Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors beat Matadors in Big West debut


In an action-packed thriller from start to finish, the Hawai’i men’s basketball team made its Big West Conference debut a rousing success by holding off Cal State Northridge, 74-71, Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Christian Standhardinger scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Isaac Fotu added 16 points and 11 boards as a high-volume crowd of 5,917 watched the Warriors improve to 7-5 overall; the Matadors fell to 9-4.

“I just told the guys in the locker room that I couldn’t be more proud of the group as a whole, I couldn’t be happier,” UH coach Gib Arnold said. “Everybody who played tonight contributed to the win in some way. (Northridge) was the hottest team in the Big West — they’re quick, they’re athletic, they’re well-coached … but we were able to sustain their runs and do what we do best, which is run and go inside.”

Vander Joaquim added 12 points and 11 rebounds and Brandon Jawato contributed 12 points — including 3 of 5 shooting from 3-point range — for the Warriors.

Stephan Hicks scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Matadors.

CSUN jumped out to a 13-2 lead and was up, 25-17, after Allan Guei’s layup with 9:13 remaining in the first half. But UH responded with a stunning 18-0 run fueled by electric fast breaks that got the fans into a frenzy. Hicks finally broke the string with a pair of free throws with 5:13 left, but the Warriors maintained the lead and went into the break ahead, 44-33.


“We got a lot of fast breaks, and that’s our game,” said Standhardinger, who started the run with a leaner and short bank shot. “Coach smelled a weakness (in the Matadors) and we were able to take advantage of it. We had a huge advantage inside with Fotu and Vander.”

Hicks sparked an 11-2 run early in the second half that gave Northridge the lead again at 56-54, and his baseline jumper with 7:02 remaining made it 61-56. Standhardinger then capped an 8-2 spurt by Hawai’i with a reverse layup that put the Warriors back in front, 64-63, with 4:12 left.

Standhardinger, however, had struggled miserably from the free throw line before that — missing his first eight attempts after entering the game shooting a respectable 69 percent from the stripe.

“I figured it out: I didn’t stretch my arm out (on the follow-through),” said Standhardinger, who finally hit one with 4:38 remaining to cut the Matadors’ lead to 63-62. “I still try to do my best with hustle and focus, but if the sucker doesn’t fall, it doesn’t fall. But next game, I will be 100 percent.”

Joaquim’s free throw with 1:06 remaining gave UH the lead for good at 70-69 and Fotu followed with layup off a nifty spin move to push it to 72-69 with 42 ticks left, but Stephen Maxwell’s putback cut it to 72-71 with 15.7 seconds to go. Hauns Brereton was then fouled after a timeout and sank two free throws with 0:09.7 showing on the clock to make it 74-71. Landon Drew’s 23-foot attempt at the buzzer did not draw iron.

“Brandon Spearman came in and made a big stop, locked down on (Drew) and got a piece of that shot,” Arnold said. “That doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but it was huge.”


Arnold also cited the contributions of Garrett Jefferson, Brereton and Davis Rozitis.

“Garrett comes in and causes a big turnover by Drew (with 56 seconds remaining),” Arnold said. “Hauns comes in and knocks down two free throws when we had been struggling from the line. And Davis plays seven or eight minutes in the first half, gets three blocks and really spurred our run by playing the point in our zone (defense).”

Arnold said Hawai’i’s crowd-pleasing fast-break style exhibited during the 18-0 first-half run is something fans can look forward to in the near future.

“That is Warrior basketball,” Arnold said. “It starts with defense, then we rebound, kick it out and run. The crowd was fantastic, they helped us a lot. They were loud, and our guys responded to them.”

Hawai’i returns to action Thursday with another Big West home game against Cal State Fullerton; tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

(Photos courtesy Brandon Flores)



Cal Poly 58, at UC Riverside 48
at Long Beach State 67, Pacific 63
at Cal State Fullerton 86, UC Santa Barbara 79
at UC Irvine 69, UC Davis 58 (OT)
at Hawai’i 74, Cal State Northridge 71


  1. I think Vander needs to improve…he still takes way to long with the ball…always trying to shoot thru double and triple teams..U gotta make those quick reads and passes..i heard the crowd everytime he was doubled..Pass the ball Vander and make everyone around u better..

  2. And Manroop should be the starting point..let him start and get better..

  3. kdap35,

    VJ has to make decision with ball much quicker. His frontcourt mate, Isaac Fotu, when they call play for him, and get him ball, even before he gets it, he know what to do. Make a move, shoot over top, spin right, or left, baby jump hook, pass to open man or he gets fouled and Has FT oppotunity. Could be injury still. With Isaac and

    Vander down low as true posts, along with Christian rebounding and running the break, in Big West , you can see big advantage UH. The guards , I think so too, Clair and Jawato start, then bring Tavita, Jefferson, Spearman even Hauns off the bench. Everyone in arena saw who finished game, Jawato and Clair as back court.

    At this point with 3 early home games in a row, team has to be solid from PG to Post, have to go 3-0 before hitting the road. Good win. Have to continue to get better and maybe , NOW is the time to play 3 freshman Fotu, Clair, and Jawato as starter/finishers with major minutes. UH needs them now!

  4. Great WIN! to open the BW Conference play. It’s a hurdle Vander been trying to jump for a long time as it’s a reoccurring scenario. Some people say he takes too long to decide what he wants to do with the ball.

    I feel he’s made up his mind that he’s gonna shoot the ball, no matter if double/tripled teamed. He’s not looking to dish the ball but trying to better his positioning for his shot. Sometimes it’ll work sometimes it won’t. Once double/tripled teamed he should be looking to pass the ball instantly, he has to recognized that someone must be open for the score.

    Easy to play an ArmChair QuarterBack, lol.

  5. Great team win. The Matadors were a hot team coming in and played the part. UH displayed great “team” effort to win this one with cardiac excitement. Isaac Fotu and Christian displayed the focus and fearlessness level that all need to play at; with energy and a sense of urgency to FINISH.

    Everyone had their moments of success, in retrospect, if all built these moments into minutes what will come?

    Unlike past teams, this team has the intangilbe quality to tease us all to watch them play because they will grow and at some point play consistent 40 minutes versus moments. hana hoe

  6. Well… it’s a win! Talk about Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Northridge had no business playing a close game vs UH. UH had WAY more talent on the court, but mistakes turned this into a nail biter.

    I hate to say it but I think it’s time to shut down Hauns. He’s awful. I think Gib is best served to only play him when leading late in the game to make FTs.

    Wow, I’m a little afraid of how this team will play on the road… UH is having all sorts of problems with turnovers, inconsistent shooting and free throw shooting at home. UH has been falling into a pattern of really sloppy play to start games. 8 turnovers in 4 min last night is unacceptable. In the 2nd half there were too many defensive breakdowns that led to easy baskets. Gotta clean that up vs the better teams in BW. I also noticed that UH panics a bit when the offense bogs down. Too many forced quick shots after offensive rebounds.

    On the positive note, UH also showed how it can potentially dominate in Big West play with their bigs completely dominating the boards.

    Jawato hopefully should start the rest of the season. UH needs his offense on the court. I like the energy Rozitis and Spearman bring off the bench.

    As mentioned earlier by other fans… Vander, can you please pass the ball??? Several times he gets double/triple teamed and he refuses to give up the ball, even with WIDE OPEN shooters on the perimeter. He also missed Spearman cutting to the hoop for a WIDE OPEN layup. After a few seconds of jumping up and down, yelling, and waiving both hands, Vander finally passes to him, but was too late and Spearman was forced to fire a wild shot.

    The key to beating a double team is making a quick decision. Either make you move before the double arrives, or kick it back out and force the defense to reset. If Vander gets to re-post, he’ll either get single coverage or he’ll force the defense to re-double. Usually if defenses are forced in to re-double teaming, it tends to mess up rotations and someone else can get wide open. But that would require Vander to pass the ball again.

    Vander has a hard enough time passing it once, if he gets it again on a re-post, that ball ain’t coming back out.

  7. Whew, ugly , but winnah, Christian and the boys hopefully opened gym 2 today and are shooting free throws after free throws, Automatic brah, you guys need to shoot for 80% as a goal. Vander please remember inside outside ,inside pass quickly back out if you’re covered , watch for your cutting teammates. Onward,to conquer the TITANS , come on Warriors!

  8. I agree with everybody…they got the win..and i think Jawato has proven he is ready to play..Fotu could very well be on his way to big west freshman of the year..jus sayin..but Vander is still the key an he gotta get movin an groovin with that ball…And Gib gotta get some handles…so to say…on the PG situation..

  9. a win is a win: who would refuse a gift from Lady Lucky?
    ugly is ugly: looking at it from any angle!
    who’s responsible? coaching staff as a whole.

    reality check; a challenge to the TEAM to be a difference maker! (yes, including all of you too, the players).
    Current: 7-5.
    Home: 6-3.
    Away: 4-5.
    BWC: 1-1.
    Total: 18-14.

    c’mon, prove me wrong.

    Hauole Makahiki Hou to all!

  10. Clair and Jawato need to stay open near Vanderʻs periphery/clear field of Vision —
    he knows they can hit from anywhere inside 23 – 25 ft
    and doesnʻt seem to hesitate to pass to them when theyʻre clear/open…

    (Difficult to pass to middle-baseline,
    on the side where the double-teams are usually coming from and where four to six arms are flailing…)

    As an option, or with clock running down, Vanderʻs jump-hook is tough to block without visibly fouling…
    Develop a reliable sky-hook? Coach Fisher?

    P.S. Minimize Dribbling anywhere near the crowd…

  11. im starting to believe Dayton “university” fans when i read blogs about spearman leaving and they werent worried

  12. Roop and Jawato should start permanently, and they should be kept together as a tandem as much as possible. They bring excitement, energy, and enthusiasm to the court. As a spectator you know they’re having fun out there. Also love Davis out there for the same reasons. Keep it up boys!

  13. Don’t give up on anyone. All players struggle at times. Just keep practicing hard and when your number is called you have to go in and do the job. Period. There is no “I” in TEAM. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. At some point we will need Pavlovic to hit a big 3. We will need Tavita to make a big pass, Jefferson a big steal, etc., etc. The sum of the parts is bigger than the whole. Keep the faith.

  14. Agreed, Roop and Jawato need to be the starters. The offense operates the best when they are on the court. The most important thing a coach has to do when he has a lot of good players is that the coach must assign roles to the players need to accept their role and play to their role.

    Gib hasn’t quite got that done yet as evidenced by his revolving starting lineups and inconsistent substitution pattern. For example, Davis Rozitis definitely knows his role as a high energy defender in the zone defense. In Gib’s defense, every lineup he’s started have all started poorly.

    I like Spearman a lot as a 6th man. He’s another high energy player and I like his athleticism. He’s a little too aggressive with his shot selection and the offense doesn’t get moving. Spearman is excellent to bring in when the offense gets stagnant and he can create his own shot.

    What’s up with the free throw shooting lately? Holy cow the Bows have stunk it up from the charity stripe. It won’t get any easier when UH travels to the small gyms of the Big West.

  15. Sorry, paragraph 2 was out of order… sorry if it’s confusing. I definitely didn’t major in English.

  16. Looking ahead to Fullerton… UH should be an easy win. I watched a little bit of Fullerton vs UCSB yesterday night and Fullerton was unimpressive. They have one really big forward who controlled the paint, but I think Vander and Fotu will get him in foul trouble. Fullerton doesn’t matchup vs UH. UH has too much size and is much more athletic all around. As long as UH doesn’t play as poorly as yesterday, Fullerton will be an easy win.

  17. Great win for the team. What they need was a boost of confidence more than anything and this win will give them that. I am still seeing a glaring weakness in handling the halfcourt press. Not enough of the support players are flaring out to call for the ball when manroop or brandon jawato get in trouble/double teamed. Way to many turnover via this route! something to work on before thursday, go bows!

  18. I seen on Spearman Twiiter that he is sick explains a lot. Get Well!! #32

  19. Notice a lot of times when Clair brings up the ball Jawato is far away and setting up for his offensive game. Instead he should be watching Clair’s back every second. The moment he gets trapped or picks up his dribble he needs to come to him even if it is a football hand off. And Clair should not pick up his dribble unless he is going to pass the ball. Players need to sense when defense setting a trap before they really trap him. Because that split second Clair needs to find someone to pass out. And when you are successful passing out you need to make them pay by scoring. They will think twice about trapping again. What you think?

  20. Servante, good thoughts. One person can’t break the trap. You must have teammates to help, by coming back towards the ball. Movement is the key. You can’t stand in one place. You have to move to get good positioning. If they are quick enough you are right in that there could be an advantage in numbers and you can make them pay.

  21. Gib needs to work Jaws and Roop. They were not the 1st teamers until a couple of games ago. They are Frosh and they need the reps in practice to break the press. Hopefully Coach is giving the pair the reps in breaking the press. I think the rest of the pair’s game is okay and all they need to do now is learning the ropes in breaking the full court press. Gib should be implementing a plan to do it for Thursday’s game. Coach himself knows it’s the team achilles heel.

  22. Good Job Ice Man! When they need you, you finish it!

  23. Win is a win. Starting conference play at 1-0 is all we could ask for. Lots of stuff to clean up if we expect to leave the islands 3-0.

  24. Memphis: Yes, props to Hauns. Coming in cold and hitting those two free throws showed what he’s made of.

  25. With 16 players on the roster, 4 redshirting, there’s should be enough bodies to have situational practices against the press and traps. Also, scrimmaging. Enos, Shamburger, and Valdes should provide a lot of tough competition against our guards who are playing now. Thus, there should be no excuses as far as being coached and being prepared for actual games.

    As far as recruiting, we have already signed 2 for next year, Thomas and Javanovic. If Arnold looks for one more player I would say get a combo guard, somebody who is a versatile player who can shoot the ball and handle the ball too. Somebody like that Stephan Hicks, 6’6″, lean, SF/G from Cal-Northridge.

    First take for next year starting lineup. C-Fotu, F-Standhardinger, G-Jawato, G-Clair, G-Shamburger. Top of the depth chart: Spearman, Valdes, Rozitis, Jefferson, Pavlovic, Thomas, Dressler, Harper, Javanovic, Enos, ? (Aaric Armstead) ? (Gerry Blakes).

  26. Good things always seem to happen when Davis comes in. I especially like the zone with him at the point.

    Roop is improving in his ball handeling game by game, and didn’t seem to give up the dribble as quickly last night. The inbounding big, should stay in the backcourt to set a screen, and after the defender has had a couple of hard screens, he will be looking behind himself the rest of the night, limiting his effectiveness in harassing our PG.

  27. hate when people say a win is a win…meaning they are satisfied with the outcome…this should have been a 10+ point victory

  28. Man, oh, man I was squeezing in my seat last night. A good BW Conference win. Northridge is pretty good. That big run Hawaii had before the half was great. Those freshmen players have lots of energy. They’re fun to watch. But, Hawaii was terrible on the free throw line. I think if they had shot 60 to 65% on the line it would have been a double digit win. Hawaii has a good team but, they need to improve on the foul shots and take care of the ball.
    Go Warriors!

  29. servante… you brought up a point I forgot about. Clair has a nasty habit of picking up his dribble vs tight man pressure 30-35 ft from the hoop. At that far away, there’s not much help to bail him out. I also noticed the PGs (whoever is playing) allows his defender to push him to the sideline in tight man pressure. The PG must be a stronger ball handler and not allow himself to get stuck on the sideline. I noticed Northridge was trapping the PG regularly once forced to the sideline.

    My old HS coach taught us guards the “5-45” principle. That means if your the 2 guard (SG), you’re always 5 yards away at a 45 degree angle from the PG. At that distance and angle, it’s much easier to complete the pass if the PG is pressured. For whatever reason, it makes it very tough for the defense to intercept the pass and it’s easy for the SG to get open. The worst pass guards can make is the horizontal pass (parallel to half court line).

  30. Former UH Athlete,

    Thanks for that insight of that 5-45 principle. Not being a participant of any bb clinic/team, it’s nice to have some tips on what they should be doing. The UH players should already know some of this stuff but it’s Coach’s/Player’s teachings and executions that needs to come through.


  31. Vander needs to start passing it out to open shooters when he gets double/triple teamed…we have guys that can knock it down. Once that starts happening, he won’t get as many of ’em.

  32. Former UH Athlete well said
    very well known and very useful rule

    those who watched the game could certainly have noticed that most of the turnovers just because they are trying to add a parallel

  33. You know Gib and staff working with PG’s, in fact all of guards, not to pick up dribble, and UHA correct, the angle of pass and when when not too, fundamentals for PG’s any guard , really any level. Clair , really first time playing DI ball as a PG, very high level, other teams guards, very quick. you can actually hear the coaches shouting to PG’s don’t do it, don’t pick up dribble, don’t make the horizontal pass. The UH guards, they are just going to have learn by game experience.

    There is the team that can help out PG, wings and SG’scoming to PG to meet for handoff if he is in trouble.Wings and Bigs can help too, set screen, or move to space and angle for Manroop to pass easily too, Too many times, he is stuck, looking to make pass and no one moves, , they are covered by defenders. Clair has enough speed to beat traps on sideline or getting doubled or funneled to sideline. It is a “deer in the headlights” moment, with experience, and added strength, Clair will understand. Hopefully by Big West Tourney.

  34. playhoopsa,

    good observations, I too noticed The Roop picking up the dribble when there’s no team mate near to pass the ball to when he’s about to get trapped in the backcourt. Still learning I guess and may need to get his team mates help when it’s displayed. Guess team mates can tell if the trap is on when 2 or more defenders stay back to do it, Roops team mates should learn to recognize the situation.

    Coach em up Coach! Get this done so the team can move on to learn other things.

  35. Part of the reason we struggle against quick man pressure in the backcourt is because none of our point guards have consistently shown a propensity to be able to break-off their defender and penetrate, or even a willingness to do so.

    Thus, as a defender if you don’t believe that you are not at risk of getting blown by, you can hunker down in a stance, ignore dribble ball fakes, focus on being aggressive and cut the court.

    The issue is exacerbated by the fact that we do not have great timing, nor aggressivness by our wings in terms of their normal V-cuts which are supposed to create natural entrys for the offense at the wing, nor do we seems to have a dribble-entry option off the hard-wing deny for our guys to resort to when teams are selling out up top and and denying the wings.

  36. Speaking of 10 point-plus Wins,
    The Team is going to Have to Play 10+ Points Better On The Road
    just to Win Half of their Road Games…
    More like Two UNLV Second Half Efforts every game…

  37. mid-range game,

    Good thoughts. You are right, all the guards with exception of maybe Spearman, hang out on perimeter, I think from top of circle is where they start offense. When Hawaii Defends, gets a stop, rebounds and runs, for spot up transistion three’s or layins, they are exciting and most effective. When they are forced to slow it down, and , you

    are correct, start half court offense, get it inside, they don’t have wing or guards willing to consistenly drive to the rim, score, get fouled or make good pass for open man. If you don’t have perimeter guys to penetrate, half of your offense from 10 feet to the rim is taken away. Makes it easier for other team to double on Vander, and to disregard

    any UH player driving or dribble drive though the seams, they know, just pick up the guards, get in their face, and they start to panic. If UH guards and wings, with good coaching , make it a point to drive to the hole, 3 possible good things could happen 1)they score at the rim 2)score and one3)find a big for an open flush 4)find shooter on the perimeter for wide open 3 or midrange shot.

  38. mid-range game, re: guard wing dribble penetration.

    continued, phew, lot of stuff to comment on, we like it though, arm chair hoops gurus, play ground and Klum gym and Paki park coaches and ballers in our old days, or playing Mililani youth hoops in the seventies!

    Without that penetration, in half court slow down game, other teams quickness takes over and can shut Hawaii down. Spearman, Clair, Jefferson, even Hauns, have to find seems and drive to bucket with purpose, to score, get fouled or create opportunity for open man. I guess we have been talking so much about the perimeter and traps, we forgot about, why they get stuck 30-35 feet away from the basket,and one or two guys strip Clair or Jace or Vander

    way out on top of circle. So Gib go back to drawing board, ask: who is willing to penetrate, shoot the gaps, and create offense besides the bigs?..Along with good shooting Free Throw to three point line, if they can get that straightened out, along with Free Throws, closing out games and shooting well from three line, I agree with Ferd

    Lewis, a possible 11-7 regular season record, 1 win agains a bracket buster here in Feb. , by Big West tourney time, be seeded in top 3 , and be playing well in a non dominating league, Hawaii could grab a NCAA invite , first time since, 2002!!

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