Warriors return to Irvine for intense practice
IRVINE, Calif. – It was almost like returning to the scene of a crime. Less than 24 hours after the Hawai’i basketball team had a potential victory snatched from its grasp, the Warriors conducted an afternoon practice at the Bren Events Center.
UC Irvine defeated the Warriors, 68-64, in that same arena on Wednesday night. Hawai’i will play at Long Beach State on Saturday, but the facilities on the Long Beach campus were unavailable on Thursday.
“Long Beach State wasn’t able or didn’t give us gym time two days out, (but) we do have gym time there (Friday),” head coach Gib Arnold said. “Being here a couple days early, Irvine was gracious enough to let us come back and use their practice facility … actually their gym.”
In the loss to Irvine on Wednesday, the Warriors committed 17 turnovers, including several unforced errors. On Thursday, there was a price to pay.
The Warriors spent much of the two-hour practice working on ball security and crisp passes. Every player who committed a turnover during the practice had to run up and down the stairs inside the Bren Center.
“We worked on a little bit of Long Beach State, but mostly on ourselves,” Arnold said. “We worked on being strong with the ball and some of our defensive stuff as well. I thought it was a great practice, quite honestly. I thought it was one of the best ones we’ve had … I was pleased how the guys bounced back after a tough loss.”
The defensive drills were also intense, especially after Arnold declared that he was “looking for Warriors who want to play on Saturday.”
Junior forward Christian Standhardinger said: “We lost (Wednesday) and we were all bothered by that fact and that’s a good thing. We went hard against each other, we competed and we played tough, and that’s exactly what we need in the next game.”
The Warriors are 9-6 overall and 3-1 in the Big West. Thanks to a UC Davis victory over Cal Poly on Thursday night, the Warriors are still in a three-way tie for first place (Long Beach State and Cal Poly are also 3-1).
“We were 3-0 and I think we might have got a little too confident about ourselves and this loss kind of put us back to the ground and I think that’s what we needed,” junior forward Davis Rozitis said. “We came back, we had a great practice and we hope to rebound against Long Beach on Saturday.”
The Warriors are scheduled to practice in The Walter Pyramid on Friday afternoon, and Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m. (Hawai’i time).