Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors rally past Highlanders for another road win

University of Hawaii SPORTS

All of a sudden, the Hawai’i basketball team has a road winning streak.

The Warriors rallied late in the game to pull off a 72-68 Big West Conference victory over UC Riverside on Thursday night before a crowd of 910 at the SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif.

After opening the season with four consecutive road losses, the Warriors have now won two straight on the road. Hawai’i is 12-9 overall and in third place in the conference at 6-4, which includes a sweep of UC Riverside. The Highlanders dropped to 5-16 and 2-7.

The Warriors trailed for the first 37 minutes of the game, and did not take their first lead until Vander Joaquim made two free throws with 2:32 remaining for a 69-67 advantage. Prior to that, Hawai’i trailed by as many as 14 in the first half and 11 in the second half.

“These guys are growing up,” head coach Gib Arnold said. “Like I said before, boys can win at home, it takes men to win on the road. These guys just won two straight on the road, and I’m as happy as can be for them.”

University of Hawaii SPORTS

Forward Christian Standhardinger continued to dominate the paint with team-highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds. In the past two road wins, he had 54 points and 26 rebounds.

“He was a monster,” Arnold said of the 6-foot-8 junior. “In that first half when we were really struggling, he was the one bright spot.”

Junior guard Brandon Spearman added 15 points, including 13 in the decisive second half. Senior center Joaquim contributed 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, and senior point guard Jace Tavita had two points and eight assists.

Freshmen Isaac Fotu and Brandon Jawato each scored eight points off the bench. Fotu had six points and three rebounds in the closing minutes of the game.

“(Riverside) threw a bunch of hard punches at us early and that staggered us quite a bit,” Arnold said of the Highlanders’ fast start. “Give our guys all kinds of credit for weathering that storm and staying together. You gotta do that on the road in a tough, physical game like that.”

The Warriors committed a season-low eight turnovers (they entered the game averaging 16 per game). “You should have seen me dancing in the locker room when I saw that stat,” Arnold said.

Hawai’i also rallied by shooting 57.7 percent (15 of 26) from the field in the second half. The Warriors finished the game at 49.1 percent from the field, while Riverside shot 50 percent.

University of Hawaii SPORTS

The Highlanders opened the game with an 8-2 lead and stayed in front the entire first half. Riverside’s biggest lead was 32-18 with 6:38 remaining in the first half, but the Warriors closed the half with an 8-2 surge to get within seven, 39-32, at intermission. Standhardinger had 12 points and five rebounds in the first half.

Riverside pushed the lead back up to 11 at 62-51 midway through the second half before the Warriors started their late rally. Spearman hit two 3-pointers during a 12-3 surge that cut the Riverside lead to 65-63 with 5:00 remaining.

A driving layup by Fotu later tied the score at 67 with 3:32 remaining, and following a Riverside turnover, Joaquim got fouled and converted both free throws to give Hawaii a 69-67 lead with 2:32 left.

The Warriors would not lose the lead as Fotu later scored again in the post, and Standhardinger clinched it with a free throw in the closing seconds. The Warriors out-scored the Highlanders, 9-1, in the game’s final 4:30. “We executed down the stretch extremely, extremely well,” Arnold noted.

University of Hawaii SPORTS

The Highlanders jumped to the early lead behind uncharacteristic sharpshooting from the outside. Riverside entered the game with a .283 team 3-point percentage, but went a season-best 10 for 20 from beyond the arc. Riverside also managed to out-rebound the Warriors, 31-28.

Chris Patton led Riverside with 13 points, and Austin Quick added 12 on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

The Warriors will stay in Southern California for another road game at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. The Titans lost a home game to Cal State Northridge on Thursday night.

“We’re going to enjoy this one and feel good about the effort and feel good about the energy,” Arnold said. “And then we’ll get after it tomorrow and get ready for a game against Fullerton.”

(Game photos courtesy Warren Haraki)



  1. Win, glory goes to the players.
    Your guys really fought like the true road Warriors.
    You giving Coach Gib his 1st two consecutive road wins @ Hawaii.
    The count => 1-0. That gave yourselves the 1st swept of a BWC team, Bravo! This is the kind of synergy our fans appreciate.

    Christian, you’re establishing yourself as a strong candidate for the “Newcomer of the Year” for BWC also, the MVP of the TEAM for 2013!

    Huge improvement for a single digit Turnovers for this game!

  2. Great to see the team not giving up and fighting their way back from a 14 point deficit. They did a great job closing out the game. Isaac and Spearman made some tough shots at the end. Vander, Hauns, and Christian made their freethrows when it counted. An interesting stat was that Hawaii was out-rebounded by three, but won the turnover battle by six.

    Looking onwards to Saturday, Fullerton is coming off a six point loss at home against a last place Northridge team. It appears they may be ripe for the picking if Hawaii plays hard and takes care of the ball.

  3. It will be huge for UH if they can pick up another road win at Fullerton. Three in a row and coming home… they would be right back in the conference title hunt.

  4. You Know, BWC gave UH MBB the shaft, 4 straight road games, and UH comes back home, flies back up to Cali to complete the 2nd half of road swing. What do THE WARRIORS, shoots, TRUE WARRIORS, Do, ?? They come from behind, against a Cal Riverside team shooting lights out, and in the final minutes, catch up, and hold on to win!! FANTASTIC GUYS, IF YOU ARE READING POSTS ON IPAD , SMARTPHONES, ETC,





    GOOD JOB!!

  5. That’s the way to do it guys, no retreat, no surrender, Warrior way! Fullerton next! Come Christian the Lion Hearted keep it going.

  6. awesome! hopefully one more on saturday!!!

  7. Unexpected victories happen in the NCAA games as well as Big West Conference
    (of course our victories are always expected)

    Teams are very close in quality, therefore the force, willingness and very little luck brings victory

    Guys now know that they can beat anyone

    Congratulations to everyone who enjoyed the victory

    You guys were great

    Grab another win and we’ll all explode like fireworks

    I wish you every luck in the next game

    Stay healthy and enjoy your life

  8. Amazing game last night! You can tell the Warriors wanted that W so badly. They played with so much heart and passion. The fact that Christian was in beast mode again made this game even more wonderful to watch. I’m proud that Jace scored 2 points and contributed with assists (good job, capt).

    To the warriors: You men persevered and didn’t give up which shows how much you guys want to win this conference. Truly an inspiration to all. Stay focused. Never give up and remember why you love to play ball. Good luck tomorrow!


  9. Game observations:

    Looks like Standhardinger and Spearman have stepped up and will carry the load for UH down the stretch. Their effort was fantastic and Standhardinger is establishing himself as a dominate player in the Big West. Amazing because he’s not a great shooter, not the most athletic, not the best ball handler, not the best anything, BUT it is his determination, smarts and effort that makes him so good. In the Big West, as the 3 or 4, he’s going to outsize most of his match ups.

    He’s the perfect hustle player that just has the 6th sense of knowing where to be and when to be there.

    Not sure what’s with Vander. Only 2 FT attempts and 2 Rebounds in 28 minutes…. That’s unacceptable for his size and skill in the Big West. I know teams are clogging the paint and making life difficult, but he’s got to be a force on the boards and on defense when he’s not getting his on offense. Teams have figured out how to bog down Vander’s offense so he needs to adjust his game to be more effective.

    Tavita finally took a few open shots in the lane, that was nice to see. He’s usually too unselfish and tries to force a pass into traffic vs take the open shot. He did force a few passes in the 2nd half, but Standhardinger bailed him out with a tremendous catch and finish on an errant pass. I don’t mind Tavita shooting 3’s but it needs to be in rhythm (catch & shoot). Defenders dare him to shoot and sometimes you can see him thinking about it before shooting… that’s no good. Most college players aren’t good enough to make shots consistently if they aren’t in rhythm.

    Other observations:

    I think Gib has finally got his rotation of players. I’ve been saying all season that Gib has to cut the rotation to 7 or 8 players getting the bulk of the minutes. In both road wins, only 7 players had 10+minutes per game. I’ve been saying that the defined roles = more efficient play. When nobody knows who’s going to start or how many minutes they can expect, college kids tend to not play their best with playing time is uncertain.

    UH seems to always be on the wrong end of opponents having great shooting nights vs them. Part of it is luck, some guys just get hot, but the bigger, more concerning issue is UH’s ability to guard the perimeter. UH is a tall & long team, but outside of Spearman and Jefferson, there’s not much speed. As we saw vs UC Davis, a team that has crisp ball movement will generate a lot of open shots vs UH, as they just aren’t quick enough to close out on shooters. The other problem is when UH defenders close out, out of control, which allows opponents to easily drive by them.

  10. Former UH Athlete: Enjoy your comments and observations. UH team, still work in progress, however, the guys heart , smarts and effort, is starting to compensate for lack of superior athletic BB skills. Same with Coach, even though his third year, he is learning as well.

    If UH can get this Fullerton Win, will be huge. I noticed with this team, the one exception, the total blow out loss at Cal Poly(I believe UH will return the favor to them at SSC), and lack of effort on the boards, whether it is Jace, Christian, Hauns, Vander, Spearman, Ozi, Davis, Harper, Roop, whomever is on the floor or rooting from the bench, the guys don’t quit.

    Yes, UH has to play to strengths, agreed, you cannot have a rotation of major minutes for 12 guys in and out of game. That starting 5, Gib should keep for rest of season, then bring in Fotu, Jawato, Clair, Ozi, Davis, Jefferson, to rest starters,to energize team and game time stiuational.

    Once again, the staff and team doing good scout, BWC, as we all knew, quick guards(quicker than UH), wings, pretty athletic, live and die by the 3 ball, although this was one game that Riverside had TEN 3 pointers, shot 50
    % from 3 line, and outrebounded UH, and still loss. Significant stat: 8 turnovers for UH, that and Fotu, Vander, and Christian, CLOSING OUT GAME.

    Hey , Kudos to UH MBB team, UHA you have made mainland road trips. I can’t imagine, these guys, playing 4 consecutive road games, with a return to Hawaii for a few days, than back out on the road. These guys are student and athletic Warriors, much props to Gib and the team, they sure battle their hearts out!

  11. A good win to take to the next game. To close out the game the way they did. This should be a good confidence builder. Keep the intensity.
    Go Warriors!

  12. Forgot to mention…. UC Riverside coach Wooldrige made a huge tactical error in the 2nd half that played into UH’s favor. Wooldrige burned all of his timeouts with 4 minutes left in the game. Not having timeouts in crunch time is really bad. It leaves no room for error and from an X’s & O’s standpoint, no way for them to set up special plays. Thanks coach Wooldrige for stranding your team in an island.

    On the other hand, Gib made very good use of his time outs and had TO’s available. Especially when UH was up 3 with 16 seconds left. Brereton got trapped in the corner vs the press and the TO came in handy because Gib was able to call TO before UCR could foul. That helped burn off another 5 seconds before UCR got the foul which eventually led to UH’s game clinching free throw.

  13. Hey Former UH Athlete,
    Admire your insights, succinct terse advices..
    This is exactly what the TEAM needs to facilitate its tremendous talents.
    Make yourself a Current Volunteer Coach?
    The start of 2013-2014 Season would not be too late to payback to UH!

  14. Fullerton in a very foul mood after losing at home to Northridge. UH will have to match the Titans’ intensity, especially early. Warriors still having problems defending the 3 and Fullerton shoots very well. Seeley, Vaughn, and Yeager are deadly. Hawaii will have to score high 80s to 90s to win. It’s all about making shots and making stops. Could come down to buzzer beater again.

  15. Derek… good call. Fullerton’s shooters will be at home and in more comfortable surroundings. So expect Fullerton to light it up. Fullerton’s guards sliced up pretty good at the SSC, so I would anticipate Jefferson getting more minutes.

    Fullerton must be steaming because they gave a very bad Northridge team their 1st BW win.

  16. Fun Fact: Seely, Vaughn and Yeager went off for more than 20 pts each against Northridge. Northridge killed Fullerton on the boards, battled, and closed out win.

    Agreed with your posts, Hawaii has to bring double A game to get win against Titans, don’t slack, Vander has to stay in game, . Personal note, and Fotu was quoted as saying, Isaac is getting comfortable coming off the bench, seeing how play is going , then asserting himself when put it. Isaac, crucial last few minutes, took over on the boards and with great moves to score and help UH , along with Christian and Vander’s FT’s to close out game.

    Hey fellow fans, UH , the Cardiac Kids! BWC play, any team from 1 through 9 , has a chance to beat any one else on home floor or on the road. UH , more challenge, since they are coming some 2500 miles away at least 5 times during season, The BW teams in Cali, just ONCE in a season do they have to make the Pacific ocean trek.

    More props to team, getting the win against the Titans, would be, as we have said before HUGE. have to stay competitive and have chance to win in the end. UH team, coaches on down to equipment manager are doing a great job, and are really tired, kudos to the warriors1

  17. UH cannot trade 3 for 2. We will be blown out just like against Cal-Poly. We will have to have a decent game from the 3 point line. That means Jawato, Hauns, Spearman, Ozi, and Clair to shoot the 3 good enough to stay close. Our inside game can seal the deal if we get a decent lead. If we are behind a bunch it will be tougher coming from behind just making 2 point buckets. If Fullerton have a bad night shooting, then I think we win the game easily. But, I’m not banking on it.

  18. “Back to Back” Fullerton Upsets would pull Hawai’i to .500 (3-3) on the BW Road
    Set Fullerton Reelin’ & Questioning themselves
    HIT! Strike EARLY! Often and ALL Game Long
    AND Maybe Validate Smarts & Team Play Versus Raw (Less Intelligent) Talent…

    WE “Should” be able to Better-Frustrate and Defend against Fullerton (Than Northridge on Most Nights)…

    DON’T Get Out-Scored ‘Bows
    Better Defense
    Fewer Turnovers
    More Better Passes
    MORE Rebounds
    More Offensive Rebounds
    MORE Inside & Outside Game Effectiveness
    Saturday would be a Good Time for Hauns & Jawato to Start a Season-Defining Dual Hot Streak
    AND They CAN so i don’t think it’s asking ‘Too Much’
    For Ozi & Manroop to start shooting 40-50% the Rest of the Way
    THAT Would Allow us to Outnumber Most BW Teams, Inside and Out…
    It’s Also O.K. to Start Winning BIG-ger

    Go ‘Bows!
    Keep Finding Ways to

  19. The last five minutes were a joy to watch. Fotu, Jace, Christian, Spearman, Vander, all stepped up and closed it out.

    Some observations:

    Hauns is a rhythm player. Too bad he was in foul trouble and had to sit during the final stretch, but I like his smarts and shot selections.

    Vander just doesn’t look the same as last year. Is his knee still an issue? His explosiveness from last year has disappeared. It’s evident because he’s averaging less blocks this year against a smaller conglomerate of Big West players as opposed to the WAC. Wish he can get back to form soon.

    Anyone else frustrated with our zone defense? Howcome the coaches rely so heavily on it?
    The rotations on closing out on the 3 point shooter are waaaay to slow! That’s why they shot so well from beyond the arc. Even against UC Davis and Hawkins. WIsh we would play more man and front the shooters in their faces; force them to take it on the floor and drive in to the trees.

    There was one stretch from the 12min to the 5min mark where their post will take the feed at the free throw line and either make the easy turn around J, or dump it down to the cutting player behind the defense, under the basket for the easy lay-in. the zone was busted. That was driving me crazy. I want to see more man-to-man defense and more of Jefferson on the floor forcing the issue. He shut down Sealy of Fullerton when they played at Manoa towards the end of game.

  20. S23A:

    You make valid points in regards to type of defense employed. I know, Gib feels that UH has a hard time keeping the quick BWC guards from driving to the rim/paint. UH guards are not the greatest on ball defenders,or able to keep up, maybe Garrett Jefferson is the best. Know with AC/Alika days, UH played a match up zone, wtih AC, Alika and Micah Kroeger reading the passing angles and getting a lot of steals.

    He uses zone for that reason. You are correct, with the rotations, defending out to shooters, even help side D, just about any team are able to break the zone down, and get shots inside and out. I do like the traps he uses, it causes turnovers and UH has been able to get transition baskets.

    The BWC athletes on all 9 other teams are virtual clones. live by the 3 , die by the 3, when they are hot, they have a chance to beat bigger teams. Riverside had 10 three pointers shooting at 50 per cent clip, outrebounded UH, and still lost. UH kept turnovers, down. Only eight, so that was key.

    Gib’s philosphy, similar to Riley Wallace, Man to Man primary defense. Now, I think Gib feels zone, is best option, to keep Bigs out of foul trouble, my guess?

    I think it is personnel, he does not have the greatest athletes or man to man defenders, however, he could play zone with man to man principles, a match up zone, possibly, it is a Defensive scheme by committee, Gib confers with Benjy , and Fish, to see what might work. Heck, if UH was really sound, Man to Man, and a really quick rotating and help zone D, these games would not be close.

    Truism, good defense keeps you in a game, GREAT DEFENSE helps you to win ball games, that is where, Isaac came in last nite. He had a huge block and D rebound at end of game to seal the deal.

    Maybe, have the Jace, Spearman and Hauns, play man, and Christian and Vander play a 2 man zone near the paint. I don’t know, if UH wins another 6 or 7 BWC league games with the type of defense they employ, that is going to be the way it is this year.

    Correct on Vander, he is not what he was physically last year, does not have bounce, or even strength, don’t think he really hits the weights, Patton was bouncing him around pretty good. However. a WIN is a Win!

    Hope UH gets win against Fullerton, even if by one point. It woud be a huge win!

  21. From what I can gather, Fullerton’s sole big man, Deuce Johnson, has been playing hurt since their UCI game (a game where Fullerton lost by 27 points on their home court) on the 17th of January. He has gotten under 20 minutes of playing time during their last three outings.

    Fullerton also lost to a Northridge team without Stephen Hicks (Northridge’s preseason all-conference player), which was a game where the Matadors controlled throughout and had a double digit lead nearly the entire game.

    I am still expecting a tough game due to matchups and Fullerton’s athleticism/quickness in the backcourt. As Eagle said, it would be great to strike early and lead throughout. Especially with Fullerton currently questioning themselves.

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