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Warriors beat Cal Poly on road to move into first place tie

Consider the University of Hawai’i basketball team back on track. A 75-60 road victory at Cal Poly on Saturday has put the Warriors in position to play for sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference next week.

Stefan Jankovic had 19 points and nine rebounds, Roderick Bobbitt tallied 15 points and six assists, and Aaron Valdes contributed 14 rebounds, five rebounds and three blocked shots to lead the Warrior effort before a near-capacity crowd of 3,032 at Mott Athletics Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Jankovic1_CalPoly

“Just really proud of our team,” head coach Eran Ganot said in a post-game interview on ESPN 1420 radio. “The turnaround the second game on this road trip, you can feel the fatigue with us, with both teams, and you have to gut it out. Just so proud of … the defensive effort, on the glass again, and had great composure. It was a tough environment, hostile crowd, a good team and just so proud of them.”

The Warriors improved to 18-3 overall and moved into a tie for first place in the Big West Conference at 7-1. UC Irvine, which did not play on Saturday, is also 7-1. The Warriors and Anteaters will meet in a first-place showdown on Thursday, February 11, at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Cal Poly dropped to 8-14 and 2-7, including two losses to Hawai’i. It is the first time in four seasons in the Big West that UH was able to sweep the home-and-home series from Cal Poly.

It was also Hawai’i’s fourth consecutive road victory, tying a school record set in 2014. The only previous UH team to start conference play with a better record was the 2001-02 team that started 11-1 in the Western Athletic Conference and eventually advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

After a disappointing 14-point home loss to Long Beach State last week, the Warriors responded with two impressive road wins this week.

“We got better,” Ganot said. “Both games were defensive efforts, after our defense was exposed against Long Beach. We had to learn the hard way. We don’t want to learn the hard way again.”

The Warriors shot 52 percent from the field (26 for 50), while holding Cal Poly to 33.3 percent (21 for 63).

“To do some of these things, you have to have a collective effort, that’s the truth,” Ganot said. “And today was a collective team effort.”

The first half went back and forth, but the Warriors took control in the second half. The game was tied at intermission, but Hawai’i built a 14-point lead midway through the second half, and then held off the Mustangs the rest of the way.

Filipovich1_Nicholls_Osumi

Bobbitt recorded 12 points, four assists and zero turnovers in the second half after struggling in the first half with five turnovers and two fouls.

“Look, its tough to win on the road in this league and you’re going to have to weather some things,” Ganot said. “Sometimes it’s some injuries, sometimes it’s just not playing to your capabilities. I’m just proud of Rod for responding that second half.”

The Warriors got a surprise boost off the bench from sophomore Niko Filipovich. He scored five points in eight minutes of action in the first half alone, in relief of Bobbitt. Filipovich, who entered the game averaging 1.3 points and 6.0 minutes per game, finished with seven points in 10 minutes.

“I thought Niko was huge,” Ganot said. “This is his best quality, and why you can throw him in. He’s gotten better, and he’s good. He has a belief about him; he has a chip on his shoulder, so he’s not going to come in here afraid. Obviously, I’m proud of him for the baskets, but (also) the overall effort, the defensive effort, the lock in.”

Hawai’i jumped to a 9-4 lead early in the game, with Jankovic scoring the first seven points for the Warriors, but neither team could maintain momentum in the first half.

There were six lead changes in the first half, and it ended appropriately enough with a 28-all tie. Bobbitt and Valdes hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half to highlight a 9-0 surge that gave Hawai’i a 37-28 lead.

The Mustangs got back within two, 39-37, but the Warriors then went on a 12-0 run to increase the lead to 51-37. Sai Tummala scored seven points during the surge, including a 3-pointer and a breakaway dunk.

The Warriors played their second consecutive game without key guard Isaac Fleming, who did not travel with the team due to an ankle injury. His status for Thursday’s showdown with UC Irvine remains to be determined.

Reese Morgan finished with 10 points and six rebounds for the Mustangs, who suffered their fourth consecutive loss.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

Saturday’s Big West Results
at Long Beach State 81, CSUN 76
at UC Santa Barbara 81, Cal State Fullerton 68
Hawai’i 75, at Cal Poly 60
UC Davis 50, at UC Riverside 49

Screen shot 2016-02-06 at 8.43.44 PM

27 Comments

  1. wow you got this article posted pretty quick.

    Great game. Go Bows !

  2. Valdes is getting his groove back in time. Janks is unstoppable on the low block– him vs Mamadou should be fun.

    Thursday, SSC, be there or be ◼️

  3. Unsung hero: Niko.

  4. It was a little scary when Janks fell to the floor. he grabbed his ankle. Basically slammed his leg on the floor and did not twist it. Knee is ok, ankle is ok, looks like its bruised, bone bruise possibly. Glad he was able to shake it off and keep playing.

  5. Awesome win. Pack the house people this Thursday.

  6. Great road win! Big Game Next Week !!!!!!!! LETS GET IT DONE JUST WIN BOWS!!!!!!

  7. Say it again Jjay????
    BOWS FANS
    REP YOUR
    CITY
    STANDING
    ROOM
    ONLY!

  8. Stef’s ankle twisted. I’m praying it’s ok. Big shout out to the trainers for taking care of Valdes and for the bench and the team for taking care of business so that he could take the time he needed to heal properly. Certainly it’s paid off because he is coming back strong and he was at full bounce on his rebounds tonight! I thought it was a commanding performance tonight. We look like champions, like a “team to beat”. Go Bows! Keep the focus. Let’s stuff the Stanley this week.

  9. Great hustle from the guys. Have to keep at it and not give opponents an inch. Keep up the physicality.

    Gotta pack the Stan Sheriff Center AND be loud. The band wagon fans can’t just sit there quietly.

    As for Jank’s injury, it looks like his right ankle – the one he was nursing – got knocked hard when he fell. However, when I saw the replay, it looked like he sort of twisted his left ankle. I think he’s fine.

    Shout out to the Hawaii 5-0 guys for always cheering.

  10. Awesome win!!! So happy for Niko!

  11. Another great win by a special team! 18 – 3, holy moly! That jankovic to valdes alley oop slam-and-one at the end of the game couldn’t have been more sweet! Poly deserved a good whipping, as did their classless fans booing when our guys hit the floor hard. And the swim team in speedos, like really guys? Fyi, Q would have missed those free throws anyways, lol. Looking like fools out there.

    At this point, I truly feel like the loss to long Beach at home was a fluke. Unfortunately, for us teams that play in non-power 5 conferences, it’s unforgivable. No matter, we’ll focus on what’s at hand, and that would be Irvine next Thursday. It’s going to be nuts! Pack da house! Let’s go warriors! Let’s go BOWS!!!

  12. Greta game played by the Rainbow Warriors! The team effort w there and Niko stepped up. The next man mentality seems to be kicking in. Fair weather Hwaaii need to fill up the SSC Thirsday night against UCI

  13. Getting both of these wins on the road without Isaac Fleming was a huge statement for this team. Lets hope and pray Isaac ready and healthy for UCI game but if not than better for him to rest some more. The main thing is to have full team healthy for Big West tournament because this team at full strength will be very hard to stop.

    I agree that Niko was a unsung hero for this game and that is what I mean when I say bench need to step up more. Tummala looked better and that is exactly what was needed because Mike Thomas didn’t have great game.

    Time to pack the SSC again!

  14. Oh man I just notice that UCI didn’t play tonight and their last game was Wednesday when they beat Cal Poly after they made that crazy 3 to send it to OT. Thats a long time they get to rest up and be ready for UH. We truly need the huge crowd to be the sixth man and get us to be in first place!

    After the loss to Long Beach the ESPN experts started picking UCI for the NCAA brackets. This is UH chance to show what a mistake that is.

  15. GREAT Road Wins!

    This Team Keeps Improving…
    ‘Bows Actually BEAT Both Teams
    By MORE on the Road then At Home
    Had Better Second Half Controlling Leads

    These were Teams we Struggled with in Previous Years
    Swept Both — [Make ‘Em Triples @ Anaheim, Bows!]
    I’m NOT a Believer in the ‘Hard to Beat a Team Three Times in a Season’ Mantra
    I Think IF Your Coach Staff Understands Their Own Team’s SWOTs (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities Threats)
    AND Has a Solid Analysis of The Opponent As Well
    PLUS, Clear Communication And Ability Of (Smart, Talented) Players to Understand And Execute The Game Plan
    PROVEN By On Court Performance And Sweeps (Better The Second Game)

    Very Good Chance (Favorites?) To Run Through The FOUR Teams we already Beat On the Road
    Curious to See How Well We Do On Road Against The Beach
    Do We Reverse The ‘Fluke'(?) Not-Ready-to-Play Performance?
    Can We “Exploit And Expose” IRVINE Thursday?
    We’ll Be There to Cheer ‘Em On….

    Good to See Continued Bench Improvement
    Keep Climbing, Sai, Niko, Drammeh
    And First Eight Becoming More Reliable (Fewer Fouls, Turnovers) And Steady Execution O & D
    I Like The ‘CHAMPIONS’ References I’m seeing at This Site (It Wasn’t Here Before)
    Good Target To Aim For And Live Up To Daily…
    They ARE Looking Like Those Kinds of Steady Winning Teams [18-3, inches away from 19-2]

    After that Restful Short Stretch
    Now, Keep Winning 2-3 Per Week!
    Go ‘Bows!

    ——- Note And PRAYER FOR:
    ADMIN, Legal EAGLES…
    GOTTA WIN ONE For Da Boyz
    Get Rid of That Post-Season Ban B.S.
    AND Keep This Team
    This Band of Brothers, ‘Ohana Together
    Amene

  16. I think team is playing so well. Great staff game management. Jankovic hope he is okay. So important is he to battle and outplay huge bigs for Irvine. Probably sellout. Irvine versus Hawaii maybe ESPN picks up and move up time? Or maybe Long Beach and Irvine games on the road.
    We went to Diamond Head Classic, Team is ready to win league our kids say. Maybe.
    What a season for Basketball team and coach Ganot, doing great job!!

  17. Very exciting game! Poly is a tough place to play.

    Good to see Niko play and contribute big time!

    AV had some monster blocks and the ally oop at the end was a sweet exclamation point!!

    I’m so happy for this team!! They deserve the best!!

  18. Niko stepped up the energy level at both UCSB and Poly. He does much better driving than trying to be a 3 point shooter. Let Rod and Quincy school him before they have to leave. Again their defense was awesome, not talked about as much as it deserves. Great win.

  19. Mott Athletics Center capacity is 3,032, per wikipedia. Must be the tickets issued figure being given, but Cal Poly is drawing well and they also list attendance of 3,032 for earlier games vs. UCSB and LBSU. Only 1,877 for their Wednesday game vs Irvine though.
    Did you see the men in speedo’s trying to distract the UH FT shooters ? Why do they use men ? Quincy proved he was not distracted as he made his last two free throws. Niko is shooting 90.9 % on FT’s. Rod 84.4.

    Sai scored all of his 7 pts in 7 minutes in the 2nd half, including a good dunk. Sheriff had 2 of his 3 rebounds in 5 minutes of the 2nd half.
    Wahine doing pretty well on the road too at 4-2, so far.

  20. As anderpops said, the defense was something. i think i saw them collapsing on the Cal Poly players when the ball was getting close to the basket. Held Cal Poly to 33.3 FG % overall and only 26.5 % in the 2nd half.
    UH shot 52 % and 60.9 % in the 2nd half with 50 % on threes in the 2nd.

  21. First of all, it’s hard to win on the road, any road! So kudos to the coaching staff and the players and the trainers, etc. You win as a team, and yes as Coach said, it was a collective effort. Again, some balanced scoring by Jankovic, Roderick, Valdes, plus solid bench scoring by Tummala and Niko. Quincy’s 1 and 1 conversions were huge too at a critical time. 18-3 ain’t too shabby. We are all proud of their composure and their efforts. Ganot keeps saying he’s so proud of this group for playing for each other.

    I feel like Ganot has the right touch in winning ball games and he and his staff are making the right decisions at the right times. Similar like when Brad Stevens was coaching at Butler you just felt like he would have his team find a way to get it done. He’s doing the same thing with the Celtics, winning games.
    There is no question who’s in charge and who’s the leader. Bobbitt and Quincy are seniors. If Fleming sticks with the program and listens and learn from Ganot he will end up being the best player he can be, a more effective, polished, more mature, more productive player.

    It’s too early to be thinking about going dancing yet. This Thursday is huge, but to me every game is huge from here on out. UC Irvine just happens to be the next game. UH has to finish strong to be a good team.
    They fell short against Oklahoma, they fell short against Texas Tech, and they fell short against Long Beach. All 3 games were winnable and was there for the taking so I still think our team needs to still prove itself. Ganot knows this. Maybe these “big” games or big crowds gets the team too amped up and they need to relax and not get too excited. That’s when they make a lot of mistakes, throw the ball away, take quick shots, etc. Still, it’s a great learning opportunity to get better and take the next step in what is so far a terrific journey for this outstanding team. Go Warriors!

  22. Another good road victory for the Bowz with a national audience on ESPNU. As of today, I don’t see the Irvine game being picked up on any of the major sports networks.

    Since it will be a Blackout Night on Thursday, I sure hope the Bowz are the ones wearing Black. First of hopefully 3 games with the Anteaters…let’s getr dun.

    GO BOWZ

  23. Note that even the top teams lose, Oklahoma to Kansas, Iowa St and Kansas St. Their SID Dept even put the last loss as a W on their schedule, as of this post.
    N Carolina to N Iowa, Texas, Louisville and Notre Dame.

    I guess it really counts in the post-season, unless you’re aiming for the NIT.

  24. Although AV was not on with his outside shooting he was everywhere on the floor. Somehow that layoff from the toe injury gave him new energy. That’s the same thing that happened to Bobbitt when he had that layoff and then came back with two 30 point games. Maybe Flemming will follow suit when he returns hopefully this Thursday. I’m thinking if Isaac comes out strong like how AV and Bobbitt did, I think Ganot should rest one player each week whether injured or not. Because, although it’s good to win your conference games, all the marbles lie in winning the Big West Tournament.

  25. Derek save the non sense if you are a pg playing the small forward for the sake of the team what will u do with opportunities to come back east and play your position ? Enjoy the ride UH won when Valdes got hurt now Fleming nothing change but the approach from 1 to 15 next man up. Lets go Bows get that league championship.

  26. bigdaddy,

    With all respect, but I don’t remember Isaac playing as small forward at UH. If you’re referring to when he started in place of injured Valdes (our small forward), well didn’t Isaac win Big West player of the week?

    Bobbitt and Fleming can handle the ball well, defend well, shoot the three well, make decisive drives, and make assists. In my mind, they’re equals. The only difference is Bobbitt is our senior, so he has seniority and more experience. That said, Fleming is definitely in the running to take the PG position next year. I can’t think of anyone else who is.

  27. Let’s pack the house for UCI and take over sole possession of first place.

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