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Warriors look to rebound at home

The Hawai’i basketball team is hoping that a return home translates to a return to the win column this week.

The Warriors dropped two close Big West Conference games on the road last week, but will get a chance to make up for it this week when they host Pacific on Thursday and UC Davis on Saturday.

The Warriors are 9-7 overall and 3-2 in the Big West. They are currently in a tie for fourth place, but just one game behind first place Long Beach State – which edged Hawai’i by four points on Saturday.

“We went over some of the film on our game against Long Beach State and went over the good and the bad, and there was a little bit of both,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said. “And then we ended and key specifically on, right now, Pacific.”

Arnold noted that the true freshmen on the travel roster (Manroop Clair, Isaac Fotu, Michael Harper and Ozren Pavlovic) were making their first two-game road trip as Hawai’i players.

Fotu4ND

“I thought our freshmen struggled the most with being on the road because its their first time and sleeping in the hotel room and what not,” Arnold said. “That’s probably pretty normal. But these freshmen grow up and we’re asking them to grow up fast and we’re giving them a lot of responsibility and I love the fact that they’re getting better.”

Pavlovic was perhaps the surprise of the road trip, emerging as a viable candidate at point guard. He saw reserve action in both road games, and was especially effective against Long Beach State with four points, three rebounds, two assists and zero turnovers in 19 minutes.

“I was not expecting to be playing as a point guard, but I guess coach wanted to limit the turnovers and use me as a point guard … I feel comfortable playing at point guard position,” the 6-foot-8 Pavlovic said.

Pavlovic is now getting practice repetitions at point guard, but he is also maintaining his role as a reserve at several other positions.

“We had a meeting and we were talking about positions … what plays we run, what sets, and I need to learn positions 1, 2, 3 and 4,” he said.

Fellow freshman Clair remains in the mix at point guard, and Arnold noted that every game presents a potential opportunity for all players on the roster to earn more time.

“With these young guys, you give them a shot and see how they develop from game to game,” he said.

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Fotu has been the top true freshman this season, but he admittedly struggled on his first Big West road trip last week. He entered the trip averaging 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, but finished with a total of 10 points and nine rebounds in the two road games.

“I got sick pretty much as soon as we got there – I wasn’t used to the cold weather,” Fotu said. “But that’s no excuse for the bad games I had. I’m feeling better now … I feel like I let the team down, but I’m ready to step it up a level.”

Fotu is currently averaging 10.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and leads the Big West in field goal percentage at .644.

“We need Isaac; he’s one of our main guys,” Arnold said. “We need a healthy Isaac, and when we have a healthy Isaac, obviously we’re a much better team.”

Freshman guard Brandon Jawato scored 25 points in the two road games, but he is a redshirt freshman who had the benefit of traveling with the team as a practice player last season.

GAME INFORMATION: Hawai’i (9-7, 3-2 Big West) vs. Pacific (9-7, 3-1 Big West)
When:
Thursday, Jan. 19, 7:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: Live statewide on OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: Live video streaming is available on ocsports.tv.
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM will carry the game live. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, and KTOH on Kaua’i.
Audio Webcast: Live audio streaming on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: $26 (lower); $18 (upper-adult); $16 (upper-sr. citizen); $5 (upper-youth, ages 4-HS); UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking $6.
Promotions: First Insurance is the sponsor of Thursday’s game and will distribute 500 basketball drawstring bags The student theme is “Green & White Night” as the first 200 students will receive a free t-shirt to create a green-and-white stripe effect in section F.

11 Comments

  1. Guys, execute, take care of the ball, rebound, d up and finish games, we need these two!
    Good job staying together. We shall see you at the SSC on Thu and Sat!

  2. Isaac glad to see you are feeling better. It seemed that way, the freshman, Manroop, Isaac, Michael and Ozren, new for them, a week on road against two tough teams. Well you guys are at home, just keep on getting better, and hope you all finish games, and build on leads and get wins, you guys can do it. Great bunch of young players!

    We fans will be there, hopefully several thousand on Thurs(4500) and Sat (5000-6000+)!

  3. We fans will be there, hopefully several thousand on Thurs(4500) and Sat (5000-6000+)! Well UH students dorm, are back from winter break, hope a lot of maniacs are there. The Manoa Maniacs and students and fellow UH athletes in general cheering UH BB team on makes a huge difference, we fans will help you guys win!

  4. Can’t sleep on Pacific…. They are my dark horse pick that could steal the BW title.

    UH will need to play well to beat them. As with all their BW games, UH just needs to pound the boards and control their turnovers.

    I just hope First Insurance is able to give out all their Green and White T-shirts. If fewer than 200 students show up, that’s pretty sad, actually, it would be below pathetic. Even struggling Pac 12 teams can get 1,000 students to show up, except for UCLA or USC (where there’s lots of other options).

    UH has over 20,000 students (with several thousand on campus or within a short moped ride of SSC). They have free admission and they can use their food cards at some of the concession stands. How is it possible to not have at least 500 show up every game???

  5. That’s right… Oz did play quite a bit at point vs Long Beach. Kinda awkward looking but he did a good job of not turning it over. He’s pretty much a left hand dominant dribbler, and rarely went to his right. If he plays continued minutes at PG, defenders will start taking away the left side and Oz will need to adjust.

    Having Oz playing PG sets up some very interesting matchups for opponents. If OZ is at PG, that means the smallest UH player on the court would be Spearman or Jawato. I think UH could try find the biggest mismatch and run iso sets. Shoot, you could conceivably have Oz, Hauns, Standhardinger, Fotu, and Vander on the court and 6’6″ Hauns would be the shortest player on the court. At that point, just be aggressive, take shots and go get the rebounds. The downside being that its a less athletic lineup.

    Another benefit with Oz at PG is that it puts another shooter on the floor for UH. Oz has struggled from deep this year, but mainly due to sparse playing time and he’s still getting used to the speed of D1 basketball. That will improve with more playing time.

    I don’t think Oz is a long term answer for PG but it’s a wrinkle that can be very affective… as long as he doesn’t turn it over.

  6. Pacific is certainly one of the better teams in the Big West. Pacific was one of the premier teams in the Big West in the last decade with a few NCAA tourney wins. Recently, they’ve been playing on emotion as their coach Bob Thomason is retiring at the end of the season. Don’t get me wrong, they have great talent as well. Their point guard, McCloud, was one of the quickest guards I saw last year in the Stanley. They’re a very balanced team that plays well on both ends. They’re not a very good rebounding team and Hawaii should have the advantage in the post, but their guards can really shoot it. It should be an interesting game.

    I like the idea of having Ozi at the point. He hasn’t gotten rattled under pressure so far. I’d like to see him get more time at the point this week if possible.

  7. …and Ozi had showed good penetration and pass skills;

    Spearman should be able to get a few assists per game with his ability to get to the rim as well as FINISH
    (Great Free Throws, Brandon)…

  8. Former UH Athlete,

    “effective” is the correct word – not “affective”

  9. Spearman has an injured ankle and is questionable for the next game.

  10. Aussie… good catch. I was just showing off the “C” that my tutor helped me earned in English.

    What? Spearman as hurt ankle? That’s not good, but UH has the flexibility to work around that. Spearman is the most aggressive player UH has in terms of getting to the hoop.

    Hopefully, Fotu can bounce back from a poor road trip. He’s going to need to be productive for UH to succeed in the Big West.

  11. I think Spearman injured ankle either Irvine or LBSU game. Good , part, so many of team , 11 more, have much experience now. I believe, Isaac recovered from illness, he will be back, so will Christian, Vander and Davis. Love that Point Zone with Davis.

    Gee Jefferson’s energy on D, and Ozren’s continued development as ball handler and facilitator. Team is “The 1 through 12”, so if Spearman not ready to go this weekend, expect the “1 through 11″ to be ready to pick up the slack.

    I anticipate, if Manroop, playes ” NO FEAR” , play like in AAU ball and Prep school on east coast, just relax, play strong with ball, and just have fun, and play to win, get up and down, take care of ball, Roop will be back too.

    That is the ONE BIG FACTOR for UH this year, they are developing into a VERY , VERY deep team, this will help them come Big West Tourney time, no question!

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