Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors rebound in victory over Northridge

Defending its home court with good old-fashioned defensive pride, Hawai’i locked down and then pulled away from Cal State Northridge, 77-63, in Big West Conference men’s basketball action Saturday night.

Isaac Fotu scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Garrett Nevels added 15 points and four assists, and Brandon Spearman finished with 15 points and eight boards as a vocal “Pajama Night” crowd of about 6,896 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Warriors win their fourth game in the past five tries to improve to 15-6 overall, 4-3 in the Big West. The Matadors, who edged UH, 79-78, in Northridge on Jan. 11, fell to 11-12, 3-5.


The Warriors, who were coming off Thursday’s 92-83 home loss to Long Beach State, now have sole possession of second place in the conference standings — one game behind the three-way tie for first between UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and Long Beach State.

“I loved our defensive effort, I thought that was the big thing — to give up 60 percent (shooting) and 92 points on your home court two days earlier, we didn’t even talk (about) offense (since then),” UH coach Gib Arnold said. “We didn’t even run an offensive play in practice, we did nothing but defense. We wanted to keep them below 40 (percent), we came close (43.1 percent). We wanted to keep them in the 20s (percent) from the 3, we did that (28.6 percent). We wanted to out-rebound them, we did that (45 to 35). We wanted to keep our turnovers down, we did that (only six).

“Those are all — especially the rebounding — ‘shows toughness’ stats. We bounced back, we took care of business, and we treated it as business. I thought the attitude was good … This puts us right back in the mix, and these games next week (at home vs. UCSB on Thursday and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Saturday) become even bigger.”

After Stephan Hicks’ baseline jumper gave CSUN a 47-45 lead with 12:27 remaining, Fotu answered with a layup and then a jumper to put the Warriors ahead for good and ignite a 17-5 run capped by Christian Standhardinger’s two free throws to make it 62-52 with 7:07 left.

The Matadors cut the lead to 64-57 on two free free throws by Hicks with 5:41 showing, but Keith Shamburger converted a three-point play to start an 11-2 run culminating in his own two free throws to push the lead to 75-59 with 2:47 remaining — effectively sealing the victory.

The Warriors held Cal State Northridge to just 12 points and two field goals in the final 9:35.

“All defense, yesterday’s practice was all about defense, this morning’s shoot-around was all about defense,” Fotu said. “It was an emphasis on defense, and that’s what we tried to come out and show tonight.”

Quincy Smith started at point guard in place of Shamburger, Hawai’i’s starter for the previous 20 games. Smith had seven points but no assists in the first half, and redshirt freshman walk-on Dyrbe Enos played five minutes at point guard. Shamburger did not play in the first half.

“It was strictly a coach’s decision,” Arnold said of Smith starting for Shamburger. “We kept him out for a half, and it was my decision on that. I thought Quincy did really well, he hit a big 3, his push was really good offensively, he got us going. I was pleased with how he played.”

The Matadors jumped out to quick leads of 7-0 and 11-2 in the first four minutes, but Smith drained a 3-pointer from the left corner and then dropped a floater to cut it to 13-11, and Nevels swished a 3 to give the Warriors a 14-13 lead at the 9:29 mark. Neither team led by more than three points after that.


“Quincy was aggressive coming out, he’s a great scorer as well,” Fotu said. “He and Keith are different players, Quincy is more of an offensive player, but I think Quincy held his own when he came in and did a good job in the absence of Keith.”

Hawai’i led, 32-30, at halftime despite shooting just 34.3 percent (12 of 35) from the field compared to 50 percent (12 of 24) for Cal State Northridge. UH did out-rebound the Matadors, 23-16, and CSUN — which entered the game third in the nation in free throw percentage at 77.9 percent — made just 4 of 9 from the charity stripe.

Standhardinger, the Warriors’ leading scorer at 18 points per game, was shut out on five field goal attempts in the first half, but Nevels had 10 points and Fotu eight points and seven rebounds by intermission.

The teams mostly traded baskets for the first eight minutes of the second half, until Fotu’s jumper gave UH the lead for good at 49-47 with 11:40 remaining. In the meantime, Shamburger had entered the game at the 17:30 mark and finished with seven points, four assists and three rebounds in 16 minutes.

“Keith Shamburger makes this team go, we feel more comfortable when he is in, he just runs the show so well for us,” Fotu said. “He does a lot of things for us, and (makes) a huge impact.”

Reserve center Davis Rozitis also played a key role, scoring six points and grabbing seven rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. He also did an effective job in the Warriors’ “point zone,” and they even showed glimpses of a 2-3 zone to help stop penetration by Northridge guards Hicks (18 points) and Josh Greene (15 points).

“This game was more on the defensive side, that’s what I wanted to see tonight,” Arnold said. “I know we can score, but I wanted to see us guard and I thought we did a great job. I thought Davis was really good, in that point zone I thought he kind of changed the tempo … We’ve never done (a 2-3 zone), except out-of-bound unders, but that’s more from the team we’re playing. You could tell they just wanted to drive it and drive it, so the point zone is real good to stop the drive, and then the 2-3 zone is one of your better defenses to stop the penetration. We don’t do it a lot, but we felt it was necessary tonight, and I think it worked well for us.”

Arnold said he comes out of this victory feeling much better than he did following Thursday’s defeat.

“I like the fact we’re in the mix, I like the fact we’re one game out (of first place),” Arnold said. “I like that we took care of business (against) a team that beat us by one up there. We got two good teams coming in, they’re good teams, and if we hold home court we’ll be right there. I do like how we’re playing. Obviously I wasn’t pleased with the Long Beach State game, defensively. But to me it’s more about how you bounce back and the character of your team. I hope we learned a lesson against Long Beach State, that what I told them is, if we start relying too much on the offense, we’re not going to be as good.

“Now we’re gonna make sure we don’t ever forget the defensive end, and I think that will make us better in the long run.”

Hawai’i shot just 40.3 percent from the field for the game – its second-lowest percentage of this season – but committed a season-low six turnovers.

Northridge entered the game ranked third in the nation in free-throw percentage at .779, but went just 15 for 27 (.556) against the Warriors.


Saturday’s Big West results
Hawai’i 77, Cal State Northridge 63
UC Santa Barbara 82, UC Davis 67
Long Beach State 75, Cal State Fullerton 56
UC Irvine 64, Cal Poly 50

Current Big West records
UC Santa Barbara 5-2
UC Irvine 5-2
Long Beach State 5-2
Hawai’i 4-3
Cal Poly 4-4
Cal State Northridge 3-5
Cal State Fullerton 2-4
UC Riverside 2-5
UC Davis 2-5


  1. Great effort tonight Team!! Best bunch of guys in years – all the way to the tournament we go…

  2. Bad vibe to the game. End game may have been different without Sham playing in the second half. Sham, get you head together. We know you want to play and you want to win. Don’t make yourself unhappy along with your fans. Big at-a-boy to Rozitis – awesome game. Next game is a big one. Hope all is well and we burn them.

  3. anderpops, yes , I agree, with Shamburger not introduced as starter, then Gib makes decision to start Quincy, who played well, control team and tempo, got them to 2 pt lead at half, and only 3 turnovers as a team, Shamburger, part of growing up and maturing, Gib knows from past few years, EVERY one on team has to put Team first as uhf and hoops say, as well as we all know. Whether, Shamburger will start again or come off the bench, Keith will have to accept his role, as Team guy and win first.

    Weird, seeing, though have seen it with other Basketball athletes as well, when benched, When Gib put him in, working at wing guard alongside Nevels, with Quincy at PG, that was very effective, getting UH out to a 16 point lead, with Fotu going off.

    Keith Shamburger, need you, and all the guys to beat a very Good UCSB, probably have to play your best Team ball this coming Thursday and Saturday nite, so much Parity in the Leauge, you all could lose to both the Gauchos, and the Mustangs, PLay good D, and team ball, score well, and shutdown their scorers, UH, you can come out with two important BWC victories, go back out on the road, at 17-6 over all and 6-3, and maybe 2nd or 1st in BWC, would be ideal.
    However, team Stay United as Christian says..shout out to Brandon Spearman, a tough , tough leader, and baller, he is the GLUE, keep guys head and hearts in the game to Win!

  4. Yeah!!! :D, agree Gib, and thank you and staff, along with team for concentrating on D scheme for BWC teams, able to penetrate all the way to rim. On All forums, tweets, blogs, many, many UH MBB fans were saying, the great equalizing Defense to stop penetration and help keep bigs out of troubl, is ZONE, Syracuse uses zone, UNLV past great teams had that Spider Zone, NBA uses ZONE, or matchup,. With Davis, at the top of the 2-3 Zone, bothered Matadors, that was a turning point, they could not drive, and dish, or finish and one at will, like LBSU.
    Hint, and now Gib and team you have it working, Go Zone More, and More, make it one of your best defenses, like in the past, then have Christian, Fotu, Jovanovich, Thomas, just deny the rim, if any opponent gets close to the cup, in fact, Q, Spearman, Nevels, are pretty good weakside help shot blockers.

    I would ZONE up, UCSB, unless they hit 6 threes in a row, more of a matchup zone, then, have the 2 on top stopping penetration, with the 3 down in paint to baseline closing Quickly on the 3 ball shooter, UCSB, has one of the BWC’s best 3 ball shooting guards, inside with Williams and outside with that SG they have.

    Zone will put you guys into the Winning Zone!
    Go Bows, Warriors, just get some rest , enjoy the super bowl, or whatever, go swim, surf or relax, then Monday prepare for 2 game sweep!

    Go Rainbow WARRIORS!
    And thankyou Valerie Schmidt for highlighting a positive of the past 2 nights games, other than the die hard core 1000. there are another couple of thousand showing, up to make the core , IN house attendance about 6000+. that is great, the best BWC home crowd in the Conference hands down, and the BEST MBB college basketball venue in the Conference too!

    Mahalo for sponsoring the site, Valerie Schmidt, Pacific Risk Solutions, Ameriprise and the Schmidt Ohana, and for the hard work and Warrior like dedication of Datyon, Wes and crew!

    Go Bows!!

  5. You could feel that when Shamburger came in early second half the team seemed to gel better offensively. Quincy has some good points too especially his ability to penetrate and his aggressiveness. I might be wrong but at the start of the season it seemed like Keith was penetrating in the paint a lot more. I am wondering if he has an injury where he just doesn’t have that explosiveness. I think this is where Quincy excels—ability to penetrate and score, although Keith was effective early in the season getting in the paint and kicking the ball out. Will be interesting what happens in practice the next few days as I’m sure Gib will need to decide who starts at point against Santa Barbara. The bench is back and hopefully for good. Broncos let’s go!

  6. The team that plays unselfish , team ball and each of them become accountable that’s the kind of team that win championships

  7. anyone notice if Caleb Dressler was on the bench, in RS grey, with Negus, Stefan, Niko? Or is Caleb in dorm. ? Nice young guy.

    Thanks in advance. Maybe Dayton will have something on Caleb Dresslers, RS medical appeal, and what Caleb’s plans are with team.

    Mahalo. WI nation.

  8. Good win! Also, want to send a special mahalo out to the players for their willingness and patience when it came to signing autographs and posing for pictures after the game. My kids really enjoyed that and all the players were very kind and gracious about it, especially Dyrbe Enos and Brandon Spearman, who really looked like they were going out of their way to be friendly and talk to the kids. I was surprised at how long the lines were and it’s awesome that the players are willing to do this after every Saturday home game. Great job, guys!

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