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Tavita will be “game-time decision” this week

Less than three weeks ago, Jace Tavita and Brandon Spearman were developing into a reliable backcourt duo for the Hawai’i basketball team.

This Thursday, the Warriors may have to play without both of them when they close out the regular season with a road game at Cal State Northridge.

An injured left pinkie finger has made Tavita “a game-time decision,” according to head coach Gib Arnold.

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“We won’t know until (Wednesday),” Arnold said. “He’s not cleared yet. Doctor says he won’t be cleared (Wednesday), so it’ll probably be a game-time decision on that one.”

Tavita underwent a surgical procedure on Tuesday afternoon to remove some tissue from the finger. He observed Tuesday’s practice from the sidelines, as he was told by doctors to avoid any basketball activity for at least 24 hours following the surgery.

Tavita said he cannot recall how or when the injury occurred, only that it happened in the second half of the loss to Cal Poly on Saturday.

“At the 12-minute media timeout, I just remember (thinking) ‘my finger is killing me,’ then I looked down and it was all messed up,” Tavita said.

Tavita played the remainder of the game, and even hit two 3-pointers late in the contest when the Warriors were rallying.

The 6-foot-4 senior is averaging 3.4 points per game and leads the Big West Conference in assists with 5.6 per game. He has started 22 of 29 games this season, including the last 10.

The Warriors departed Honolulu on Tuesday night, and Tavita traveled with the team in hopes that he will be cleared to play on Thursday.

Junior Garrett Jefferson worked with the first team in Tavita’s spot during Tuesday’s practice, and freshman Manroop Clair also got increased repetitions. “It would fall on Garrett and Roop to run the point for us (if Tavita is not cleared),” Arnold said.

Spearman is still sidelined with an ankle injury and did not travel with the team. He has already missed the last two games.

The Warriors are 17-12 overall and in fifth place in the Big West at 10-7. They are essentially playing for their seed in the Big West Conference Tournament, which is scheduled for March 14-16 at Anaheim, Calif.

Hawai’i still has a long shot at finishing in a tie for second in the final standings, but will likely end with a tournament seeding between 3 and 6.

Cal State Northridge is 13-17 overall and 4-13 in the Big West. The Matadors are in ninth place in the conference, and have already been eliminated from qualifying for the tournament. Arnold cautioned his players that the Matadors will be playing with nothing to lose because it will be their season finale.

GAME INFORMATION: Hawai’i (17-12, 10-7 Big West) at Cal State Northridge (14-17, 4-13 Big West)
When: Thursday, March 7, 5:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: The Matadome (1,600) – Northridge, Calif.
Television: None.
Streaming Video: Live video streaming is available on BigWest.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

6 Comments

  1. Get well Jace ! You are a true Hawaii Warrior. ! Mahalo for your great effort and dedication to getting education and helping UH MBB create excitement again!

    Have a great post season run, hope you guys make it to the NCAA’s!

  2. Pinky schminky… Tape + splint + ring finger + cortisone shot = good to go.

    At least it’s on the left hand, so it shouldn’t affect him too much.

  3. I agree with FUHA. It’s his pinkie on his non-shooting hand. For us old-school ballers this is a non-issue. I know a fellow old-school baller (mid-range game) that has some crooked fingers on his hands and it never stopped him from seeing a shot he didn’t like. Let’s go Youngbloods…go get um Jace!

  4. This is it guys, do or die, lace it up and go ! Jace , last few games of your career brother , give it all you got !!

  5. Jace has improved leaps and bounds this season, but let’s face it – he isn’t exactly a “pro-prospect”. He has potentially two games left in his basketball career and tomorrows game is huge in terms of gaining confidence and building momentum.

    That being said, the decision should be a fairly simple one. Start Jace, see how he shakes out. I honestly don’t see us pulling out the win without him. Our lack of play-making ability will throw us all out of sync.

    Gib – do the right thing and START JACE! Let’s GO BOWS!!

  6. Get in the game bro! Shoot, you already played half a game without realizing it. lol You’re Samoan. You got big bones. We playin tomorrrow!

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