Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Depleted Warriors blow out Fullerton, 81-61


Despite being battered and bruised before and during Saturday night’s Big West Conference men’s basketball game, Hawai’i bounced back yet again and put the hurt on Cal State Fullerton, 81-61.

A feisty Valentine’s Day crowd of 7,475 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched three Hawai’i players reach their respective season-high for points: Negus Webster-Chan scored 18 on 6-of-12 shooting from 3-point range, Roderick Bobbitt scored 17 to go along with four assists and three steals, and Quincy Smith scored 13 off the bench to go along with seven rebounds and four steals.

The Rainbow Warriors improved to 18-9 overall and stayed in fifth place in the Big West Conference at 6-5. It was the first time this season that they have won two consecutive conference games. The Titans fell to 9-16, 1-9.

Stefan Jankovic added 12 points and seven rebounds. The last time a Hawai’i team scored back-to-back 20-point wins over conference opponents was in 2009, when it was still in the Western Athletic Conference.

UH won despite leading scorer and rebounder Aaron Valdes sitting out in street clothes due to a left ankle injury, and also losing starting forward Mike Thomas and top reserve Isaac Fleming to similar injuries in the first half. Fleming spent the second half with his right foot elevated on a stool and Thomas was wearing a soft protective boot.

Also, starting shooting guard and co-captain Garrett Nevels received back-to-back technical fouls for complaining to the officials and was ejected with 7:05 remaining in the game. He finished with five points, six rebounds and three assists.

“Guys just had to step up,” said Webster-Chan, whose six 3-pointers helped lead the Warriors to a season-high 10 3-pointers in the game. “It was devastating losing Mike … Isaac, Garrett … but everybody stepped up.”


Hawai’i led, 40-38, at halftime despite losing Fleming to an apparent right ankle injury with 8:17 remaining and Thomas to a left ankle injury with 2:21 left. Starting forward Jankovic also was injured (back of head) on the same play as Fleming and left the game, though he did return to replace Thomas.

But the Rainbow Warriors pulled away early in the second half anyway, answering Lanerryl Johnson’s 3-pointer with a 10-0 run started by Jankovic’s two free throws and capped by a pair of foul shots by Bobbitt to extend the lead to 52-41 with 13:15 remaining. Kennedy Esume later converted a three-point play to cut it to 55-46 with 11:32 left, but Jankovic hit a jumper to start a 10-1 surge culminating in Bobbitt’s 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 65-47 with 8:50 showing on the clock.

Jordan Mason then scored on a layup to cut it to 65-49, and on the ensuing possession Nevels drove to the basket and tried to dunk over two Fullerton defenders, but missed. Believing he was fouled on the play, Nevels complained to an official during the next dead ball and was whistled for a technical foul.

“Garrett got mad, he said something to the (official) and then he came over and I tried to calm him down,” UH coach Benjy Taylor said. “He (Nevels) said something to me, but the other ref heard it and gave him another ‘T.’ … I’ve had a player tossed for a flagrant foul, but I’ve never had a player get tossed for complaining and getting two technicals. I’m going to have to deal with that (with Nevels).”

Josh Gentry knocked down all four foul shots following the technicals to close it to 65-53 with 7:05 still remaining, but again the Rainbow Warriors extended the lead, this time with a 13-1 run started by Stefan Jovanovic’s short hook bank shot and capped by Niko Filipovich’s layup to effectively seal the victory at 78-54 with 3:22 left.

“It got a little scary, especially because I was already nervous even before the game not having Aaron,” Taylor said. “We wanted to go (to a 2-3) zone, to keep them (the Titans) away from the rim. We’re athletic, but they’re really quick so we just figured we’d go zone, play in your area. But then it helped us, too, when all those guys went out.”


Along with the zone strategy, Taylor said Hawai’i was able to weather the storm due to old-fashioned mental toughness.

“We’ve just got some tough, resilient guys,” Taylor said. “They’re just a tough group. I feel so blessed to be associated with this group, it’s been amazing … I’ve seen a lot of teams fold in that situation, so I’m really happy for them. They’ve dealt with a lot of adversity, we’ve been through a lot.”

The Rainbow Warriors began the game with leads of 5-0 and 8-2 in the first couple minutes, but Cal State Fullerton quickly tied it at 8-8 and eventually took a 21-20 lead on Steve McClellan’s turnaround jumper with 10:36 remaining. Webster-Chan answered with a 3-pointer from the right wing to ignite a 12-3 run capped by his own 3-pointer to push UH ahead, 32-24, with 5:56 left.

The Rainbow Warriors still led, 40-32, when Thomas went out, but the Titans got back-to-back 3s from Mason and Johnson to close it to 40-38 by halftime.

Cal State Fullerton shot 50 percent (13 of 26) from the field in the first half, but was just 23.3 percent (7 of 30) in the second half. The Titans made just 4 of 21 shots (19 percent) from 3-point range, compared to 10 of 23 (43.5 percent) for Hawai’i.

Lanerryl Johnson led the Titans with 23 points. Fullerton played without leading scorer Alex Harris, who did not suit up due to undisclosed reasons.

Taylor said the first order of business now will be to try to get Valdes, Fleming and Thomas healthy enough to play in Thursday’s game at UC Irvine or Saturday’s game at UC Davis.

“Isaac got re-taped and tried to go (after halftime), but he just couldn’t,” Taylor said. “And Mike .. there was no way. (Trainer Jayson Goo) is going to work on them all day (Sunday). He’s got his work cut out for him.”


(Game photos courtesy Matt Osumi)


Saturday’s Big West Results
UC Riverside 70, UC Irvine 63
Cal Poly 71, Long Beach State 58
UC Santa Barbara 65, CSUN 57
Hawai’i 81, Cal State Fullerton 61

— — — — — — —

The first UH Men’s Basketball Alumni Game was held prior to last night’s victory over Cal State Fullerton. More than 20 former UH players – ranging from the 1960s teams to the 2010s – participated.

WarriorInsider.com will post highlights from the Alumni Game later.


  1. Send The Videos of these Flagrant Non-Calls, fraudulent made-up calls
    and Total Lack of Integrity in representing an honest and safe game;
    some player(s) appeared “Not Eligible” to receive benefit from Any Call…

    NICE UH Effort This Week to Overcome BOTH Riverside who upset #2 Irvine tonight and Fullerton (who hung within six @ No.1 UC-Davis on Thursday) and The Most UNPROFESSIONAL “Team” of Refs i’ve EVER Seen…

    Hmmmmm….Irvine And Davis are our Next Two Stops and they struggled with the two teams We BLEW Apart This Week … WE Made ’em Both Look Pretty “Bad” … Opportunity Knocking? … Definite Chance to Improve and Make-Up for The Blown UCSB Game…Smells Like a Potential Road Win OR TWO… For a HOT, Intense & Improving 40-minute All-Five Team Trying To… FINISH STRONG …

    Re-Hab and Bounce Back Quick and Healthy All-‘Bows…
    Great to See Quincy Stepping Up his game as we know he’s capable;
    And Looking Forward to the Spiderman “SUPER”-Hero Version of Negus for The Rest of The Season (and Career–TWO Great Shooting games, Playing More Complete — Based on His Shooting in Warm-Ups, Told our Section Negus would hit Five Threes Tonight)
    Jankovic continuing His Climb to Consistent Bg-Time Complete “Player” – Here Comes The SLAM Game…
    Half-Court and Team Ball Continuing to Improve and the Controlling Margins / Leads with it…

    ALSO Surprisingly GREAT to See ALL The Alumni-‘Bows Beaming Huge Grin-Smiles, Camaraderie AND RESPECT for One Another — What An ELITE Group of Really Good Guys… A Consistent Trait through the Years … i Would say, I Think This Place brings The Best out of The Best People…

  2. Ref’s were pretty bad, really. But on another note, Benjy has his hands full not only with the teams upcoming opponents but with the Refs. I’ve mentioned prior of UH players moaning, crying, pleading with the Refs and it seems the players have become more animated doing it.

    They way I see it, it’s about the Head Coach not instilling the correct attitude when things don’t go the players way. The bad attitude has spread like Cancer thru the players. I guess that’s the way it is when Winning comes 1st. We’ve seen this situation with Gib at the helm and now Taylor’s got a problem. But maybe it’s not a biggie for Taylor as the attitude has already spread like Wild Fire thru the team.

    We’ve seen it the bad attitudes, Fleming who started the Fire, Valdes, Bobbit, Janks and now Nevels! of all people. You can even see Jankovic and Thomas trying to plead their cases with the Refs. I don’t care how bad the officiating was last night or any other night as it is what it is and AFAIK a player won’t change an Officials call called against him.

  3. I don’t think the team has a problem…Nevels wouldn’t have gotten any technicals if the ref’s actually called a good game. That was the worst officiated game I’ve ever seen, worst week of officiating ever in the history of UH games. Credit the Warriors for still coming out with 20 point wins in both.

    Going forward, I do feel like the boys need to realize this is going to be a continued theme throughout conference play and into the tournament. If they hope to make any kind of run, they need to realize that regardless of how wrong the ref’s are, speaking out does not help the situation and should be dealt with after. Talk about it after the game, maybe file a complaint with the big west for whatever reffing issues were apparent. This team is really good and is SO close to being great.

    Best wishes to the boys that got hurt in the past week as well….get well soon, come back when you’re healthy and in full force just in time for an end of season run right into a post-season tournament.

    Let’s GO BOWS!

  4. I witnessed the dunk of the year that wasn’t. Janks’ two-hand reverse dunk was sick… But did not count as the refs blew the play dead after he was fouled on the perimeter.

  5. The easiest person to blame is the player when there is poor officiating it’s obvious to me now why teams in the power conferences won’t play UH in a home and away contract.Moving forward I don’t believe all the official in the BWC are bias but looking at the past few games makes me wonder.

  6. Terrible, inconsistent refs. Hard to play when u have no idea what will or will not be called. I especially liked the reversal of possession call made by ref 30 feet away from the play vs the ref right in front of the play. Stunning. Surprised Benjy kept his cool. I think Riley would have that jacket about four rows into the stands after some of those calls and no calls

  7. Good game Bows !
    Real Warriors… refs missed some big calls.. however you guys overcame adversity .. again.
    Have to keep emotions in check. and let Coach talk to refs about calls or lack of calls.

    Wish speedy recovery,.. and very hard efficient work from MVP trainer Jayson Goo.

    Go Rainbow WARRIORS..

    and What Up?
    people said, UH would not even win 10 games all season.. they are 2 wins away from reaching that milestone 20 wins …

    Go Benjy and the Bows!
    Interesting comment from SA this morning paper, DR.column.. Jumpin John Pennebacker, saying how good a job Benjy had done through adversity.. remover Interim, and sign him as regular HC now.. If UH wins in next 2 weeks and comes in at 20 wins overall, I think THAT is A Huge Resume !!

    And bigdaddy, hope that Isaac Fleming is okay.. just unreal, how team down, 3 key guys.. and the rest of team JUST KEEPS Battling and Winning !!

    Good job Benjy and the Bowz!


    Most officials aspire to do a job well enough to be chosen for post season tournaments. Dl officials make between $1000 to $3000 per game plus per diem. The Big West Conference pays about $900 but most are from the West Coast who also do the WCC and PAC12 games. Rarely are any Hawaiian based officials considered to do games on the mainland, because of the travel cost, nor do they do local conference games because of the unfair bias that it would cause. When the mainland officials travel to Hawaii, they are usually here for at least two games and thus get paid per diem for 4 to 5 days, (even though many of them just stay with other local officials!) Now the god of all officials is the Assignor or Conference Coordinator of Officials. He alone decides which officials go where and when and how many games. These games are all assigned at the beginning of the season and changes due to illness or being blacklisted can occur. Officials talk and they know everything about a team before they do their job.

    Now UH has had 14 Technical Fouls against them this year…their opponents have 8. I might point out that NONE have come from the bench. Officials try to find fault in both teams when issuing T’s, but you can see that UH has gone overboard in the balance. UH is marked and some players in particular.

    The GOOD NEWS is IF UH ACTS, the DVD of last night’s game should be forwarded to Conference Coordinator of Officials and thus, we should not have to see them again this year. I did see a BAIT by the official in the Riverside game but if, as Coach said, Nevels was speaking to the Coach, about the no call, then that call falls into the category of another BAIT or RABBIT EARS! Regardless, having 10 of these T’s called in Conference Play, UH is already “marked” and deserving of it. Maybe this team just likes being the underdog or looks for an excuse.

    The other GOOD NEWS is if you have not noticed, even the comments in the SA are so pro-BOWZ…you’ve got this State’s attention…let’s see how you finish off the year.

    GO BOWZ…kick some more ass!

  9. The call on Jovanovic on the baseline was a mistake, his feet were way inside the court. I guess officials make mistakes, but i think the official’s peripheral vision was off on that one.

  10. Backbeat, Thanks for the background on officiating. Who decides whether to forward the game film. Benjy does not seem like he is upset enough or willing to forward the film to complain.

  11. By rule, UH must provide the officials with a dvd of the game…now whether or not that gets to the Coordinators hands or not, I don’t know. That is something that should be taken up by Ben Jay IF Benjy says okay.

    Now one other things to consider is that officials that work the UH games all report any improprieties to the Coordinator to protect themselves from getting shelved. IF that Coordinator has heard enough negativity from crews of officials and not from the university, then he may be the one telling his crews to squelch it from the get go.

    Officials love getting games that have few transition breaks and teams that run half court sets…we call them “Cruise Games” or “Easy Money”. UH is the exact opposite of that and thus they are always fighting to get into position for the breakaway calls. Such was the case on Nevel’s dunk attempt and the would be steal that both UH players were being held while trying to fetch the tipped ball. Although close to being a travel, the ball on the guys hip was not called because of loss of control.

    Announcers are always the worse people to listen to regarding officiating. As officials, we watch hours of video of the previous year’s NCAA Tournament calls and rarely do you get an announcer who knows not only the rules but just how to enforce it. We can only laugh at their ignorance.

  12. Officials are going to miss foul calls now on then — like when Jankovic got roughed on his drive (resulting in Fleming’s injury) or when Nevels got hammered on the head on his dunk attempt (that eventually led to his technicals) or when two Hawaii players both got run through from behind while trying to save the ball from going out of bounds — but two no-calls stood out last night.

    The first was when a Fullerton player picked up his dribble, trapping the ball to his body, and taking 1, 2, 3 steps. No travel call, and I don’t believe the player lost possession in that sequence.

    The second, as islandman mentioned above, came on Jovanovich’s baseline drive in which he clearly was in-bounds (by a foot) the entire way. Interestingly, the official on the baseline was in the right position, performed the correct mechanics by pointing to the baseline when he made the wrong call. It was almost as if he anticipated Jovanovich stepping on the line, and carried through with the call.

    Speaks more to their incompetency than any awareness of UH’s reputation. For the sake of the conference’s reputation, this crew should be evaluated.

  13. Apologies for sustaining discussion about officiating. Lost in all of this was a heck of an effort by the team. As Taylor said, they had every reason to fold in the second half. Instead, they upped their game and totally dominated. They should be proud of their performance.

  14. Backbeat, thanks for being an official. It’s a thankless job, nobody much likes the officials and they work hard, especially, like you mention, when they have to officiate the type of rapid pace game the bows play.

  15. I like the chemistry and togetherness of this team exhibited throughout the season. Late in the game last night when the win was well in hand, I looked at the bench and noticed that Jovanovich had just been subbed out and went to sit between Isaac Fleming and Mike Thomas. He placed one arm around Fleming’s shoulder and the other arm around Thomas and his expression was that of consoling with them on their injuries. That was a moment I wish had been captured in a photo.

  16. Does anyone know what happened to Jawato?? Did he quit the team? He wasn’t on the bench last night and we could have used him…

  17. I saw Jawato last night in the same or similar UH outfits as Buscher and Stepteau were wearing.

    Don and Scott Robbs said that the Fabulous Five of the past got an emotional standing ovation last night from the fans, when they were introduced. They said great idea by Benjy to have the alumni game.

    Artie said earlier that Tom Henderson may come next year. This year he was notified on too short a notice. Artie said Tim Bross, Admin. Assistant on the basketball staff was a real moving force in getting out the former players or something like that.

  18. Jawato reportedly is finished for the season b/c of a bulging disk in his back.

  19. Some officials come here to officiate and some come to have a good time. Just like some workers really work and some go through the motions to collect their paychecks. That official that called Jankovic on the baseline was still at the beach. Who cares it’s just a silly game right? UH pays through their teeth to bring in officials. That’s what happens when you can’t pick who you want to officiate your games. We are at the mercy of the NCAA officiating union. They got bottom dwellers there too and it looks like we got them last night.

  20. test- 😐

  21. I think we all agree that the officiating was bad and players get frustrated but it should never be acceptable to get technical fouls, especially two. The amount of techs we have picked up this year is plain embarrassing. We are developing the wrong type of reputation with the officials. Benjy needs to assert control over his team.

  22. Shame to hear about Jawato…That guy has had alot of misfortune since his Freshman season…

  23. Pono…man…let it go..benjy real balancing act..and team heading for 20 win season
    bruh..give it a rest
    this team getting hammered and no fouls called
    nevels got crushed in head

    Let benjy and bows battle.
    now we know uh mbb can win with 5 guards on floor
    so proud of team

    Pono..more concerned for Aaron, Isaac and Mike’s injuries..

    Go bows and keep emotions in check..they will

  24. That was definitely the worst officiated game ever. When you start to notice the refs more that the game itself then there is a problem. This is NCAA Basketball! How can you miss a simple call like traveling.

  25. Supposedly the Refs are bad/good equally to all in the BW and having no intentions of picking on any particular team(s). All teams live with the bad calls and “bad” refs.

    Lately you don’t hear opposing Coaches complain about the officiating in Hawaii as they used to in the past. Having seen bad calls against the Rainbow Warriors playing in Hawaii hopefully has diminished the stigma of homer refs. lol

    When I hear the “media” saying the Refs may be looking closely at UH’s players because of the complaining I tend to believe it and it showed last night.

    And as another poster posted, I hope UHbb has sent in a complaint with video of the game. These refs need to be taught a lesson or they need to be dismissed to look for another job or getting some Glasses.

  26. Pono right on the money. Players need to keep emotions in check. Too much palms out and looks of disbelief after a lot of calls. They can’t all be bad. Overheard fan at game telling young son that no matter what the call is to keep quiet and go play. Good advice for team. Could cost them in a big game

  27. Concerning the injuries…

    According to the Star Advertiser, Fleming’s status for this week’s road games is “doubtful” while the status’s for Mike Thomas and Aaron Valdes are currently “probable.”

    Which probably means Quincy Smith plays major minutes to spell both Nevels and Bobbitt… and Niko Filipovich will definitely make appearances in both games.

    Regardless… to win these games, we’ve got to stop the 3 point shooting of Irvine and Davis… we’ll continue the press against Davis since they’re susceptible to it.. but against Irvine, we hold back the press, to ensure we get our perimeter defense set against the Irvine guards.

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