Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors stuff Anteaters to increase win streak

On Disco Night at the Stan Sheriff Center, the Hawai’i basketball team’s winning streak kept Stayin’ Alive.

The Warriors defeated UC Irvine, 78-72, on Saturday night for their fifth consecutive victory. The five straight wins have suddenly put the Warriors in the thick of the race for the Big West Conference regular-season championship.


A crowd of 7,011 watched the Warriors improve to 15-9 overall and 9-4 in the Big West. Hawai’i is now in second place in the 10-team conference with five games remaining. Long Beach State, which loss at Hawai’i on Thursday, is still in first place at 10-2. Pacific, which was previously in second place, lost on Saturday to drop to 7-4.

“You guys having fun yet?” head coach Gib Arnold said at his post-game press conference. “You guys enjoying this? This is the way it should be. Another great crowd, another great atmosphere. The guys, I thought, did an outstanding job, especially defensively down the end.”

UC Irvine, which beat the Warriors, 68-64, on January 9 in Irvine, Calif., dropped to 12-13 overall and is now in fifth place at 6-6.

“I think we’re a much better team than when we went on the road there, and we’re getting better every game,” freshman forward Isaac Fotu said.

Indeed, the Warriors have won in various ways during the past five games. The latest version was a workman-like performance that featured a second-half rally from a seven-point deficit.


Christian Standhardinger once again led the way with 20 points and nine rebounds. The 6-foot-8 junior shot 8 for 13 from the field, and scored 14 during the second half.

Senior center Vander Joaquim added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and ignited the second half rally with a highlight-reel blocked shot on a dunk attempt by Irvine’s Will Davis II.

“It was just all about effort,” Joaquim said. “We just stayed aggressive. We didn’t fold. We just kept playing. I know we missed some tough shots … but we just stayed together and put a good performance out there.”

Senior wing Hauns Brereton scored 16 points, including 12-for-12 shooting from the free throw line. He was one free throw short of matching the UH record for free-throw perfection in a game (Victor Kelly went 13 for 13 in 1974).

Fotu added 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field, and also grabbed six rebounds. Brandon Spearman added eight points, and senior point guard Jace Tavita had five assists.

The Warriors committed a season-low seven turnovers – the most significant statistic of the game.

“We have to be able to win games when we’re not hitting outside shots,” Arnold said. “But if we turn the ball over 17 times like our average was, then no, we don’t win tonight … it was a big deal for us.”

The Warriors shot 43.5 percent from the field, including just 3 of 16 (18.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Anteaters shot 43.3 percent from the field and 50 percent (9 of 18) from 3-point range. However, Hawai’i out-scored Irvine 21-5 on free throws.

The game featured an exchange of streaks. The Warriors struck first, racing to a 27-18 lead with 7:18 remaining in the first half. But the Anteaters responded with a 14-2 run to take a 32-29 lead late in the half. Irvine eventually had a 34-31 advantage at intermission.

The Anteaters increased the lead to as many as seven points early in the second half, before the Warriors went on a 14-0 run to regain control at 49-42 with 11:29 remaining. Joaquim (seven) and Standhardinger (five) combined to score 12 of the 14 points during the decisive surge. Joaquim’s blocked shot of Davis’ dunk attempt also came early in that stretch.


“Just trying to protect the paint as much as I can,” Joaquim said. “Just trying to block shots and change shots for the other team. It’s for the team … it’s all about defense. That’s how we win.”

The Warriors stayed in front for the game’s final 13 minutes, although they could never quite pull away completely from the feisty Anteaters.

“This was not an easy win,” Arnold said. “This was a tough, gritty, blue-collar win. This time of year, especially playing a team a second time, they know our calls, we know their calls.”

Irvine got as close as 65-61 on a 3-pointer by Daman Starring with 2:51 remaining, but the Warriors responded with a basket by Standhardinger to keep the Anteaters at bay. Hawai’i converted 11 of 12 free throws in the final 1:28 to secure the win.

Alex Young led Irvine with 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Starring added 18 points.

The Warriors will next take their winning streak to the road for two more Big West games. They will play at UC Davis on Thursday, February 14, then at Pacific on Saturday, February 16.

(Game photos courtesy Brandon Flores)




  1. 1st!……another great team win..

  2. Great Job Bows!!!! Way to pick up the defensive intensity in the 2nd half. 1st have effort level was flat and Irvine out hustled UH for the most part. UH gave up too many easy buckets to Irvine in the 1st half. Also, the offense was getting bogged down because UH was shooting poorly.

    Also, Irvine packed their zone and didn’t guard Tavita at all. In the first half, Tavita was passive and allowed the defense to crowd Vander and Standhardinger at the post. Tavita also took Irvine’s bait and took a few outside shots, which Irvine wants because Tavita is a poor shooter and there are 5 defenders in the paint to rebound.

    After halftime, Gib made some nice adjustments to free up the offense. 1st, he must have gotten into Tavita’s ear about attacking the paint. Irvine wasn’t guarding him at all. Tavita did a much better job of getting deep into the defense and created passing lanes and opened a few backdoor cuts for Spearman, and on one occasion, had a lay up.

    2nd, Gib moved Vander to the top of the key on several offensive sets go mix up the look and it worked. With Vander out of the paint, the defense wasn’t really prepared to defend Stanghardinger or Fotu one-on-one with Vander on top.

    3rd, It’s clear Gib spent a lot of Friday’s practice on breaking the press. Irvine only pressed once in the first half and UH carved it up for a lay up. Once Irvine pressed again late in the game, UH dissected it easily and Irvine was forced to foul.

    4th, The defensive intensity was excellent in the 2nd half. Thats what fueled the 14-0 run in the second half. Spearman did a terrific job of slowing down Starring in the 2nd half after he was torching UH in the 1st half.

    Most impressive observations:

    1. UH went 11 of 12 from the free throw line in the last few minutes (Hauns went 12 for 12 for the game)

    2. UH only committed 7 turnovers. Which seems amazing considering some of their games this year.

    3. UH won in spite of shooting terrible from outside (3 for 16)

  3. Is it just me or is Jawato’s trajectory on his shot getting flatter and flatter? He’s throwing serious a line drive right now. Flat shots have little margin for error, so hopefully he can make the adjustment to make things easier for himself.

  4. Personnel management, game prep, and schematic adjustments have been outstanding. Hawaii managed the lead extremely well, which is great to see if you want to be a conference contender. In-bounding the ball successfully to Hauns worked time after time. Credit Hauns for putting the game out of reach with his outstanding free throw shooting.

    I haven’t really paid attention to Jawato’s trajectory, but it seems like that his typical shot is more line drive-like. It was that way in the open gym highlights. I like Jawato’s leg kick on his shot, which creates space to clear off a defender (that may or may not explain his trajectory).

  5. When your bigs can pop from the outside that spells trouble for the defense. I saw all 3 bigs draining long baskets and that’s what you gotta do when they packing it in and your team not making theirs. In the early part of the season I don’t think they could do it with consistency. But now I can see that they are given the green light to put up the shot if they are open. Turn from post to face up and if open shoot’em. If bigs are talented enough they can score even when shooters not making it. We got talent.

  6. Warriors protected the House! Onward back on the road we need these two crucial road games. Jawato’s shots need more arch definitely looked flat with no back spin. Come on Jawato practice your shots.

  7. Strange substitution. With about 2 minutes left in the first half, Arnold put in Manroop Clair. Less than 30 seconds later there was a time out and Arnold took Clair out. I don’t get it. What kind of message is he saying to his player? During the seconds that Clair played as far as I can see (I was at the game) he didn’t do anything bad, made a good pass, didn’t turn the ball over. Even my friend said the same thing. What was that say about Arnold’s confidence in Manroop’s ability to play. Not good. I think Arnold has some splaining to do to his player.

  8. he does that with a lot of his subs. he does it with davis, he does it with jefferson, he even did it with fotu and vander like three times in the final 3 minutes.

    its just gib being gib.

  9. Herewith my nomination for another outstanding performance for the TEAM by Christian Standhardinger, deverved another honor as the Player of the Week for BWC.

  10. Jawato, streaky shooter, whether flat or high arc, he will be vital to UH success in BWC tourney. Gib subbing in Roop and Davis, then take them out, I think , he getting into ear of players they subbed in for, then he put back in the starter. Whatever Gib doing, must be doing something right, UH has made a huge turnaround and now contender for top spot in BWC. Whatever you are doing to motivate guys Gib, good job! And UH team, good team defense, DEFENSE, that is what wins championships!!

  11. Love Jace Tavita’s effort, leadership and running Offensive sets. No question, even Gib mentioned on post game radio show, how he wants Jace to shoot the uncontested 3 ball, or when given huge lanes open areas to drive to rim and finish or dish.

    Jace , if he can produce these kind of numbers per game: 6 assists, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 turnovers or less, and if finish at rim, he has to learn to shoot free throws, it might come down to a game in post season tourney, where he , even if by accident, a team fouls him, he would have to go to line, and knock down 2 critical FT’s or a 1 and 1.

    Jace, great young guy, and warrior, you can do it. Keep defenses honest. Great , that you drove to rim, and dished. You are a physical guy, and so much bigger than the other BWC guards, you could post up to, or give and go with the Bigs.

    You know if Jace could score some, 3 ball attempts, and drive and dish, and hit a couple of FT’s, open things up for the Bigs even more, and UH’s leads would be larger. However, give the guy credit, he, Vander and Hauns, juniors, Spearman , Standhardinger and Fotu, producing.

    And most importantly they are winning.! Good job Jace, just have to drive and attempt to shoot mid to 3 line ball a couple of times a game, would change dynamic of offense a little, otherwise, great job Jace and entire first 8!!

  12. why do you think it was a strange substitution? they were backing off Jace by 10 feet in the zone, clogging all the lanes.

    they put in manroop clair because they were packing it in in a zone, so the idea being seeing if he can knock down shots in the zone. but then it became quickly apparent that they were better off making a defensive substitution with Jefferson, because Irvine was getting it going with their aggressive dribble penetration from the point; and roop – is presently ill-suited to stop that.

    in other words, defensive substitution won out over an offensive one.

    what more explaining do you have to do than that? the explanation improve your body and learn to guard at this level, and you will play more. If you don’t, you wont. Good grief.

  13. and manroop knew that coming out a year early.

    anyone should be able to look at him and realize he isnt physically mature yet. he’s not yet strong enough to consistently contest dribble drives.

    that will come in the coming years.

  14. As Jawato before him, Clair would have benefitted from a redshirt year, but Gib probably didn’t know what he had at point guard beyond Tavita so I think he was hopeful that Clair would make the transition — not just to D! basketball, but to a new position — as the season progressed.

    It hasn’t worked out that way as Jefferson has moved ahead. After watching Jefferson in the summer league, where he played the point for the most part, it became apparent he was told he would help the team most with a position change. I think he’s done pretty well.

  15. IF the Team were Not Scoring well, they would give the offensive green light to ʻRoop and Ozi … BUT Christian, Isaac & Vander and to a less consistent degree (but still most times) Hauns & Spearman can pretty much score at will…
    so ( i think ʻcos i havenʻt heard coach say it this way) heʻs giving priority to defensive substitution like Garrett or Davis who help lock down the opposition and trigger last nightʻs 14-0 second half run/score reversal…

    Hit the Weights, ʻRoop — your ball-handling skills are up there with almost anyone (except K-Sham)…
    Coach professes continuing Prime Time Confidence in you & Ozi … may need it for a three day tourney run…
    BE Prepared … iʻm SURE Everyoneʻs Improving whether in game or practice….

    Once ʻRoop and ʻOzi “get the systems, the rhythm and the flow” like Jawato, Spearman, Hauns and Jace apparently have, theyʻll be All Kinds of Deadly… (By Comparison, Credit to Coaches, i think ALL the scholarship freshmen are ahead of where, say Carl English was at this point of their initial seasons/career…)

  16. Great team win. Good to see Hauns back in the groove.
    Go Warriors!

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