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UPDATED: Warriors stun Fullerton on Jefferson’s buzzer-beater

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Garrett Jefferson drained a running 12-foot floater as time expired last night to lift Hawai’i to a pulsating 90-88 comeback victory over Cal State Fullerton in thrilling Big West Conference men’s basketball action.

An electrified crowd of 5,198 watched the Warriors improve to 8-5 overall and 2-0 in the Big West. The Titans fell to 7-6, 1-1.

Isaac Fotu scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Brandon Spearman and Christian Standhardinger each added 15 points for UH. Fotu shot 13 of 16 from the field, and came up one point short of the school record for points by a freshman (Chris Gaines scored 30 as a freshman in 1987).

Hawai’i trailed by as many as 11 points with less than six minutes remaining in the game, but Standhardinger’s 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining gave the Warriors an 85-84 lead, their first since the opening moments of the second half. Manroop Clair later sank two free throws to make it 88-85 with 17 ticks left, but D.J. Seeley’s 23-foot 3-pointer hit the back of the rim and dropped in with 4.9 seconds to tie it again at 88-88.

Jefferson then went coast-to-coast after taking the inbounds pass from Standhardinger and elevated from just inside the left side of the free throw line before swishing the game-winner as the backboard frame lit up in red.

“It felt good coming off my hand, I just hoped I got it off before the buzzer,” said Jefferson, a 6-foot-3 junior reserve guard known mostly as a defensive specialist. “Things did slow down (when the ball was in the air). I was just like, ‘Please go in.’ ”

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Hawai’i coach Gib Arnold said he would not have called a timeout after Seeley’s 3-pointer even if he had one available, which he did not.

“We have a play for that, it’s called ‘home run,’ ” Arnold said. “We use it when we have three to 10 seconds left where we get it in quick, and Christian did that, he got it in quick to the point guard. The wings run wide and the point guard takes it up full speed as deep as he can. In five seconds, you can do a lot, it’s longer than people think. Now Garrett is a third-string point guard, but he’s done it hundreds of times in practice.”

The high-arching shot went through the net cleanly and set off a wild celebration at midcourt and throughout the arena. It also brought an abrupt end to a hotly contested game featuring Cal State Fullerton’s speed — built around three quicksilver guards — vs. Hawai’i's formidable front line of 6-8 forwards Fotu and Standhardinger (eight rebounds) and 6-10 center Vander Joaquim (12 rebounds, six points, two blocks).

The Warriors’ “big three” of Fotu, Standhardinger and Joaquim combined to shoot 23 for 33 from the field (the rest of the team went 13 for 31). They also grabbed 29 of the team’s 37 rebounds, as Hawai’i out-rebounded the shorter Titans by six.

Cal State Fullerton had just one post player available for the game – 6-7 junior Deuce Johnson, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds. The Titans tried to counter Hawaii’s size with quickness and long-range shooting, resulting in 14 steals and 10-of-23 shooting from 3-point range.

The Titans entered the game ranked first in the Big West in free throw shooting at 78.6 percent, but they went just 6 for 11 (54.5 percent) from the line, including 1 for 4 in the final 1:03 of the game.

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A roller coaster first half ended tied at 40-40. The Titans sprinted to an 11-2 run that put Cal State Fullerton ahead, 35-26, after Seeley’s steal and slam dunk with 3:25 remaining. But Jace Tavita hit a 3-pointer to start the Warriors on a 9-0 spurt that tied it at 35-35 after a slam dunk by Fotu.

Fotu scored almost at will, with 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting in the first 20 minutes, many coming on slam dunks off nifty assists.

“The only way I’m scoring that many points is because teams have to worry about Vander so much,” said Fotu, a freshman from New Zealand. “The guards were giving me great passes inside.”

Cal State Fullerton used a 15-6 run early in the second half to stretch a 54-53 lead into a 69-59 advantage, and Kwame Vaughn’s 3-pointer later put the Titans ahead, 80-69, with 5:26 remaining.

UH then cut away at the lead, boosted by two 3-pointers from Brandon Jawato and another by Clair which closed it to 84-82 with 1:29 remaining. After Deuce Johnson missed a pair of free throws with 1:03 on the clock, the Warriors got a break on the ensuing possession when a loose ball was ruled to be off a Cal State Fullerton player. Hawai’i then ran a weave and Standhardinger got open beyond the top of the key, where he drained the go-ahead 3-pointer.

The Titans then missed a driving layup and Jawato was fouled going to the hoop on the other end. He sank one of two free throws to make it 86-84, and Seeley got the second of two free throws to fall to close it to 86-85 with 18.4 seconds left.

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Clair then converted his two free throws to make it 88-85, setting up the wild sequence started by Seeley’s 3-pointer which paused on the back of the rim before dropping in.

That’s when Jefferson became the unlikely go-to guy.

“Now that was a basketball game,” Arnold said. “Two great teams, throwing blows, playing hard. Cal State Fullerton had a great game plan, they spread things out, and those guards are phenomenal. I coached five years in the Pac-10 and those guards are as good as anybody I’ve seen there. They can shoot, and drive it … but I give our guys and our fans credit for staying with it. They earned that win.”

The Warriors’ next game is at home Saturday against UC Riverside, which upset Cal State Northridge, 65-64, on Thursday at Northridge, Calif. Tipoff for Saturday’s game is set for 7:05 p.m.

(Game photos courtesy Charles Simmons)

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29 Comments

  1. It was once said “It takes a great leader to help others feel and look as great as he is”. Hauns is that leader. Passes were awesome and he set the others up to do their thing. He is the player you’d always want to play with! Good Job #21 Hauns Brereton!

  2. UHfanonly1,

    it was a team win, just like how you like to make it a point of team play for the WIN!

  3. It is a case of the TEAM’s desperate desire to win mindset admonitorially dictated the physical skill to achieve subconsciously for a miracleous result, this phenomenon which lasted over 5 minutes is nothing short of incredible! Thank you Lady Luck.

    Mahalo, AD Stan Sheriff for steering the Cal State Fullerton into a passive defensive mode of basketball, slow-down to kill the clock strategy.

    Don’t care if they take one for their fans at home but, TEAM will take the deciding win playing them for the BWC Championship!

    Attn: Oceanic Cable, would you please produce a High-Definition blu-ray disc for this signature game? It will be another money maker for you and, an invaluable educational tool for the TEAM to learn all the mistakes they committed plus all the skills.. the amazing Titan Guards possess, which our TEAM all need to learn from? As for the fans, a DVD to enjoy this special memory over & over again!

  4. I was impressed with freshman Isaac Fotu. He reminds me of the great Matt Fazekas formerly of Nevada. Isaac will be first team all conference before too long. And we got him all 4 years. Might end up being the best freshman to play for UH. Even better than Chris Gaines, Reggie Carter, Alika Smith. I watched Brandon Jawato Interviewed. Very impressed with his poise, maturity, acts more like a senior. I see a great future for him. Christian Standhardinger reminds me of fellow German Dirk Nowitzki. Nervous energy, but thats good, you like that in a player. Gib has recruited a great bunch of talent! Win or lose, I love this team.

  5. Awesome win, that was fun to watch. But we can’t continue to win like this. Vander could learn a thing or two from Fotu. I think it’s an awareness and positioning thing w/ Vander. Fotu will position himself better for a simple power dribble and post move. Also Fotu already knows on his post up that he has his man pinned and won’t worry about a blocked shot. Vander, even if he does the same thing will almost always settle himself and dribble the hell out of the ball and then get himself in a bad position to shoot the ball as opposed to the good position he had initially. As for the guards, a lot of the passes were lazy, but on those strips, Manroop especially, does not properly use his body to shield the defenders on his cross over and his step through. It might be his slight frame, but he needs to position his shoulder perpendicular to the defender’s chest and get more physical. Again it’s probably because of his slight frame, but awesome shots at the end.

    Really happy about the freshmen we have and the chemistry on this team. Harper is cheering people on, hyping up Vander during his emotional tiffs. No complaining, just play. Get better and continue to work hard! See you all saturday

  6. Who’s Matt Fazekas?

  7. Isaac Fotu has “awareness” around the basket. No wasted moves, he grabs the ball and puts it in. Vander too many nonsense moves near the basket. Fotu will be a great one. Dirk Nowitzki is the only 7 footer in the NBA to ever win the 3 point shooting contest. He is only one of 2 players to ever record over 100 blocked shots and over 150 3 pointers in a season. So athletic and versatile, he can play center, power forward, small forward, wing forward. His fellow countryman Christian can shoot the 3′s too and is versatile enough to play several forward positions. Manroop got to put some muscle on his slim frame.

  8. Fazekas was signed by the University of Nevada for the 2003-04 season. From that point forward, Fazekas led the Wolf Pack to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances during his matriculation, including a run to the Sweet 16 as a freshman. He became the school’s all-time leading scorer on November 18, 2006, when he surpassed the old record of 1,877 points scored by Edgar Jones in 1979. He also surpassed the single-season scoring record formerly set by Jones during the 2005-06 season. Fazekas also earned his third straight WAC Player of the Year for the 2006-07 season, a feat only matched by Utah’s Keith Van Horn, for whom Fazekas was later coincidentally waived to make space on the trade that brought point guard Jason Kidd to the Mavericks.
    Sorry I had his first name wrong. Nick Fazekas was I believe 6’11″ tall, awesome Nevada Wolfpack player and a UH nemesis. Always around the basket he was uncanny in grabbing loose balls and scoring buckets for points. I think Fotu has that ability.

  9. Good win. Yes, Clair getting cleanly stripped , as well as Jace, maybe 8 times between both of them. Fullerton guards good anticipation , quick hands. We learned how to do that from park and open gym pick up games, if player not protecting ball with body, you can time it, the guy never sees you, physically just go and get it. you are off to the races for layin or flush.

    If UH guards practice that, they get a lot of steals too. Fullerton, 3 or 4 of best guards in Big West. Yet, UH , currently on top as best team in Big West. Come on guys, get better, protect the ball, and get to 3-0. We,though small in numbers, maybe 4000 made loud noise, helped team win. Have to have strong heart condition.
    ,

  10. Memphis — Agree GREAT Win All Around…
    And Good to See Hauns STARTING (Tells me He’s SHOWING Stuff in Practice)
    And Playing So Hard, Making Great Passes (And the Guy at the Other End of the Pass FINISHING),
    Chasing Down 50-50 Loose Balls & Rebounds
    Really Looking Forward to Hauns reclaiming his “Three Eye & Shooting Stroke/Touch”
    and returning to the Confidence Level that had him Physically Out-Muscle-ing and Out-Jumping Double- even Triple-Teams Sure, that was Summer League, Still Hauns led the League-Full of UH, D-1, College and PRO Players in 40-point Plus Games — We’ve Already Seen the Return of Vander and probably Spearman from their injuries and illnesses…
    AND the Step-Ups of Guards GJ, BJ & MC, and Sky-Rock-it-Fotu
    WHEN He DOES, it Will Be Much Easier on The ‘Bow-Fan Hearts to Maintain Breathing Room Leads AND Wins …
    He WAS Recruited as a Shooting/Scoring Wing….
    So Let’s Get Back to It (I’m Sure He Will…Sooner, Better!)

    Tonganator — Can SEE that Isaac’s recent work on “Throw-Downs” is Showing Up!

    THIS TEAM, IS Improving, i think Rapidly
    FIVE Losses in First 11 Games is probably More than Most Fans, Coaches, Players were probably Hoping For or Expecting… Several Games, Close Losses, But Also BOTH Big West Wins could’ve Gone Either Way
    KEEP Elevating ‘Bow-Warriors!

    ——————–

    RE: Scholies And Recruits:

    FOR Those of US Who Keep Trying to COUNT (Despite the Stealthy Treat-ALL Players-Fairly Efforts of the Coaches)…
    i’m pretty sure i heard (an un-named but very close to the most reliable source) CONFIRMATION That the TEAM DOES have At Least One More Scholarship (Already) Available, because “Great Get Recruit” AARON VALDES IS A RED-SHIRT WALK-ON (RE: He joined the team late and could NOT have signed an NLOI, so likely signed a scholarship agreement or other)…

    i Would Guess that since ‘every player’ seems to be showing Good Learning/Improvement Curves And Attitudes,
    there might not (yet) be Any Other Late-Opening Scholies, like Last Year…

    BUT AT LEAST ONE More For Now…

    ——

    With Respect To (WRT) Recruits, Heard Bobby Curran passing along the Fair Question to UH Coach Fisher This Morning:
    Can We or WHY Can’t We Get Recruits like CSUF’s DJ Seely, Kwame Vaughn or Sammy Yeager (All Hit Multiple Threes above 43% Last Night)… ?

    ANS: I Think We Can, Bobby, IF You Want to Do That …We’ve Been Trying to Build the Team with Quality Freshmen (Interpreted as “High Character” and Four & Five Year Potential Players) — we have Eight Freshmen on the Team (and unsaid, Seven Good to Very Good D-1, JC Transfers)… i think redshirt freshman Aaron Valdes and recruit Michael Thomas both can/will play like those guys… [p.s. - I LIKE That from the man who (Evaluated and) Found Fotu...]

    … Prolly Better Times Ahead…

  11. Geez Bobby, This is Coach’s 3rd year trying to build his team, you know UH had many players leave the system. And you should know we got Shamburger lined up for the next season as he’s having to redshirt this year. Plus, these Freshmen guards, Enos, Valdes, Harper, Clair and Jawato are not senoirs like who you compare them too!

    Get a Grip Bobby asking a question like that! You played the game, you should keep yourself upto date on UH bb!

  12. Good win! I love watching Brandon Spearman in the games he always gives his all.

  13. Eagle,
    If that extra scholarship is indeed true, it doesn’t really help us. Since I’m sure Aaron won’t be a walk-on next year.

  14. Garrett will have a new poster to put up in the locker room. He also had a game winning put back against Pacific last season.

    Great team victory!

  15. The end of the game and who comes out on top is what’s most important. Fullerton unraveled and Hawaii put it together at the end. Small, quick teams always gives Hawaii problems, especially when no one hitting from the outside. If this win is not a confidence builder don’t know what is.
    Tremendous game for Fotu. Does he have a jump shot? Hope he can show this side of his seeming immense potential. Now the defense needs to watch the two bigs and they won’t leave him so wide open in the future. They will be looking for his spin moves. Now fool em with a turn around jumper. That will really throw them off.
    When John Stockton brought up the ball and his defender crowded him, he would be more sideways to him, free hand keeping the defender at bay, crouched low with short bounces and no pauses at the top of the dribble (Clair does it all the time). Another one Stockton never did was slight palming of the ball (Clair and Tavita does it all the time). It all comes down to doing the basics. If you develop bad habits you are an easy target to get picked. Stockton was not a flashy guy (never saw him do under the leg stuff, which is mostly show anyway) but is known as the greatest pure point to play the game. Learn from the best.

  16. Like the Fazekas references…

    If Fotu can just develop one more post move to compliment his jump hook with his right hand and develop one left hand move, he’s going to be unstopable in Big West play. He’s got a great touch with the hook, but well coached teams will start adjusting and try to take away the hook.

    Fotu probably won’t shoot many jumpers this year so I hope he gets confident with a 8-10ft shot to compliment his post game for next season. As mentioned before, teams will start to adjust as they watch tape of Fotu torching BW teams down low.

    I like Vander’s effort away from the ball last night even though the offense wasn’t going through him. He’s still valuable because teams are auto-double teaming him. As we saw lsat night, Fotu was the beneficiary of Vander’s presence. Plus, he actually made a pass or two quickly vs the double-team and created a wide open shot for Spearman.

    As I’vs said before, with Clair, UH will endure ups and downs as he learns, but holy jesus, did he have a rollercoaster night. He was completely awful vs man defense and had 5 TOs, most of which he got pick-pocketed. He was also really bad on defense, allowing easy penetration and layups.
    BUT Roop had 5 clutch points at the end of the game. He hit a clutch 3 to pull UH back to two and confidiently knocked down two clutch FTs to extend the late lead.

    GIb’s in a tough spot with the PG position. Clair isn’t a strong ball handler or on ball defender, but he’s an offensive threat and the half court offense moves better with him. Tavita is better with the ball, and a better defender, but he’s a complete non-factor on offense and, for whatever reason, is a poor passer. Many of his passes just aren’t accurate or they’re telegraphed and defenders are able to get their hands on a bunch of his passes.

    One observation that I noticed in the 2nd half was that Fullerton kept tight man pressure on Clair, but started to play zone when Tavita was in. It was like UH was playing 4 vs 5 on offense. Fullerton completly sagged off Tavita, daring him to shoot, and they clogged the paint and the passing lanes to Fotu and Vander. Tavita obliged and bricked a couple 3′s. It’s a dilema Gib needs to figure out because you can count on other Big West teams doing the same thing.

    I’m not totally sure why Gib is still starting Hauns other to try and raise his cinfidence. He’s just conpletely lost confidence in his shooting and he’s not a great defender. Jawato has earned the right to start.

    I still like Spearman off the bench and when he plays 20-25 min, because he can play at a furious pace. If he starts and gets 30+min, I think he’s less effective as most players can’t go 110% for that long of time.

  17. Anybody else think DJ Seeley’s (Fullerton) 3 pointer to tie the game was the luckiest bounce (or lack thereof) they’ve ever seen????

    On the main camera angle, the shot was offline and I thought UH had sealed the win, but was completely shocked when it did what it did.

    I can’t ever remember a ball landing completely dead against the heel of the rim and backboard that wasn’t dead straight on. I’ve seen straight on shots act ike that, but never from an angle. 99.999% of the time, the ball will bounce off the rim or the heel.

  18. I dunno, Tavita’s handles got picked too and he indeed have 5 turnovers himself in playing less minutes compared to Clair. Tavita brings more confidence and more control to the o than Clair does at this point in time. Maybe more d too on Tavita’s side.

    We’ve read Tavita stating Coach wants him to be more aggressive, attacking the d, driving to the hoop, etc. but it’s still to be seen athough only a game past that statement of his. So we’ll see if Tavita will make the move

  19. I was at the game… I thought it was going to be a miss especially after the ball hit the rim… and then it went it. Unbelievable… From a talent standpoint… I’d take Seeley and Vaughn over any guard we have on our roster. I’d even offer a 2-for-1 special for one of those guys. Gib needs to get guys like this in our backcourt ASAP.

  20. too late already for this year. Shamburger’s already onboard @ UH for next season. Also our Freshmen will have a year of Div. 1 experience under their belts too. From what’s being relayed thru videos, Shamburger has been sharing his knowledge with the young ones who are like deer in headlights.

    Kudo’s to Shamburger teaching, encouraging his young team mates. Keith is a True Warrior now!

  21. Garrans Shamburger wants to play right now more than any of us wishing that he was.

  22. Remember Orel Lev 6’4″ athletic guard from Israel? Coaching staff were pretty high on his abilities. Now up to coach and staff, have to make do with what you are dealt. The 4000 in attendance helped give team energy. Bet team appreciates that, and will work even harder to shore up weak areas: ball handling, turnovers, free throws. That is why they are caller warriors.

  23. fotu is in no way like nick fazekas…fazekas had a smooth 3 point stroke and a consistent one

  24. Last nights game was a great game as far as the ending goes. The important thing I feel is that the team as a whole didn’t get discouraged enough to quit or rip each other. Several players had sub-par performances on the court no more needs to be said. Fotu had a great game. It just goes to prove that this is a team of very high character that doesn’t quit and looks deep inside to carve out a win. Fun to see everyone in the stands getting into it as well as the players on the bench. These are games that this young group will remember and use this year and in the coming years as a spring board on learning how to win. Congrats to everyone that played and stuck around to see the finish in the stands and on TV. Now on to the next game and a 3-0 start. One more thing let’s fill the stands Hawaii and support the Bows. You want good recruits to come to Hawaii? Nothing fires up a recruit than seeing people in the stands watching a team play and going crazy for their team. I see we got the crazy part down. :)

  25. TribevX4 – well said!

  26. Aussie Mum I hope you and your husband had a great time in Hawaii and at the games. Mike is a great young man.

  27. Yeah its been awesome – we will be at Saturday’s game again and don’t go home til Monday!!!
    The only down side is that I wanted to meet Uhfanzonly1 – maybe next time!

    PS I miss your posts Uhfanzonly1

  28. Fullerton Game, showed our strength. Vander should be freed up in the future as other teams see how strong Christian and Fotu are.

    We need to have the inbounder stay in the back court to set screens for our point guard, to help them get the ball into the forecourt without being picked. After an opposing guard bounces off our inbounder once or twice, they will be looking behind themsefl the rest of the game. Also, passes have to be met and delivered with some speed on the pass. The tournover problem can be improved with better technique and coaching.

  29. I love this team.

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