Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors look to shut down Gauchos

The University of Hawai’i basketball team fared quite well when hosting the nation’s leading scorer last Saturday. The Warriors will take a similar result this Saturday, when they host the Big West Conference’s leading scorer.

Hawai’i, which is off to its best start in 14 years, will host UC Santa Barbara and high-scoring guard Michael Bryson on Saturday night (7:00 p.m.) at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Hawai’i is 12-2 overall and 1-0 in the Big West; the Gauchos are 6-7 and 0-0. UCSB is the only Big West team that did not play a game earlier this week.

There is also a matter of revenge for the Warriors. UCSB is the only Big West team to sweep Hawai’i in each of the last two seasons, meaning the Gauchos are 4-0 against the Warriors in the last four meetings, including two in the Sheriff Center.


Bryson, a 6-foot-4 senior, was a first-team All-Big West selection last season, and has stepped into an even bigger role this season in the absence of graduated all-everything center Alan Williams. Bryson is currently averaging a Big West best 19.8 points per game, and has scored in double-figures in each of the 12 games he has appeared in.

As proof of his capabilities, he hit nine 3-pointers and scored 36 points in a road victory at Seattle on December 30. He ranks seventh in the Big West with 28 3-pointers this season, and also leads UCSB in rebounding with 6.0 per game, and is second in assists with 2.8 per game.

The Warriors previously played Howard, which boasts the nation’s leading scorer in James Daniel III, on January 2. Hawai’i would gladly take the same result – Daniel scored 29 points, but the Warriors won the game, 94-59.

UCSB has other options, mainly sophomore guard Gabe Vincent and senior forward John Green. Vincent, who was last season’s Big West Freshman of the Year, is averaging 12.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Green is averaging 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

The Gauchos last played on January 2 (an 87-46 home rout of Point Loma), and will bring a four-game winning streak to the Sheriff Center.

But there is no denying that the hottest team in the Big West at the moment is Hawai’i. The Warriors have won eight of their last nine games, and the only loss during that stretch came by three points against then-No. 3 Oklahoma.

Junior forward Aaron Valdes leads the explosive Hawai’i offense with 15.9 points per game, and is also contributing 5.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

Senior point guard Roderick Bobbitt has been on a recent scoring binge and is now averaging 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Over his last five games, he is averaging 23.8 points per game, including 15 of 28 shooting (53.6 percent) from 3-point range.

Junior forward/center Stefan Jankovic is averaging 14.5 points and a team-leading 6.7 rebounds per game; sophomore Isaac Fleming is averaging 9.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

The Warriors lead the Big West in scoring at 81.4 points per game, while UCSB is averaging 71.5.

Saturday, January 9, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Tickets: Lower Level – $26 for all available seats; Upper Level – $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens (65-older), $5 for students (ages 4-18). Parking is $6.
TV: Live on OCSports (channels 16 and 1016)
Internet video: Live on bigwest.tv
Radio: Live on ESPN1420 AM
Internet audio: Live on espn1420am.com
Live stats: hawaiiathletics.com
Autographs: The team will be signing autographs on the arena concourse, approximately 15 minutes after the end of the game.

Saturday’s Games
UC Davis at Long Beach State
CSUN at Cal State Fullerton
UC Riverside at UC Irvine
UC Santa Barbara at Hawai’i, 7:00 p.m.


  1. The transformation of Bobbitt is short of remarkable. He’s gone from a pure point to a combo guard. I’d say Bobbitt is having a break out year. He did not show it first few games but it seems like after he sat out the HPU game he’s like a different player. We have a few impact players but Bobbitt is the definitely the key to this team. Everyone’s been saying that he needs to connect with threes and be a closer at the free throw line. He’s doing that now along with the other facets of his game. I’d say now Bobbitt has few if any weakness in his game. If he continues his course and this team gets into post season play he’s got a shot for the NBA one day. Points that know how to run the game and bring defense has a place in the NBA. Any difference between he and Patrick Beverly of the Houston Rockets?

  2. We got to be 3-0 dumping UCSB this season –

    To make ourselves accountable and to be contender for # 1.

    Go Bows!

  3. Agree on Bobbitt Threes 25% Up to 43% And Climbing…

    ADD Janks 32% Up to 42% (and climbing?)
    PLUS Rebounds…

    kenpom: TOP FIVE — ALL BWC

    REAL Deals? Probably: UCSB’s Michael Bryson and LBSU’s Nick Faust (transfer from Maryland)…

    The Other Top Three: Bobbitt, Jankovic and Valde’s

    GO ‘BOWS!

  4. should be good game. bob williams good coach. dean of bwc.
    still early 2 games in.
    poly was good game anyone could take it. wonder if now, bwc gets tougher down road?

  5. Go Warriors!

    Its not often I get to watch a game live, so I am very excited to see the team play tonight.

    On a side note, for those that remember Shaquille Stokes, he is back playing basketball at Div II Mercy College and is averaging 12.7 pt. a game for them. The young man should never have left Hawaii as after he did it all went down hill for him and he missed out on 2 and 1/2 years of basketball I believe. But it is nice to see him back playing basketball again and I hope he has his life back and priorities back in order.

  6. Have a feeling the coaching staff comes up with a defensive strategy that slows down the high-functioning motion offense of the Gauchos. Just a feeling.

    Hope Isaac Fleming continues to get a bigger slice. He had a beautiful split and dish to Valdes off a high ball screen vs. Poly. He can play. Coming up.

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