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Warriors hope to make most of second chance

Call it what you will: Second chance, do over, take two … the Hawai’i basketball team will take it.

The Warriors expressed a bit of surprise – and gratitude – that they will be able to continue their season on Wednesday, when they host Air Force in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center, and UH students will be admitted for free.

The Warriors are 17-14 overall and finished fifth in the Big West Conference; the Falcons are 17-13 overall and finished sixth in the Mountain West Conference.

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“It was very surprising, actually,” senior center Vander Joaquim said. “I thought the season was over for me and for us.”

The Warriors closed the season with three consecutive losses – including a home loss to Cal Poly on Senior Night, and a quarterfinal loss to UC Irvine in the Big West Conference Tournament at Anaheim, Calif.

The CIT invitation offers a chance at redemption – or at least an opportunity to close the season on a better note.

“It’s going to be very important, actually,” Joaquim said. “It’s good to end on a win instead of ending with a loss, so this is going to be a good make-up for us. We just have to come ready to play because I heard Air Force is a pretty good team.”

Head coach Gib Arnold was recruiting on the Mainland when he was notified of the invitation on Sunday afternoon. He had to rearrange his itinerary to return to Honolulu by Monday afternoon so that the team could practice on Monday evening.

“I thought we were a good enough team to get in,” Arnold said. “Looking at all the other teams that were invited, we’re right there with them. I definitely felt we were deserving of postseason this year. I didn’t know if it was going to happen or not.”

While critics might deplore the CIT field, it is still considered a postseason appearance, and only 13 previous Hawai’i seasons finished with such.

Junior forward Davis Rozitis was a redshirt player on the 2010-11 team that became rejuvenated with a CIT invitation. That team played two CIT home games – beating Portland in the first round, then losing to San Francisco in the second round.

“I remember the guys lost in the conference tournament to San Jose State,” Rozitis said. “I’m really good friends with Bill Amis and he was just sad. I saw the look in his eyes … and then we got invited to the CIT and it was just like a second coming for him. I saw what energy he had and how excited he was about it.

“I think it’s the same thing for us this year. After that Thursday loss (to UC Irvine), in the locker room I looked at all the seniors – Vander, Jace (Tavita) and Hauns (Brereton) – and I saw the look in their eyes. It was like my college career is over. I think it’s most important for them to have the best feeling for it. We’re all excited, but they are the most excited because they have another chance to redeem themselves on the home court to get the win for Senior Night.”

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: TBD
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.

10 Comments

  1. Vander, Jace and Hauns, a great second chance to have possibly a final great victory in front of the University of Hawaii students, Manoa Maniac, and College hoops fans in general.

    The Big West first round loss was very painful for all in Hawaii, throughout the USA and around the globe to watch. Appreciated your effort to come back against Irvine. You guys have never given up all season, which is commendable!

    Play with passion, energy, use your Basketball smarts, to Defend, Rebound, control tempo, and seal a victory!
    Air Force, in the old WAC was and still is a US Military Academy school, the cadets are very smart and disciplined. Back in the past , some Air Force Basketball teams took it to UH teams visiting the Academy at Colorado. The altitude and a few outstanding, guards from the Falcon squad gave UH the fits. This team, is the 2012-13 edition with win over SDSU and other NIT or NCAA bound MWC teams, they will not be push overs.

    Bring your A+ game!. Hopefully several thousand, fans will be in attendance , filling the lower bowl and some, along with the coordinated Maniacs, to help you on to Victory. Guys, we have been critical of uneven play by your team, however, we never questioned your hearts. Win one, for Riley Wallace, ex UH BB coach who helped get you into the CIT, and for your great families, the Coach and his staff, for Jamie Smith, and all your FANS from around the Globe. You are Universal Warriors.

    Get the Win guys. Hauns and Vander get a good jump on the Falcons, they are a good team, and Jace provide steady leadership!
    This is a great second chance to dance, and hopefully you can move on to round two, play 40 minutes of Warrior Basketball, not half way, all the way, ALL IN, and GET THE WIN!!

    You are a great bunch of guys and you have a coach and student body who support you all the way!

    Go Warriors.
    P.S. Tonganator, Ozi Mum, Aussie Mum and Memphis Mon, Collegeinsider.com if you check out the C.I.T. site has information and schedule of game time and any video link , hopefully somehow, you can watch a live stream! Aloha! Uhfanzonly1 and family!

    D: not many have a second opportunity in life, UH MBB team, now you Do!!

  2. Sorry Fans. Mountain West Conference of which Air Force is a member, has 5 teams in the NCAA’s, and 1 in College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and 1 (Air Force) in the College Insider Tournament! So the MWC had a great year. Air Force even though without their leading scorer who got injured(averaged 18 points per game) are, well coached, disciplined and tough. Another Princeton style, back door, and 3 ball pop, team. A very smart MWC team.

    UH MBB, be ready, and glad to hear Gib will use all (including Spearman if Brandon is okay) 12 guys on roster , give the young guys practice and game time experience. Should be fun, UH, get a good run and hang on for a big maybe…final Senior nite victory at SSC. And great to hear, hey all you UH Students, on and off campus, the doors will be open FREE of charge to you, pack the house with as many Maniacs as possible, the guys will play hard and play to win for you all , guaranteed.

    Second Chance to Dance !! Awesome!

    UHF says: Go Warriors!!

  3. Warriors can do this. Look at some of the teams they played in the Diamond Head Classic and were those teams are now. If they want it bad enough they can take it! As long as there are no head games coming from the bench! Its crazy that they are playing Air Force, that was the first school to offer Brereton. Go Warriors!

  4. Hey Memphis, that’s the year Air Force went to the final four isn’t it? Good luck Warriors! Have Fun and do your thing!

  5. Please keep us updated on whether or not this game will be televised. I’d love to make it out to the game but it would be quite a challenge to get the whole family out there during a week where my son is in school (due to being on a track schedule). Really excited about the game, hopefully the guys come out firing on all cylinders. Wish I was still a student so I could just get in free!!

  6. Okay guys, just registered for free online streaming for the CIT at watchcollegeinsider.com, so at the least it can be viewed over the wire. I’d rather OC16 pick it up somehow, that way I can DVR and be able to rewind/fast-forward/pause/etc., but at the least I know I’ll be seeing our boys back in action for at least one more time this year. Let’s GO BOWS!!!

  7. We Gotta Pack the House, Protect the House Warriors ! No Wusses, play with an attitude to WIN!!

  8. OUR Lower Bowl Section this morning had ONLY TWO Individual (isolated) seats available…

    Ticket Office thinks the Special Package Sections Upper Level Seats are Moving Fast As Well!

    Hopefully this All Portends a Great Crowd …
    AND A SPIRITED Team Performance (Or Three!)

    Yeah i wanna DVR/Record these Game(s) As Well…
    Let’s FLY Past 6500 (Break Even Estimate)

    OC16/12 RE-Televising the Earlier Games has Captured Some New Hearts in Our Family As Well…
    Enough that they’re going (To BB) for the FIRST Time…

    IF This Team KEEPS Pulling in New Students and New Fans…The New, Young Blood…
    SSC Should Be Rockin’ Even More…
    It’s Already One of the Best “West Coast” Venues (IF Not a Little Small-ish…)

    CAN WE TURN UP THE HEAT !?
    (We WILL Know Tomorrow….The BUZZZZZ?)

    P.S. I LIKE UHBB Headlining “Above The Sports Page “FOLD”
    In the Second Half of MARCH!
    That’s BOTH Teams…

    And We Sacked That Fullerton A.D.?
    (Good All Around…)

  9. Pack the Freaking House , We gotta make a HOSTILE environment for the fly boys ! Bring in all the students ! Speedo Man ,we need you tomorrow night !!!

  10. Air Force is no easy cookie. They are a senior laden team that really plays a deliberate style of basketball. The good news for UH is that they were a bad road team this season.

    Air Force’s slower tempo is good for UH because they don’t have to worry about getting outrun down the court like what happened in the BW tourney. Irvine ran at every opportunity and exploited Spearman’s absence and UH’s bigs don’t run well.

    Since both teams prefer to play a half court style, it becomes a battle of execution and taking care of the ball. This figures to be a low scoring game and possession will be at a premium. Jace & Vander must take care of the ball and UH cannot fall asleep on the back door cuts Air Force loves.

    UH’s biggest advantage is rebounding, as Air Force is not a good rebounding team… So Vander, Fotu, and Standhardinger need to pound the glass and limit 2nd chance points. (That’s been a common key to victory all year).

    Will be a tough game… UH is a 1 pt home underdog as I type this. majority of tickets are being bet on the Falcons at this time.

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