Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors rout Fullerton for 20th victory


Consider the momentum seized. The University of Hawai’i basketball team got the performance it needed in a convincing 91-70 road victory over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday afternoon.

A crowd of 860 at Titan Gym in Fullerton, Calif., watched the Warriors control the game from start to finish to secure fifth place in the Big West Conference.

Hawai’i completed its regular-season with a 20-12 overall record, giving the program back-to-back 20-win seasons for just the third time in its collegiate history. The Warriors also finished 8-8 in the Big West, and will be the No. 5 seed at next week’s Big West Conference Tournament at Anaheim, Calif.

“I was kind of glad how we won this game, too,” head coach Benjy Taylor said. “We had a lot of energy and it felt really good to have everybody back and healthy and not limping around. We haven’t had that since the start of conference play.”

All 11 players on the active roster saw action, and five finished with double-figure points. The Warriors shot a season-best 56.1 percent (32 for 57) from the field, and the 21-point margin was their second-largest of this season.

“It’s great to get the 20th win today,” senior captain Garrett Nevels said. “I feel like we got some more momentum going into the conference tournament.”

Hawai’i will face No. 4 seed Long Beach State in the first round of the Big West tournament on Thursday, March 12, at 12:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time) at the Honda Center. The Warriors will remain in Fullerton through the tournament, rather than return to Honolulu for a few days.


“We got a lot of rest today,” Taylor said, referring to an equal distribution of minutes among the key players. “We really have to be smart the remainder of the week until we play on Thursday. We gotta be smart about it. We have to fine tune some things and make sure we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Nevels led the balanced attack with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.

Sophomore center Stefan Jovanovic scored a career-high 15 points in 17 minutes off the bench, shooting 5 for 6 from the field and 5 for 6 on free throws. Sophomore forward Aaron Valdes had 12 points, nine rebounds, and two highlight-reel dunks.

Freshman guard Isaac Fleming – playing his most effective game since suffering a sprained ankle on Feb. 14 – contributed 11 points and six assists. Sophomore forward Stefan Jankovic added 10 points and six rebounds.

“We just have a lot of people that can put the ball in the basket,” Nevels said. “We have at least five or six people that can get double digits and when we do that, it’s tough to beat us.”

Negus Webster-Chan added eight points and three steals; Mike Thomas had six points and five rebounds; Quincy Smith scored six; Roderick Bobbitt had three points and three assists, but did not get a steal for only the second game this season. He appeared to intercept a pass early in the game, but apparently was not credited with a steal.

“I was able to sit some guys tonight and guys came in and played well,” Taylor said. “It was a lot of fun. It was a pretty excited locker room. It felt like a weight was lifted because 20 wins is big time for this group.”

After dropping its home finale to UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, Hawai’i came out strong on Saturday, jumping to a 14-1 lead to open the game. Valdes capped the run with an alley-oop dunk off a lob pass from Bobbitt.

The Titans got as close as 31-28 with 3:03 remaining in the first half, but Hawai’i closed the half with an 8-3 run to take a 39-31 lead at intermission.


The Warriors shot 57.1 percent (16 for 28) from the field in the first half, while Fullerton shot 38.7 percent (12 for 31). Jankovic shot 5 for 7 from the field and scored 10 points in the first half.

Fullerton scored the first five points of the second half to get as close as three again, 39-36. But Hawai’i responded immediately with an 11-0 surge to regain control with a 50-36 lead. Valdes again punctuated the surge with a highlight reel dunk.

The Titans never got closer than eight points in the final 16 minutes, and the Warriors turned it into a rout in the final 10 minutes.

“It’s really good to see because when I go to my bench now I have a little bit better feel for what we’re going to get off the bench,” Taylor said. “We’re a lot more explosive now, and we’re just better.”

Fullerton, which had already clinched last place in the Big West, completed its season at 9-22 overall and 1-15 in conference. As the ninth-place team, the Titans did not qualify for the eight-team Big West Tournament. Alex Harris led the Titans with 15 points and six assists.

The only other Hawai’i teams to post consecutive 20-win seasons were the Fabulous Five teams of 1970-71 and 1971-72, and the “A.C. & Alika” teams of 1996-97 and 1997-98. Previous UH teams also did it in the 1940s, but those schedules included non-collegiate opponents.


(Game photos courtesy Warren Haraki)


Saturday’s Big West Results
UC Santa Barbara 64, Cal Poly 56
Long Beach State 59, UC Riverside 58
Hawai’i 91, Cal State Fullerton 70
UC Davis 80, UC Irvine 61

Big West Conference Tournament
Thursday, March 12

No. 1 UC Davis vs. No. 8 CSUN, 9 a.m.
No. 4 Long Beach State vs. No. 5 Hawai’i, 11:30 a.m.
No. 3 UC Irvine vs. No. 6 UC Riverside, 3 p.m.
No. 2 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 7 Cal Poly

NOTE: Teams will be re-seeded for Friday’s semifinals, and the highest remaining seed will play the lowest remaining seed.

Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 9.02.10 PM


  1. Give em heck bows
    chancellor…20 wins and counting
    hurry with the hire
    so coach can recruit big and shooter

    Good job Bows!!

    MATCHING BEST IN 10 Years….
    ON FIRST “TRY” (For BT)
    One, TWO Three?
    OR Even Earn or “BUY” More…
    The Crowds Continue to Get Bigger
    So CIT Break-Even Possible

    Back-to-Back 90+ Point Games
    Back-to-Back 20-WIN Seasons!

    Way to Go, ‘Bows!



  3. G Money : Warriors about to “Make Noise in March”… they going get some money, or earn money, grind, etc.. 21st century.. saying, eat…hungry… They going to win ball games.. Now, time to go on a 4 or 5 game winning streak.

    Glad that whole team healthy, and the settled down. amazing Resiliency.. again.. They Lost the Senior White out nite game, and they bounce back for a huge Momentum end of regular season win.. Now rest up, focus..Benjy go easy on practice, keep cardio up, rehab, and work on scout.. the 3rd game against same team the Toughest one, like UH vs CSUN in tourney last year.

    Go Bows.. Oct. 28 2014.. MBB world and program seemingly attacked and hacked, and burned to the ground.. however.. Commander Benjy Taylor helps to steady the helm.. lead the Ship through the turbulent storm, the Perfect
    Storm of Adversity.. and he is getting National Respect.. Chancellor BV… it IS URGENT.. get a done deal, behind the scenes.. let Benjy and Que go to work to get 2 more JC recruits.. to ensure the next 2 years.. Lock that staff in place soon !!

  4. Only the 4th UH team to have two back to back at least 20 win seasons, per SA news article.
    Other teams were 1996-97 & 1997-98 (AC Carter, Alika) / 1970-71 & 1971-72 (Fabulous Five) / 1947-48,1948-49,1949-50 (coach Art Gallon).

    The Gallon teams played a few colleges, more so in 1949-50. They played in the NIBA tournament in 1949 and had interesting opponents such as Liberty House, Wailuku Sugar, CYO, Hawaii Marines, Honolulu Police; Puerto Rican All-Stars, Charley’s Arcade, AJA All-Stars, Chinen Service, Hawaiian All-Stars, Hilo Collegians; Subpac Raiders, McKinley Auto Paint, et al. (Hawaii Athletics website-All time results)

    Krusha on wsn forum pointed out that Benjy is only the 2nd UH coach to win 20 games in their first season as head coach at UH. The other was Art Gallon in 1947-48 but he had a much easier overall schedule. Though in 1949-50, it looks like they spent the whole month of February on the road against collegiate competition playing 13 games with only one win.

  5. Warrior Insider pointed out the 20 win back to back seasons in UH history in the story above .

  6. Dayto, thanks for the game time info. Didn’t notice that DST starts on March 8, so three hr. time difference from PT now. I got lost even yesterday, missed the UH first half, since UH website lists only the PT on its home page.

  7. Above s/b “Dayton”

    Benjy and Co. WILL Look at EACH Opponent, day-by-day, game-by-game,

    and decide what Factors based on Two Previous Meetings ARE Most Significant, such as Turnover-Disrupt VERSUS Stay On-Man to Deny Passes & Threes, and
    IF Applied Effectively Give Hawai’i the Best Chance of WINNING…

    In Several Cases, although “we can play with anyone”,
    The Fact they had More Success in The BWC (Standings) and/or
    Beat US, maybe swept (so far, Twice this year)

    means we have to pull an upset and
    Play Better than we’ve Shown for All 40-50 minutes…

    AS Cal-Poly Demonstrated a year ago
    (Then Finished Two Games Behind Us This Year,
    Despite having More Returning Starters)……


    A Wise Comment from One Who KNOWS:

    QUOTING From OUR Big West Champion in Today’s HSA (via Cindy Luis)

    “We’re a defensive team and we didn’t always show it this season…
    We had to re-commit to rebounding and defense, and
    once we did that, we started to rack up some wins.

    “As long as we do that, i think we can be very, very successful.
    You know, tournament basketball’s very different.
    It’s NOT the best team, it’s the best tournament team…”

    GO ‘BOWS !
    G! Money Time!

    [BTW, I “Read / Interpret” this more accurately as
    “MAKE IT RIGHT/ JUST” (For Departed? For Staff & Team?)


    Back-to-Back: Lightning Strikes Twice?!
    Underdog Wins It All @BWC?
    The Fact It Happens Once, Makes It More Likely to Happen Again
    At Least We Have a WINNING Record…
    And Some Big-Time Talent and Defense

    GO ‘BOWS!

  9. Yes Eagle….have to Focus, everything.. Tournament play….ON Next Game at hand.. the Biggest game, and the Win that UH MBB wants now.. is the first round Win against LBSU, . you just know that Caffey will probably play much better, and some other LBSU, either Samuels, or maybe 2 more shooters will go off.. UH just has to play the Best Basketball of the Season…Battle, for 40 minutes or overtimes.. Win and move on to semis. lose.. and We thank Benjy and The Bows. for , in just my opinion One of The Best , most rewarding under the dire circumstances MBB season I have ever witnessed..

    Eagle, Backbeat, Chuck, etc.. on side note, that battle brewing between BV / UH and GA/his counsel, man that is interesting.. see how it turns out.

    Still think…AD is just lame duck…however Interim Chancellor BV.. has to Really Step big time, and his counsel, or Power that Be up above him, should speak for the UH on his behalf.. lesson learned from small kine days.. Think Before you speak or are quoted.. and Make Sure You know what you are doing… Is It Academics, supplemented by Athletics to enrich student life, or is It Exclusively Academics Institution with Athletics as an Asterisk?
    The lack of urgency to help get MBB coach, whomever in place, cripples recruiting, maybe not just for this season, however for seasons to come..
    Would think UH admin would have learned.. Still other institutions.. No Need New hire AD to hire the next HC(and good chance BT gets it), chancellor, can make the call, or that committee, hope it has ex UH MBB athletes on that selection committee..

    Finish Strong.. maybe.. Get it Right, .. pono.. for The Betterment of the Student Athletes. and the good ohana who suffer.

  10. 5 reasons why we have a GREAT shot at beating Long Beach:

    1. Long Beach’s best and most important player is Mike Caffey. Rod Bobbitt will be on him all game.

    2. Long Beach is ranked 6th in the Big West in field goal percentage: 42%… even less than Hawaii AND. Long Beach is ranked 5th in the Big West in 3 point percentage: Far behind Davis, Irvine and Santa Barbara (the type of teams that can kill Hawaii)

    3. Long Beach is 3-5 since Feb. 7 and barely squeaked by Riverside the other day, 59-58.

    4. Long Beach commits the 2nd most turnovers in the Big West.

    5. Long Beach is the WORST free throw shooting team in the Big West.

    *** I cannot pick a better team for Hawaii to play other than Fullerton ***

  11. njacinto..
    We all cheering for bows
    If they shoot well
    Especially in paint and transition
    UH should win
    Lesson learned from last season
    Seeding almost does’t matter .ask cal poly

    Team healthy and on mission
    What a full.circle …remember last November?
    UH gets huge win against pitt on maui
    Also good showing florida tourney
    And DHC run
    Hope UH..Plays like that first half year run
    Past 2 games UH scored total of 181 points averaging 90.5 ppg
    Offensively they are ready
    Shooting over 50 % for those 2 games
    Key..execution and shutdown defense
    UH gets first win,,no matter what happens semifinals
    Coach and team should be rewarded
    They deserve it,,
    True warriors!!

    Remimds me of 1994 trevor ruffin led team
    Peaking at right time
    If UH makes it to championship game matter outcome

    Just have to win first game
    Staff..coach and team should be rewarded

    Go Bows!!

  12. Runbows…

    You’re right… this team reminds me of 1994 a little… tough road games at the start of the season… then finding its groove in the WAC tournament… Jarinn Akana had a big role in 1994… ironically, he also is somewhat involved with the 2015 version.

  13. Saw last few seconds of West Coast Conference tournament qtr. final game yesterday, No. 6 seed Portland def. No. 3 St. Mary’s, 69-52 .

  14. After getting to 20 wins it’s all gravy now as far as how far we will go. It’s scary to think what this team will be like next year. Add a few more key players and we got the makings of truly special team. As it is now we got mostly freshmen and sophomores on this team. That’s two solid years of the same players getting better each year.

    Benji said that he recruited Isaac Flemming as a point guard. No doubt Benji got a Derrick Rose type player that can do it all. Unlike Rose though, hopefully Isaac will remain healthy. But there will be bumps and bruises because that’s what makes Isaac so special; he’s not afraid to mix it up among the trees.

    Fact every player on this team is special. Their talents will blossom down the road as they continue to play with each other. Remember the Derrick Low Washington Courgars team? They weren’t so hot their first year together. But the next two years they really took off. They reached sweet 16 in NCAA Tournament. Hawaii got similar talent and could very well rival that team in the coming years.

    In the meantime we got business to take care of in Anaheim.

  15. servante

    Like Mid Range game summarized.. This Team Through Adversity… we have to, whether new or long time fan APPRCIATE what Benjy and Team have accomplished.. if they finish one and done(I hope not.. team going to make it happen, have to get LBSU win)you are right, the 20 win back to back, and that is something that Garrett and Jawato can carry with them on into the future, they were part of a MBB program that won over.. , counting this gravy portion. of possibly 40 plus games.. which any mid major, or P6 conference teams would die .. for.. as was stated. out of 351 NCAA DI MBB programs,.. not even 100 of them, I don’t think so.. have 20 wins or more at this point.. very special doesn’t matter conference or SOS..20 wins.. remarkable.. and possibility.. Team might have folded.. just closed up shop in Oct when Gib was fired.. credit to Benjy, Senque, Brad and Brandon, their staff, the secretary, MVP trainer Jay Goo, and finally I hope he has permanent with Benjy and current staff, 3 year or more run as the MBB staff, that go to the NCAA’s and NIT’s for next 3 years and more..

    Gravy.. yes, as mid range said.. We gotta appreciate what we have something so Special.. Coach Taylor , the families of the guys and 14 very, very special student athletes.. got 20 and counting wins.. LOVE THIS TEAM.. much more, or different type of adversity than WBB, .. LB did great job too.
    Wish come true.. This time next week if UH MBB AND WBB both get seeded in NCAA tournament..if not..well Great Season for one or BOTH teams winners

    Now Chancellor BV.. get off of the snide..and come on board to help solidify MBB, by hiring a MBB HC quickly.. front of the pack , no question , Papa Bear, Benjy Taylor.. great job.

    20 wins and counting.. Gravy Train to NCAA tourney.. if they get one or two more wins.. excellent.. if they lose first round.. they will go down fighting..

    Next Thursday…healthy UH MBB. will battle as they have all season

    Like that 1994 Trevor Ruffin Team that went NCAA’s… nobody gave them a chance, and they went Dancing !
    Go Rainbow Warriors..pretty sure, BM, hoopsbal.., DR, and WI Dayton going to have great articles interviews and real time videos.. of buildup to BWC tourney for MBB and WBB

    This SEASON at 20 wins.. MBB Winners already !!

  16. AND THANKYOU TO JAMIE SMITH.. for coming all the way back to Hawaii after all of the hassle getting that work visa straightened out.
    Best case scenario.. Benjy retained, 1 or 2 year guaranteed deal, with his current staff intact, and Jamie Smith, locked in for 2 years.. in his position./

    That UH Athletics webmaster, or the ones doing the update. sheesh at least put in Jamie Smith’s picture and posted job…He is not on the coaches/roster.. site for UH MBB.. should be. he loves Hawaii, and carries on something that GA started

    Eagle.. yes, double meaning , I get it.. pono..get it right,.. Finish
    Strong for current and the recent past..

  17. Hey fans.. If that was the last game of season at Fullerton, and UH MBB very young team, with great finish by G Money too. at 20 wins.. I am very, very Happy

    Crazy and sad start to fall MBB season… and a final Win in Cali would be appropriate.
    However.. team healthy strong, and playing As Team, they have a chance. One win at a time.

    Like Trevor, and Jarin Akana, John Molle Jr., Walter Bonner, Tony Maroney, Phil Handy, Kalia McGee, they just went for it, 3 games won in that 1994 WAC tourney, and in Salt Lake City, Utah, upset top seeded BYU.. against the infamous Reid brothers.. and Coach Reid of BYU.. came back I think from 12 pts down with about 7 minutes left and won I think by 7..
    UH MBB team 2015 March BWC tournament.. we won’t be sad either.. way just battle one game at a time.. Win first, then go for second.. Either way VERY proud of Benjy and The Bows !!

  18. First off (to RunBows), I hope to make a NEW name this week, as my son and I leave Wednesday for Anaheim once again and watch four games a day (maybe even catch some Wahine action), and root, hope, pray for a better result than last year’s absolute heartbreak!!! We have been to every single home game this season and are very proud of this team. My son and I are looking forward to bringing one home!!! GO BOWS

  19. Broken……….(hope not this year, though this team has made a lot of UH MBB fans hearts glad !!)

    .Our Unified hearts are with you and your son…Hope it is ElatedHearts in Anaheim, or something like that.. Hey, If UH MBB wins first round game.. first time in long.time.. And hope you and Papa Valdes get attention of coaches.. Do Not Call Timeout.. if not needed.. Still remember that CSUN game.. man, thousands of us watching in Hawaii, what an ending.. Left a whole state Broken hearted!!

    Have a good run in the tournament !! Man, MBB and WBB , make sure Win That First One.. !!

    Enjoy, yes , we remember you chiming in with great thoughts. from summer time, till now !!
    Wish you and son a great time in Anaheim..cannot wait.. I think UH MBB team is ready… Just GET WIN number one, then go from there !!


  20. MBB and WBB: All The Way To NCAA’s in Anaheim !

  21. Bravehearts in Anaheim…
    Our Day WILL Come…Soon …

Leave a Response

Login or fill in the fields below to comment. (New user? Register)