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Warriors draw upset specialists for Diamond Head Classic opener

If the University of Hawai’i basketball team wants to make a name for itself nationally at the upcoming Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, it now has an opportunity to upset the team that is now known nationally as the upset specialists.

Northern Iowa, the Warriors’ opening night opponent for the Diamond Head Classic, is arriving in Honolulu fresh off an upset of No. 5 Iowa State on Saturday. It was the Panthers’ second victory over a top-five team this season. Last month, they knocked off then-No. 1 North Carolina.

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Despite the two huge victories, the Panthers are unranked with a 7-3 record. Their three losses are against Colorado State, at Richmond, and at New Mexico.

Hawai’i is 7-1, but has not played since December 12. What’s more, the Warriors have not faced NCAA Division I competition since December 2, as their last two wins have come against NCAA-II “neighbors” Hawai’i-Hilo and Hawai’i Pacific.

Meanwhile, Northern Iowa put on quite a show on national television (ESPNU) in its win over Iowa State. The Panthers shot 13 for 22 from 3-point range in the upset of Iowa State, and 11 for 28 in the upset of North Carolina.

Two players were particularly impressive for the Panthers in the victory over Iowa State. Wes Washpun, a 6-foot-1 senior point guard, had 28 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds; Paul Jesperson, a 6-6 senior shooting guard, shot 7 for 9 from 3-point range, including several from NBA range, and finished with 21 points.

Hawai’i is set to host Northern Iowa at the Stan Sheriff Center on December 22 at 8 p.m. Other opening day games for the Diamond Head Classic on that day are: Auburn vs. New Mexico, 9:30 a.m.’ BYU vs. Harvard, 11:30 a.m.; Oklahoma vs. Washington State, 6 p.m.

Oklahoma is currently ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25, and is expected to remain in that spot when the new poll is released on December 21. If the Sooners stay at No. 3, they will be the highest-ranked team ever to participate in the Diamond Head Classic.

The Diamond Head Classic started in 2009, and is run by ESPN. Prior to that, UH’s premier tournament was the Rainbow Classic, and Hawai’i would traditionally draw the lowest-ranked opponent on the opening night.

29 Comments

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

    Upset the Upsetters

  2. Ok, so they beat Iowa State who was without their best player. The highlights of the best UNI player really weren’t that all impressive. I only hope the ESPN officials treat Hawaii (and all teams) fairly in the DHC.

  3. Warriors , Protect the House !

  4. Washpun plays like Fleming in the video and also shoots left handed.

  5. yes he does but Fleming is way better.

  6. Depends How fouls and who has the most attempts at free throws.. they way UH plays, when getting after it with their D, they could be called for a lot of fouls, or if UH goes to the rim.. they will be fouled..

    So , like HS, small college, NBA, and DI BB ball, been noticing.. teams that Shoot Their Free Throws well.. attempt AND MAKE the Free throws from first minute till the last seconds.. Those teams are winning the games.. unless. like UNI.. even on the road.. they shoot the 3 ball very well.. the great equalizer..
    Can UH defend the 3? How they do it, is just like last few years.. get after it on D, early.. disrupt the flow , slow down UNI from getting into their offense.. unless.. their guys are really BB IQ smart.. looks like they are.. wins over NC and Iowa St.. with or without best player on THEIR HOME court.. the number One and number Five team going down.. that is impressive.. and Their RPI.. islandman, ? what UH is number 74? and UNI is currently 84? wild !

  7. UH RPI rank went down to 71 and UNI went up to 42 as of today, per NCAA site.

  8. Another short clip on Washpun’s playing,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwoEsppzyMc

  9. Washpun.. interesting, transfer from U. of Tenn. Volunteers..
    6’1′ 175..

  10. UNI is shooting 42.4 % for 3-pt FG’s and 50.5 % overall. 4 of their players who play important minutes shoot over 43.5 % for 3’s and they have made 97 3’s vs.49 for UH.
    Team FT % is 71.9 % with two starters shooting at least 81.8 %.
    Jesperson is shooting at 44.8 % on threes and 84 % on Ft’s.

  11. they shoot well.. I guess perimeter attack, with Washpun the PG.. directing attack..
    Their losses to New Mexico, Colorado St. and Richmond.. oh, oh.. Richmond Spiders. ala mater of former .. yes, a former guard..

  12. I’d say 28-11-7 against the No 5 team is more than impressive. I watched some of the game and I was impressed by Washpun, who looks bigger than 175 pounds (broad-shouldered) and plays with confidence. Good matchup for Bobbitt.
    UNI is tough on the perimeter as nearly everyone has the green light to shoot from 3. But UH plays well in the classic. This should be a good one.

  13. New Mexico RPI, 79,Colorado St, 165, Richmond 65.

  14. Let’s face it, UH is overrated.

  15. Washpun plays like Fleming did in the eighth grade. East coast basketball is overrated, BWC underrated. Remember UH-Wichita State game last year? We would have beaten Texas Tech on a neutral ground with fair refs. We’re going to beat UNI by more than 8pts.

  16. Ha! Ha! Love your bravado, and hope your prediction is spot-on.

  17. UNI’s poor excuse for a fan site http://www.panthernation.com has a thread on the game against us. They list our starting lineup and bench, but Bobbitt isn’t listed anywhere. Hopefully the UNI coaching staff has that same list.

  18. islandman,

    I was thinking the same and the UNI guard has some really nice jump shots not mentioning the video showed he nailed them all. lol

    But nice moves to get that nice jump shots off. I think Coach puts Bobbitt on him to take away his dribbling some as to have to worry about not getting his handle picked.

  19. well.. ..

    We all been looking forward to DHC.. the REAL test, to see how team do this year..

    UNI… won big one against NC at home.. snuck out upset of number 5 Iowa St.. even with key big, out for year…still to beat a Big 12 Power conference team, ranked. on their home floor.. is HUGE..

    SSC UH friendly.. I think UH feels they Can NEVER lose this year on their court.. we shall see…

    They , UH,.. play really well at home in Hawaii..

    Derek.. I think coach Ganot AND team. know they have to be better in All phases of game.. that FT shooting. if they are only hitting near 60 percent. with key PG or off guard.. hitting only near 50 percent.. auwe..

    We shall see… I would think even Harvard.. smart BB IQ team. disciplined will give UH a good game if they match up.. pretty good field this year..

  20. I think Coach has put a noose on Bobbitts d game going for the steals. Really, he don’t look the same the last 3 games or so, not saying it’s a bad thing to do but… . Now, this is just my opine, I know nothing, never played the game or know any moves or plays in any playbook played out. lol

  21. Maybe? Ganot trying to get his guards on board.. Q always the Team guy.. Flemming and Rod.. just settle into team, style of ball.. I don’t know either..

    Think this year.. A definite Pass for Eran, with whatever come down from ncaa ruling.. and just having the team be compliant.. Matlin say too, and coach.. Wins not big thing.. nice if they do get 25.. however. .just getting MBB program in right direction.. which is okay..

    however for fans like eagle, jjay, Derek,.. etc.. We all been wating for what? since Nash 3 year , and this past 5 year tenure of GA and BT.. Waiting for THIS year to be NIT or NCAA bound year..

    I think.. still wait and see..
    once again.. ALL I WANT NOW? Aaron, Janks, Q, Rod, possibly Dyrbe.. get their degrees and grad in May.. whatever will be will be this spring !
    Go Bows.. and play to win that DHC..

    Pocho, agree.. that D up.. pressure and steals.. and transition.. that is when UH is at the very best..
    slow down. and foul game,.. and miss Free throws.. that is kind of dull..

    Go Bows/ Warriors.. just win as many games as you can. FOR the guys graduating !

  22. Well the Classic is finally here. This will be a great test for the team and see what they are really made of.

    I don’t know about you folks, but this team has been a little different in the last 3 weeks. Can’t put my finger on it, but there is something different. Talk with those where we sit at games and they too feel the same way.

    At what point do we think that Coach will institute a bit more half court pressure where the team can score more points off of steals or bad passes? Or is coach not doing this to keep the players out of foul trouble?

    Go Bows!!!

  23. thought was just our, WI imagination.. however you are right.. Something Different about this year team, though the same D oriented, push team..
    Wonder if Ganot is trying to move MBB towards his vision. style of ball, the St Mary’s , San Antonio, Riley Flex, and disciplined BB? maybe ..
    I know.. don’t look back, however Last Year, MBB team, same guys basically, with Janks just back and eligible. Almost won that thing !

  24. Rod, Isaac, and Q should be able to take turns to guard Washpun. Each one of them can D him up and each one brings a different style of D. He doesn’t impress me at all.

    Bows will need to play tough on the boards and grab those rebounds. Shoot better at the FT line.

    I’d like to see a little twist added to the style of offense that the Bows play and have AV be the one in. Don’t think that whoever guards him will be able to stop him or out jump him for rebounds. Keep Janks out on the perimeter where he can hit his 3’s or short jumpers. Thus brining their big man out from under the basket.

    Go Bows!!!

  25. I think the manoa crazies have to come out for This one or have they all gone home for the holidays. Gotta have that home court advantage but if it’s crickets smh

  26. Please, my friends… before we get carried away about how we’re going to beat UNI and how Isaac Fleming is just as good (or even better) than Wes Washpun, we need to look as some FACTS:

    1. UNI in the last few weeks already has 2 marquee wins over top 5 teams: North Carolina and Iowa State. It’s just a matter of time before UNI is in the top 25.

    2. UNI won the Missouri Valley Conference last year, even beating Wichita State… something we couldn’t even do last year. Close doesn’t count. UNI went 30-3 in the MVC, and 16-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference! One of the top basketball conferences in the country.

    3. UNI is more than just Wes Washpun. UNI has 4 other players who all shoot over 40% from 3-point range! That’s deadly.

    The player that Hawaii has played against this year that comes the closest to Wes Washpun is Marqueze Coleman of Nevada, who scored 34 against us. By the way, Rod Bobbitt scored 10 points, was 4 for 15 shooting, had only 1 steal, but had 3 turnovers. We were pretty lucky to win that game.

    If Hawaii is to win this game, Hawaii has to play some amazing perimeter defense, Hawaii has to shoot over 60% from the field, and Hawaii has to have a few breaks along the way. I badly want Hawaii to win this game… but we have to temper our expectations. We’re playing someone who beat North Carolina.

  27. njacinto, a rebuttal to your points.

    1) UNC game was played in Iowa, and UNC was without their best player. UNC also recently lost to unranked Texas. Basically, UNC are/were overrated. In win over Iowa, Iowa was also without their best player.

    2) UNI were a much, much, much better team last year when they won their conference. We lost to Wichita State by 1 point in OT. That just means we were pretty much at the same level as them.

    3) Good for them. We average 10 steals per game.

    As for Coleman, how many of those points were on free throws? 15. Yes, 15. We weren’t lucky to win that game. We deserved to win that game, especially considering we were up 40-28 at the end of the first half. We were just stupid, complacent to give up that 12-point lead.

    If Hawaii plays to their full potential, they can beat anyone.

  28. TAVS…

    1. If North Carolina was without their best player and played Hawaii at the Stan or on Maui, is Hawaii REALLY going to beat North Carolina??? Come on.

    2. We LOST to Wichita State. I don’t care if we lost by 20, by 10, or by 1… we still couldn’t finish the job last year. UNI’s BEST win last year was over Wichita State. They’re not playing the MVC season yet and they ALREADY have 2 marquee wins THIS YEAR… I’m not sure you can safely say they were better last year than now. If they lost to Hawaii tomorrow… then you’re right. I HOPE they lose! LOL

    3. My friend, we average 10 steals… but who did we play? Besides, I’m not sure forcing turnovers is going to be the KEY against UNI.

    Hawaii’s perimeter defense will have to be really good, and at the same time put in some match up zone to disrupt the passing lanes. That’s how UNI kills you… their inside-out passing forces the man defense to break down, which leaves at least one shooter on the wing to catch and shoot. UNI’s players (except for Washpun) get most of their three point shots from these outlet passes, not from off the dribble. Washpun is the ONLY guy who truly creates his own shots. Everyone else gets theirs from their precise passing.

    Go watch the New Mexico / UNI game on WATCHESPN… New Mexico handily beats UNI by being physical and deliberate on offense, and then by mixing their zone in on defense and blocking out well to rebound, especially off missed 3 point shots. I think Hawaii CAN play an effective zone when it has to. Not ALL zone defenses give up 3 point shots.

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