Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors rally past Bakersfield, 72-65


When training for the 2014-15 season started for the University of Hawai’i basketball team, the main motto was kuli’a pono – “finish strong.” A lot has changed since then, but just two games into the season, the Warriors proved that they can finish strong in a 72-65 victory over Bakersfield on the second night of the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic.

The Warriors improved to 2-0 before a “Star Wars Night” crowd of 6,070 at the Stan Sheriff Center by rallying from a 10-point deficit and sinking clutch free throws down the stretch to defeat the Roadrunners (0-2).

“It’s a great builder for us because this group really understands that we’re just scratching the surface,” acting head coach Benjy Taylor said.

Junior point guard Roderick Bobbitt led a balanced Hawai’i offense with 16 points and seven assists. He also helped to secure the victory by going 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the final 1:09.

“Playing the point guard position, you usually will want to get fouled in the game and shoot free throws,” Bobbitt said. “I don’t want to run away from the challenge, I run to the challenge.”


Sophomore forward Negus Webster-Chan added 15 points, including 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. Senior guard Garrett Nevels went 2 for 4 from 3-point range and scored 12; sophomore center Stefan Jovanovic had a perfect shooting night – 4 for 4 from the field and 2 for 2 on free throws – and scored 10.

Jovanovic’s open shot from the wing – off an assist from Bobbitt – gave the Warriors a 63-57 lead with 1:28 remaining and proved to be the dagger that put the Roadrunners down.

“I’m kind of comfortable with that,” Jovanovic said of his ability to take shots outside of the low-post area. “I think that’s one of my better sides of the game and that I can use to help this team win a few more games.”

Aaron Valdes contributed six points and six rebounds, Isaac Fleming had four points, five rebounds and three assists, and Quincy Smith had six points, two rebounds and two steals.

“We figured it out and the guys made a lot of plays down the stretch,” Taylor said.

The Roadrunners raced to a 20-10 lead in the first eight minutes of the game, and stayed in front the rest of the first half. The Warriors got as close as 26-25 on a 3-pointer by Webster-Chan with 3:43 remaining, but Bakersfield eventually took a 34-28 lead at halftime.

The Warriors hurt their own cause by going 3 for 10 from the free-throw line in the first half. They made up for it by going 19 for 26 from the line in the second half, including 12 for 14 in the game’s final seven minutes.


“It was big for us but I didn’t think free throws would be the reason why we lost the game,” Taylor said. “I knew we would get over that hurdle. I told the guys we don’t want to shy away from the free-throw line. We want to get there.”

Hawai’i finished 22 for 36 on free throws, while Bakersfield when 10 for 11.

The Roadrunners had a 44-35 lead with 15:18 remaining in the second half before Hawai’i went on a 15-0 over the next four minutes to take a 50-44 advantage.

Bakersfield rallied to regain a 57-56 lead with 4:29 remaining, but Bobbitt then scored the next five points to give Hawai’i the momentum for good. He hit two three throws, then completed a three-point play to give the Warriors a 61-57 lead with 3:35 remaining.

“He’s just a winner,” Taylor said of Bobbitt. “We wanted the ball in his hands … he’s going to be the type of guy that’s always going to flirt with a double-double, maybe even a triple-double eventually.”

Bakersfield’s Javonte Maynor drained a 3-pointer with 31 seconds remaining to cut the Hawai’i lead to 67-65, but the Warriors then went 5 for 6 on free throws, and the Roadrunners committed two turnovers to end it.

“We just played harder,” Bobbitt said. “We had to fight through adversity … this is a great team win for us.”


Aly Ahmed, a 6-foot-9 center, finished with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Roadrunners.

Hawai’i will face High Point late on Monday night for the championship of the 50th edition of the Rainbow Classic. It is scheduled to start at 11:59 p.m. on Monday night as part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. The Monday night/Tuesday morning game is being promoted as a “Blackout” and the first 700 UH students through the turnstiles will receive a free glow-in-the-dark shirt.

High Point is 2-0 following a 74-62 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff earlier on Saturday night.


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



  1. Wow what can i say defense,defense,defense win ball games every game til conference play a different player will step up scoreing were just getting a glimpse of what these young men can do come December when this squad is fully loaded its going to be awesome.

  2. My 15Champs:

    So far you are “PERFECT” with 2-0 record to prove; We will take it and enjoy our fortune!

    Seriously, you were tight, tentative, reactive, out of control on your plays at “FIRST”(?).

    Conditions, conditions, conditions… So you can be fast, finesse, fake’em out, then “FINISH”.

    Let’s go 15C!!!!

  3. I didn’t get a chance to watch the game but 2-0 sounds good to me.

  4. bigdaddy:

    That is the KEY …Defense, and the guys making the plays, the heart, toughness to close out game. This Group is special, still learning, however as you say, and we know .. just wait until Sammis is ready, Jawato is Healthy, and Jankovich eligible, that is a 6’6″ 250, 6’4″ 215, and 6’11” 240 , additions to team will help compete.. Great Defensive team , I like it, it helps you win ball games..

    and fanof15C, sound very familiar, you do in your comments.. ? Like a lot us .. just support the coach and team the 15 Champions, Finish Strong.. and the fans will come out. one by one , by tens, hundreds and a thousand more in attendance.

    Get on board the train bound for Championships.. They Winners already.. HIGH CHARACTER team, and great job by coach Taylor , Que , Loyd and whole staff to the ball boys and girls, terrific job keeping the TEAM together..

    Now guys, get rested, shoot your FT’s , practice gym II, and get ready for some ESPN time !!
    bigdaddy, should be nice,
    This year, every game, just the 15 guys stepping on to court, or their support from the bench is a Victory Already!!
    Go Rainbow Warriors !!

  5. Not counting on any championship yet. But anyone who is a fan has gotta love the heart and effort of this team. Not just the D but love seeing guards crashing boards and scrapping for rebounds. Maybe not top 10 team in the country but fun team to root for. Keep at it guys! Go Bows!

  6. Like how Bobbitt penetrates and then kicks it out to the wings. I feel comfortable when the ball is in his hands. This was a tougher game than the first night. But the team that stays strong and fresh down the stretch will pull it out. The early subbing of players really helped to keep the legs fresh for the push at the end. You gotta use your bench—-something that we did not do enough last year. Isaac Fleming, a true freshman, is impressive being that it is only his second college game. Hope we can see more traps. We got the players to do it. And don’t forget Niko. Yes defense wins games.

  7. Got posted the wrong site.This team is total excitement. Better than last year because it is eight players vs. two that move in and out, up tempo, have great defense skills and heart. I believe everyone of them will have their night and that is what is so exciting. MT is going to bust out. These freshman are awesome and Reyes hasn’t even taken the floor. Granted, we will have trouble with bigs but Janks will help plug that hole before conference starts. Can’t wait to see Janks and Reyes playing together. On my past posts I kept touting Stephan. Admittedly he is a work in progress but he will be a fan favorite before he leaves.

  8. Great job guys! That’s the way to finish strong. Bobbitt….his got ice in his veins. Good fan support again. Stay focus and maintain the energy.
    Go Warriors!

  9. This team can play.

  10. Like the 3/4 court zone press or whatever it is, three guards aligned kind of in a row.

    Also, although Quincy had turnovers, he had those two quick baskets in a row, one on a rebound of a Valdes free throw and then a quick steal .

  11. What UH lacks in size they make up for in quickness on the defensive end. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a UH team play so well in a 2-3 zone. CSUB was hot to start but once UH went to the zone, CSUB shooters were harassed all throughout the game. UH has the quickness to close out and still recover.

    The other note I have is Jovanovic is a gamer. He’s a solid post defender and a decent shot blocker that UH really needs. I said last off season that I think the coaching staff believes in Jovanovic enough to not actively pursue another center this off-season. The staff probably deemed Fotu, Jovanovic, a bulked up Thomas, Reyes, and Jankovic ready in December was sufficient for the 2014-15 season.

  12. Some said we needed a rim protector and some commentators on radio just bypassed Jovanovic when asked to give opinions of the players before the season.

    He has proven to be a pretty good rim protector, so far. At least 4 blocks in two games.

    Fleming has the second most assists at 7 and third most rebounds at 11 .

  13. A long road-trip plus the thin air had almost frozen our ladies’ shooting touch at Denver.
    We missed layups by the tons- 26-16 @01:29 was the highest lead we can mustered,
    and 0nly 27-28 into the intermission!

    Five mins into the 2H, we lead 31-25.
    @ 05:18 remaining 48-49 Denver gain their 1st lead of this game.
    @ 03:32 52-52 tie, @ 02:18 54-54 tie.

    @ 01:15, #25 Morgan Mason, 5-9 Sr. G’s trey => 57-54 to recapture the lead and
    her 24th & 25th single-points gave us that 60-58 winning margin (talk about SR leadership).

    These two teams time-out, sub-in/sub-out (strategically) must had reached the max.

    Magically Coach Beeman’s moves always worked wonder!

    Mahalo, ladies!

  14. i stand corrected: 27-18 into intermission.

  15. Gotta love Jovanovic’s stone cold jumper with 1:28 left in the game to put UH up by 6. That was a big time moment and what was great was that he never hesitated when he got the ball with plenty of room to shoot. Sure, he could have ran more clock, but more often than not, the offense doesn’t get a good look when they drain too much clock.

    This team is still searching for its identity, but they have multiple guys that can take over the game.

    What Bobbett did was awesome, and hopefully he becomes that calm force at the end of games. Hopefully he can stay more level headed than our previous PG. We’ll see how he good he does when UH is trailing down the stretch of games. Bobbett’s predecesor was solid with the lead, but wasn’t a good decision maker when trailing.

  16. Are the light sabers waving in the back of the basket legal ?

    Maybe they distracted the wrong team – UH. They didn’t affect Pine Bluff too much who were 10 for 11 on FT’s .

    In the Wahine Colorado St. game on the mainland, the refs apparently moved the CSU cheerleaders some when they were in back of the basket base, doing some mild waving with pompoms, etc.

  17. It is very early and there are so many more games to come but these guys are really giving us die hard fans a reason to cheer and believe. They are hustling and playing hard. My favorite play of the game did not even end up scoring any points because it was when there was a loose ball and three or four different UH players went diving to the court to try and get it. That was awesome to see that kind of heart and hustle.

    I like that there are so many different weapons. Valdes goes for 28 one game and then gets in foul trouble the next game and scores six but no problem. Bobbitt and Negus step up and Jovanovic too! Nevels has not even had a hot shooting game yet but everyone knows that is coming.

    Keep up the great work Warriors!

  18. islandman,

    I was thinking the same thing about the light sabers… I kinda doubt that electronic devices are allowable for fans to try and distract the players. Then again, I also doubt the rule book is that specific.

    Just be careful, considering UH’s handling of non-perfect incidents, somebody in our compliance department might report it to the NCAA and trigger another investigation.

  19. This is so true ^^^

    I was just watching the TV replay and heard Tony Sellitto wondering the same thing about the lights being allowed because it was a different distraction from just yelling and waving at the shooters.

    I also heard from a friend that a light saber was thrown at the other team bench after the game but it didnt hit anybody. Not sure if that is true but if it is then I think it will not be allowed any more.

    Or as Former UH Athlete says there just might be another UH self report in the works on this to invite NCAA to review security video and they’ll find a whole bunch of other stuff like underage drinking, people sneaking in outside food, fans not sitting in their assigned seats. All of this will lead to the firing of Stan Sheriff Center managers! LOL?

  20. Yes… Lightsaber self-report leads to NCAA uncovering underage drinking (like that ever happens at any university), leads to uncovering a disproportionate % of UH Athletes getting their mopeds cited for parking in the wrong zone, leads to lack of institutional control, leads to UH leadership bungling up the situation and leads to the firing of Dave Shoji, Laura Beeman & Bob Coolen.

    LOL except for that UH leadership might be that stupid.

  21. I thought I heard someone mentioned that there is no specific rule regarding “distracting object” behind the basketball…IOW…..there is no specific mention of lights. However, there is a conference rule regarding that so I think in non-conference games, those kind of stuff are allowed but when conference season comes around, I doubt those lights will be allowed.

  22. If there was a rule, the refs would have made UH take away the lights cause I heard on the radio that the Bakersfield coach was complaining about it. I think during one of the time outs, the ref was talking to both coaches and then nothing was done so that may be an indication that the ref have no “power” to do anything.

  23. Maybe the lights distracted Negus and Quincy on the FT line.

    Are waving leftover fro wigs allowed ?

  24. Is waving ….

  25. Hey , I guess, UH MBB team without the Bro with the Fro, Fotu, stopped Bakersfield, with Aly Ahmed, 42, with a mini fro…. that was funny.. wonder if he got the number “42” from watching Isaac Fotu? I think so.. And, was it just me, or did Aly Ahmed look a little like Isaac Fotu? With the min fro.?

    Jovanovich, I always thought out of HS, that he was a very smart BBIQ big, just like Caleb Dressler.. NOW HE KNOWS HIS ROLE.. Rebound, body up, hands up, guard the rim, block some shots, be the Big presence by the rim. AND the plus? Stef can score out to 17 feet, that quick jump hook is very nice.. Remember last year, against 7’6″ 290 Mamadou, Coach, says , go in there and whack him, send him to the foul line, I think Mamadou missed the FT’s.. but hit some later. Whatever coach wants, and This Group so impressive, you see if Fleming or Smith, come out really emotional, the team, NWC, Nevels, will step up and calm them down, group them together.. Smith goes to bench after a turnover, what happens? Sammis grabs him, gives him a arm hug, and says that’s alright, you will be fine.. don’t worry.. Same thing that Dyrbe did.. Thomas too, The whole team including the guys not in uniform.. It is UH MBB 2014-15 AGAINST THE WORLD..
    Possibly, whatever the record.. the EFFORT, and the GALVANIZING affect, of this Thang, that tried to tear UH MBB apart, THE ONE OHANA.. They Sticking together..

    And islandman, yes, I was one, because, even Nevels, Smith, when the Spring recruiting season signing for 2 more, was wide open.. when queried, what they wanted? The said some BIGS to help protect the rim
    Well, Thomas, Valdes, NWC, Sammie, Jovanovich, and Jankovich, plus the guards , everyone will either get steals, or try to block shots..
    Love the REBOUNDING by the guards and wings.. so quick…

    Ahhh, only 2 games, but to be 2-0, with a lot of question marks.. what a thing of beauty.. This team will not give up challenging game against High Point, however at midnight, going into Tuesday morning early, I like Hawaii’s chances against any team, really,..

    This team can be very special, very good.. just keep getting better, every day..

  26. With question marks about the effort, the intensity, and now the desire to close out games..ANSWERED…Will UH MBB team tank the season? NO !! , team will just get better and better, stick together, play hard, and for Team , win before self or stats.. That is the type of guard that Bobbitt is showing to be, help team win.. and a bigger guy, than Shamburger,.. Luxury to have 3 guys that play the point..

  27. Not overly excited yet but a win is a win. Let’s keep it up when we start playing teams not in the bottom 10 percentile. 2-0 is 2-0. Next.

  28. People should not jump to conclusions that something is against the rules because it is innovative and effective, especially if they don’t know the rules themselves. This is the second year we’ve given out free lightsabers at Star Wars Night, and as could be seen from how the students reacted, it was a huge hit. The lightsabers went through a rigerous approval process. We would not have been given permission to use them if they made a noise or if the lights flashed. If they weren’t legal, the referee wouldnt have hesitated to take them away. The BigWest’s rules differ, which is why we didn’t plan Star Wars Night during the conference season.

    I did not hear of any incident of a lightsaber being thrown at a person or object, however even if this did occur, I would suspect it wouldn’t do much damage as these are not real lightsabers but cheap toys for children of 3+ years of age and are made of light plastic.

    For those that are interested in student attendance, the Saturday game of the Rainbow Classic has historically been poorly attended by students with an average of 162.5 students. With this in mind we targeted this particular game back in June for Star Wars Night to draw more students. We do not have official figures yet, however we had over 700 lightsabers to give to students in sections E, F, and G and not every student got one. We also had 1,200 “Every Game’s A Party” T-shirts to give out during this weekend’s games, and these ran out early on Saturday night.

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