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UPDATED: Team effort leads Warriors to road win at Riverside

Bobbitt1_UCR_Haraki

Under adverse conditions for what seems like the umpteenth time, the University of Hawai’i basketball team chalked up yet another impressive victory on Thursday.

This one came in the form of an 80-71 win over UC Riverside, with leading scorer Aaron Valdes sidelined with a turf toe injury, and starting point guard Roderick Bobbitt opening the game on the bench after arriving in Riverside, Calif., earlier in the day.

Senior guard Quincy Smith scored a career-high 17 points to lead a group effort that resulted in the Warriors’ sixth consecutive victory. Hawai’i improved to 14-2 overall and is tied with UC Irvine atop the Big West Conference at 3-0. The Highlanders dropped to 9-10 with their fifth consecutive loss, and 0-3 in the Big West. A crowd of 1,596 at SRC Arena watched the Warriors avenge a loss at Riverside last year.

“Very happy for our guys,” Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot said in a post-game interview on ESPN 1420 radio. “It’s hard to win games; it’s hard to win on the road, and there’s no better feeling than that bus ride back (to the hotel) … We got a lot of contributions from a lot of guys.”

Pass_UCR_Haraki

Among the other main contributors: Mike Thomas had 15 points and nine rebounds, Stefan Jankovic scored an efficient15 points (4 for 7 overall field goals, 3 for 4 from 3-point range, 4 for 4 free throws), Isaac Fleming had 15 points and four rebounds, and Stefan Jovanovic contributed seven points and seven rebounds.

“It’s key, someone always has to step up,” Jankovic said in a post-game interview on ESPN3. “Our team is very deep. Different guys – Quincy Smith, Isaac Fleming, today Michael Thomas, everyone stepped up and that’s what a good team does. It’s not just one guy.”

Valdes, who is averaging 14.8 points per game, was not in uniform, and his right foot remained in a walking boot. Bobbitt was in uniform, but was not in the starting lineup due to recent missed practice time for what was reported as academic issues. He sat out the first five minutes, but then came in to play his regular role.

Bobbitt shot 0 for 7 from the field, but went 6 for 6 on free throws — all in the game’s final five minutes to help secure the win. He finished with six points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals.

In the absence of Bobbitt and Valdes, the new starting lineup featured Smith and Fleming at guards, Sai Tummala and Thomas at forwards, and Jankovic at center.

That group gave the Warriors an 8-3 lead to open the game, and Hawai’i stayed in front the rest of the game. Smith was particularly effective early, scoring 13 points in the first half.

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“Riverside does a good job in the first five minutes of games and we were able to impose our will and have that confidence about us and I thought Quincy had it from the start,” Ganot said. “This was a tremendous all-around game from him, and right off the bat.”

Smith also had a team-high six assists and grabbed five rebounds while playing a career-best 37 minutes.

Hawai’i led by as many as 14 points in the first half, and took a 40-27 lead at halftime. The Warriors appeared to be on the way to a blowout win after increasing the lead to 16 early in the second half, but the Highlanders made a late charge.

A 9-1 surge by Riverside midway through the second half cut the Hawai’i lead to 59-54 with 7:28 remaining. On UH’s next possession, Thomas drained a 3-pointer to deflate the Riverside rally.

Thomas, who entered the game 1 for 10 from 3-point range this season, went 2 for 3 from beyond arc at Riverside.

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“Michael being the rock that he is, he just does so many things and he stuck a couple 3s in there for good measure,” Ganot said. “I think our team, the grit starts with him and Quincy and guys like that. You have to have grit to win on the road and glad we were able to do that.”

Riverside’s top player, senior forward Taylor Johns, was limited to five points and two rebounds, and he fouled out with 9:35 remaining. Bland scored 22 points and Secean Johnson added 21 for the Highlanders.

The Warriors will remain in Southern California for a road game at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday (4 p.m. Hawai’i time). Fullerton (8-7, 1-1) did not play on Thursday.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

Thursday’s Big West Games
UC Santa Barbara 76, at Cal Poly 73
Hawai’i 80, at UC Riverside 71
UC Irvine 58, at Long Beach State 54
at UC Davis 63, CSUN 62

Saturday’s Big West Games
UC Irvine at UC Santa Barbara
Hawai’i at Cal State Fullerton, 4:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Long Beach State at Cal Poly
UC Riverside at CSUN

(Game photos courtesy Warren Haraki)

31 Comments

  1. Rod playing, reason warriors won..
    Warriors end up BWC tournament champs and enter ncaa dance 31-2
    Would not doubt if UH makes final four
    National champs , why not as janks said 2 years ago?
    Cheehoo!
    Fair…right…thanks for post opinions. .

  2. Great Game Bows!
    3 guards that can handle the ball and penetrate in the paint. Janks and Thomas hitting them 3, everyone does their job, it’s a TEAM

  3. Uhfanzonly1, I’m a “one game at a time” kind of gal when it comes to the actual season. I was raised a big baseball fan and am thus very superstitious. I no like bachi the team in any way, so for me…I remain steadily in the present. Every game is an opportunity to improve and to build. Of course we know the goals and we shouldn’t sell ourselves short of the ultimate outcome ever. That said, Saturday’s game is all that matters toward that end. Go Bows!

  4. For those like me who didn’t get to see the game last night, there is a replay available on the list on ESPN3.

  5. Thanks, Chuck. When i get some time to watch it. My internet was not working good last night, only could see the live stats and the radio.

  6. For UH players from California like Quincy, Mike, Roderick and Aaron,these are like home games for them, so they play well there,most of the time. I saw a section cheering for Hawaii. That must be Roderick’s parents in the picture above.

  7. Great That This TEAM has Elevated Itself
    Above BIGWEST TV (with their “ONE-Camera Shoots)

    Doing their Due Diligence: IF You Get to See The ESPN3 Broadcast — I stopped work and phone calls for the last Five Riveting Minutes — the Refs called a ball out-of-bounds off of Quincy Smith — and it was Only the Last Camera angle (credited to ESPN) after what felt like 3-4 mInutes of staring at the screen, that backed up the original ref’s call…
    So…good call …and credit to refs… Like good coaches “know” — they’ll Ask the Refs, “What did you see?” ,,,
    And maybe get a few fair calls of their own later in he game …

    So…Now Step Up OC-16…
    The (Current) TOP FIVE MVB Teams Are All Comng to SSC…
    Ideally Some (ALL) Fall Off After getting Spanked by UH…
    OC: Looking for Every Night Coverage … NOTHING Last Week
    When the Fans See — BOTH Men’s SSC Teams Deserve Packed Arenas, Even Sell-Outs
    History Shows…When Hawai’i SEEs these (Great) Teams ..
    They Wanna See and Support them LIVE….
    (AND You get Better Ratings and Sponsors)

  8. If you had told me that Q and MT would lead the team in minutes before this game started, I would have been surprised, but they played great. I think that’s a credit to Ganot that he’s willing to make in-game adjustments depending on what is working.

    Hope MT is okay because he looked to be holding his wrist down the stretch. He’s been a monster on the boards the past 3 or so games.

    Jovanovic missed some bunnies he usually hits in the first half, then played a very solid second half. As odd as it might seem, he was one of our best options when Riverside went into a zone defense in the second half. Hawaii will have to work on their offense against the zone because I suspect teams will throw it at us until we prove we can consistently beat it (and Irvine regularly uses a zone defense, and they’re likely our top competition for the title). Valdes will help with this when he returns as he’s one of our better set 3pt shooters.

    Looking forward to the Fullerton game. Sounds like Tre Coggins is an explosive scorer to say the least – anyone who can drop 40 in a game should be respected – and Fullerton didn’t play a Thursday game so had a full week to prepare. That said, I fully expect UH to win. Go Warriors!

  9. Congrats to the Warriors on their first road win of the season and starting off 3 – 0 in conference play. Q really came through in this one! I was stoked near the end when he hit both his FT’s…but then he got the ball back and fouled, and I knew liking wouldn’t strike twice :-O All in all, a job well done to each and every player. Bobbitt went 0 – 7 but he must have been dying from the stress, long travel, lack of sleep, heavy feet, etc, etc. He still managed 5 assist + 2 steals against 1 TO in 32 mins…and at least he still made all of his FT’s!

    Some observations…one of the team keys to victory, only 11 TO’s. This has been an achillies heel of UH teams past…throw in another 3 or 4 TO’s and that could have swung the final outcome in UCR’s favor. UCR is a good team! They will finish the year in the top half of the conference. They have the 3rd most total wins in the entire conference (behind UH and Irvine).

    Looking forward to tomorrow night…a win at Fullerton would really legitimize this team as road warriors. I have a feeling AV is doubtful to play, but at least we’ll have a fully rested up Bobbitt to lead the team to victory. Let’s GO BOWS!

  10. Eran praise the athletes, some great recruits. They are playing well.
    🙂

  11. When is NCAA going to respond on post season ban appeal? They should have idea by now.
    It takes forever !

  12. Brandon Akana coaching at Kahuku HS MBB? Good for Brandon ! Very happy !

  13. KellyO:

    You go girl ! Just keep comments, and honesty coming. WI fans appreciate you. You follow team through good and bad times. Hope team goes to ncaa , would be great !
    🙂
    UHF

  14. UH has not filed the actual appeal yet, only filed the intent to appeal.

  15. islandman:

    Mahalo ! NCAA , they take soooo long… just get the business done, yes or no.. sort or like pacific time I guess ? ha ha.
    🙂

  16. Does anybody out there know how to fast forward past the commercials on ESPN3? They make it so hard to watch the replay. Every time I try forward the commercials the video goes back to the start of the whole game.

  17. After watching the replay I am glad to see that Ganot knows the importance of Bobbitt and went with the slap on the wrist of a 5 minute sit down. Bobbitt missed all his shots, even a couple of layups so I think he was jetlagging from the flight but you can still see how important he is to this team just him being out there and running everything. I think he should be back to normal for Fullerton game.

    I don’t expect Mike T and Q to play like this every game but if they can be close to how they played against UCR this team will be dangerous for any opponents!

  18. Great team effort last night, and nowhere was that reflected more in the rebounds. Eight of nine players who saw action got at least two rebounds, with only Niko (four minutes) shut out. Then again, he did hit two crucial (aren’t they all?) free throws.

    I liked how Ganot employed the Stefs down the stretch, with Jankovich (foul trouble) in on offense and Jovanovich on defense. That proved critical when Jovanovich got those back-to-back blocks (though the box score credits him with just one, how you figgah?). When Curran praised Ganot for that strategy, he deflected the compliment: “It’s the players who make the coaches look good.”

    As for streaming broadcasts, I mentioned this last season but I’ll repeat it in case anyone is interested. I bought a Google Chrome Cast device a couple of Christmases ago. It allows me to view a streaming broadcast either from my laptop or my phone on my TV. I’ve watched UH football games (Big Ten Network stream), and men’s and women’s basketball games, soccer games and softball games (Big West stream) … all on the TV. Last night’s ESPN3 stream was a whole lot better than what you get on the Big West.

    Looking ahead: Coggins scored 41 the last game, but as Curran mentioned this morning, he also had eight turnovers. So, pressure on defense … just don’t foul him too often as he was 17 for 17 on FTs in that game.

  19. 41 points for Tre Coggins? That is big number for Air Force transfer… really as we All know, BWC still a guard / wing driven league, if you have a couple of decent bigs,.. can win championship.

    Seems like Hawaii has faced some of the higher scoring guard/ wings in BWC play the first 3 games,
    Fullerton, how do you like that for irony? Jim D. is AD there. Nice guy, and really got UH Athletics going, his wife still works at UH, nice family. The Titans, same thing nothing to lose, IF they can match UH guard play.. that is the difference, those 3, Zero, Q and King Bob, really get things going on O and D. should be good game. Seems like every game will be down to last few minutes in BWC… I love it. !
    🙂

  20. great game, unfortunately the refs called all the ticky tacky fouls and no changing that now.
    what’s great about our guys is that they are not a one man team and that shows time and time again.. stay academically focused and on the court, we are lucky to have such a great group

  21. Chuck: What I had to do was to move the bar in really short segments until I got to the point I wanted to watch. If I took too big of a segment, it would freeze up or go to the beginning. Moving it backwards was a bit challenging.

    clyde: agreed, the Big West stream is such a super low budget operation. It totally sucks!!! They need make much improvements.

  22. One more observation: I’m not sure what’s gotten into Mike Thomas, but he’s playing like a man possessed with little regard for his body. His two dunks were statement-making, and his toughness has been inspiring. The soft-spoken intellectual has unleashed the beast, which is just what this team needed.

  23. Never knew this is Fullerton and Riverside’s best overall record heading into 2nd week of BWC play in years ! Wow, the way the calls were going, Janks fouls out, if Bland was hitting his shots, probably UH loses that game. Just snuck out with close win. Fullerton, I wonder, having time to watch how well the UH guards play defense, and control tempo. How do you beat the Warriors? I love the X and O part.
    The closest strategy would be awesome, Zone, they say Irvine has the best, get out on Janks, Bobbitt, Valdes when ready, Thomas is hit or miss. And play real down and dirty physical , tons of fouls called game. Then hope your team outshoots UH from FT line. Plus have to box out, get even on the boards.

  24. The bigs keeping their fouls in check. They are becoming a force to be reckoned with. A mark of a great team is continuing to improve. Even zones can’t stop this team when bigs playing well. Keep improving on breaking zones and soon teams will give up on it. Then they will try their luck on man coverage and we will eat them alive like how Jovanovic got an easy layup.

    And Smith is such an underrated player. Allen Iverson explosiveness to the basket with defensive abilities.

    Conference play is even tougher than NCAA tournament as we will see nothing but zones. If we go to the Dance the power teams will play their brand of basketball which is usually man coverage. They feel they can whup us in our strength without even trying. Good to be small, unknown, and then cut the legs off from the giants.

  25. So, basically Jankovic, Jovanovic, Thomas, cannot get hurt, ill, other, or in foul trouble, ? I think Ganot will do like last year team, have to, if those guys on the bench, Sai and Valdes playing the 4 or 5, in other words, Small ball, in BWC , I think you can do it.. No team, in BWC can match UH speed, however. love to see, now the BBIQ of last year’s guards, Zero, Q and King B.. when nothing there on break or after ball turnover, they get into offensive set. It took 6 years, and some great gets, athletes.. this year, MAYBE.. the year MBB can Finally after 44 years, get That FIRST round victory in NCAA dance, would be HISTORIC, and that fearless guys the legacy guys,.. stayed the course.. will be a Hall of Honor SSC arena team for sure ..

  26. Nice win by the Warriors. Without Valdes, and without the usual Bobbitt; good indicator of next year. Last year lost to UCR, and that team had NWC too. The difference is clear. With Ganot coaching, UH will finish the Big West better than .500 (the Gib line, before forfeitures) from now on.

  27. scary part? depth, uncertainties, AND only 3 games into BWC play.
    Still we want best, yet with caution.. One game at a time, team starts thinking, from top man to bottom of 50 bench, they are too good, then they start being .500 team again. Just be humble, from coach to assistant manager, key, Humble Hawaii Warriors. representing 808. just wish Buscher and Enos were PT prime players too.

  28. Buscher and Enos will never be prime players and that’s a good thing, because it means we’ve moved on from recruiting people for bit parts, like Garrett Jefferson.

  29. Garrett Jefferson, wow, that takes us back.. smart student though, could jump out of the gym, and very fast.. transfer out, and finished school, I think at D2 school?
    No, I wish,..really wish UH had a Jarin Akana, Kalia McGee, David Hallums, Howie Dunham, Brad Pineau, Julian Sensley, Bobby Nash, Alika Smith, a DI starter, who could contribute to wins. I believe, in next few years, there will, be.. develop youth, all they do is concentrate on getting to DI basketball level. I tell you, it makes a difference between 6300 in house and 8500 in house attendance. just like Baseball team locals, and Football team, a lot of local 808 products.. fanbase would increase by 30 percent easily.. One day.. local HS products will start for UH again. I am confident.. good ones too.

  30. UHfan1 I tend to disagree on your belief in getting people in the seats. Local players may get an extra 10 family members but nothing brings fans into stands better than extremely good season, and exciting basketball!

  31. Islandman,
    Yes, rods parents and my son and I behind them lol

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