Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors come up short against BYU, 90-70


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – For a few fleeting minutes, the University of Hawai’i basketball team had people believing in the improbable again. Alas, a key player down and out at the last minute, 13,000-plus raucous Brigham Young fans, and 4,000-plus feet of altitude proved to be too much for the Warriors to climb.

Despite a valiant effort against the odds, the Warriors came up short in many ways in a 90-70 loss to BYU on Saturday afternoon at the EnergySolutions Arena.

“If we could have just had one bad minute in each half, I think it would have gone down to the wire, but against these guys, you just can’t make mistakes,” UH acting head coach Benjy Taylor said. “We fought them as long as we could. We had a bad 3 minute, 50 second stretch in the first half, and a 4-minute stretch in the second half, where they out-scored us by 19 in those two stretches, and that’s the game.”

Hawai’i dropped to 7-3, while BYU improved to 7-2. A crowd of 13,623 got to cheer the Cougars to victory, but the Warriors gave them moments of hesitation early.

Hawai’i had a nine-point lead in the first half, and stayed close to the Cougars for all but the final seven minutes of the game.

Sophomore forward Aaron Valdes led the Warriors with 24 points and seven rebounds. He shot 8 of 14 from the field, including 2 for 2 from 3-point range, and 6 of 8 on free throws. Junior point guard Roderick Bobbitt had another all-around game, finishing with 15 points, seven assists, five steals and four rebounds.

Senior guard Garrett Nevels scored 12 points, and sophomore forward Mike Thomas contributed eight points, five rebounds and four steals.

The Warriors played without starting forward Negus Webster-Chan, who turned his right ankle while taking warm-up shots before the game.


“It was in warm-ups, 16 minutes before the game starts,” Taylor said. “I knew he wasn’t going to be able to play as soon as I saw it. He would have been a mismatch problem (for BYU). This would have been a big night for him. He could have had his come out game against these guys because he’s a 2 guard playing the 4 spot, and they would have struggled trying to guard him.”

Webster-Chan did not even come out of the locker room for the start of the game, and needed the aid of crutches when he joined his teammates on the bench later.

“That’s the game,” Taylor said of not having Webster-Chan available. “Aaron had what, 24? They would have had even more trouble guarding Negus because he’s a really good 3-point shooter.”

Is it possible for a team to get better during a 20-point loss? Taylor thinks so, mostly because his team responded well to the last-minute crisis, and played to the final horn, even while running on fumes.

“I like my team, I really do,” Taylor said. “We got better tonight.”

Valdes said: “We can’t make any excuses. What we got is what we got. Not having Negus was unfortunate, but we still have to play with the guys we have.”

With Webster-Chan out, Taylor opted to start junior guard Quincy Smith, mostly for defensive purposes. As a result, the Warriors started just one “big” player in 6-8 Thomas. In contrast, BYU started four players 6-5 and taller.

Not surprisingly, the Cougars dominated the rebounds, 49-30. Kyle Collinsworth, a 6-6 point guard, led BYU with 12 rebounds, and he finished with a triple-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds to go along with his dozen boards.

“Credit to my teammates,” Collinsworth said. “We have such great shooters it makes it really easy to get assists being the point guard.”

Tyler Haws proved his worth as one of the Wooden Award Top 50 Players by scoring 30 points to lead the Cougars.


It didn’t start out that way, as Hawai’i raced to a 7-0 lead to open the game. BYU quickly got back in it by scoring the next eight points, but the Warriors eventually built a 26-17 lead with 6:23 remaining in the first half.

The Cougars roared back with a 20-4 surge to close the first half and take a 37-30 advantage at intermission.

“We were tired and we weren’t very disciplined offensively, I think,” Thomas said. “We got out of ourselves a little bit at the end of the first half, and that’s when they went on their run.”

The Cougars stayed in front the entire second half, but the Warriors got as close as 54-50 with 11:04 remaining. BYU pushed the lead up to 10 with 7:44 remaining, but did not get ahead by 20 until the final three minutes.

“I think we were huffing and puffing a little bit up here,” Thomas said. “It’s way different from being down at seal level in Hawai’i, which is tough.”

Without Webster-Chan, the Warriors used a primary rotation of just seven players – Bobbitt, Nevels, Smith, Valdes and Thomas started, and Isaac Fleming (seven points) and Stefan Jovanovic were the reserves. Brandon Jawato (seven minutes) and Niko Filipovich (four minutes) saw spot action, but neither scored.

Hawai’i shot 37.9 percent from the field, while BYU shot 48.3 percent (including 57.7 percent in the second half).

“I think we were just rushing our shots,” Valdes said. “We got a little excited, especially in the first half being up by nine. We just have to learn to keep our composure. We’re still a young team and we’re learning as we go on.”

The Warriors are scheduled to return to Honolulu on Sunday, and will finally get a bit of a break in the schedule. After opening the season with 10 games in 23 days, the Warriors will not play again until a December 19 meeting with Chaminade at the Blaisdell Center Arena.


Game photos courtesy BYU Athletics


  1. Sammis said surgery went well, done for this season but he’ll be back next season .

  2. This was a good learning experience. The scoreboard doesn’t indicate the effort given by the boys. Just too short handed and BYU just crushed UH on the boards. I think the short rotation and the altitude definitely had an effect the last 10 minutes.

    The positives were that UH continued to create turnovers. Valdes is showing more confidence, and Bobbett had another very solid game.

    I said last year that Shamburger was UH’s best PG in a decade, but Bobbett is a much better all-round player than Sham. He’s defensive quickness is going to wreak havoc on Big West PGs.

    Hopefully NWC can heal up quick. UH needs his scoring so defenses don’t start loading up on Valdes in the near future.

  3. Yes, very good learning experience. I like what Coach Benjy says that the team got better. They played hard even though small and not much on bench. What a way to start the game just finding out that Negus can not play.

    I hate to say but when Negus wasn’t there at the start and Quincy in the lineup I thought maybe he suspended or quit. Ankle injury nothing to laugh about but I kind of glad it was only that because at least we know this team still together and fighting.

    This team must be thinking about what they could of done if Negus played. The BYU bigs were very slow and Mike Thomas was beating them to the basket. I think Negus would of changed the game even more if he step out to 3 line and the BYU bigs too slow to cover him and if they come out to challenge he can just dribble right past them.

    Main thing now is for Negus to get his ankle all good. Janks coming in soon and this UH team will be even more dangerous. Hey, this team still 7-3 and nobody would of predicted that at the beginning of the season when the UH AD panicked and fired Gib. No matter what the Negative Nancys say, this team still doing great and better than anybody thought!

  4. islandman thanks for Sammis update, hope he sticks it out and does well in school. We can use his body, just has to rehab and take care. FUHA… with Negus in there what a different outcome probably, I bet UH would have upset BYU.. they had great momentum, altitude and attitude(good BYU shooting team and transition got them)

    Chuck C. , I still don’t know What The Heck that Letter is all about !! Jeff P. says, don’t worry, Not Probation thing, And he and Jackson were saying end of the world for several years , dark , dark years for long time to come for UH MBB. I think Benjy and staff, Especially the Moms and Dads of guys AND THE TEAM, are telling Media, the Negative Nancies, the anti(yep, they still hating on him)Gib people, Want UH MBB to fail.. However, these 15 and Benjy are just so above All of the Crud,, they are taking the high road.

    Any of Us, even the die hards, would think that UH would be at 7-3 at this point after what happened about 1 1/2 months ago? Nope.. Pitt win, that team will be in the NCAA’s, the 2 out of 3 wins in Florida, The 9 point lead in Salt Lake City, with basically 4 guards and a SF playing a huge, OLD, BYU team, a good one.. If UH plays them again, same arena, With Janks and healthy NWC, let’s say in March, UH will wipe em out. I am sure.

    Darn Proud, Super Proud of this team.. to All The Negative People, and that leaker, gib…g….UH MBB team just saying, blow it out your noses !! We all, The UH MBB team, are here to represent themselves , their families, the good and true UH MBB fans, and the state of Hawaii.
    Now after about 45 years of following UH MBB, I say: This IS MY FAVORITE TEAM.. a lesson for young and old, don’t give up, and give best effort, despite the odds. ALL WINNERS>.With Janks, Jawato back to form, and NWC, UH gonna tear up the BWC.. their guards, Fleming and Bobbitt, what a twosome, awesome athletic backcourt.. Nevels, just has to relax, and Q do his damage on D, and going to the hole. Thomas and Valdes and Jovanovich, what an improvement as sophomores.. They going be good for next several years. Guaranteed.

    Go Rainbow Warriors.. If you all peek at our Posts.. brothers, we Love You all to Life, and go out and win that Chaminade game, the DHC, the two last pre BWC games and the BWC regular and tourney season titles.. as Mamma Valdes says on MBB tweets. Team going be good.. tinker , get right, so much good about team, the potential, and these guys only been playing Benjy ball about little over 3 weeks, awesome !!



    Very proud of how you played with whom you had. Woulda, coulda, shoulda if Negus played. That thin air works on your lungs, especially in the 2nd half. We did not even have enough manpower to go man to man while down.

    Even before the loss of Gib and Fotu, I had us at 5-5 at this juncture…you continue to impress.

    Game is over, Chaminade is waiting to pull an upset on their court now. Finally you get sometime to work on more options. Don’t look past Chaminade, though.

    With all this inside information being released by you know who, I wonder how the NCAA investigating committee feels about the leaks and just how much that may hurt or delay their final decisions and allegations. I also wonder who would do anything about it, should it be found to be someone on the Board of Rejects.

    GO BOWZ…time to work on those Grades.

  6. BACKBEAT: Typical Hawaii politics, insider leaks, and agenda to rid departments of ones they don’t want. I should know.. was an employee too. Just Not real aloha and akamai…It would be real mind blower to you, Chuck Cheese, myself and some others, if what this chair of BOR, the Power that might, coulda woulda shoulda , has done, backfires, or was for naught..Wonder why take this long, and that BOR, leaker the chair, Now backing Down, and saying Not Probation type of thing, lesser, not as bad per JP and JW.. what is going on? Weird, and the UH MBB team, the two coaches, a great young guy in Fotu, and these fine 15 MBB team members and their families, have to deal with it.. Pathetic.

    Benjy, Que, Loyd, Autry, the staff, the secretary, the trainer Jay Goo, the ball boys and girls, the equipment manager, we fans, and SSC solid 3000 faithful show up at SSC, hey, if You all that can go, tickets are real cheap for that Friday Blaisdell Dec 19 2014 Chaminade home game against UH.. should be real fun.. at the old HIC and now Neal Blaisdell, some of the most memorable games ever for UH and Chaminade..

    Heck with the Hecklers of UH MBB, the Destroyers.. let’s take the High Character, One Family, One Ohana, approach and follow Mamma Valdes letter, Just Back the Bows.. Waaaay to go Warriors..
    No LIE and NO SHIBAI.. This Team, unreal, and they will win a lot of games, just hope they stay healthy, cannot wait, and we wait until official that Janks eligible to play against Nebraska, I think He and NWC have a special connection.. raise the offensive firepower soon for UH.. Good, team,.. Me Really Like Them..

    Go Bows.. Go Warriors.
    And for State of Hawaii, and Upper, and Admin, BOR chair, shame one them, for messing up lives of thousands of fans, families of players and the team..

    Rise Above Bows.. Go Warriors..!!

  7. UH MBB TEAM: Stay together, you are Band of Brothers.. fight, fight and fight, Finish Strong.. thousands, are believers, and I hope at least 3500 plus come out for every home game at SSC, and as you start to win some.. 4500 plus and more, each time.
    Benjy you and staff, doing great job,.. kudos and props.. and Families of Athletes, thankyou for sharing your sons, and telling them to finish school year strong.. special group , these 15 fantastic young student athletes, I think Chapter 2 of this 21st century about an NCAA MBB team coming through and out of adversity, the 2nd Chapter going be something real special.

    Sammis get well, and NWC rehab, and hope xrays are good.. Best Part fans, Perfect timing this next 2 weeks No games, Team can finish finals and GPA in good standing, and team can rehab, rest, then get back in gym to fine tune O and D, with hopefully 12 healthy and eligible guys !!
    BACKBEAT, Chuck Cheese, warriorhaw, Eagle, Josh, etc.. I LOVE THIS TEAM..!!

  8. Mismatched for the wrong reasons; Reality of life.

    Another lesson learned; Our success ensured.

    Mahalo for all you’ve done!

  9. Sorry, Dayton & Co. —
    Please DELETE “Inadvertent Submit” Above


    NOT So Unusual, BUT…

    i Like that This Site Can Generate 7 of 7 Posts with at least One Positive Comment…
    After the Team Loses By 20 Points… Says A Lot:

    1) Agree — The BYU Game is a Good Learning Experience:
    From 13-0 UH to 20-4 BYU Runs in just the First Half,
    It’s Like Pre-Cut Video to Help Coach Teach, “This is What Happens when WE Play ‘This Way’, Good and Bad…

    2) i think it “Alerts” the Players to ‘How Bad’ it CAN Be when we lose Focus and Play Poorly,
    And That’s a Great Lesson for a Young Team…
    Equally as Good As The “We CAN SHUT DOWN…the #1 Scoring Team in The Country”
    A Bad Pass or a Bad Shot IS A Basket for them…

    NOW Finals and Practice Time…
    Then Chaminade (@Blaisdell, Flashback…) and DHC
    …and Another Crack @ A Top 50 Team: Nebraska, Maybe Wichita State, IF YOU EARN IT!

    GO ‘Bows!
    Work Hard And Strong!
    Get Healthy, Get Ready!
    BIG TURN Available for The Whole Program This Month!
    2014…FINISH STRONG And Stronger!!

  10. Eagle: You are right. This MBB season is going by fast. Chaminade game at Blaisdell, I think that SSC management has to setup for Graduation December 2014 on Sat. 20th , so SSC was not available.You know the Blaisdell, since not UH’s home gym, will be another “road” game for the Bows. If they get that W.. UH will have been, prior to BWC play, 4-2 away from Stan Sheriff Center, which is great..

    Backing the Bows.. Heartbreak, really feel sorry for Sammis, now NWC. .. hope they rehab well, and NWC can be ready, if okay, to return for Chaminade game. And Janks be ready for Tai Webster and the Nebraska Cornhuskers..

    Go Bows.. Rainbow Warriors !
    Hey, still stay Positive.. the families of the guys and Benjy and staff and The Team are.. they are young as Aaron V. says, they are learning And winning, which is good, 7-3 at this point? With injuries, and other? FANTASTIC !!

    Warrior Time…even with 5 guards battling 6’10” guys, three of them from BYU on court at same time.. UH Never lack effort and battle to end.. That is Why This Team is So Special.. come BWC.. time. They Be Ready.


  11. Also, how fast it that? Chaminade game NEXT week Friday Dec 19th 2014 at Blaisdell, should be a real high scoring game. Battle of Honolulu college supremacy..

    Just 12 days away !!

  12. These Warriors, These band of Warriors. They are not over achieving. they are not under achieving. They are achieving exactly what they planned to do. And that is to band together no matter what difficulties they are faced with. And Win, Lose or Draw, achieving 100% effort against huge odds is success already. I see no dip in attitude. No “woe is me” attitude. They doing it as One Ohana.

    BT did a great job game planning at the last minute. Losing Negus was huge 15 minutes before tipoff. Had to change strategy on the go. And still, the guys had that go for broke attitude. Good on ya BT and staff.

  13. Fotu update: In his second game as a pro, he had 16 points (5 for 8, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range) and six rebounds. He started and played 23 minutes of a 66-62 loss.

    Let’s hope Negus makes it back soon … at least for the Diamond Head.

  14. Correction: Isaac went 5 for 8 from 2-point range, and 2 for 3 from 3-point range. No FT attempts.

  15. warriorhaw: Yes, lost really in the mix locally with the media, and OTHER.. type of fans.. However, Jamie Dixon knows…now Dave Rose of BYU knows.. The Florida radio broadcasters, the teams UH beat, and lost to in Gulf Coast showcase, know..and Kanoa plus ESPN 24 hour hoop madness announcers, know too..What Benjy has done, And the willingness of the team, with support from their great parents.. hey, win BWC or not.. it is a Fantastic Job by coach Taylor.. incredible,.. I have seen, well you too, and other fans, when team in turmoil, injuries, attitudes whatever, they Fall Apart. This team, even if Benjy had to call upon Brocke and Zach to step in, and activate this year.. They would.. Love the Effort, warriorhaw, what this team and “interim” HC Benjy Taylor is doing, simply remarkable, great job Coach Taylor..!!

    No quit in this group, warriorhaw, absolutely none. to the Last Man, or Last 5 on the court still breathing.. they will fight for that W ,.. they are Winners in a couple of thousand UH MBB hearts.. they win on the road, neutral, Blaisdell, McKinley HS gym, Paki park, at the Beach BB court Waimanalo(funky little 8 foot baskets !!)they are Winners…2014-15, whatever the championship, or runner up to, or just win as many as can.. They are Champs !!

    Am I a Fan Of UH MBB hoops, yes.. like many, many others.. Hey Others.. join the fray, and comment, and support the team, if you want..
    Great bunch of guys with Great coaching staff at the last minute put together.
    And Warriorhaw, the timeouts, that last minute call to insert Q in lineup, helped UH to run out to that 9 point lead.. Incredible !! or not really.. NOW IT IS CREDIBLE !!

    go Bows, Warriors All The Waaaay !

  16. Runbows, don’t fall into the trap of beating on that anti Gib drum again. You do well for a while looking ahead but get yanked back to that old news too easily. Same old advice from my corner….move on

  17. I usually have some focus on preparation. Preparing for altitude, wow, its tough. I like Coach Benjy’s attitude and his openness about talking about it. It can only be good for the team. We may make a post season game where we again might have to play at altitude. Are there any changes, tweaks, the team might make? I was a little disappointed that Brandon Jawato missed his two shots. I’m thinking that was altitude legs. Mostly however was the ‘apparent’ breakdown of team defense in those couple of stretches, especially that stretch in the second half. Actually looked a little bit like the defensive breakdown in the Highpoint game. But that wasn’t attributable to altitude. It’s questionable whether you really want to pin it down and put a finger on the problem to address it, or whether they just want to move forward, dismiss it as an anomaly. It may be a question to take up after they review the tapes. Just talking about it here on WI, I don’t know, but for the moment lean toward wanting to hear someone on the Coaching staff, not necessarily Coach Benjy, spend a few moments talking about it. The breakdowns against the two different teams looked the same to me, and because of the recurrence, maybe address it for us.

  18. akuhead2:

    I think if you watch replay, if you had DVR, the guys were getting called for a lot of fouls not called on them in first half. Also, when BYU was controlling the Defensive glass, when UH could not hit their shots, and could not crash the boards, BYU had runouts, those runouts, produced what? 19 points or so, so from a 9 point lead, UH was down 10 points in last 7 minutes or so and struggling to get back. By that time they were gassed. Now we can see how much, every guy, the first 8 rotation

    is so important, and yes, Negus was ready to Finally have that 18 – 20 pt, plus game, the assists, the steals, the athleticism, to blow by the slower BYU bigs.. My heart goes out to him. UH will be alright, and I believe, the lapses in defense, letting guys go straight to the rim, some of that was, No Big to protect paint and rotation, plus, guys did not want to foul.. Benjy, Senque, Autry, Loyd, NOW they have 10 games of video on the guys.. without question.. they will shore up what happened to them on defense High Point or BYU game.. You have to give them benefit of the doubt,.. I mean, They dont’ have Fotu, Sammis, Janks and an injured NWC.. so I give the guys credit, kudos for actually getting that 9 point lead.

    As Aaron V. said, if they were patient.. play small ball and control, plus get back on defense, and help/rotate defend against the BYU guys driving at will to bucket in last part of second half, UH would have been there right to the end.. and maybe have pulled off a Huge upset.. Am I UPSET? Nope,.. this team is going farther, has won more games, and when fully loaded, with healthy Negus(hope Xrays are good), Janks and a 3 ball hot shooting Jawato.. they will be good in BWC..No question.. as Mamma Valdes’s says.. UH going do some damage, they will be good in BWC season.. See absoluteyly NO QUIT in team. and Benjy doing one helluva job keeping team focused and together.. after getting knocked here and there by everything one can imagine.

    Just Go Bows.. Rainbow Warriors.. next 10 games, go 7-3, I would take that in a heartbeat!!
    From the eternal optimist.. RunBows.. Go Bows !!

  19. Very, very Athletic team;
    Guards: Nevels, Bobbitt, Q, and Fleming
    Forwards: Mike T and NWC. Airon Valdes, Air Cuba man, the guy is so humble. Is it just me, or if Aaron focused, next two years. his ceiling is so high, and he is there already as 3rd year RS sophomore, I bet he could play and start for any Pac 12 school, he, with that added 3 ball shot, and attacking rim, super hops vert.. incredible
    Mike Thomas can rebound it, start the break make great passes to get ball to guards, Jovanovich, he Just Play Big, against The Bigs in BWC.. bang and give em.. He is strong..
    Janks.. that is a loooooong, lengthy, athletic legit 6’11” SG? or PF or hybrid post.. cannot wait to see, Janks, Bobbitt, Aaron, Thomas, and NWC.. running the court and bombing.. NWC could play PG or SG too. plus Fleming , Quincy the athleticism and energy off the bench.. Lot of good basketball, until championship game of BWC tourney if UH makes it that far,.. total of 25 games, ton of Hoops left.

    Go Bows !!

  20. This is how BYU breaks teams that are not used to playing in altitude. When they feel that the team is winded they try to push the ball hoping that the team will crack. Simply put we cracked under the altitude. This was their game plan. Even more so when they saw that NWC would not come out to play. Take the altitude away and you got a close game. How else can you explain the fact that everyone had a decent to good game. BYU got the altitude and UH got the travel distance. Pick your poison. Would be a different story if they played in Hawaii.

    Much needed rest for the battle weary Warriors. This break is exactly what the doctor ordered. Time to heal, correct mistakes, and layout more plays/strategies. Diamond Head Classic getting closer. Love to see UH pull an upset and throw ESPN in a tailspin. When we do a giant kill they goin say who dat? Whea they come from? And we goin say, “We da Warriors and everyone’s worst nightmare.

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