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UPDATED: Warriors lose a heartbreaker at Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. – One by one, the members of the Hawai’i basketball team made their way out of the visitors locker room at The Walter Pyramid, heads down, but spirits up.

Moments earlier, the Warriors suffered an agonizing 76-72 loss to Long Beach State before a crowd of 2,749 in an early season showdown for first place in the Big West Conference.

“It’s very frustrating because we feel like we should have won it,” senior point guard Jace Tavita said. “I’m proud of how we responded though; how we came back from adversity. We were down and just kept fighting, put ourselves in a position to win and just didn’t make the plays at the end. It’s a mixed feeling – frustrating and it’s a bright thing because it shows how much heart we have.”

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Hawai’i dropped to 9-7 overall and 3-2 in the Big West, with both losses coming in frustrating fashion on this road trip. The good news is the Warriors are only a game out of first place, as Long Beach State moved into sole possession at the top at 4-1. The 49ers are 8-8 overall, and increased their Big West home winning streak to 20 … barely.

The Warriors trailed by as many as 10 points midway through the second half, but rallied to tie the game at 72 with 1:08 remaining. The final minute was frantic, with Long Beach State scoring the game-winner with 1.7 seconds remaining, and Hawai’i finishing the game with head coach Gib Arnold in the locker room.

Mike Caffey led the 49ers with 18 points, including the game-winning shot – a difficult driving floater from just inside the lane.

“He just put his head down, drove in, put the floater up … he made a good play, a winning play,” said Tavita, who shadowed Caffey on the play.

Hawai’i’s Garrett Jefferson then threw a length of the court pass that Davis Rozitis tipped to teammate Brandon Jawato, but before a shot could go up the referee called a foul on Rozitis for a push off.

“We were all in a pile,” Rozitis said. “I might have pushed him, someone was pushing me from behind. Usually they don’t call that stuff at the end of the game … it is what it is.”

Arnold vehemently protested the call and was assessed a technical foul – his second of the game, thus resulting in his ejection. Long Beach State’s Peter Pappageorge made two free throws with 0.9 seconds remaining for the final margin.

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Arnold was the last person to leave the locker room after the game, exiting nearly 10 minutes after the players.

“Obviously we’re disappointed in the loss, but I tell you what, I’ll go to battle anywhere, any night with our team,” he said. “I thought they played with great energy and played together and did a nice job. We got the ball with under 20 seconds, tie score, and a chance to win, and didn’t finish. Didn’t get a shot up and then didn’t get a stop. Those are two things you have to do on the road … we let this one slide but I’m not taking anything away from the kids. I thought they gave every bit, everything they had.”

Freshman guard Jawato fueled the Hawai’i rally in the second half, scoring 10 of his team-high 16 points in the final 5:20 of the game. He finished 6 of 9 from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.

“It was very frustrating,” Jawato said. “We gave it all out tonight. Once again we lost because of turnovers, but we fought hard. They were a great team and we just couldn’t pull away with one.”

Senior center Vander Joaquim added 13 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes. He was limited to eight minutes (and five points) in the first half due to foul problems.

The Warriors were ahead 14-9 when Joaquim went to the bench with his second foul. Long Beach State ended the first half with a 43-36 lead. “It was frustrating for me because I wasn’t out there to help my teammates,” he said.

“We have to be able to find ways to keep him in the game,” Arnold said. “It’s tough because we want him in there being a presence and blocking shots, but he’s also our best low post threat and our veteran so we need to have him in there.”

Jawato’s fourth 3-pointer of the game tied the score at 72 with 1:08 remaining. On Long Beach State’s ensuing possession, Dan Jennings was fouled and he air-balled both free throws, giving the ball back to Hawai’i.

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Then the turnover bug bit the Warriors again, as they threw the ball out of bounds with 13.7 seconds remaining while trying to set up a go-ahead shot. Hauns Brereton was credited with the turnover because the ball went off his leg, but it appeared to be a team mistake.

“Miscommunication,” Tavita said. “It was just a bad play. We have to tighten that up. It can’t happen again.”

The Warriors committed 17 turnovers in each of their road losses this week. “We turned the ball over a few times down the stretch, but overall we played hard as a team,” Joaquim said. “We just made some bad plays at the end.”

Arnold used a rotation of 10 players interchangeably throughout the game, and each of those 10 players scored at least three points.

“I told them that the guys who gave great effort and were strong in taking care of the ball were going to play,” he explained. “And this was the second game of the road trip so I wanted to keep our energy and our legs. I thought we guarded and executed our offense well all night because we kept putting guys in.”

Junior forward Christian Standhardinger finished with season-lows of six points and three rebounds, although he played just 12 minutes.

The Warriors shot a respectable 48.3 percent from the field, but went just 7 for 15 (46.7 percent) from the free-throw line. The 49ers shot 46.2 percent from the field and went 18 for 29 (62.1 percent) from the field.

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Long Beach State went 10 for 23 from 3-point range, with freshman Deng Deng going 4 for 6 from deep. He was being recruited by Hawai’i a year ago.

Hawai’i was assessed three technical fouls during the game – two on Arnold and one on Garrett Jefferson for looking at the Long Beach State bench after he drained a 3 in the first half. The 49ers took advantage by going 6 for 6 on free throws as a result of those technicals.

The Warriors are scheduled to return to Honolulu on Sunday afternoon, and their next two games will be at home. They will host Pacific on Thursday, and UC Davis on Saturday.

(Game photos courtesy Warren Haraki)

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25 Comments

  1. UH, Gib and guys, just get better. Win this next two at home. When go out on road for 4 games over 2 weeks, have to close out, get at least 2-2 or 3-1. The league is so wide open and you guys can compete with the best , here and on the road. Keep your heads up, keep working it, and you guys can be champs.

    Yes, even coach learning too. At home games, Ben Jay will be there, he is great fan of UH sports. Very active visible supporter of all the teams. Come on guys, go chase a championship!

  2. Thanks for the report and the video, Dayton. It sure looked like Caffey short-armed his floater; kinda awkward looking shot as if he released it before he wanted to but felt he had to put it up before the defense collapsed on him or the clock ran out. But, it worked, so props to him.

    Tough loss; would have been nice to steal one on the road. But it’s encouraging how close both games were and the team didn’t fold today when it fell behind by 10 late in the game. It’s just tough winning on the road, something the other BW teams will find out when they play in Honolulu.

    I just like the chemistry on this team. Even if you’re not playing as many minutes as you’d want, no one is pouting and they all seem to be ready when their number is called, which is often because Gib has a deep rotation. I think the support among the players is solid. It’s such a refreshing change from last season, and that will make a difference in some games down the stretch.

  3. Obviously, I didn’t see the game but thanks Dayton for all your hard work to make the videos available to fans, friends and family.

    These guys are true Warriors in their never say die attitude. A hard fought game for all and I can feel their pain but can still see their spirit coming through.

    Like other posters have said – we are up there in the Big West – Gib is backing his boys – Warriors always recover, re-group and fight hard in the next contest,

    Go Warriors

  4. Win, credit goes to the “TEAM”.
    Lost, discredit directed to the “Coach”.

    Let’s be humble; Let’s be cool.
    Can we learn; Can we improve?

    If we’ll be playing in NYC ~ Wouldn’t be bad for this year..
    So Shag may sees – How a bunch of nice young man look-liked!

  5. We have talented players, I hope they find their identity. Are we a defensive team? A 3 point shooting team, a running team, a half court team, — I haven’t seen it yet. They can be a frontcourt big team, we have Vander, fotu, standhardinger and rozitis

  6. Keoni I believe that we can be any kind of team, and that is our greatest strength to be able to construct different starting five, depending on the opponent, we just need some more time to break free and learn to play together, the boys are growing fast and that I hope will be soon

  7. JUST IN CASE…

    ONE of the Thngs iʻm liking about playing in The Big West Conference is that

    ALL Menʻs & Womenʻs Basketball Games are available “LIVE”

  8. [Please Delete Previous...]

    JUST IN CASE…

    ONE of the Thngs iʻm liking about playing in The Big West Conference is that

    ALL Menʻs & Womenʻs Basketball Games are available “LIVE” AND FREE @

    http://www.bigwest.org/sports/mbball/

  9. Coach need a huge strength that after the game is not yelling and blaming the players and help them to get up and go forward.
    Coach Gib just do it, and I admire him for that

    Coaching is like parenting requires enormous patience, constant repetition, control of emotions and belief in progress when no one believes

  10. clyde, nice comments about team. I agree, this year’s guys are good people. No drama personality. Even though they are losing some close tough games, and one’s outside the team circle might criticize Gib,

    Gib did the right thing, he recruited or accepted very, very good Walkons. This team will be probably the deepest, and most experienced going into the Big West tourney, no doubt.

    The 1 through 12, from starter to guys in reserve, you see they all support one another, they stand up and cheer an excellent offensive or defensive play by their team, whomever on floor.

    Gib would probably say, if UH, and I believe they will, goes, to a Post Season tourney this year., this group of guys, probably the most enjoyable he has coached in the past 3 years as a new Division I head coach. It is a joy, and sometimes nerve wracking for now, because of the learning curve, to watch these young guys.

    They will win , and be in running for regular or Tourney championship no doubt. Gib is developing a very deep and experienced team.

    O and A Mums, as eagle stated, Big West games are FREE online at BigWest.TV, check schedule, sometimes game does not appear until the day of , or even a few minutes up to game tip off.

  11. O-Mum.
    Ozren does have that Toni Kukoc game. A tall 6’8″ point forward, with ball handling skills. Gib is using him a lot in practice. Ozi does not seem like a 18 or 19 year old, much older, a little more mature. And you are right, passing, good passes can get ball up court quicker, and Ozi has that game. He always keeps head up looking for open man, even when he is driving near the hoop. No wonder Gib was so high on him coming in from Croatia.

    Tell him to relax, and very soon his quick release 3 point shot will fall. With his 3 point shot hitting consitently and his getting familiar with running Offense, he is going to help team greatly. Ozi is going to be a very good player, throughout this year and in years to come.

  12. Warriors I listen to the game wish we had gotten the W but we didn’t. I believe they’re coming. The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.

  13. We know Gib was pissed at the way theRefs called the game, are these guys worse than WAC officials , I hope not. Coach Gib please dont let your emotions cause the game to turn against our team as much as you know you’re getting jobbed by the refs. Especially if its a close game, I know youre making a point but tone it down without going after them. We are all hurting from this loss. Very much felt the Warriors could have won these two games, Onward against Pacific ,another tough team, they are now in OUR HOUSE ,no mercy, no retreat, we take no prisoners, just send them limping back on the plane!!Defeated!!

  14. Greetings Warrior Family,

    Wife and I spent the week watching both games and some of the other Big West Games on TV. I’ll try to keep it short about the LB game with my views.

    Team plays and played with a lot of heart. This CSULB team is big, long at the arms and quick. Let’s just say they have about 3-4 Aaron type players. Add to that a couple of good outside shooters and a big guy that bugged us a little in the game. They have several good recruits that are very athletic and play well individually.

    UH played a whole lot smarter than CSULB. Our defensive decisions and positioning gave them fits. King was pretty much kept in check and that is who I was afraid would kill us this game. Our problem was at the point. We don’t have the greatest ball handlers. The coaching staff made the correct decisions in this game by playing Ozren some at the point and Jace. Ozren is taller and can see over the D. He was able to make good passes deep in the paint to the posts. Some were slipped through our hands but over all good decisions were made by Ozren. His shots will fall more consistent with more playing time. Jace played one of his better games at the point and was aggressive on D. The last play of the game was not Jace’s fault or the coaches. It was in the correct hands and the refs were not calling any of the excessive grabbing of Vander and hand checking of Jace.

    Our rebounding was great. CSULB was getting out played on the boards and they were getting away with a lot of two hand pushes on our bigs. I kept seeing Vander, Davis and Fotu under the rim after they were two hand pushed. We had a short lapse in the middle of the 2nd half by not covering their 3pt shooters. Mainly Dang-Dang.

    The T’s that were called were all called correctly from my vantage point. Coach was hounding the refs for a bit (whistle was quick) because of the bad calls that were leaning in favor of CSULB. This was a good T and got the refs attention and helped even the foul count in the 1st half. That call was early and didn’t cost us anything we didn’t get back in calls. Garrett’s T was a correct call as well. He flashed a “3″ sign with his fingers while running by the CSULB bench and looking at them. Didn’t cost us anything but a foul. Coaches last T was coach’s frustration at the calls. They were real bad. Very much Homer calls. Here is a great example that got the coaches upset, when “Lil Ref” is 30′ behind a fast break and his view is blocked and makes a call in CSULB when the two refs under the basket didn’t feel it necessary because it was a great defensive play by Jawato, what’s the deal? There was back court calls that were missed late and so on. We recognized the ref from my coaching days. Homer!

    Jawato had a great game again at both ends. As our team starts getting used to him they will learn how to help get him open for shots. He worked his butt off in the game to get open for shots. Great job! I would’ve liked to see a little more of Garrett on the court, thought he did well.

    If we had a 100% Fotu for both road games we can easily be 5-0

    CSULB fans very impressed by Hawaii team and were glad we are in BW. Whole team played great and all played their roles with out and problems. They were impressed by the togetherness of group, their heart and the fans. Yes UH did represent.

  15. It was a busy night for wife and I, after the CSULB game we left the Pyramid and made a quick trip down the road to see two of our recruits well. Niko and Stefan’s high school team played. Their H.S. team is ranked in the top 10 in the country. Both had a great a game especially Niko who started at the point and played strong against UTEP signee Isaac Hamilton keeping him in check throughout the game. We were very impressed and we left the game excited about next year’s team too.

    All in all a fun night, needless to say we were worn out. Both games were decided in the final minutes.

    Sorry I was long winded.

  16. TribeVx4, Hey thank you Airon Valdes’ Ohana(family), you said you would follow the guys up in Cali and you did!

    Great first hand report, just like kimo k’s, Just following online stream from Hawaii, you could tell UH had more energy in there game. Interesting take on officials, maybe they are not used to games in Big West with Bigs like UH has. UH 3-2, the Big West, so much parity, UH , shore up weak areas, and close out, can win championship, regular season or tourney, one game at a time. They will.

    Hey Tribe, love your support for UH. True fans. This year, team smooths out the guard situation and guys just keep on working it, and I am pretty sure LBSU was thinking, blow out city, beat UH by 25 pt or so with their athletes. Not so. Credit to coaching staff and team for their energy. Pretty soon, UH will be getting after the Cali teams coming to Hawaii, and going back to your neck of the woods, and getting wins over there as well. We keep the faith!

    Tribe, and Airon’s great family, post away, we all appreciate your at the game, real time reports. Keep them coming, great job.!(Airon and Michael, Niko , Stefan, Caleb, Keith, Dyrbe, a lot of excitement coming to UH Basketball next year !)

  17. TribeVx4: that is a good one about the BW official, from your experience as coach in Cali, Homer! Call it like it is. Just hope the BW tourney has good officials, if not , from other conferences.

  18. I love the team but I have to call it as I see it. All Gib teams have been turnover bad teams. No reliable point guard. Good big men but poor guards. Isaac will get better. Christian plays erratically. Vander hit his peak. Plays well but not a impact player. I would say we had a chance if we had a guard who can deliver the goods at showtime. We’re a 16-16 team like last year. Only our guardian Angel Riley Wallace can get us to a post season game. Gib, please get that showtime guard we need badly.

  19. Ratbird, I think that is what Gib and staff were doing in Cali, on this road trip. They have to shore up weak areas, and develop freshmen. I think Keith S. will be really good, has one year RS and in UH system already. If Niko, comes aboard, sounds like he is very good.

    Those Tom Henderson, Reggie Carter, AC Carter, come around not too often. Steve Nash, John Stockton, Jason Kidd, type, great passers, ball handlers, decision makers, or maybe euro guards.

    Yes, we all knew, and Gib said too, this year the PG and even SG/Wing would be concern. Ratbird, (love that name)I ain’t giving up on this team yet, still think BWC tourney championship is up for grabs, UH get these 2 home games, and when they go back up to Cali in two weeks, they will be better prepared. As I said, UH is shaping up to be The Deepest team in the Big West. Other teams, 2 or 3 , maybe four guys who can ball, UH, in system as a group, 1 through 12, can ball, and they can win it all.

  20. TribeVX4: Hey, thanks for your observations and comments. (And thanks for sending Aaron this way, too. I hope he’s enjoying his freshman year in college, and working hard in the classroom as well as the weightroom/court).

    Often, the team’s defense gets overlooked — particularly in losses when critics sing the same refrain: point guard play. But the defense the past two games was solid: King, Freeland and Ennis were held in check, and so was Starring in the Irvine loss.

    I didn’t see the game (listened to the radio), but it appears the guard play (Jace, Oz, Jawato) was solid. Free-throw shooting, which was great against Irvine, hurt the team against the Beach. Giving the Beach six points on 3 techs was costly, though the first one on Gib — as you pointed out — might have helped the team and the last one didn’t matter since it meant a four-point loss instead of a two-point loss. One correction: the T on Garrett did result in two FTs I think it was the backguard — Papageorge — who converted all six technical free-throw attempts.

    Again, thanks for your comments, they complemented Dayton’s coverage of the game.

  21. Playhoopsa,

    Thanks and nice comment to Ratbird,

    Point guards are not easy to come by, especially ones that don’t want to score first but facilitate. Today’s AAU environment wants every kid to score when they get the ball and team play and patience goes out the window. Very little patience for offense. UH is well coached and it is evident by the way we run our offence and the patience the guys show. Turnovers yes and I won’t beat a dead horse. What you don’t see much is turnovers caused by shot clock violations, 3 sec, or 5 second calls. The team is moving well without the ball and getting good shots up. Something that CSULB was not. Defense is also improving. When Fotu starts to feel better you will see the team that won the first 3 games show up again. Also home cooking doesn’t hurt. Coaching staff is doing a great job with the guys.

  22. Clyde,

    Thanks and you are right on T. I didn’t realize what I was saying. Aaron does love it and beleive me he is working hard on school and basketball. Great observation.

  23. The points after the T Fouls, and the change in momentum lost this game. I hope this was a learning moment for Coach and the Team.

    The good news, is Oz is coming on as a ball handler, and Hauns seems to be coming out of his slump. The Big West seems to be a conference that we can compete in, and is at our level. The rest of the season, and the tournament should be fun.

  24. is Fotu sick or something?

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