Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors beat Saint Mary’s in Classic thriller


Making a “Christmas swish” come true, Christian Standhardinger drained a pure 15-foot jumper with 1.4 seconds remaining Monday night to lift Hawai’i to a thrilling 76-74 victory over Saint Mary’s in the consolation bracket semifinals of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

A crowd of 6,438 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched Standhardinger then intercept the ensuing 80-foot inbounds pass to seal the win as the Warriors improved to 8-3. The Gaels fell to 9-2.

UH, which lost a 62-61 heartbreaker to Boise State in Sunday’s first round, will play Oregon State (7-3) at 11 a.m. Christmas Day for fifth place.

“It feels great, it’s going to be a Merry Christmas now,” said Standhardinger, the Warriors’ leading scorer (17.7 points per game) who was held to seven points and a season-low one rebound on Sunday but finished with a game-high 22 points and nine boards Monday. “After watching the (film) yesterday, I made my own game plan to adjust how I played tonight. I am the leader of this team, and I knew I couldn’t let my teammates down again. They did an amazing job of getting me the ball.”

After Isaac Fotu had put Hawai’i ahead, 74-72, on a baseline finger roll with 51 seconds left, the Gaels’ Beau Levesque answered with a layup 20 seconds later and was fouled. But he missed the free throw, and Standhardinger grabbed the rebound.


After a timeout with 21.1 ticks remaining, Shamburger worked the clock down to about eight seconds before penetrating to the free throw line and dishing to Standhardinger, who was alone on the left baseline.

“We had two options,” Warriors coach Gib Arnold said. “We had Christian come up to set a fake ball screen and slip to the short corner, and then we had Fotu follow with a real ball screen. Then it was just Keith’s read, thinking he would draw help (from the Saint Mary’s defense) and look for Fotu on the roll or Christian in the short corner. He also could have driven to the basket, I told him he could drive all the way, but I think he made the right decision, it was a nice decision. That’s a nice shot for Christian, he can make that.”

Standhardinger said Shamburger set him up perfectly.

“That’s how you know Keith is a great point guard — he got me the ball in exactly the right spot,” said Standhardinger, who earlier made 14 of 17 free throws. “And Coach Gib did a great job, too, drawing up the play with Fotu setting the ball screen. (Arnold) did a great job putting us in the right position to score.”

Hawai’i led by as much as 48-39 after opening the second half with a layup by Fotu and Spearman’s three-point play, but Saint Mary’s chipped away and eventually tied it at 63-63 on a 3-pointer by Levesque with 6:25 remaining. The Warriors grabbed the lead back on Fotu’s free throw and later extended it to 70-65 on Garrett Nevels’ reverse layup with 3:22 left, but the Gaels then fought back again and eventually tied it at 72-72 on another 3-pointer by Levesque with 1:25 showing.

Saint Mary’s finished the game 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from 3-point range, including 6-for-11 (54.4 percent) shooting in the first half. After Levesque’s game-tying 3-pointer with 6:25 remaining, Arnold called a quick timeout and implored his team to follow the scouting report.


“Against Boise, we made a couple of mistakes on stuff we scouted, and against a good team, you can’t have those mistakes,” Arnold said. “Saint Mary’s is a great shooting team and most of those shots were earned, but on that play (Levesque’s), it was miscommunication on something we scouted, something we should have known better. So I tried to make sure it didn’t happen again, and the guys had a great response — they didn’t miss any defensive assignments the rest of the game.”

After trailing 10-6 early, Hawai’i went on a 13-3 run capped by Shamburger’s 3-pointer to lead, 19-13, with 12:33 remaining in the half. The Gaels came back to tie it several times and eventually took a 39-38 lead after Stephen Holt’s two free throws with 1:48 left, but the Warriors ended the first half with a 5-0 run including Valdes’ 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining.

Arnold said he was feeling good about his team’s effort in the first half.

“Give the guys all the credit,” Arnold said. “This was a tough team, and it was tough to bounce back from Sunday’s loss. But I think our team grew up a bit today, I like the growth they’ve shown in the past 24 hours. I learned a lot about this team … at halftime, I told the assistants that I’m not worried about this team. They’re gonna be OK.”

Spearman, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, said “it was a rough 24 hours.”

“I couldn’t go to sleep last night, I think a lot of other guys couldn’t sleep, either,” Spearman said. “Saint Mary’s is a hell of a team, and they hit some big threes … but we played through it.”


Fotu added 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and Valdes came off the bench to contribute 10 points and one steal in just 11 minutes. Valdes injured his right elbow in the loss to Boise State, and played with a protective sleeve on his arm against Saint Mary’s.

“That was huge — we don’t win this game without Aaron Valdes,” Arnold said. “We were forced to go small, but that was the best pressing team we had out there. Valdes was extremely energetic, he hit a big 3, and I learned something about him tonight. He’s a gamer.”

Shamburger finished with six points and six assists with zero turnovers, and Garrett Nevels scored eight.


Monday’s Results
Oregon State 58, George Mason 54
Iowa State 83, Akron 60
Boise State 80, South Carolina 54
Hawai’i 76, Saint Mary’s 74

Wednesday’s Schedule
8:30 a.m. – George Mason vs. Saint Mary’s for seventh place
11 a.m. – Hawai’i vs. Oregon State for fifth place
1:30 p.m. – Akron vs. South Carolina for third place
3:30 p.m. – Iowa State vs. Boise State for championship

(Game photos courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com)



  1. Go Warriors!!!!

  2. Great coverage, thank you Wes, Dayton and sponsors.

    Congratulations Warriors, that was a pivitol win, now go build on it.

  3. Great win! I hope Valdes gets more playing time. I watched him during summer league and knew he was a gamer. I think we would have beaten Boise State if he didn’t get hurt early in the game.

  4. Congratulations warriors!

  5. DITTO on Aaron Versus Bad Boise

    St. Mary’s couldn’t stop him
    And Boise doesn’t have anyone that can Keep Up with him either
    As he Continues to Improve
    He Makes Our Defensive And Offensive Attacks More Devastating
    He Probably Would’ve helped Last Year as well
    BUT Great that we have him for 3-1/2 More Seasons
    Too Bad for The Rest of The Big West…
    I foresee a Different, But Similarly Devastating Impact
    As Michael Thomas works his Game into The System….

    I’m Thinking GIB & Company May Be (Very?) Good Coaches
    Because they can Work Into Their System such Diverse Talents AS
    Davis Rozitis (and other Coaches Don’t Really Know What To Do About it)
    or Christian or Fotu (probably ANY Coach would look smart with those two)

    OR Maybe Better with Negus and Jankovic
    At Least that’s What those Talented Players Think
    So they Choose to Come Here, to OUR Benefit

    Said Before But Bears Repeating
    MERRY Christmas UHMBB Fans,
    AND Happy NEW Year!


    NOT THAT Anyone @ This Site Doesn’t Already KNOW…


    WINS & Losses…

    I’m Pretty Sure i’m seeing a Trend of Improvement
    Teams Get Better AND WORSE
    Last Year Hawai’i Went UP and DOWN from a High of 246th (Worst)
    to a Low of about 186 (Out of 351 D-1 Programs)

    This Year they have Constantly Improved
    From 207 At Start of The Season To #115 (Now)
    That’s UPPER One-Third
    AND Still Improving

    In Less Than 24 hours of DHC Tourney Play
    They went from Hanging With a Pretty Good Boise Team
    BUT NOT Good Enough to (Find a Way to) WIN
    TO Leading A BETTER (Won By 8 @ BOISE) SM Team Almost the Entire Game
    AND Finding The Will to WIN (Against an Awesome Shooting Team, THREE 45% Three-Shooters))

    RECRUITING Has FOUR Three-Star Recruits This Past Year
    VERSUS ONE the Combined Seven Years Before
    NO ROOM For Complaints Here

    MELE, MELE Kalikimaka

    Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

  7. same with mike Thomas….if he can mature by the end of the season he could be solid for the next 3 years

  8. Great win…

    Once Standhardinger figured out he should stop settling for outside jumpers, he dominated with his dribble penetration, drawing a ton of fouls and single handedly getting a few SMC players in foul trouble.

    Fotu absolutely dominated a decent big man in Waldo when isolated at the post or mid post. I loved that Fotu also hit a mid range J to compliment his post game. He is still super right hand dominant on his shot, but he did make a few strong moves to the left. Once Fotu gets comfortable with finishing with his left, it will make him totally unguardable with his mid range jumper when one on one.

    Aaron Valdes was great, SMC didn’t have the athletes to contain him. I think he has earned himself some more playing time.

  9. 3 words: BEAT DA BEAVERS!!

    Go Bows!!

  10. Big shout out to Airon Valdes air cuba. With chipped bone in arm causing havoc on the team he wanted to beat..get well AV .now MT has to step up!!
    Go Bows!!

  11. FUHA on call in show few fans want Christian to shoot fadeaway jumper and mid range game. .Christian and Isaac going to rim most effective for now..however good that Christian hitvthe biggest jumper of the game…team keep focused and continue to improve! !
    Awesome! !
    Go Bows!!

  12. Agree 100%..Aaron is the athlete. ..he and Mike Thomas gotta use athleticism!! UH can compete with top 40 teams and win!!

  13. Aloha Warrior Insiders,

    We just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and blessings from the Valdés ohana (Just for style points that is the proper spelling of our last name) and thank you for taking care of our boy. We truly hope that everyone on the island can come to the game tomorrow and support these special young men. It would be great if the fans can come out and not only watch an exciting game but wish the guys a Merry Christmas as many of the players are not fortunate enough to have their families here with them this year. All we kept hearing from the guys was the wonderful fan support they received during the DHC especially last night. It was a blast being part of the cheering and excitement of the game.

    To all the player’s families we personally met it is a pleasure being able to share this special time with you all and create new friendships.

    I hope to see you all at the game Wednesday.

    Eagle where were you at? I was looking for you last night.

  14. even without a left hand move, i think when Fotu gets isolated on one man, he already is unguardable. his footwork is just impeccable compared to the defensive ability of everyone heʻs played.

    the problem of course is that he often getʻs doubled down on and i agree that a left hand move would give him more weapons to attack the defense with.

  15. MR Eagle, team better than last year…without question, Gib X and O’s abilitiy increased along with staff, no doubt, has he got athletes and young guys to run his system, YES. Now his team, as you stated, are learning to close out games, as Spearman says, and to WIN…should prepare them for nice run at top 1 or 2 in BWC. Nice if they can challenge for BWC regular season, and of course, try to sweep BWC tournament.

    Team, as hoopsa, says, just get better, day to day, game to game, practice, to practice, in classroom excel, and in community represent the University of Hawaii and the guys Ohanas!

    Shout out to Tonganator-Fotu Ohana,, the Valdes Ohana-TribeVx4, the Spearmans, Hackmans, Jawatos, Smiths, Shamburgers, Jovanovich’s, Enos’, Filopovich’s, Dresslers, Standhardingers, Harpers(Aussie Mum, zealous Michael and Warrior fan!). Webster-Chans, Rozitis’, Thomas’, and G-Money , the Nevels’, Great bunch of athletes, and students. Keep working hard, team, the real season, begins, in over a week or so!
    Go Rainbow Warriors!

    Eagle, we stuck it out, through thick and thin with Gib on through year, 4, the posiblities, the potential to rock and roll, March Madness, the recruiting of 3 star athletes, UH MBB team on the rise. Naysayers, Gib has to do what Gib gotta do, get the Right Fit, and build a ONE OHANA team.

    Great job UH MBB team and program!

    Go get the OSU Beavers!

  16. You all don’t think another win against a PAC 12 team, on ESPN, with a national viewing audience, at 400pm on East Coast viewership, is not great for recruiting? Of course.
    I agree, with some other posts, UH, has to keep working on game, individually and as a team.

    For next level, Isaac, true, have that left handed move, shoot with either hand, that , last power layin over Two SMU bigs, was awesome and key. Isaac consistent with 18 foot jumper, will make him, that top 20 in Nation, by Junior year. Christian, sure, the jumpers, that is what he did last year. He makes enough, maybe 1 or 2, threes per game, he will be averaging, near 20 pts per game. However, Big West Opponents have a lot of scout on him now, so, they pack it down low, nobody, challenge, just 3 bigs, stay by rim, force Christian to hit jumpers, Christian can. Whatever the opponents give him, take advantage. Love having, 2 great Power Forwards, who complement each other, and the guards, the 2 PG’s and the 2 SG’s, have taken UH to higher level this year.
    Big West ,,teams, will be awaiting UH on the road,. UH has to lockdown, play even tougher, and try to go 5-3 or 4-4 on the road, and protect home court, at 8-0…would finish BWC play at possibly 13-3 would put them at or near the top.
    This team, yes, got a chance to see in person, if you can deal with security measure, if needed, or not, come on out. This is the best UH team in past 8 or 9 years hands down.

  17. Give Coach Gib some due credit for drawing up a perfect play (with options) out of the timeout. Shamburger has been the steadying force to help Hawaii close out games this year, which was sorely missed in previous years. He may not be flashy, but he is a quick thinker and is adept at creating shots for others. That baseline jumper by Christian was setup well and credit CS for coming through in the clutch. Valdes, Spearman, and Nevels had a great night as well.

    Anyhow, great victory. Oregon State should be another interesting game. Go Bows!

  18. Several interesting and passionate, blogs, forums, media, out there that discuss UH MBB hoops, however, Dayton Morinaga, Wes, The Schmidts, Pacific Resources, Ameriprise support, Warrior Insider, for going on 4 years, is simply the best, video hilite, interviews and coverage of UH MBB!

    Thankyou and a million mahalos, from young and oldtimers like myself. UH MBB, a ray of hope for UH athletics going into new year!

    Mahalo plenty Dayton. Simply the best Coverage on the planet!


  19. Apologies to the Schmidts, I meant, Pacific Risk Solutions sponship as well as Ameriprise!! Sorry. Your support of the team, and this site, is greatly appreciated in the 808 and around the globe.

    Mahalo to the Schmidts, private and anonymous contributors~


  20. This might be the biggest win in 10 years for UHMB. And coming back from that tough tough loss to Boise St. makes it all the more remarkable for this team. They’re a winner and so was Christian Standhardinger’s winning shot. Ever since arriving here he has overachieved his expectations. Also excited about hearing that Stefan Jankovic committed to Hawaii. From his highlight reel he seems to be a highly skilled player with athleticism and should fill Standhardinger’s position quite well, not to mention his 6’11 frame. Sure reminds me of Keith Van Horn. We got a great team this year and the skies the limit in the coming years.

  21. Warrior time, tomorrow xmas day , all of us need to get to the SSC to support the team ,this will be another great game, the crowd last night was crazy ,wish there were more there, they all missed a great ending ! Come on guys , pack that arena!!

  22. servante, yes, this big win, after devestating defeat. Shows team has Heart AND Basketball Team Smarts!
    Think another signature win for Gib, was the upset on last second shot by JT against Xavier in the DHC, that was good, however, with JT and VJ, that team along with Zane, etc. different from this year, this year, really One Ohana, they share the ball, and play their roles, good defenders, and they can get up and run. Good Balance, …this year’s team, higher ceiling. Sure that Gib will outline, next step, win regular, and BWC tourney titles, have option for NIT or NCAA’s .
    Have 2 more games to finish 2013, hope UH beats, OSU and beats a surprising( I checked online) Norfolk team(good athletes with winning record), as well as 1/3 against another winning DI team with good players in Nebraska-Omaha., as we all know from past, nothing is a given. this team, they are blue collar team with chemistry, and strong desire to win, those are probably the best teams, that can challenge for championships in league , and hopefully do some damage , win some games in Post Season!!

    Awesome, however, guys, keep level headed, have great day off, and work extremely together and hard, against an OSU team that has something to prove, they ARE PAC 12..however, you guys are Rainbow WARRIORS…never say Quit!

    Go Bows, Rainbow Warriors!

  23. Kiaora everyone.

    The Fotu Ohana wishing everyone a merry, merry CHRISTmas. Awesome win last night. We will be there again tomorrow, and hope for another exciting finish. Shout out to the Valdés, ohana, Aussie mum, the Spearman Ohana, Shamburger Ohana, the Enos Ohana. Was Awesome to have met up with you all after games.
    Thank you to all die hard supporters, Uhfanzonly1, Playhoopsa, FUHA, Eagle and rest of the UHMBB fans. Like TribeVx4 said, thank you all for supporting our sons.

    Also shout out to Dayton, Wes and sponsors

    Hope to see you all tomorrow.


  24. Wishing all the teams a Merry Christmas. You are all winners and you all bring us so much joy. Merriment right back at you. And wishing a Merry Christmas to all the families and fans.

  25. TribeVx4 – i need to find ʻRightʻ Keyboard to Style Valde´s properly–

    Weʻll BE There (Lower Double D, DD)
    Will the POTUS?
    Will the Beavers?
    Iʻm SURE The ʻBOWS Will Show
    Ready to Play, Ready to ʻDʻ, Ready to WIN
    To Validate Their Rapid, Solid Growth
    MORE To Follow…
    NO Doubt…

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL The UHMBB Families, Players, Staff, Supporters, Sponsors

    and Happiest, Healthiest and Most Successful of NEW Years, 2014 To All…

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