UPDATED: Warriors hold off HPU for exhibition win
The Hawai’i basketball team took its first steps of the 2012-13 season, and as expected, they were baby steps.
The Warriors held off NCAA Division II neighbors Hawai’i Pacific, 75-67, in an exhibition game on Friday night. A crowd of nearly 5,000 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Warriors lead the game from start to finish, although the Sea Warriors made it interesting at the end.
“I liked how we stuck together, I liked how hard we played,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said. “We left too many points at the free throw line. When you miss 16 free throws in a game like that and we made some mistakes defensively, but we had effort.”
Junior forward Christian Standhardinger led the Warriors with 20 points and 15 rebounds. He went 3-of-4 from the free-throw line in the closing seconds to help secure the victory.
“I can just say that every night the fans can expect one thing from me, is that I give 100 percent and that I have all the hustle plays and I compete,” said Standhardinger, who sat out last season as a redshirt due to NCAA transfer rules.
Senior guard/forward Hauns Brereton added 15 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 3:11 remaining.
“I think we took a very important step today,” Brereton said. “I don’t think they took the lead at all this whole game. Of course we want to build upon that … but that’s the first step. The next step is to build leads.”
Junior guard Brandon Spearman added 11 points, and freshman forward Isaac Fotu contributed 10 points and seven rebounds. Fotu also had a crucial blocked shot in the final minute when the Warriors were protecting a 70-64 lead.
Junior guard Garrett Jefferson and freshman guard Brandon Jawato each chipped in eight points off the bench.
Hawai’i led by as many as 14 points but could never run away from the Sea Warriors. HPU got as close as four points several times in the closing minutes, including 68-64 with 1:10 remaining in the game.
Fotu’s blocked shot on a driving layup attempt by HPU guard Malte Ziegenhagen came with 33 seconds remaining. The Warriors then converted 5 of 6 free throws in the closing seconds to take the win.
“It’s probably nothing to write home about, but it’s something to definitely build from,” Arnold said. “For that, I’m pleased … I have to be happy with the effort.”
The Warriors utilized their height advantage to out-rebound HPU, 48-25. Hawai’i shot 43.9 percent from the field (while holding HPU to 37.5 percent), but shot just 2 for 12 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range and 23 of 39 (59 percent) from the free throw line.
Arnold used 11 players in the game, including five freshmen. He went with a starting lineup of Jace Tavita and Spearman at guards, Brereton and Standhardinger at forwards, and Fotu at center.
The Warriors opened the game with a 16-3 lead, but the Sea Warriors rallied to cut the deficit to 36-32 at intermission. HPU’s Michael Pierce drained a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer (although video replays indicate that the shot may have come after the horn).
Hawai’i started the second half with an 11-2 run to push the lead back up to 47-34, but the Sea Warriors kept chipping away.
Ziegenhagen led HPU with 19 points, while Marko Cukic added nine points and six rebounds. The result and statistics will not count for either team.
Hawai’i senior center Vander Joaquim – the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last season – sat out with a knee injury.
Hawai’i will open its regular season on November 9 with a home game against Maryland-Eastern Shore. It will be the first of three games in four nights in the season-opening Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic for the Warriors.
(Photos courtesy Charles Simmons)