Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors outlast HPU for exhibition win


The University of Hawai’i basketball team held on for a 62-55 exhibition victory over Hawaii Pacific on Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Mike Thomas led the Warriors with 15 points, Garrett Nevels scored 14, and Aaron Valdes had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Thomas, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, added eight rebounds and shot 7-for-10 from the field.

The final result and statistics will not count for either team.

Hawai’i led by as many as 14 points in the first half, but had to hold off a late charge from the NCAA Division II Sharks. HPU got as close as one point in the closing minutes before the Warriors pulled out the win.

It was a struggle for both teams, as they combined for 37 turnovers (19 for HPU and 18 for Hawai’i). The Warriors shot 38.9 percent from the field, but out-rebounded the Sharks 40-33. HPU shot 31.6 percent.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, and the Warriors took a 29-23 lead at intermission. Hawai’i shot 34.6 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, while HPU shot 27.6 percent.

The Sharks got as close as 31-28 early in the second half. The Warriors appeared to regain control with a 10-3 run, highlighted by an emphatic alley-oop dunk by Thomas off a lob pass from Fleming.

HPU staged another rally, cutting the Hawai’i lead to 52-51 with 4:20 remaining, and then 54-53 with 2:29 remaining.

Nevels scored the next five points, including a 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining to give the Warriors the final cushion needed.

Hawai’i acting head coach Benjy Taylor went with a rotation of seven players for most of the game. Roderick Bobbitt, Garrett Nevels, Aaron Valdes, Mike Thomas and Stefan Jovanovic started, and Isaac Fleming and Niko Filipovich were the reserves.

The Warriors have 14 players on the current roster, but only 10 suited up. The four players unavailable were Quincy Smith (back), Negus Webster-Chan (ribs), Brandon Jawato (concussion) and Stefan Jankovic (ineligible until December).

The Warriors will open the regular season on November 14, when they host Arkansas-Pine Bluff on the opening night of the Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Rainbow Classic. Cal State Bakersfield will face High Point in the first game on November 14 at 5 p.m. The UH game will follow around 7:30 p.m.

More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.


  1. “I Gave Each Player A Journal…
    ON The Inside Cover, I Wrote What This Year COULD Be For Them…
    I Told Them…
    Whatever You’re Having a Hard Time with, Pissed Off about…
    Write It ALL In The Journal,
    BUT Don’t Bring It to Practice…”

    Very Good Practice & Life Skill…

    BY Benjy Taylor
    UH Men’s Head Basketball Coach
    AND Happy To Be…

    There WERE Years They Wouldn’t Have WON A Game Like Tonight
    “NOT Bad for Three Days’ Practice…” (BJ)

  2. So does this mean BJ is posting as Eagle. If so, there are some interesting post.

  3. Kinda went as expected. Ragged and sloppy. Nice to see Mike Thomas play well. With Fotu gone, he’s going to have to carry a big load this year.

    I wasn’t expecting much in the way of crisp offense but 18 turnovers is not good. Hopefully NWC and Quincy get healthy soon.

    Other than that it sure is good to see BB back in action.

  4. Clarifying: Should Have Said: “A Few BJ Quotes from Post-Game Show”

    But As You Said, Very Interesting…

    Because Handling ALL the Feelings and Negativity Up Front (and also later in Life)
    CAN Help Free the Team Up to RE-Focus on What’s Important…

  5. A bit sloppy but really admire these young guys for playing with a lot of heart. Looked like attendance was around 3,000. It was mentioned a couple times that the student attendance was around 500, thus breaking the previous student attendance for an exhibition game which was around 170. I hope the students continue to come. I think they will. The theme nights look fun, and the prizes (a gopro, free food, and random swag) are pretty enticing. Nevels, Valdes, and Thomas look like the leaders. Fleming and Bobbit did very well for their first appearance. Jovanovic needs to improve drastically but showed a lot of heart. Effort was definitely 100%. On a side note, Reyes sat in the first row behind the UH bench. Didn’t really see tyhe guys interact with him. And rightfully so. I was surprised he even showed up.

  6. This team they are Warriors..FUHA. ..Official NWC..he can replace points , rebounds , assists and intangibles from last year and past week loss..he is ready
    Q..get well he ready

    Exciting…and thanks to Mama Valdes positive ray of rainbow sunlight..her letter going viral

    Lot of love
    team and fans , UH can feel it

    Th cupboard not bare..team work, grind and you all be fine

    Hey we support team and move forward
    wha a great crowd and student support heard unreal over 500 maniacs

    Go Warriors and Go Bows !!
    Hope is there..team are winners.. !!

  7. Jovanovich and Mike …they rotate with Valdes who is real deal..a baller..and Negus going 3 and 4
    with 8-9 man rotation and GMoney hitting his 40 % 3 ball again..challenge however would not count them out..
    lot of athletes..Rod and Agent Zero (Fleming) just settle in to D1 ball..they going be good..key..be ready BWC
    However tons of positives

    Rainbow Warriors…just move on up!!
    Good fresh start
    very exciting..
    Go Warriors !!

  8. Tavs, thanks for the eyewitness report.

    Attendance was 2,492 per McInnis .

    Jovanovic only scored 2 pts., but he had 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 blocks, per the stats. That block figure is just as good as Mamadou’s .

  9. Gary Dickman did a great job on broadcast. His outlook realistic yet really positive.
    true comments loss of some guys however agree with fanphone comments…uh fans have still not seen the official NWC…Negus…he is that scorer, facilitator, defender, rebounds athltic and long..much stronger…he can replace polnts, assists from past team..

    Huge positive look foward too. Plus Jankovich, that NBA range 6’11″ stretch big..Fleming and Bobbitt got their first game at SSC under their belts..they going be good, Quincy strong..when well

    Brandon take time heal well from concussion , a guy whose game and body/ height is made for BWC play
    Aaron and Mike are ready,,,good and getting really good.
    positive the turnout..Fantastic !!

    And going viral Mama Valdes touching positive, heartfelt letter

    I like THIS TEAM and they are champions already for moving forward repping the 808 and UH ?.

    It is one of the best , turnaround from turmoil I have been aware of in long time..

    Go Rainbows and Real Warriors

    And Mama Valdes …Mahalo and thankyou in behalf of thousands of fans of the team !!
    Take care, it will be okay. !

  10. Portnoy was in a kindly, sympathetic mood.

  11. Blangiardi and the Hawaii News Now staff need to rethink the purpose of airing Benji”s personal problems and calling it investigative reporting. Like reporting a suicide, some things have no business being aired on the news.

  12. turfwar:

    Axe to grind still with Ben Jay and UH for the non deal of broadcast rights to UH sports. I think maybe. Correct, whatever is personal, that should stay off the airwaves, and be handled as internal matter, a family one. Sheesh, turf, more of that mud slinging.

  13. Heard that Sammis was there, as I thought he might be , behind the UH MBB bench. Know that it is over, however, could he ask back onto team? I know in past, Football, Basketball teams, coach approached, and coach asked team how they felt. Well water under the bridge. I feel sorry for him, for one thing, Sammis could have used this year, to develop game. Not sit out Freshman year, at least half , and could have finished the season. And made decision after this was over. Just an opinion. Might be he sees the guys working hard, and having fun, and really trying to reach their goal, same one: NCAA’s. Just a thought for the late nite owls.

  14. I agree with the sentiment that it was a little sloppy. But I think what we wanted to see it their attitude. And they did not disappoint. It was as if they pulled us onto the court with them and said, we will be alright…..as one Ohana. They played for themselves, us fans, their families, the University and the state. They got a nice ovation at the end because we all know what they went thru and continue to go thru. We so much appreciate their effort. I think we will be proud of this team.

    I think the white headband duo of Bobbit and Isaac were antsy about their first game. But let me tell you, these guys are really smart on the defensive end. It seems like they are very good at anticipating where the ball will be. Of course they may get caught overplaying sometimes. Especially with a team like the Euros we had with the flex. But they will get theirs.

    Nevels did not have a Garrett type game as far as shooting but he hit the big shots when we needed it. Love his put back dunk.
    Jova needs to want to score. Put up more shots.
    Aaron was, well …… Aaron. Beast!
    Thomas has improved so much. He has want to.

    At one point it was funny to see the bench. Big ol’ Jova with Enos and Buscher on one side and Filipo and Stepteau on the other. That was our bench. But only for this game. Just funny when I saw it.

    I backing this team 100%. They deserve it.

  15. Also, I agree with RunBows. I was listening to Gary Dickman while in the SSC. He did a very good job. Of the two, he was the professional one. Had good rhythm. Attaboy.

  16. warriorhaw: I think I could hear you over the radio cheering !! Great job, and you are absolutely correct, the way this team decided to stay the course, and make something special out of it. Life Lessons, and they are learning well. Love how Benjy, is honest, and working with guys to get better, and be as one. Gary Dickman did a great job doing the play by play, I could imagine like the old days, listening to MBB games, with No TV.. just radio. It is fun. Those 4 times down the court sequence when guys had great D stand, got the ball and pushed it, however came up short, I could envision the guys, wanting to score quickly and excite the crowd

    I believe this Forum, and the near 3000 fans, including yourself, and a Statewide, Mainland wide, and International fan and family base feel the same. We ARE ALL ONE OHANA… many a time, we have been through change in leadership, however, the guys working so hard, and proud, we support,.. Just wait Warriorhaw, as Eagle says, The Calvary is on the way.. NWC, Quincy, Jawato and Jankovich.. Imagine, with 14 healthy guys, just giving all out effort and bonding. They are winners, in our hearts and minds already. For me and other old time fans. This is perhaps, my favorite group. Stood through adversity, and ARE really Hawaii’s MBB team, the flagship NCAA D1 Men BB program in the Pacific.

    Warriorhaw, enjoy your season, and SSC game, I feel it will be an exciting one,. through good wins, and learning moments, if they come out short.. Never count these guys out.
    That is why near 3000, and radio announcers were handed a note, and it was over 5000 tickets sold !! Wow.. Support the Warriors, The Rainbows.. Go Bows.

    Thanks for realtime update.. this is going to be a feel good season, everyone fans, families and team stay on board, Train bound for Glory !!

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