Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors are wary of Air Force offense

The last time Hawai’i played Air Force in basketball, Riley Wallace was the head coach and it was a Western Athletic Conference game. Yes, 1997 was a long time ago.

The Warriors will host the Falcons on Wednesday at the Stan Sheriff Center in a first-round game of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). Wallace is now the chairman of the CIT selection committee, and neither the Warriors nor Falcons are in the WAC.

Hawai’i is 17-14 overall and finished in fifth place in the Big West Conference; Air Force is 17-13 overall and placed sixth in the Mountain West Conference (the five teams ahead of Air Force in the conference were selected to the NCAA Tournament).

Like most first-round postseason games, there is a sense of mystery involved, as the teams had essentially two days to scout and prepare for each other.


“They’re really hard to prepare for in two days,” Hawai’i associate coach Benjy Taylor said of the Falcons. “They run the Princeton action – a lot of backdoors, they can all shoot it, they’re all very skilled. They’re a very good team.”

Traditional Princeton-offense teams often utilize the full 35 seconds on the shot clock and score in the 50s or 60s. Air Force averages 70.5 points per game, but still does it with efficiency. The Falcons lead the Mountain West in field goal percentage (.475) and rank second in assists (15.9 per game)

“Princeton on steroids,” is how Taylor described the Air Force system. “They shoot it quick and they’ll get out in transition, they fast-break.”

What makes Air Force even more mysterious this week is the absence of leading scorer Michael Lyons. The 6-foot-5 senior guard, who leads the Mountain West with 17.7 points per game, underwent season-ending knee surgery this week.

“They’re still going to run Princeton,” Taylor noted. “They’re still going to run the same offense and they’re still going to be a dangerous team.”

The Warriors will have to be at their defensive best to snap a three-game losing streak, and Taylor said it will also be important for Hawai’i to “win the war in the paint.”

The Falcons have a 6-foot-10 center in Taylor Broekhuis, but otherwise do not have the same type of overall size as the Warriors.


Christian Standhardinger, a 6-8 junior forward, leads the Warriors in scoring with 15.7 points per game, and is second in rebounding at 7.9 per game.

Vander Joaquim, a 6-10 senior center, is averaging 14.2 points and a team-best 8.4 rebounds per game. Isaac Fotu, a 6-8 freshman forward, is contributing 9.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

“I think everyone feels like this is a second chance for us,” Fotu said. “It’s a chance for us to get more wins for our season, which will be a big positive.”

The Falcons often like to play a zone defense, so the Warrior guards will have to be ready to knock down perimeter shots. Hauns Brereton, a 6-6 senior, has been the team’s most consistent player of late, and he is currently averaging 10.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Senior point guard Jace Tavita is averaging 3.2 points per game and leads the Big West in assists with 5.6 per game.

The Warriors could get a boost with the possible return of junior guard Brandon Spearman. He has been sidelined for the past month with an ankle injury, but he was able to return to practice this week. His role for Wednesday’s game is still considered a game-time decision.

“If there’s any way he can go, I’m sure he’ll try to go,” Taylor said. “But we haven’t got the word yet.”

Spearman is averaging 9.7 points per game and is considered a key perimeter player in Hawai’i’s defensive schemes. He has missed the last five games, and the Warriors are 2-3 in those games.

GAME INFORMATION: Hawai’i (17-14, 10-8 Big West) vs. Air Force (17-13, 8-8 Mountain West)
When: Wednesday, March 20, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300)
Television: None
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: Tickets range from $5-$24; UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Fans can purchase upper-level, adult baseline seats in designated areas for 50%. Military members receive a special $12 rate for upper level tickets (ID required). Parking $6.


  1. Go ‘Bows!
    Ground the Falcons!
    They’re a Smart Team
    Running a Disciplined Offense
    Don’t let ’em Beat You with Back Door Passes and Easy Lay-ups
    Challenge the Threes w/o fouling
    Then Close Out The Boards
    UH Usually IS and CAN BE Tonight as good a Defensive Team as there is in the Big West
    Keep AFA in their 3-10 Road Mode
    Take Care of the Rock (esp. ‘cos they will)
    Execute, Hit the Good Shots
    Hit the Boards (AFA only gets 30 a game)
    Back ‘Em UP, Students & Fans
    Help KEEP The Team Energized!

    Earn ONE More…

  2. Spot on summary by Medina (previous posting)
    it is perplexing that this style of play continued throughout the season.
    Hopefully next year will be different.
    Coaches need to coach better.
    Selfish players should play limited minutes, as it is NEVER a good thing for team chemistry.
    Fortunately, the majority of the players are unselfish and will continue to work hard.
    Go Warriors!

  3. Betting update… The early line yesterday was Air Force (-1), now the betting line has changed to UH (-1 or -1.5). Not sure if there was some heavy bets on UH or if it was the major sports books posting UH as the favorite this morning. So the savvy UH betters got a great deal yesterday.

    The total is 147 or 148 depending on location. I think the under is the best bet on the board as both teams usually have 1 or 2 scoring droughts per game. Air Force plays a deliberate style and UH also prefers a half court game.

    It’s the seniors last hoorah so hopefully we get an inspired effort from them tonight. Vander needs to redeem himself after a dismal performance vs UC Irvine where he got owned by Will Davis and got out hustled all night. Jace went 0-5 FG. Brereton had 18 points but was inefficient as it took him 20 shots to get them.

    Besides getting out-hustled by Irvine, the most shocking highlight of the quarter finals was the FT disparity. UC Irvine had 31 FT attempts vs UH’s 16. Some of it was poor officiating, some of it was UH fouling at the end to extend the clock, but FTs are generally earned by being the aggressor (attacking the rim & paint). The concern is that as big as UH is on the front line, few of the players try to draw contact at the post. Vander always tries to jump shot or hook shot, and Fotu’s main move is a hook. None of those will draw fouls. In other words, UH’s bigs play soft on offense.

    The Big West teams are finesse perimeter teams because they generally lack size at the forwards… If a C/PF plays a finesse game, their physical size advantage is negated. Gib built this roster to dominate the paint vs smaller opponents, but that just didn’t happen. When was the last time Vander or Fotu got any opposing big men in foul trouble?

    You can probably count on one hand the number of offensive charging/player control fouls on Vander all season, whereas he usually had at least one per game in past seasons. Also, Vander had 33% fewer FT attempts this season, which is indicative of his softer play. I truly think his offseason with the Angolan national team hurt his overall game because the international game is perimeter, jump shot oriented, whereas the American style is more physical that requires the bigs to play inside.

    Vander did show off an much improved jump shot, but that became a crutch instead of a tool. I was really hoping he would develop another post move to complement his solid hook shot, but that never materialized during the offseason.

    On the positive side, the seniors can erase all their inconsistencies and hopefully finish with a BANG! I think UH wins in an ugly, slow-paced slugfest. Go BOWS!

  4. FUHA:

    Nice observations. True, our Bigs are not power, draw foul types. More finesse. Vander if he wants to go to next level, NBA free agent(long shot, unless he just has a great off season and right team) or high Euro pro, has to work on his game even more.Sometimes, or a lot of times since Vander has been here, the ball goes in, he is double downed even tripled, and he still wants to shoot or make a move, he loses the ball, or takes a crazy fadeaway that has no chance to go in.

    However, once again, Vander is a good person, a man of his word, 2 times he said he would be back, after speculation he would go pro, and he did after contemplating. I believe Vander has Hawaii in his heart, and when he is isolated one on one with most Big West, WAC, or hopefully even MWC posts, his moves, and shooting touch are some of the best I have seen of any Big that has ever played for UH. We perhaps will not see a UH post with that skillset, that he worked so hard on to develop, since coming in as a raw project when a soph. transfer from Utah JC.

    What would help the Bigs, Vander and Fotu, Christian is the energy guy, he will get his points, he just might be the X factor, a guy at 6’8″ with skills to play like a 6’5″ wing, that Air Force hasn’t seen yet. Standhardinger, you don’t think he is doing much, then, by last 5 minutes of the game, his stat line: 25 pts, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks, 3 steals, and countless hustle plays. For the Bigs, if Standhardinger goes off, UH is a really good team down low , transition and mid range. Then Vander and Fotu, Clean up his misses, and Isaac and Vander clean up Christian’s misses. That is a key too: Basically the Bigs down low, put it up near the rim, either going in , or the Bigs get putbacks, or resets. I don’t know how good the AFA bigs are, however, you know they are smart., so they will get the steals, the strips, deflections, etc, maybe even some blocked shots. The Falcons BBIQ is high , no question.

    The perimeter guys: Jawato, Hauns, hopefully Spearman for a few minutes, Roop, Jace, etc. have to hit, 8 to 10 3’s, they do that, and the bigs getting their stuff down low, as well as UH going back to the first 3 games of season, where, they D up, get rebound, and run, and finish at O end, that was exciting stuff. Hopefully the Bigs and Perimeter guys go off, then UH can compete.

    Maybe, this will be like the old WAC games. The ones with Riley’s guys, vs Air Force’s Reggie Minton(I think he was coach and great friend of Wallace’s) , UH had the edge in Hawaii, and sometimes Reggie MInton,s Falcons went off on UH in Colorado Springs, because of altitude and some excellent guard play.

    It has been such an up and down season, I know it is no excuse to true Basketball observers, however in this case when Spearman went down, it affected the psyche of the team. As Brandon went to the ground, UH mentally, emotionally and competitively went south too. UH did not have another Spearman to turn to.

    However, I think Brandon says even if 80%, he will wrap up well, and give it a go! Just his appearance on court will probably help the team’s morale tremendously. I wish UH had 4 Spearman’s, guards that can do what old time guards did, shoot some, take to the rack, and one, play D, rebound, and help on running O and D sets. If you watched Spearman when UH went on that 5 game winning streak and 3 consecutive road game winning streak, Spearman was a large part of that, helping UH to close out close games. That young guy is a Warrior.

    Well UHFA, one more chance, Hawaii wins, then advance, should be a good crowd and hope a lot of Students come out and fill the lower bowl and half way up the upper , can’t beat the price , FREE!

    Go Warriors, and maybe final chance for Jace, Hauns and Vander to have a GOOD showing in SSC win or lose, of course we want the win!

  5. Well, it was a tough sell for a team coming off a disappointing loss and a game on a Wednesday night. UH has announced there will be no TV broadcast due to ticket sales being less than anticipated. I didn’t think 6,500 was realistic.

    I just hope the school doesn’t lose money on this and that the SSC is more than half full in support of the players. Hopefully, a win tonight and a chance to host a weekend game might help make up any financial loss.

  6. Come on ,Warrior fans , this is the team’s last chance , another last chance for Seniors to go out on top, Students, Fans , get out , we got to kick their a _ _es tonight ! Loud , and wild is what we need from the Maniacs, Speedo Man , show up , lets go!!!

  7. To Eagle, a solid, for the team , Warrior MBB fan, and great promoter of WI site and posts!!

    I am home bound, different ailments because of age, however, young ones in our family UH students, they will be at the Game!
    Back in the day, my family and I, were at Football, VB, Baseball, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, and of course MBB and WBB games, we are die hards and the 3rd generation is too.

    I don’t know if you are going with your Ohana., You posted, that UH Ticket office said only 1 or 2 in th lower bowl, or a few, individual tickets were available for tonite’s game. That would mean, I think lower bowl, holds 4500? And Upper levels are 5800 I think, so I estimate, , even with no shows, maybe 4000+ in the house?

    Eagle have a great time if you are going. UH one more chance, to advance, and REDEMPTION TIME. Man I give you credit brother, you always have been pumping up the team to WIN , EFFORT, ENERGY, and IMPROVE, even towards next year, where, in my eyes, team will athletically and experience wise be vastly improved!



  8. Standharding just needs to keep being the workhorse. He’s a true grinder and has a great feel for the game. The ball seems to find him (or vise versa).

    I think tonight’s keys to victory:
    1. Pound the boards (same as every game)
    2. Jace must play well
    3. Disciplined defense (Air Force loves the backdoor cuts)

    Regarding Vadner’s pro prospects, he is probably headed to Europe after he finishes at UH. In my honest opinion, Vander is not close to NBA material, but his jump shot may get him some minutes in Europe. He’s just not mobile enough to be a mainstay starter in a pro league. You can develop a jump shot and post moves, you cannot develop mobility and speed (unless you’re fat). I think Vander would have left last year had he received a good scouting grades, and I wouldn’t have blamed him at all.

    I think if Vander would have developed his post game and footwork during the last offseason, he would have been unstoppable in the Big West… which would have led to much better pro opportunities in the future. He had a pretty sub-par year vs expectations so he’s got a bigger hill to climb to make a pro team than if he had a good year. In the end I think he makes a pro roster overseas.

    Heck, if Carl English can make the Canadian National Team, and get minutes, anything is possible.

  9. Just saw the 2013 Diamondhead Classic lineup… 7 of 8 teams have been confirmed.

    From HawaiiAthletics.com — Five of the seven teams in the 2013 field have qualified for the postseason this year, including Boise State (NCAA), Hawai’i (CIT), George Mason (CBI), Iowa State (NCAA) and St. Mary’s (NCAA). The eighth and final team in the tournament field will be announced at a later date. —

    Pretty solid field from a competitive standpoint, but no marquee name yet. Hopefully the people in charge can land a big name program for the 8th and final opening. Noticeably missing is a Pac-12 team… Maybe UCLA???

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