Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors rout UC Riverside for first Big West win


Back home in familiar surroundings and sprinting out fast and furious, Hawai’i pounced to a 15-1 lead and went up, 56-30, by halftime Saturday night en route to a 100-69 victory over UC Riverside.

An appreciative crowd of 7,705 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched
Christian Standhardinger score a game-high 27 points, Brandon Spearman add 18 points and Isaac Fotu finish with 16 points as the Warriors improved to 12-5 overall, 1-2 in the Big West Conference.

The Highlanders, who were coming off an 81-69 upset at UC Davis on Thursday, fell to 6-12, 1-3.

“Very, very important win,” said Standhardinger, who added 11 rebounds and three steals. “We had made a habit of winning, but we lost that on the road.”

UH struggled from the field in Big West road losses at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal State Northridge on Jan. 9 and Jan. 11, respectively, but sprinted out to a 15-1 lead in the first four and a half minutes Saturday, with Garrett Nevels and Spearman draining back-to-back 3s to cap that fast start.

UC Riverside finally awoke and cut it to 19-9 on Sam Finley’s layup with 12:29 remaining, but that was as close as it would get as the Warriors went on a 13-5 run to extend the lead to 32-14 after Quincy Smith’s free throw with 8:14 left. It became 39-16 after Spearman’s jumper with 5:43 remaining, and 56-30 at the break as Fotu’s three-point play helped Hawai’i finish the half with a 7-2 run.

The Warriors out-rebounded the Highlanders, 25-11, in the first half, including 11-3 on the offensive glass.


“It all started on the defensive end,” UH coach Gib Arnold said. “We
were snatching rebounds like crazy — Fotu would grab the rebound and get the quick outlet and then we’re off and running. We’re best when we do that; when we get out and run, we’re hard to beat.”

The Warriors were almost perfect from the free throw line in the first half, going 18 for 20 (90 percent). Standhardinger and Spearman each had 15 points by halftime, going a combined 12 of 13 from the line, and each grabbed six rebounds.

Nevels also scored all 12 of his points in the first half, and UC Riverside went 0 for 7 from 3-point range.

Standhardinger said the fast start was by design.

“That’s our goal every game — to be the predator instead of the wounded deer,” he said.

The Highlanders recovered from a 19-point deficit in the second half on Thursday, but never closed the gap in the final 20 minutes Saturday against Hawai’i.

“They had a 40-12 run (at UC Davis), and I wrote that up on the board at halftime,” Arnold said. “Our whole thing in the second half was to keep that pedal down, and we did that for the most part.”


Warriors point guard Keith Shamburger, who was scoreless at Cal Poly and 1 for 9 with three points at Cal State Northridge, finished with eight points, six assists and no turnovers Saturday. He was 3 for 6 from the field, including 2 for 4 on 3-pointers.

“Keith was calm and in tune with the game,” Arnold said. “It was good to see him back. We are so much more dangerous when they gotta guard him out there.”

Spearman, who finished with seven rebounds, two assists and one steal, said the entire team needed a strong showing at home after stumbling on the road.

“We definitely had to reset ourselves,” Spearman said. “The fans gave us the energy we needed.”

Arnold said the Warriors “wanted to prove we are better than how we played on the road,” and Standhardinger acknowledged that being 1-2 and tied for sixth in the conference standings “is obviously not where we want to be.”

“But action speaks louder than words, and I wouldn’t want to say right now that we should be at the top of the conference,” Standhardinger said. “We want to get the wins first and then say that. We gotta prove that, and it’s on us to change that.”


Reserve center Davis Rozitis did not suit up for the game because he is academically ineligible, but his absence is not expected to be long-term. As a graduate student, Rozitis’ ineligibility is temporary pending the completion of some first-semester course work.

“As soon as he takes care of that, he’ll be back,” Arnold said.

The 100 points marked the first time that the Warriors reached the century mark this season, and their first time scoring 100 in a Big West Conference game.

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


Saturday’s Big West results
Hawai’i 100 UC Riverside 69
Long Beach State 63, Cal Poly 62
UC Davis 69, Cal State Fullerton 61
UC Santa Barbara 79, Cal State Northridge 69

Big West records
UC Irvine 3-0
Cal Poly 3-1
UC Santa Barbara 2-1
Cal State Northridge 2-2
Long Beach State 2-2
Hawai’i 1-2
Cal State Fullerton 1-2
UC Riverside 1-3
UC Davis 1-3


  1. Great Win Bows!!!!
    We kinda knew we would win just from the warm ups on the Riverside side. They looked unathletic and sluggish. Maybe due to travel. Whatever. I think the game plan Gib instituted worked to perfection. Maybe UCR had a bad day but the Bows had a lot to do with that. I always get there early enough to watch warm ups and noticed that Harper was hitting the shots with that sweet stroke of his so I am not surprised that he nailed the 100. The crowd went wild. Speaking of the crowd. It was great to see a great crowd despite the 2 losses on the road. In previous years, there would be a lot less people. This just proves that Hawaii fans know what a special team this is and that the 2 losses we just an aberration.

    Too many good things the say about this game so I will just say that I was glad to see everybody on the team get minutes. Now I feel better about the next road trip.

    GO BOWS!!!!!

  2. That was a fantastic, tickets sold AND actual turnstile attendance, Because, as you stated warriorhaw, this UH team, when clicking on O and D, is exciting, i.e., the N. Arizona road, and Mizzou, effort in KC , Missouri, both road games, UH was attacking.
    Now , team has to be like the old Smalls, Gaines, Houston, and the Savo led teams, that were so mentally and physcally tough, they won games on the road.

    Team has to get hot and stay hot from the field, shoot well, and Defend, who knows, UH comes back 2-0? or a MUST 1-1, they will be fine for that 4 game SSC homestand. If UH sweeps, this road swing, or even the split, look for, with Jamie Smith back, warriorhaw, the word is out, at least 6200 or maybe even 7000!
    Man, I have never seen a UH team, with 13-14(if Rozitis gets eligible) with Jankovich, Dressler, Filopovich, and Negus Webster-Chan, good BB athletes, on the bench waiting for next year, to ramp up UH team, again after departure of the great seniors this year.

    Go Bows, get the win, or betta yet, 2 wins!
    Go Rainbow WARRIORS!

  3. Great crowd, warriorhaw, you are right , back in the day, UH MBB team loses a few games in a row, at home or road, the attendance really drops off, this game, after the two initial losses on the road ATTENDANCE WENT UP!
    Good job Bows!

  4. Warriors need to big wins on the road, get your game on Warriors this week crucial like every.

  5. We all know how dominating Hawaii is at home. But on the road it’s another story. I’d say the bottom half of the Big West conference is no better than Riverside. Hawaii can chew out these teams at home yet sputter when playing them on the road. Gib is right in that when Hawaii runs they are at their best. I think on the road Hawaii’s best chance at winning consistently is to play 10 guys and really pressure the ball. I really don’t think you can win on the road consistently with just 5 starters playing almost the whole game uptempo. They will run out of gas. Although Riverside did not have a good game I believe the reserves in the back court created a lot of turnovers simply due to relentless on ball pressure. The staff should review this game and duplicate it on the road as far as using the reserves to pressure the ball. Because as Gib said, the defense starts the run off rebounds or turnovers. So if that’s the case shouldn’t we pressure the ball the entire game?

  6. servante: maybe….Gib has to play 10-12 guys, have reserves use all their fouls if have too. Thomas and Jovanovich, did exactly what Gib wanted, deny, and defend, made it hard for Riverside bigs to get anything cheap.
    The guards, Spearman, Nevels, Smith, Shamburger, Enos, Jawato, especially Jawato, he should have surgery, or else he is not a very athletic defender. He is a spot up 3 point shooter, which Hawaii needs on the road. I think that is where UH would have chance to beat teams on the road, if UH could have 4 or 5 guys hitting good percentage of threes, opens up inside for Christian and Isaac.
    Still , think unless UH is Louisville, UCLA of old, or Kentucky, Duke, hard to pressure for 40 minutes, though that is the type of team Gib is trying to assemble, a 10 man rotation, of interchangeable athletes that can pressure, D stops, rebound and run, finish in transition. exciting brand of ball, however, he needs at least 10 of those type of guys to do it, every nite, here and on the Mainland.
    Still think to win on the road, as hoops says, those past Savo, and Smalls, Houston, Bowe teams, could play good half court and half court flex motion offense, and run in spots. Sometimes, if you watch league tournaments, at end of season, that is what it comes down to, who can defend in half court and score, in half court, close out games and win. Wish this team, Gib will have to mix it up, throw in that Zone, matchup traps, in half court, and just hope that the Cali teams, start missing their threes, UH could win two. Even Irvine with 3 seven footers, only one guy the 7’6″ guy plays a lot, good shot blocker, however, he would have to run after UH bigs in transition.
    Hope UH, and Gib, you are right servante, Scout, and video, of all other 8 teams in BWC, Gib has that data. design, D and O schemes to get wins. Riley’s teams, Savo, Kuebler led, AC/Alika, team, Smalls, Bowe teams, when followed game plan, they won , either some blow outs, or won the close ones,. they had good teams.
    This team: Has to win one of two on this road trip, to show they are in the top 3 or 4. Contenders not pretenders, all up to guys EXECUTING on Offense and Defense to near perfection

  7. Warrior Time…Battle Time…

    IF The ‘Bow Warriors Battle Their BEST
    They Can Play with Any Team in The BWC
    Here AND There

    It’s Up to The Coaches
    And The “Players”
    Obvious, Often Said
    But No Less Easy

    One Comment from Northridge
    Lesson Learned?
    GIB Noted,
    Although You NEVER Like to Lose
    And Especially NOT by One Single Point
    But The Players’
    Reflective Comment Was,
    “At Least Now we know
    How Much it takes to Win On the Road…”

    It Takes A Little OR A LOT More
    Than We’ve Mustered to date…
    More Defense, More Focus, More Legs,
    MORE out of 40+ Minutes

    Step On The Gas, ‘Bows
    Step Up
    And When In Doubt

    Show ‘Em
    Rise Up
    Above Number SEVEN
    Or Even Number Six
    For You
    (Selfishly, Even for Us,
    Like We Matter)

    TAKE The Road THIS Week
    Like Champions

  8. It’s really simple folks. Shamburger. I repeat Shamburger. If he has a decent to solid game, we will wins if he has a bad game, it will be difficult to win, even at home. The last 2 road games he was bad, but I don’t fault him because of his family situation. He is human. Shamburger is a leader and he will bounce back this weekend. Bank it. To me, he is the true MVP on this team . His stats need not be great. 8 points, 5 to 6 assists, and 2 turnovers are solid enough.

    UH needs to guard the first game. UC Davis beat UH twice last year and it will not be easy. Gotta watch Hawkins and Symkens. I really think Valdes needs to play more. At 6’5″ and athletic he’s a good defender and is a nightmare for a guard. Gib should sub early if any starter is not producing. Yeah, and keep them fresh. Just my opinion.

  9. Derek:

    Good observation. Echoed here, sad, when anyone loses a loved one, a close relative, plus Keith has the rehab of the hip flexor injury, which lingers. He is still probably hurting, however, this year’s team Different, much different from past Gib teams, they are OHANA, one, and they care…when Keith was going through the pain, physically and emotionally, they were and are for their brother. Keith appreciates it, when he returned, he had a great game.

    Derek, as we All Know, last 3 years of Gib era, not having a very good PG, one who could control tempo, good on O and D, and score some, was missing. Here is Keith Shamburger, who loves to distribute to Nevels, Spearman, Standhardinger, Fotu, as well as spearhead that active press. Great young PG, wish him well, he is needed probably more so on the road. Hope, he and the whole team play well.

    You are right though, it doesn’t matter whether UH is playing first place or last place team in the BWC, all the teams, even in tiny little gyms with a few hundred fans, shoot the ball well, UH, has to defend, however, still have to hit their 3 pt shots, and , Q, and all the guys have to relax, focus and hit FT’s.,This Team if get

    off to good start, and can maintain, till the end, or stay close without having to play catch up ball, behind by 12-15 pts, will have a chance, to defeat both Davis and Irvive, will have to play Much Better than at home, OR make Cali road games their home, they have a lot of family and friends, you can hear them in the background,whenever UH makes a shot or good play, maybe 50 to 100 or more?UH will have to take one, if can, get Davis , the W, then I think on Espn3,

    (they always seem to play a little better on a national ESPN network)they have a good shot at Irvine, who have the 7’6″ guy, however, they are not scoring in the high seventies or near eighty. As Gib says, boys win at home, and MEN win on the road, I think this team, including the trainer, tutor, manager, the athletes, the whole Ohana will be prepared to get ONE or TWO Wins this trip!

    And All the guards, Keith, Brandons , Enos, Nevels, Spearmans, have a great game, Key, guard play!

    Go Bows!

  10. Agree on Need to Defend UCD Perimeter & Penetration;
    i thought they needed Valdés’ (TribeVx4!) defense, length and athleticism Last Year
    (even IF he might Have been behind in Executing The Systems and Surrender The Fifth Year)
    Definitely looking for him, Thomas, Spearman et.al.
    to Contain, Limit or even Shut Down UCD when it matters

    Shamburger’s ‘Life Review’ & BB Importance Perspective may still be @ Risk
    B.McG reported that his Aunt’s Funeral Service is on Friday,
    Smack between the Two Contests
    Dedicate Game(s) to his Aunt?
    Might Trigger Better Focus & Results?

    Teammates Gotta help Snap Teammates Out (Where Ever Needed)
    Can’t Be Zombie-ing ANY on This Road Swing
    Push the Pendulum TOO High, TOO Fast & Too Far for Starters…
    Then Higher Still
    This Team (like Most) Can’t Afford Anything Less Than Their Best

    GO ‘Bows!

  11. Agree with eagle and derek, Gib should use, at least in spots, Aaron , Mike Thomas and Stefan Jovanovich, they all did what Gib wanted, however, like past UH coaches, and ALL NCAA D1 coaches, Gib wanted to make sure team did not let Riverside make a comeback, when he knew, UH was up by 40, then the reserves go the PT.
    Now, he has to Trust that Thomas, Jovanovich, and Aaron will affect winning, tell them go into game, don’t worry about mistakes, listen, how to set proper screens, figure out how refs calling the game, then, their job is to DEFEND, Rebound, and bring energy, Those 3 freshmen, are going to be great next year and years to come.
    Will be great if Thomas, will get a layup or dunk, he is athletic, like Aaron, however about 3 inches taller, the upside is huge.
    Go Aaron Valdes, Thomas, and Jovanovich,NOW you are no longer first time freshmen, you can play with the big boys, Gib, use them in proper spots, and their fresh legs can help team win. UH has to go 10-11 or 12 deep to have shot to win on the road, I think they get one, if not, as hoops says, maybe, just maybe TWO!

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