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Warriors stun Anteaters, 75-71, in Irvine to seize first place

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Aaron Valdes hit a 3-pointer with 40.1 seconds remaining to lift the University of Hawai’i basketball team to a stunning 75-71 victory over UC Irvine in a battle for first place in the Big West Conference at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif., on Saturday night.

The Warriors rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second half to increase their school-record road winning streak to six.

Hawai’i improved to 22-3 overall and 11-1 in the Big West — now two games ahead of UC Irvine and Long Beach State. The Anteaters dropped to 20-8 and 9-3 with their second loss to Hawai’i this season.

Stefan Jankovic led the Warriors with 25 points and Valdes added 13, including the 3 from the corner that gave Hawai’i a 72-71 lead.

UC Irvine missed two 3-pointers in the closing seconds, and Roderick Bobbitt hit two free throws and Mike Thomas added one for the final margin.

Sai Tummala added 11 points and Thomas scored 10 for the Warriors, who shot 47.2 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Anteaters, 34-27.

The lead changed four times in the first half. Hawai’i took its biggest lead at 17-13 on a putback by Jankovic with 12:08 remaining. Jankovic sat out the final 8:21 of the first half after picking up his second foul.

The score was tied at 22, then UCI went on an 8-0 run to take a 30-22 lead with 4:22 remaining in the first half.

Hawai’i got as close as 34-30, but the Anteaters eventually took a 38-30 lead at intermission. N’diaye scored on a dunk just before the halftime buzzer to give the Anteaters the momentum into the locker room.

UCI increased its lead to 46-35 early in the second half, but the Warriors refused to give in.

The Warriors took a momentary 61-60 lead on a 3-pointer from Isaac Fleming with 7:09 remaining, but the Anteaters came back with a 3 of their own on the ensuing possession to regain the lead.

UCI increased its lead to seven, but the Warriors cut it to 68-66 on a 3-pointer by Jankovic. Hawai’i then had a possession to tie or take the lead but Jankovic missed on a reverse layup and the Anteaters scored the next three points to take a 71-66 lead.

More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.

(Game photo courtesy Warren Haraki)

Saturday’s other Big West results
CSUN 75, at Cal Poly 71
at UC Santa Barbara 62, UC Davis 55
at Long Beach State 70, Cal State Fullerton 57

32 Comments

  1. Valdes is money !

  2. Boooooommmmm!

  3. Freaken unreal win for the Bows despite the refs and ESPN announcers Our guys never gave up. True Warriors!!!

  4. Wow! Never lost their composure, and kept grinding down the stretch. Not easy to play when you’re trailing for nearly the entire game, but this team believes. Special win, with major implications. Four to go, bring it home.

  5. Janks came up big in the second half !

  6. As well as MT.

  7. I’m excited about the win but the game didn’t have to be this close.Isaac keep your head up your only going to be used when needed.

  8. Man this win had my family jumping up and down…in fact both these two wins…This is a championship team! Never give up the battle…Sherrif good minutes again! Sai let threes..Isaac big 3 ..Valdes with the money 3…and what can you say about Janks…Also..good coaching again in the closing minutes!! Fricken awesome…already watching the replay!

  9. Way to go warriors.1st place is ours.I hope this win puts us in the top 25.Hawaii deserves to be ranked.they just swept Irvine. They deserve to make it to the big dance.I believe Hawaii will be going dancing come march.Valdes is money.

  10. Great 3 pointer for lead by Valdes.

    Only team might be able to beat warriors

    rest of season? Only Long Beach at 49ers

    gym in 2 weeks. Otherwise Warriors win regular

    season title at 15-1. Incredible. Big West right fit

    for Hawaii. NIT a lock for sure.

  11. The team showed great heart at the end there…it seemed like every time Irvine threatened to blow it open, someone stepped up with a huge basket or clutch defensive stop. Last season, we would’ve let a game like this slip away, but this looks like a completely different team. And we did it without Quincy and Isaac for much of the second half–can’t wait to see what they’re capable of at full strength! Go Bows!

  12. If you’re not a believer yet, there is still time to jump on the bandwagon.

  13. When they went down by 11, I didn’t think they’d be able to pull it out in a hostile environment like they had at Irvine.
    But these guys are ROAD WARRIORS!
    I hope they sell out next week and get the kind of raucous final homestand they deserve!

  14. Warriors even or trail by 8 points or less last 2 minutes

    opponents will lose. Can see it in their body language.

    Team so experienced and able to execute and knock

    down shots and lockdown defense impressive. Heard

    team needs over 97 votes to get into top 25. Hawaii

    not worried. Just focus on wins in ncas’s!

  15. Wow! Awesome game by all! With his adjustments made in the second half, Ganot should for sure win BW Coach of the Year!! He allotted the optimal amount of time for all the players so our boys weren’t tired at the end! Great win!

  16. Incredible FOCUS, Composure, Belief, Execution…
    More Than Defending Champs Irvine
    More Than ANY UH Team!?

    JUST WON ‘BOWS!
    LEAD for The Last 40.1 Seconds
    AND In The RECORD Books where It Counts

    First Place By TWO Games with Four To Go!
    Such Championship Stuff!
    Speaking of Stuffs Way to SLAM AIRON!
    Then Hit the Game-Leading Game-Winning Shot

    Way to KEEP Us In Both Games
    Big-West Second-Time Player-of-the-Week JANKS
    59 Points TWO Wins On-the-Road
    Yeah, Yeah… No Big Deal on Individual Honors
    BUT It’s Just ‘Cos WE Won TWO On-the-Road Again
    As a TEAM…Honors!

    6-0 Road Warriors!
    TWO More (WINS) Mathematically LOCKS OUT Irvine
    THREE (Magic Number!) Locks Out Everyone, Even The Beach
    And Their Senior Night DON’T Matter…

    Just Keep Winnin’ ‘Bows!
    Keep Raising, Climbing the Program to BEST Ever!
    GO ‘BOWS!

  17. Wow, what a great win! I didn’t think they were going to pull it out, but then we went on a nice run at the end. You could tell that the team wasn’t giving up and were determined to win the game, even after trailing for most of the game. It was an amazing team win, with great efforts especially by Bobbitt, Janks and Valdes. Hats off as well to the coaches for getting the team prepared. I’ll be pulling for Irvine to beat Long Beach next week.

  18. Let me tell you something about Bobbit and I believe a mistake by Irvine..Letting the ball roll all the way past halfcourt without time ticking ..Bobbit may very well be the best point guard to put on a UH jersey…He saved us precious seconds and Irvine didn’t come up to force him to pick up the ball…Bad coaching move

  19. Oh my god! That visitors locker room must have been wicked wild!

  20. An awesome win. Good teamwork and terrific coaching made this road trip a successful one.
    Go Warriors!

  21. Only test left? Warriors last 5 games in california

    Aggies. 49ers and 3 games in Big West Tournament

    in Anaheim. Teams cannot beat them. Unless other

    7 teams on fire for that ncaa ticket. Would be Huge

    upsets if Riverside and Csun win at Hawaii. Not going

    to happen!

  22. Special win for a special team having a special season! What a finish that was, to stay calm and composed despite the point deficit and in a hostile environment to boot. I’m unbelievably stoked on this team, congrats on pushing the record to 6! Win out the rest of the season and finish on top to guarantee the NIT bid. That way there will be less pressure on having to ‘earn’ the NCAA bid.

    LET’S GO BOWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Awesome win! Was very unimpressed by the Irvine fans’ level of enthusiasm considering it was Irvine’s biggest home conference game of the season. Made me realize that Hawaii has the best fans in the BWC. Great to see the Cali families represent our Warriors.

    It was tough but the guys won and silenced the biased ESPN commentators. Why is it that the commentators got so excited every time Mamadou dunked? He’s 7’6″ for goodness sake so of course he’s going to dunk. And he didn’t even have huge dunks, nothing like Valdes’.

    A huge priority should be working on our free throws.

  24. Will cheer team . I am amazed so many great teams

    across country. Warriors one of them.!

    Can warriors reach 30 wins this season?

    Watched Butler vs Villanoa Big East game

    Wow. lot of talent in ncaa tournament!

  25. UH would be ranked if this was not the first year that they actually did better than 4th place in the UC-whatchamacallit conference.

    Recapping this road trip, I look back at CSUN and see so much of the UH that I’ve grown accustomed to. The losing coach talking about how they should have won, how they were better on the stat sheet. The losing team talking about how they were missing a player. The postseason ban for illegal activity. It is downright chilling to see another team living that nightmare, and UH is (mostly) on the other side of the ledger this time.

    It’s like UH drove a DeLorean back to 1955, ordered a Pepsi Free, skateboarded thru the city square, and played rock and roll at the prom. And now we’re the bullies nowadays. Ganot is our McFly. Let’s have Calvin Klein underwear theme night at the arena.

    And now UC-Irvine. Must have felt like they just had to keep Bobbitt below average scoring, and they would get revenge on their home court. Boy do I know how that story goes, following UH all these years. Thinking the road was just an anomaly, and being at home would change everything back to the way “it’s supposed to be”. But the return game at home just confirms what happened on the road.

  26. So proud of these guys!! Total team effort! Glad we came up for the games! In hotel now, celebrating.
    All hert, this group!!

  27. The thing UH needs to work on: getting everyone going at the same time. We pick each other up to hold on to these games that we’re supposed to win. Now get the whole lineup operating at peak capacity together, they’re good enough to manage it.

  28. I bet Long Beach State fans are hoping their volleyball team can at least have a good year. My how the tables have turned.

  29. *heart

  30. Winning is hard. Anywhere. This team is doing some fantastic finishes. Poise under pressure. Everybody that plays is contributing in some fashion. Key shots and defense down the stretch. What mental toughness!!!! Irvine thought they had it. Such a fine line. Line was about 1 1/2. This team is special led by Eran Ganot. What a game!!!! Yes!!!!

  31. Wow, what a great win. First it was down by 11 and then still trailing with only a few minutes left. With Mamadou playing well as well as the rest of their team, I thought it was a loss. Great come from behind victory.

  32. Great team effort. The starters, the subs, the supportive bench, the coaching and all the support staff of the team.

    Enjoy the plane ride home, get prepared for the next game and continue to be humble.

    Thanks for making it so much fun to watch such a great team.

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