Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors power through in win over Southern


On an otherwise sluggish night with several players running low on fuel, forward Stefan Jovanovic scored a career-high 13 points and grabbed five rebounds off the bench and fellow sophomore Aaron Valdes also scored 13 points Monday as the University of Hawai’i still had more than enough energy to race past Southern, 71-57, in non-conference men’s basketball action.

An appreciative Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 5,945 watched Mike Thomas and Stefan Jankovic each add nine points as the Rainbow Warriors improved to 11-4. Southern fell to 3-11.

UH returns to the SSC on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game vs. Prairie View A&M.

Hawai’i coach Benjy Taylor said “at least four or five” Rainbow Warriors are fighting cold or flu symptoms, but said he does not accept that as an excuse for an unsatisfactory performance, which is how he described Monday’s game.

“No way should we have 23 turnovers,” said Taylor, lamenting his team’s total. “We’ve got at least four or five guys who have the cold or flu, so were lethargic. I knew we would struggle, because this was the first time everybody played together since Christmas Day. We were all out of sorts today. But it’s no excuse — Southern and Prairie View aren’t gonna wait until we’re healthy.”

True enough, the Jaguars came out strong and made a game of it throughout the first half and several minutes into the second, before UH put together runs of 10-3 and 13-0 to break it open and eventually build a 54-32 lead by the 11-minute mark. The Jaguars could not get closer than 13 points the rest of the way.


“I thought we should have won this game by 20 or 30 points, but we started slow and we were playing down to their level,” said Rainbow Warriors guard Garrett Nevels, who logged four points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals despite an injured right (shooting) hand that was heavily taped and will require surgery on Wednesday.

Southern led 7-6 after Christopher Hyder’s steal and layup five minutes into the game, but Jankovic’s two free throws put UH ahead for good at 8-7 and sparked a 10-2 run capped by Jovanovic’s free throws that made it 16-9 with 9:37 remaining in the first half. After the Jaguars scored back-to-back baskets to close it to 16-13 with 6:05 left, Valdes drained a baseline jumper to start a 7-0 run capped by Nevels’ short bank shot that made it 23-13 with 4:11 remaining.

Thomas later sank one of two free throws to give Hawai’i a 31-23 halftime lead.

Southern closed it to 31-25 early in the second half after Trelun Banks swished a mid-range jumper, but Roderick Bobbitt and Negus Webster-Chan answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 10-3 run capped by Thomas’ slam dunk which made it 41-28 with 17:19 remaining in the game. After the Jaguars scored consecutive baskets to cut it to 41-32, Jovanovic got a layup to ignite a 13-0 run culminating in Quincy Smith’s free throw to extend the lead to 54-32 with 11 minutes left.


Southern eventually got as close as 69-56 with 1:22 remaining, but it was too little, too late as the Rainbow Warriors sealed the victory with Niko Filipovich’s jumper on the ensuing possession.

Jovanovic, a 6-11 sophomore, said he has been inspired ever since sitting out the entire 80-79 overtime loss to then-No. 11-ranked Wichita State on Dec. 23, due to what Taylor described as defensive strategy.

“I don’t want to just sit on the bench, I want to do something on the court to help the team,” Jovanovic said. “I think it (the lack of playing time) fired me up, I want to try and show the coach that is not my place, on the bench.”

Jovanovic shot 4 of 6 from the field and 5 of 5 from the free-throw line. Thomas added a career-high five blocked shots, and Jankovic led the team with six rebounds as Hawai’i out-rebounded the Jaguars, 40-39. The Warriors also had a significant edge on free throws, going 21 for 29, while Southern went 6 for 15.

Taylor said the entire team will need to “sharpen” itself before the start of Big West Conference play Jan. 7. “We have to come to find certain lineups, big or small, and put it all together,” Taylor said.


(Game photos courtesy Matt Osumi)


— — — — — — —

Some quick notes on Prairie View A&M:

– Record is 2-10, including only one home game so far this season.

– Road losses include TCU, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Memphis and Texas Tech. The Panthers lost by double-digits in each of those games.

– Four starters return from last season’s team that finished 11-23 and made a run to the championship game of the SWAC Tournament.

– Montrael Scott, a 6-3 senior guard, leads the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game. He is coming off a 26-point performance in a win at North Texas last week.

– John Brisco, a 5-11 senior guard, is averaging 12.3 points per game and leads the team with 22 3-pointers and a .400 percentage from 3-point range.

– Tre Hagood, a 6-2 senior point guard, is the team’s top all-around player, with averages of 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.

– The Panthers start big in the post, with 6-10 senior Reggis Onwukamuche (4.8 points, 3.7 rebounds) at center, and 6-9 junior Karim York (9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds) at forward. If either gets in foul trouble (Onwukamuche has already fouled out five times this season), there is a drop-off in size and production.

– Based on the statistics, the Panthers are not a very good offensive team. They are shooting 38.1 percent from the field, 29.2 percent from 3-point range, and 62.8 percent on free throws. They are averaging just 57.1 points per game, and have reached 70 points in only two games this season.

– Prairie View A&M is located in southeast Texas, and 12 of the 15 players on the roster are from the state of Texas.

Tuesday’s Game Information
Hawai’i (11-4, 0-0 Big West) vs. Prairie View A&M (2-10, 0-0 SWAC)
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 30, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, O’ahu
Tickets: Lower level – $26; Upper level – $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, $5 for students. Parking is $6.
Television: Live on OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: BigWest.tv
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona and KTOH on Kaua’i.
Audio Webcast: Live audio streaming on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com


  1. Let’s Go Bows! Let’s Go Bows! Let’s Go Bows!

  2. I love the fight in this team somebody always elavating their game and stepping up thats the definition of team.

    Fleming,bust or flop BWC lol big games for big time players go hard or come home thats our motto.

  3. The Jankovic/Jovanovic duo is looking better and better. An effective change-up.

  4. The team didn’t look sharp last night, but 23 turnovers and still win by double digits……not bad.
    Go Warriors!


    Last night was one of the UGLIEST wins I’ve seen in a long time…however, to commit 23 turnovers and still win by double digits…that’s a feat in itself. The defense kept Hawaii in the game when the offense was sputtering. This may be a recurring theme once conference play begins. Not a bad thing either.

    Last night was the inevitable early season “blip” and I’m glad they got it out of their system against a lesser opponent. They pulled out the win and it was great seeing some of the bench guys put in some work. Filipovich looked solid and did not seem “frosh-y” in the least. He will give UH quality minutes in games to come. Jawato’s 35 footer was probably ill-advised, however it was great to see him catch and shoot with confidence. Dyrbe deserves a lot more playing time than he’s seen as of late.

    I’d like to see UH really lock down and play some solid ball tonight. No more lazy, playing down to their level crap. They need to take all opponents with the same level of seriousness and keep that high level going right into conference play. RunBows, I think UH does have a chance to be at 16 – 5 early on in conference play, if they play their cards right. In that case, I think UH admin has to do something, although one thing to keep in mind is that although Benjy has proven he can lead this team, he has yet to really prove he can bring in all the right guys. I know he helped recruit many but Gib was hands down one of the best recruiters UH has ever had. Let’s GO BOWS!!

  6. I totally agree that it was ugly and pretty at the same time. The ugly part with all the turnovers and allowing the Southern team to get so many easy baskets. The pretty part with forcing the other team into more turnovers and winning by a decent margin and never letting Southern get too close in the second half.

    That Garrett Nevels is a true warrior! Who said he going to be out indefinitely after Colorado game? G-Money, don’t believe everything you read in the papers and keep proving them wrong! He really was a big help in this win even though he playing with one hand!

  7. UH met a team that played defense much like them, Southern had 15 steals to UH’s 12 and trapped UH at times. They had to travel about 4100 miles from Louisiana.

  8. Tonight’s game marks the last of your remarkable preseason run Wounded Warriors. Nice to see that when our back court is down that our front court will step up. One more game before we get a well deserved and needed 8 game respite…damn proud of your performances so far.

    Interesting stats show that the Big West Conference is rated 8th overall in SOS and out of the 33 conferences we have been rated 12th thru 15th so far in the preseason, This should tell everyone that this year’s Big West Conference has improved from last year’s 19th place ranking…and that no one can live off of their successes or failures during their preseason play…it’s a whole different animal come conference play.

    BENJY, secure an AGENT. You need to have him in the ADMIN’s face to secure that front & center place for keeping this team together and being able to recruit.

    We all know you are Wounded, but Warriors let’s finish this preseason off with a WIN TONIGHT!


  9. Thomas had five blocks, per the stats, which is a lot .

  10. I can definitely see that spark of fire coming from Jovanovic. Hope he can maintain it because his services will be crucial in conference play as teams got to worry about 3 bigs now. The high turnover was expected as the team is recovering from DHC. They will get back on track once they are rested and healed. Main thing is don’t lose focus and keep the intensity. Jovanovic is a good example of how to play (now) and how not to play (prior).

  11. The game was admittedly ugly with lots of turnovers and free throws, but it’s still a win. There were likely a lot of contributing factors, including players sick with bad colds, coming off an exhaustive Diamond Head tournament, tough defense played by Southern, etc. it’s better to have an “ugly” game now rather than in conference. I like how different players are contributing each night. I was happy to see Jovanovic play well as I think we will need him in conference games against taller teams.

  12. In Post-Game Coach Benjy repeatedly said he’s glad there’s a game tonight, on back-to-back nights…

    After Reflecting on it for 12 hours or so, i think i see some of the benefits…

    Bad-Good Game (Main Thing Pull Out the WIN)
    Better …Maintain a Controlling Lead
    Against a Team that Played TWO TOP 20 Teams within 10 and 4 ON THE ROAD in the Last Two weeks
    THAT WAS NOT a BAD Team Last Night
    In Post-Game Jovanovic noted they were as Tough Physically as the DHC Teams
    I Will NOT Be Surprised IF They Win their Conference AGAIN
    There are Transfers And SIZE from schools with names Like Florida State, USC, Texas A&M, SE Louisiana, Mississippi’s Pearl River CC 6-10, (he would help us…)

    Tonight .. Benjy Gets to See HOW WELL the Under-Performers Can SNAP Out of a Funk and Step Up …
    The Same Way they will HAVE TO to Have a Chance to WIN THREE STRAIGHT in BWC Tourney —
    The ONLY WAY This Team Gets to NCAA Playoffs…

    Like Colorado Coach Tad said, Sometimes Reality SUCKS BUT…
    IN TRUTH, Hawai’i has WON ONLY Two out of THREE in the THREE Three-Day Tourneys (RC, FGCU AND DHC)
    And That IS NOT Good Enough…
    For Garrett and The NCAA-This-Season Goal…

    NOT THERE Yet…
    SO Continue to Grow and Improve…
    GO ‘BOWS!
    FINISH (2014) Strong!

  13. Crappy game but we pulled it out, team looked out of sync probably to the layoff, and illnesses, hopefully they will have a better outing tonight more importantly , conference games coming up, this is where you need to put the pedal on the metal. Either you survive or die, do you want to win conference playoff title in Anaheim or go home after one game like previous years !??? Come on its time to play like Warriors, all the way.

  14. Can anybody else smell that?

    I smell a blowout!

    I know you can’t overlook any team, but I have to think that the Warriors learned a lesson last night and will come out firing tonight. As the saying goes “numbers don’t lie” and looking at the stats for Prairie View, they must be terrible shooters and mostly have guys that like driving to the basket. I really hope it is a blowout because this team could use it and get everybody some playing time and just have fun.

  15. Foul out Onwukamuche .

  16. Yeah, after 6 BWC games, if Benjy and team either, 16-6, 17-5 or 18-4.. sign him after this May for 2 years,.. when the 2nd year ending. rollover with clause, to extend 2 years.. if staff , and they are doing tremendous job.. keep them together at least through next two years. Reason. Solidarity, guys know where program headed, freshmen, Fleming, Stepteau and Buscher can graduate as possible elite eight NCAA member participants, with another generation of youth coming in.

    UH ADMIN.. have to do it.. would be dumb.. if after 6 BWC games, and Benjy and Team is either in first, second or third place, overall wins, 16 -18.. Lock him in..
    Piviotal.. possibly 2 or 3 , 1 or 2 bigs and a creating , athletic, SF shooter leaper, another AV.. will sign… I know they will if soon. they know Benjy and staff will be here another 2 more years..
    As Benjy says, not just a team, a collection of unknowns.. a Basketball Progam.. a system to win for 3 or 4 years down the road.. President Lassner, Chancellor interim, AD lame duck..and not JP of the BOR… student Body, faculty union and private sector.. plus where the heck is governor elect David Ige, he signs the paychecks for the State employees, well most of them.. maybe he does not like sports.. He should be at every home game , like George Ariyoshi at the Fab Five and Henderson era, and Reggie Carter years.. Governor Ige support the team.. the only way to move on up. Hey to sign Benjy soon , if he wins say 4 out out or first 6 , or 5 out of first 6 BWC games.. it would NOT BE EXPENSIVE.. at all.. reasonable.. Benjy should get a good agent..agreed.. he sees his team, getting 14 wins, 15, 16.. 18, 19.. man if UH don’t sign him.. totally NUTZ!!

    And bigdaddy.. give I fleming benefit of the doubt.. great talent.. as Benjy says, wants him as team guy and within system. we know he is sick.. he will be alright… just have to calm down, emotions. nowadays, the referees. very quick to flagrant one or two, and they will tee you up in a second.. would want Fleming helping team, and on the court, to win BWC

    bigdaddy… Isaac, Fleming. can do it.. learn from super Mature Garrett Nevels.. Love the slashing all around talent of Fleming.. just do it within team concept.. give team a benefit of the doubt. five guys sick , plus recovering from injury..

  17. Dayton, one legacy from Gib, his initiated “Give Back To Hawaii” reading program, I think they went to about 4 schools, the ones that did well, remember their prize was to attend the Dec 29th SSC home game.. I wonder if several dozen kids and their families attended the Southern vs UH MBB game? maybe why, nearly 5000+ were in attendance.. hope a lot of young ones with their folks come out to tonite’s game , the eve before the new year’s eve.. would be fun.

    Thankyou Gib.. that is a great program, hope powers that be let, UH admin, assistants still run the program, before Gib was terminated, the team enjoyed it, the students and the schools.. a tremendously good Gib Program, Mahalo Gib Arnold !!


  18. Yes RunBows, they were there in force. You could pick them out from their orange school T shirts they wore. The nurturing of new Rainbow fans is super important. There were years not so long ago that I would look around and say to myself, “Most of these guys aren’t going to be here in a few years and who is going to take their place.” I had a program that helped students to get into college and had offered high schools to pay for buses to take their students to Rainbow games. To much work I guess. At any rate, Jimmie’s work with the Manoa Maniacs is a great effort which so improves the atmosphere and will probably pay off in new fans after they graduate. Their noise and excitement really add to the ballgame. Hope he will be back and have the students fired up for the Big West.

  19. Gib had a lot of good ideas. I don’t know if he deserved his walking papers but we should remember that everyone on that team now was recruited and signed by Gib. Hope Benjy can do as well. Not only get quality players but cut in the mind set and mold of our current team.

  20. 6′ 3″ Megan Huff to play on the Wahine basketball team starting with the HPU game tomorrow, if you didn’t hear it yet .


  21. Good to Hear Coach Laura EXCITED To Gain Megan Huff —
    sheʻll be second-tallest on team; 6-4 then 6-3 Megan;
    and a Very Good Athlete, with 4-A All-Star Skills able to score the ball;

    i DONʻT get WHY 6-1 KALEI ADOLPHO is NOT Similarly joining BB Team Now…
    Ran out of VB Eligibility… SO…
    WHY Wait ’till Next Year when she already knows Coach Laura’s Systems and plays…?

  22. BTW, Today’s 1pm Wahine BB Game —
    Just Like Men’s PITT Game — NO Coverage…

    i CONSIDER THIS — Ben Jay’s BIGGEST Mistake
    (Yes, Bigger than Cow-Tailing to Bley-Vroman and Lassner and Firing GIB)
    NOT Allowing Rick Blangiardi & KFVE to even talk or Ultimately OUT-BID OC-16 ?BY $2-3 Million?
    Cost Part or ALL of the UHAD Deficit…

    AND Lost Better Coverage…,

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