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UPDATED: Warriors rout Tennessee State in opener

Rozitis1_TennState

The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball program unveiled its new, sleek and fleet 2013-14 edition Friday night, sprinting past Tennessee State, 85-55, in the season opener at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Christian Standhardinger scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Isaac Fotu added 16 points and eight rebounds and junior college transfer Garrett Nevels contributed 13 points (all in the first half) and three rebounds as the Rainbow Warriors jumped out to a 41-20 halftime lead in the opening game of the 49th Annual Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic.

UH began the second half with a 9-1 run to stretch it to 50-21 with 16:21 remaining. The Tigers could not get closer than 24 points the rest of the way.

“I thought we had a great home opener,” said Rainbow Warriors coach Gib Arnold. “I was real pleased with how we played … I was pleased with our guard play, I thought the tempo was just where we want it. I thought our press was great … I really like up-tempo, I really like to press … I just wanna go — on makes and misses, I wanna push it. With this group, we can do that.”

Boosted by returning starters Standhardinger and Fotu at forward and three new starting guards — Nevels, junior point guard Keith Shamburger and freshman Aaron Valdes — Hawai’i exhibited a fast-paced game featuring pressure defense and opportunistic fast breaks.

“I think it works great for us, we like to play fast, fast-break basketball is how we play now,” said Fotu, a sophomore power forward. “If it keeps on working, we’re not going to change it.”

The Rainbow Warriors led 7-0 out of the gate, the Tigers (0-1) tied it at 7-7, then Standhardinger sank two free throws to start Hawai’i on a 9-0 run capped by Shamburger’s driving layup with 13:29 left in the first half. Tennessee State closed it to 17-11 on a jumper by M.J. Rhett, but Fotu converted a three-point play to start a 10-2 run finished by Standhardinger’s putback and free throw to make it 27-13 with 6:08 remaining.

Fotu2_TennState

The runs were sparked by a new full-court press called, “Monster,” in which 7-foot senior Davis Rozitis disrupted the inbounds passer and then helped either Standhardinger or Fotu (both 6-8) trap the receiver in the corner. The scheme was effective — forcing turnovers which were converted into quick transition baskets.

“We were trying to be really aggressive, doing what we practice every day,” said Nevels, a 6-foot-2 junior who played for Mount San Antonio (Calif.) College last season. “It shows that we’ve been working hard, doing it right, and it brought us the win.”

Nevels, who scored Hawai’i’s first five points on two free throws and a 3-pointer, drained two more 3-pointers during an 11-1 run in the final four minutes of the half that put the Rainbow Warriors ahead, 41-18.

“I was glad I was able to hit some shots, I was just really happy to be out there,” Nevels said. “I had a lot of fun tonight.”

UH was able to maintain the lead and even stretch it further in the second half by protecting the basketball and playing consistently solid defense. The Rainbow Warriors finished with only nine turnovers and limited the Tigers to 1-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc.

“This team knows it doesn’t need to make silly passes,” Fotu said. “I think you’re going to see a big drop in turnovers this year.”

As for the perimeter defense, Nevels said that has been a priority since Brigham Young-Hawai’i was able to hit 7 of 16 from beyond the arc in an exhibition game vs. UH last week.

“It’s been a main focus, because BYU-Hawai’i hit a lot on us,” Nevels said. “So in practice we just really focused on closing out on shooters and just getting out there. We definitely got the job done tonight.”

Valdes1_TennState

Arnold said the team actually set seven goals before the game: 1.) Make more free throws than Tennessee State shoots, 2.) Keep the Tigers under 40 percent in field goal percentage, 3.) Keep them under 30 percent in 3-point goal percentage, 4.) Stay under 12 turnovers, 5.) Out-rebound them by five or more, 6.) Create three or more steals, and 7.) Shoot 75 percent or better from the free throw line.

The Rainbow Warriors made 28 free throws to Tennessee’s State’s 17 attempts, limited the Tigers to 21 of 57 field goals (36.8 percent), including 6.7 percent from 3-point range, out-rebounded them 47 to 28, made nine steals and shot 75.7 percent from the free throw line.

“We set seven statistical goals, and we were seven-for-seven,” Arnold said. “When you do those things, you’re gonna have a pretty good outcome.”

Rozitis finished with nine points and nine rebounds, Valdes added nine points and six rebounds and Shamburger — a transfer from San Jose State who sat out last season as a redshirt — chipped in with six points, four assists and four steals.

“I’m really pleased with Valdes, I think you can see how good a player he’s gonna be,” said Arnold, noting that he was just recently moved to the small forward position. “He’s responded really well, I think he’s gonna be a heck of a rebounder at that spot, he gives us depth. He played 17 minutes in the first half, and that’s a lot for a guy who’s never played (the 3 spot) and is just a freshman. As much as I want (injured starter Brandon) Spearman in there, these games while he’s out are really valuable to Aaron and really valuable to our team. You try to look at the bright side, and that is in March, you’re a little deeper than you would be if Spearman were taking all those minutes.”

UH will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday vs. Western Michigan, which defeated New Mexico State, 70-64, Friday night.

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(Photos courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com)

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13 Comments

  1. aurite!!

  2. GET WIN #2 Tonight,’Bows!

    Speed & Pressure DEFENSE Versus The Patient Princeton-Type Offense

    ——–

    THEN There IS a Vulnerable ‘Big-Name Program’
    Awaiting Your Efforts and Effects in The Bewitching Midnight Hour…

    Mesmerize THEM
    WIN Some Fast Fans…

  3. Great start….
    A bit concerned with the number of fouls committed by the starting guards, it may be problematic when they play better teams.
    Christian and Isaac will be dealing out a lot of hurt this season, they are tough to deal with, especially, with the addition of Garrett and Keith slicing and dicing. Like what I saw in Aaron, filling the quiet assassin role. TEAM looking good! -Go Rainbow Warriors….

  4. tako- Agreed. Positive the effort and conditioning , guys bought into full court D , traps, just all out, yet controlled pressure. Things to work on, the 3 point shooting, the fouls that guards Sham, Nevels, Smith would pick up.

    Still really early in season. Possible for team to be a tough out, hard to deal with, if they stay healthy, no MORE injuries ! AT home SSC, they can be really good.

    Gib , I am sure is pleased with effort of the 13 guys that got onto the court. Fans, we really appreciated, that. I think UH, to protect their guys from getting into foul trouble, if the front court guys can fun out to the 3 point shooters, UH can stay in that crazy variations of the Zone, I have never seen about 3 different or more types of Zone, matchups, traps out of, it really can confuse teams,..Really be equalizer, as UH goes up against better teams and players.

    Anyways. Great win. Win by 30 or 3 , we UH fans will take it!
    Look forward to Gib doing the X and O and managing this year, he has quicker, better athleticsim. The Bigs, just have to play smart too. By BWC play, UH can really be clicking on all cylinders.
    Now,: Big test, a good, well coached and smart, Midwestern team, Western Michigan, different style of ball, and they play well together!

    Go Bows!

  5. hopefully this game will bring the fans out to the gym

  6. Love watching Shamburger, Nevels, and Smith. They handle the ball really well and are ultra quick. Nevels is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Just the right guard play we needed to compliment the bigs and Spearman’s quickness.

  7. MAJOR STEP-UP Tonight

    From Pre-Season Top 200 (TSU) to Probable TOP 100 Team
    (Based on W. Michigan knocking off the 7-5, 7-3, 6-11, 6-10, 6-8, 6-7, Aggies of NMSU)
    W. Michigan “Only” goes 6-11, 6-8, 6-7 and the 6-8 and 6-7 are Talented, but Still Freshmen…
    GOT Some Deadly Shooters, so got to Cover…

    HOPE Quincy’s Back responds well enough to Up his minutes and performance…
    And Need Improvement/Step-Up by just about Every Body Else
    Tonight and in Next Couple of Days…

    Come On Down, BB Fans !

  8. 1st game of the season but the team has already bought in to coach Gib’s philosophy. Always thought Christian and Isaac were the stars of the team and extremely important, but let’s not pass by the contributions that Sham has and will add to the team. Just watching the team last night, there was no panic. Sham was under control, conducting traffic and actually pounded the ball on a stand still dribble to express where a teammate was supposed to go, then congratulated after. I forget who it was. He only had 4 points and four assists or so, but you can tell the team has confidence in him and they know that he’ll create or make a shot for them or himself. This will open up the court especially for Isaac and Christian. Guards are definitely providing the wrinkles that coach Gib has been trying to cultivate at UH. He finally has some horses.

    Harper looked rusty, bu showed off his silky smooth jumper. Awesome Aussie mum!

    I can’t make it to the arena this year but get out there and support these guys win or loss.

    Mansu Mansu UH men’s and women’s basketball!!!

  9. BTW, in TODAY’s College Basketball Pomeroy Ratings (Used and referred by JPortnoy But that IS NOT an Endorsement; also sed by reportedly many BB Experts and NCAA)….

    On the Strength of Last Night’s Performance:

    UHMBB Elevated from #207 to # 152

    W.Michigan # 136
    NMSU # 110
    SO Opportunities to Climb @ The SSC

    OTHERS:
    Missouri (SEC) 39
    New Orleans 34

  10. OTHERS:

    @ Missouri (SEC) 39
    UH-Hilo @SSC (N/R)
    New Orleans @SSC 349
    Montana @SSC 140
    @ N.Arizona 285
    Chaminade @ Lihue, Kauai (N/R)
    Boise State (MWC) @SSC 33

    Interest:
    REF UH 152
    Utah (P12) 153
    Nevada ((MWC) 158
    Cal Poly 159
    CSUN 161
    LBSU 171
    UCSB 173

  11. I would be happy if Hawaii came out 2-1 in tournament, great testing ground for new mixture of team. Western Michigan, good, very good team, and NMSU, big with Mullins, great athletic guard!

    Hope, Hawaii, can win, any way they can against WM, then go after NMSU, on Monday midnite ESPN marathon game.!

    I am sure Gib , the staff ,and players, if they keep playing solid D, and shooting well, and take care of ball, can do well at SSC this year!

    Go Bows, get as many wins as possible. Love the upside to AV and MT!

    Much better guard play, however, bummer that Spearman, and Q got hurt. Q going to be needed down the BWC stretch, and Spear too!
    Good for Enos, to get as much playing time now too, in games such as Tenn St win..Enos, might be THE PG when needed in BWC tourney!

    Go Bows!

  12. Agree with much of what is said here. It was a great game. If we start hitting the 3 like we know we can, we will be scary good. And I mean scary good! NMSU is a monstrous off the bus intimidating type team but Bhuler will be a liability when they play Hawaii. As fast as we get down the court, it will virtually be like 5 on 4. He is slow. Our center is capable of bringing the ball up himself.

    Have to stop typing now cause I start losing my voice. Me and 5400 of my closest friends whooped it up last night. Haha. And no worries. We heard you guys at home too. You was loud. We could feel you.

    Anyway. gotta get ready for tonite. Later all.

  13. Well not to get ahead of myself. We still need to take care of Western Michigan. Hope to lose more of my voice. Leaving to go game. Hope to catch at least 2nd half of 1st game.

    See everybody there!

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