC with those, same type of guards will be test…will UH be ready..I think they will, in fact they will have to be..

    Bright side, still early in season, and UH is playing at very high level…Go Rainbow Warriors..we got your back..don’t hang your heads..take one game at a time , and work on weaknesses. , you guys should be alright..

    Yeah, I know..I have to stay positive, know the guys read these posts..UH MBB team..keep working, you can challenge for the BWC crown, one win at a time!!

  10. What a heartbreaker. But, a big time shot by DJ. I think this team will be alright this season. It happens most of the time…..in the close games, the point guard is key in getting the W.

  11. Disappointed in the result. Who was supposed to cover the 3 pt. shooter? Too many missed free throws. Tavita can’t shoot to save his soul. Jefferson 1 point. Give Clair more of a chance. He can’t do any worse and maybe he can do much better if he gets more time. Our front line dominated, but Illinois backcourt dominated us. Spearman played well. Unfortunately, Hauns didn’t have a good shooting night. I think Illinois will be a very good team. They have very good guard play, a hallmark of a good team in college. We will struggle with teams that have very good guards. Our guards will have to play much better. Simple. Too bad Shamburger not playing this year.

  12. Derek,

    Jace had more turnovers(5) than points(1) , which is not good…and key FT’s missed, yet at end of game, Vander missed, Brandon S. and Hauns..Standhardinger missed a wide open dunk..defender did not fight through ball screen on broken play at end to get out on 3 pt shooter, or deny him..just one of those games…

    It is kind of scary , Gib wasn’t joking when he said, he wished that Manoop, Jace and Jefferson were one PG wrapped into one..a PG with BBIQ run sets, a defender, and a shooter..when needed..

    I agree, with Artie Wilson and Sellito, build your basketball team with PG’s first, then shooting guards wings, then Bigs..yet, UH has very good bigs..the weakness is the guards, however, Spearman at SG and Wing is a player..!!

    Maybe by BWC play time Clair, if he gets more experience, and he has to hit those weights, and eat well, put on some good muscle weight..can be that PG that can defend and guard..still..think UH has no choice at this point then PG by committee..

    Yes, this loss hurts, ..if Illinois misses that last second shot..jubilation in Hawaii..they loss. and since we bleed UH green..(hard core MBB fans) we suffer with the young guys…Coach has to get them up again, I think this bunch, are not selfish, they want to win as a TEAM,..I believe they will learn from this game and improve..week by week!

  13. Derek , apologies, Jace had 5 turnovers and 3 pts..he needs, Hauns and Spearman to come help him out with bringing ball upcourt, Jace dribbles ball too loose and high..easy for any defender, including D2 schools to pick

    him..a PG that UH had, one of the best, smart guy, great hops, and passer, yet reluctant scorer, was Mark Campbell during Riley’s years..the guy was 6’4″ about 190, and was super quick…he was an excellent ball handler..oh if Jace could handle ball like Mark..

    Whomever working with guards, has to work with Jace on ball handling, and Jace has to work on offense and FT’s ,, well FT’s the whole team has to work on, especially crunch time

    However. effort, was there,..like the finals of the BWC tourney or an NIT game..just came up short..still 3-1 is better that 1-3? and loss to a BCS team ..a Big Ten team, is nothing to be ashamed of..however..UNLV, they have shot. hopefully and DH classic teams too..let’s hope for the best..after North Dakota game..we will forget this loss..,

  14. A Little TOO MUCH Bad News …Two Points Too Much…

    The Good News is you CAN Fix What IS Under your Control…

    1 – Make “More”/ALL Relatively Uncontested Shots: Free-Throws, Lay-Ups, Dunks, 3-5 footers;
    (John Wooden had everyone practice to the point they would not/could not miss five foot lay-ups)

    2- Make surer, simpler passes to minimize turnovers…

    3 – Take the Ball At Guys with Three/Four Fouls — Get Them out of the game…
    Don’t Think Illinois would have found enough ways to win w/o Brandon Paul (#3) or Tracy Adams (#13); both with four fouls in Regulation?

    4 – IF could’ve kept that lead @8-12 points might have survived the last minutes’ rush…
    (i think they’re working at maintaining and extending leads);

    I think they’ll make more of the future lay-ups and dunks, even free-throws or keep the ball out of the hands of guys committed to not making ’em…

  15. I’m so happy…. what a great game

    Guys earned respect

    Led against a strong conference members

    The victory was a matter of luck

    Next time, we’ll be lucky

    Warriors you are my champions


  16. sorry … my mistake… member instead of members
    I hope that in the future this error become truth

    I need to work on my English

  17. I like how these guys play as a team. They go all out, all the time. Would have been a satisfying win for Spearman. He played with a mission last night. Yep, this team is gonna be alright.


  18. “Ditto” to most of the comments here, from what I could see watching the live stats computer play-by-play.

  19. We all know that PG was going to be a weak aspect of the game this year. Anyone that has been keeping up with the team knows this, but we can’t just say, “let Manroop play more”, or what ever else. Manroop will be great at the end of it all, but when he went in, he was ineffective as much as Jace. He turned the ball over and wasn’t able to produce much. Physically he is not there yet. After a couple minutes, Gib brought back Jace after hoping he’d be able to rest Jace more and save his fouls. I like the idea of Spearman taking PG duties during the end of the game and have Jefferson play D on the star guard. It will be a long year, Coach Gib has time to tinker with the line up.

    I agree with Eagle as I was mentioning to my wife during the game, why the team didn’t go after #13 who had 4 fouls. Illinois went strictly with a man D. There was no way any of our guards could’ve taken #13 off the bounce, so maybe a pick and roll or even a screen off the ball and get a mismatch and then pound the post with the switch. He would’ve fouled out and one less threat on the perimeter.

    I hate losses as much as the other person, but I think this loss was a good one for the team because this will hurt and they can use this to learn and gain confidence in the fact that they can play with good competition. Illinois is projected to finish in the middle to low pack of the Big 10, but they looked better than that in the 2nd half. College Bball is guard oriented, they have some good ones and will do well this year.

    Please work on your FT’s and take care of the ball. Hopefully Hauns and Christian can play better. We all know they are capable.

    Do we know if the boys read this site?! I hope the boys know that if not the state of Hawaii, but at least I believe in this team. I was very proud of their effort.

    Fans were great, the atmosphere last night was close to what it was when UH beat Shannon Brown and the Michigan State Spartans and during the AC/Alika days. I appreciated the announcement of UH player #6 as well, the Manoa Maniacs!!

  20. I thought they should’ve try to post Jace late in the game on #13. He had four fouls for a while and Jace had a huge size and strength advantage. If they doubled down, kick it out for three. #3 and #13 were in foul trouble early and we never took advantage of it. If one or both fouled out, way different game. We have to do better at in game adjustments/coaching. I think ozi should’ve got more tick. Yeah he’s not the best defender (yet) but his length coulve gave their shooters problems. G didn’t really phase any of their guards with his D and he wasn’t a threat on O. Jmo

  21. tough loss. FT misses hurt, also we got cold and they got hot. lots of easy looks. but glad the team showed they can compete with anyone. first three games were hard to tell the talent of this team, but this season will be a good one. glad the fans showed up and i think everyone there will come back to more games. once the word gets out, i can see the arena being the place to be again.

  22. As much as I love reading everyone’s posts, we can question how things went during the game, but I don’t think we should say coaching needs to improve along with in game situations. Coach Gib was hired because of his coaching acumen, which is why we’re are not coaches. I think Coach Gib had his players in there for a reason. Same way we see certain things in the game, he probably saw things his way as well. Besides, he knows what the players can do because he seems them everyday in practice. The freshmen will be great, but in a close game and high pressured game as last night, playing Ozi who looked really out of place was not a good idea. Manroop was kind of erratic as well.

    People have said Hauns should’ve been taken out and replaced with Fotu in the end. but according to Coach Gib, If they go Christian, Vander and Fotu, Fotu is expected to play the 3. There is no way Fotu would have been able to keep up with Illinois’ 3 on the perimeter or in transition. Fotu would’ve ate him up in the post, but too much risk/reward in that pressure situation I think.

    Jace in the post would’ve been a good idea, but I don’t think Illinois would’ve doubled ’cause Jace has not shown the ability to make shots. Great comments!! I know coach and crew will make adjustments. This’ll be a great several years!!

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