Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors fall to Mississippi on final day of Classic


The Hawai’i basketball team had one furious rally, but couldn’t come up with another in a 81-66 loss to Mississippi on the final day of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

The Warriors rallied from a 16-point deficit in the first half, but could not overcome a 10-point deficit late in the second half.

The game was closer than the final score indicated, as the teams were tied with less than four minutes remaining.

Hawai’i finished in sixth place in the tournament at 1-2, and fell to 6-5 overall. Mississippi captured the consolation title (fifth place) and improved to 10-2.

Senior center Vander Joaquim scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for the Warriors. Isaac Fotu added 11 points, and Christian Standhardinger scored 10.

Hawai’i out-rebounded the Rebels, 41-32, but finished with a .393 field goal percentage, including just 2 of 16 from 3-point range.

The Warriors struggled against Mississippi’s full-court pressure defense early in the game, and the Rebels looked to be in control with a 27-11 lead. But Hawai’i closed the first half with a stunning 19-2 run to take a 30-29 lead at intermission.

The Warriors started the game with three “bigs” in the lineup, but first-half rally came behind a three-guard lineup of Jace Tavita, Manroop Clair and Brandon Spearman.

The game stayed close throughout the second half, and teams exchanged the lead 11 times.

The score was tied at 63 with less than four minutes remaining when the Rebels went on a 10-0 run to take a 73-63 lead with 1:23 left. The Warriors never got closer than eight the rest of the way. The five Mississippi baskets during the crucial surge consisted of three layups and two dunks.

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


  1. Too bad. Tough game to watch on TV. Must have been hard for faithful at SSC.

    Good: UH comeback from 16 down and eventually taking a lead

    Bad: UH getting outscored 10-0 in the last 2 minutes or so.

    Great: game from Vander 29 pts. 2 blocks and 15 rebounds a true warrior.

    Question: guards and wing handling pressure, very, very sure BWC teams will pressure Hawaii..
    There are ways to break pressure, without a guard having to break through…Hawaii doesn’t currently have that type of player..guys would have to flash to open areas, be in sync, to help in bound ball, and help guys getting trapped..it is a TEAM thing..would help if you had a Shamburger, however UH concern is NOW not next year.

    Loved effort, wished they shot better, they lost to a now. 10-2 SEC team, 4 out of 5 losses..Illinois, UNLV, Miami of the ACC and Ole Miss of the SEC..four good teams..

    If Hawaii didn’t turn over ball, and could have hit 6 or 7 three pointers, Hawaii would have won a big game going into BWC..

    Now: CLEAR and GO…Gib and guys, learn, forget this loss, get ready, playing for NCAA invite starts this Sat. nite Dec 29 2012 at Stan Sheriff center against Cal Northridge..

    You all, have 18 BWC games and 1 Bracket Buster here at SSC in Feb. so total of 19 games before BWC tournament..

    If UH can go 12-6 or 13-5 in conference would be fantastic..and a win against Bracket Buster team here in Honolulu..that would be a regular season finish of either 19-11 or 20-10…still a lot to play for..

    PG: Jace helped lead the comeback..sometimes getting into offense in last few minutes was so slow..not only Jace, the whole TEAM..credit to Ole Miss, they are quick, and just picked UH clean , off to the races and flush or layin..

    Yes, we know..that is another one that got away..Hey guys: CLEAR and GO..GO after that BWC crown..have to handle pressure,

    P.S. Roop did a good job in that Box and one defense against Marshall, pretty much shut him down for a stretch..

    Go Warriors..still 19 games to go before the BWC tourney in March..I sound redundant, ..however , trying to stay positive, and looks like Vander is back!! Great, great game Vander…if you know him and team, he would trade, his stats for the W any day!!

  2. No matter what, it all comes down to making shots. .393% isn’t going to do it against a quality team.
    Hawaii had the edge in rebounding, but untimely turnovers resulted in easy baskets down the stretch. When we got down by 6 in crunch time, we lost focus and turned the ball over a couple of times in a row and quickly we got down by 10 and that’s all she wrote. The team has to learn to have poise and composure to win close games. Haven’t done that yet. Blew Illinolis in OT after having the lead, lost to Pepperdine by not covering perimiter shots, lost to Miami when Durand Scott made 3 huge 3s to break the game open, another defense lapse in covering perimeter shots.
    I think Hawaii guards has to extend their defense further out from the 3 pt. line a least another foot.
    It is always better to give up a 2 compared to a 3. Game effort today, but a loss is a loss. Now 6-5. Not much margin for error as we go into conference play.

    Somehow, Hawaii has to win games even when we are not shooting the ball well. All comes down to team defense, and getting more steals.

  3. Derek: as always great analysis of game.

    It made me very nervous, when UH was either tied or one point down with about 3 minutes to go..you are correct, those games they lost,..it came down to each possession…very shaky…loved the effort, that was NCAA DI effort to come back from 16 down and eventually take lead..however, the shooters, mid to 3 line., you are correct, if UH not hitting, and some in close , and layins denied or missed…shooting below 46% or better , you would lose most games..however, inside game, good, rebounding good…turnovers..in first half, bad..last two minutes really bad.

    Losing to a Big Ten team, a top 25 team, an ACC team, and an SEC team..a great learning experience..the Pepperdine loss, a nightmare loss, shoulda coulda woulda..

    BWC has some pretty good guards and wings, pretty sure they will pressure UH guards..however..UH, bigs, when they get it going, they are as good as many teams , maybe top 40 teams in the country..Guards and wings, Hauns has to bring something, and I think once he relaxes and just plays ball..he will..

    Now fellow UH MBB fans,..the real season begins..UH learn from losing to 4 very athletic and big teams..and go out and play like the teams you lost to..do what they did, shoot, D up and close out games..and still you all have chance to chase BWC tourney title, no matter what your record!! Remember, UH ,..maybe Eagle does, he has better memory than I.that 93-94 Maroney, Handy, Molle, Akana, McGee, Ruffin team, went into WAC tourney at , I think 14-13 overall record..they got hot..won 3 in a row and ended up 17-13 and headed to NCAA dance..

    So keep heads up guys..CLEAR and GO …win that BWC tourney crown with a chance to dance! And you all are correct..I don’t think BWC teams, though very good guards and SF’s and system coaches, are as big and physical as Illinois, UNLV, Miami, and Ole Miss..

    Go Warriors..and P.S. love effort of Manroop on guard Marshall for Ole Miss. that box and one.. Roop was closing in on the guy all over the place, slowed him down..otherwise, Ole Miss, wins by 25 and that guard goes off for 30 pts..

    Roop is learning,,and kudos to ALL the guys who gave great, great effort..we applaud you, and we UH fans are not giving up on you..just get better..5 of your first 7 BWC games are at SSC so go for it and defend home court!!

  4. One big thing I see is the guards need to learn ball-handling and stop making careless mistakes. Jace and Roop have a bad habit of not protecting the ball. Dribbling carelessly and consistently getting picked when pressure is applied in crunch time. Need to keep the ball moving. Vander played like how I would expect him to play aggressive and with some fire. Seems like his confidence is gaining each game from his injury. Seems like he had a little pep in his step. This game could have easily been won but the point guards crumbled with giving up the ball from careless ball-handling.

  5. It is evident now this team is unlike last years 16-16 team. When the going gets tough there’s no “go to guy” to take charge. Christian Standhardinger plays well only against mid or low level fbs teams. I don’t know what happened to Hauns,-he’s all but disappeared. Isaac Fotu looks good for the future. Manroop as well. I would keep these freshmen as starters as they’ll only get better and better. Use Hauns coming off the bench. Vander is doing well but he can’t do it alone on the inside. This team will not make the post season again. Gib is one dependable big man and one outstanding point guard from it being a good team.

  6. I don’t know why Gib is so reluctant to start Rozitis. Sure he has an erratic outside shot but he has a penchant for getting free in the paint and dunk or lay into the hoop. This is his third year here. He’s not a clumsy 7 footer like past Warriors. Gib has nothing to lose. Does he want to win more or just to stubborn to allow Rozitis playing time. I like Hauns but he clearly is not starter material, Hauns is better coming off the bench. I would have Vander in the middle, rotate Christian and Isaac in the forward and Rozitis as the other forward. I would have Manroop Clair at one guard. He reminds me of Pistol Pete Maravich. A long outside shooter. I think we have a good one with Manroop. His ballhandling will improve with maturuty. Next year, can’t wait for Valdes.

  7. Ratbird:

    Well, a lot of fans not giving up on team yet, though you are correct, one or two more seasons of good recruiting and UH will be beating these athletic big teams here and on the road.

    However. I think, Hawaii will win at least 18 games..how do I say so? well they have 18 BWC games, 1 Bracket Buster game here at home, and at least, I think BWC takes all ten teams to Conference tourney, at least opening round game, so 1 more..that makes for possible 20 more games, 10 at SSC and 10 on the road..I believe UH, as young guys get better, and upperclassmen step up, they can win 12 out of possible 20 or more remaining games and go to Riley Tourney, or finish 20 game winning season and possible NIT..and the ultimate, even if regular season record not greatest, anyone has a shot at winning the BWC tourney and going dancing..

    Don’t know how far back you go following UH MBB, remember the 1993-94 Trevor Ruffin led team, they went into tourney at 14-13 , got hot, not on Trevor’s back, role guys like Phil Handy,John Molle, Jarrin Akana, and Kalia McGee, with a good shot blocker down low in 7’2″ 290 pound center Tony Maroney..team was very disappointing at beginnining of season, did not have a great regualr WAC season, they got hot and played well when it mattered and went to dance..

    Unless this team loses, the next seven BWC games in a row, I say, by start of March they have at least 18 games won under their belt, with a shot at NCAA..BWC, good guards, wings, well coached teams, systems, however..UH has played SEC, ACC and Big Ten teams, that helps a lot..now UH team, go get em..just have to close out..when get lead or tight games here and on the road, lock down on defense and cherish each possession, you guys, Warriors will be alright..Vander, Fotu, Standhardinger, Roop, Spearman, Harper, Jawato, Davis, Jefferson, Hauns, Jace, and the wizard of Oz…Ozi!!

  8. Gib is a great recruiter. Next year Vander is gone and a new center has to come in. Even a great recruiter like Gib can’t get a 4 star or 5 star center to come here in nowhere’s land in the middle of the Pacific. How about going to China Gib? They grow em plenty tall there and Hawaii is a natural place for them what with Hawaii’s large Chinese community here. Or continue in Canada where tall Canadians are available. Or Australia where fertile athletes are evident everywhere. Or go to the Balkins where we may find another Predrag Savovic? Or even back to Germany. There may be a Dirk Nowitzki out there? Hawaii has a disadvantage competing for mainland schools against big name fbs colleges. Foreign countries may be our good alternative?

  9. UHfanonly, I hope your right and I’m wrong. But UH is losing against mid level fbs teams such as Pepperdine. The BWC is no chopped liver. Christian Standhardinger is having trouble against mid level fbs teams. I think thats where his playing is right now. I don’t know what happened to Hauns. Its displaying the same traits as last years team, erratic shooting, tendency to be careless with the ball, poor 5 man rhythm among the starters.. I know people are starting to get tired of me comparing Manroop with Pistol Pete. But I tell you Manroop is special. He really is.

  10. Ratbird:

    I agree with you about Roop, he has that shooter’s mentality, in fact Spearman has it too, though, Roop would shoot from deep and deeper..if he concentrated ,and they ran plays for him as a SG Wing..he would get confidence and be knocking down 3 or 4 or 5 some games..getting a 20 point game or more..he probabaly though he doesn’t go to hole as much , a very good FT shooter..today, they shot very well 80%..

    I like this team..they are OHANA and are friends and are a TEAM..Gib defined roles for them..however when you run into big time schools, harder to execute..however they almost beat, and should have beat Illinois, had a great second half run against UNLV on the road, and you are right that PEPPERDINE game sticks in the gut for this year’s team..but you have to CLEAR and GO..forget about the bad mistakes and past, learns from it. get better day by day, week by week, game by game..I think , JMO, this team GETS it..they will be alright..if they lose 7 or 8 in a row, well , that’s it folks for this year..I have confidence they don’t ..especially having a legitimate, all BWC center, who is not 100% getting better..

    Hey, BWC starts this Sat..get the W’s starting against Northridge guys!!

    Yeah, and being realistic..I hope..they do Ratbird..trying to stay positive..and Roop will probablly have that 20 , 25 pt game with 7 three pointers in a big BWC road game for the title match..Roop, Roop!!

  11. I tell you UHfanonly, Manroop is Pistol Pete. Pistol shot em from 30 feet out and that was before the 3 point shot. I’d pay just to see Roop. He is getting better and better. I met Pistol Pete several times and although he does not resemble Manroop, I get an eery feeling as Manroop has the same charisma as Pistol Pete Maravich. Watch out!!! The SSC will be rocking with “ROOP,ROOP,ROOP” soon. Pistol Pete was the greatest shooter in College. He averaged 40 Points a game. It would have been even more but back then, freshman weren’t allowed to play varsity ball. I love UH. Go Warriors!

  12. Oh, a an aside, Pistol Pete would have averaged more than 40 PPG because that was before the 3 point shot and Pistol’s range was 30 feet!!!! Manroop!!!!

  13. Roop is no Pistol Pete, Roop is Roop. Pistol was on a whole other level of ballplaying. He had the best handles to go with a scorers mentality with a great shooting touch. Guys like Pistol are rare. Roop is as good as he’ll allow himself to be. Potential there, sure it is but he needs a lot of work to refine his game into a Pistol Pete mode. I like he and Jawato in the backcourt for the future. Being freshman though they do play erratic at times. Jace although his assists are up, needs to take care of the ball better. He gets picked too easy sometimes when he plays carelessly with the ball. Shamburger will be a nice upgrade for next year as he is a facilitator and can fill up the scoreboard. With a year of playing confidence next years backcourt should be better. Losing Vander is a concern though.

  14. Ratbird: I guess we are from “back in the day”! Yes, remember Pistol quite well. He played in old Rainbow Classic with LSU before the Fabulous Five days..He with the floppy hair, and incredible ball handler and passer too! One man show..you are right , if they had the 3 pt line back then, he would be averaging 40 plus, and hitting 50 or even 60 in a game..wow…brings back great, great memories..even seeing Elvin Hayes and Houston on local TV playing here..the Big E was a great player too for a Big , hall of famer…

    A generation a little while back, not too long ago had MJ, then there was Dr J, before that playground legend Connie “the Hawk” Hawkins, large hands, finger roll before George Gervin, Tiny Archibald, I..remember playing in church youth league BB (wasn’t the greatest, only 5’0′ at that time!)..and we would listen or see on grainy BW replays from a week back on local TV games with the Big O , Oscar Roberston, Mr triple double..Cousy, Bill Russell and at the Civic Auditorium, since torn down..I think , can’t remember so well, Wilt Chamberlain and the Harlem Globetrotters in the early sixites…them good ole days..

    Yeah..if Roop, is , and actually he came here with that type of hype…even though on WI, interviews, he is very humble, very shy, yet , as Gib says, in practice, every day , he is knocking down 3’s like layups I guess. so they know he can shoot..he is the quickest guard, Spearman probably the best strongest combo, Jace like a coach..

    Roop, Roop, if this was the old Loyola Marymount team with Hank Gathers, probably, Roop would have license to fire away from half court and would average 20 pts as a freshman..

    Roop is a team player..Gib likes him as well as all the other 15..that is what I personally like about team 2012-13 edition, win or lose, they stick together..OHANA..they get experience Ratbird(like that name), come BWC time, I think any team has a shot to dance..

    In meantime..waiting for Roop to average about 8 or 9 pts, 4 assists, shoot 85% from FT line and 40% plus from 3, as well as 2 or less TO’s per game..it will take time..he will get there..and I am not leaving out Jawato, Ozi, even Mr Harper from down under, and of course the Fro , Isaac, who is the real deal, he is a legit Big..very skilled, just needs experience, and this year, Gib is giving them PT..

    Go Roop, and all UH MBB team…Ratbird, UHF, pocho, Aussie and Ozi Mums, Tonganator, the D’s, Clyde we all love the UH MBB team…otherwise we would not comment how we think team could improve, and what we like about team..

    Go Warriors..have a nice winter break and start with a win against Northridge this Sat Dec 29 2012..you guys, when playing well for 40 minutes..are a very good team!!

  15. Manroop did a heckuva job on the box-and-one but I wonder if it took a lot out of him. Shadowing Henderson all over the floor, fighting through screens and logging 36 minutes … thought he kind of wore down in crunch time. But it was a great strategic move by Gib as Henderson, according to the stats, didn’t even get off a shot in the second half. It did leave creases in the perimeter open, but Henderson was killing ’em in the first half and he needed to be shut down.

    Thought Ole Miss got a lot of follow shots and putbacks, perhaps fatigue by Vander, who logged 38 minutes. Would have liked to have Davis spell Vander a little bit more, but what do I know?

    All in all, a great effort for 37 minutes. Especially liked how Vander stepped up. For the first time it didn’t appear that his knee injury was a hindrance — physically or mentally. Geez, the guy even went to the floor fighting for possession.

    I think they’ll do fine in the Big West. As much as UH needs to concern itself in the guard-oriented conference, the other teams will have to deal with the Warriors’ front line. Hawaii’s guard play can continue to improve; the other teams can’t suddenly get bigger.

  16. Clyde:

    You saw that too. That move by Gib to use Roop to shadow Henderson, basically shut the guy down. And to Roop’s credit, he was chasing him all over half court,…you probably are right, and know you are very keen in regards to BB. Even if you play man to man in park games or at gym, you don’t want your guy to get loose and score..man, you get exhausted, especially if guarding a guy with skill..

    Interesting , if you noted too, sometimes when Hawaii was either tied or up or down one with about 5 minutes to go, Roop was calling for the ball, he was wide open on the right side wing of Jace..I figured, Jace’s instruction from Gib was to get ball to Vander , and Vander delivered, however there were times when Jace could have shot a 18 to 21 foot wide open shot as well, he should have at least attempted 3 or 4, if he makes 2 threes, the outcome different..Hawaii is up by 6 or 7 pts with a few minutes to go instead of tied..if Jace decided to pass Roop the ball, when he was wide open, maybe , even though Roop was tired, being wide open and getting feet set, Roop might have hit 2 threes, that could have gave Hawaii a 5 or 7 point lead.

    However Clyde and fellow fans, that Ole Miss game and loss, it is forever gone..UH get ready, starting tomorrow for Northridge, I think they are off to a pretty good start record wise..they will come into SSC , watching scout on Hawaii.,their shooters are salivating, and they are getting ready to pressure Hawaii. Love how Hawaii started to attack the pressure and get ball up in a hurry, Fotu, Standhardinger, and especially, Vander went to work..still love the effort, attitude and energy of this team..I agree with you Clyde..the UH guards and freshman can only get better over the next 19 or 20 games, the BWC guards and wings are probably good already, however, I don’t think, with the exception of maybe LBSU, played an ACC, SEC, UNLV and Big Ten top ten teams like UH..now with Vander back. Fotu going to work as one of the best young bigs in the nation, and Standhardinger..he has to do more head fakes..getting his hustle rebounds and putbacks..and you are right, ..and I think GIB takes a peak at our posts: HEY GIB..see if can rotate Davis in to spell Bigs..Davis, pretty nimble guy..this year he can dunk no problem and get a couple of blocked shots too!!

    Good job though Gib..saw your wonderful family, kids cheering like crazy right behind the bench..keep the guys together..they love playing in Hawaii, and you and your staff and fans have made 16 guys appreciated..

    I personally, even though wish we beat Illinois and Ole Miss, and Pepperdine..as you said, and Clyde and hundreds , thousands of other UH fans agree, the BWC play, that is THE SEASON..get good seed..win the BWC tourney and chance to dance,thankyou Gib for adapting too, and trying different combinations..that is sign of a up and coming very very good coach!!

    Go Warriors!!

  17. Team as whole just needs to take care of the ball better on offense. Defensively its all feet and a desire to shut your opponent down. Lazy feet will get you killed in this game.

  18. You see the good ole teams. They pass the ball very crisply, not those lackadaisical ones where the defense steals it. Coach got to teach Clair how to break the press, guess he needs the reps with the 1st team working on that aspect of the game. Opposing teams have film on the problems UH has with the full court press. Tavita knows how to handle it but then again he has more experience and has practiced with the 1st team the most prior. With the to’s Clair’s had in this game I’m glad Coach kept him in to give him the experience of it all.

  19. Too bad we fell short down the stretch. Good effort from Vander. The guards are improving but, they need to make better decisions taking care of the ball.

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