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Hawai’i wins! Warriors go to NCAA Tournament with win over Long Beach

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Cue the music. The University of Hawai’i basketball team is headed to the Big Dance for the first time in 14 years.

Fitting for a team that relied on its defense all season, it came down to a defensive stop to win it.

Long Beach State’s Justin Bibbins missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds, allowing the Warriors to take a 64-60 victory in a thrilling championship game of the Big West Conference Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Roderick Bobbitt sealed the win with two free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining.

With the win, the Warriors improved to 27-5 and took the Big West’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which starts next week. Hawai’i will find out its bracket matchup on Sunday afternoon.

Aaron Valdes scored 14 points to lead a balanced Hawai’i attack. Stefan Jankovic added 10 points, all in the second half.

Jankovic and Roderick Bobbitt – Hawai’i’s two first-team All-Big West Conference selections – were limited to seven minutes of action each in the first half due to foul trouble. What’s more, Jankovic went scoreless in the first half, while Bobbitt scored only two.

Even without them, the Warriors were able to control most of the first half. Long Beach State had an early 13-9 lead, but Hawai’i responded with an 8-0 surge to take a 17-13 lead with 9:52 remaining.

Bobbitt stayed on the bench for the final 12:34 of the first half after picking up his second foul. That gave sophomore Niko Filipovich a rare opportunity for extended playing time, and he came through with four points in the final eight minutes of the first half, including a driving layup just before the halftime horn sounded to give the Warriors a 31-25 lead at intermission.

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Senior guard Quincy Smith, who sat out the second half of Friday’s semifinal win over UC Santa Barbara due to a hip injury, was in the starting lineup on Saturday.

Hawai’i scored the first five points of the second half to increase its lead to 36-25, but the 49ers refused to fold and cut it to 38-32 with 16:11 remaining.

The Warriors then scored six in a row, with the points again coming from unlikely sources – a layup and free throw by Stefan Jovanovic, and then a 3-pointer by Sheriff Drammeh – to up the Hawai’i lead to 44-32.

The 49ers staged a furious rally, cutting the Hawai’i lead to 51-49 with 7:37 remaining, and the game stayed close the rest of the way.

Long Beach finally caught the Warriors when Nick Faust drained a 3-pointer to tie the score at 56 with 3:51 remaining. But on the ensuing Hawai’i possession, Faust was assessed his fifth foul with 3:27 remaining. Jankovic hit both free throws to put Hawai’i back on top, 58-56.

Jankovic then hit a 3-pointer with 2:45 remaining to give the Warriors a 61-58 advantage.

Hawai’i had the ball and a 62-60 lead in the final minute, but turned it over to the 49ers with 22.6 seconds remaining.

Faust finished with 17 points and eight rebounds before fouling out to lead the 49ers.

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

(Game photos courtesy Brandon Flores)

34 Comments

  1. !!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Wow! Congratulations guys. Thank you Dayton for everything! Going to the show, after so long!

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you very vry much

  4. Going to the Big Dance !!!

  5. Way to go Niko !!

  6. AV really played a steady game. Just out-thought the Beach. Played cool.

  7. Great game both teams. 49ers Faust not too good he fouls with silly plays. LBSU kudos. Battled to end. Warriors? And come on now…Former staff gets huge from Rod to Niko. Sheriff good minutes. Can warriors win first ncaa game in history? They stay healthy. Shoot well. Defend rebound. BT huge part too. Guys wanted to get back to SHIP.. BT knew they could win.and darn they did!!congratulations to coach Ganot and staff! NCAA reverse post season ban. Keep what started with Fab Five reach next consistent winning level. Very happy for men warriors team Nov.2014 to March 2016 reached goal!! Wahine congratulations too!! 2 ncaa dancers!!

  8. So f’n stoked for this team..They battled adversity all year and how about our bench….What a win! Men’s and Women dancing…What a year for Hawaii basketball!

  9. Aaron Valdes MVP, Janks on All-tournament team. The whole team was outstanding.

  10. In the words of long time hawaii announcer Jim Leahy…PANDEMONIUM!!!!!!

    LET’S GO BOWS!!!!!!!!

  11. WE GOING DANCIN’!!!!!!

    WHAT A TEAM!!!!!

    WHAT A SEASON!!!!!

    So I guess we wait on the Mainland for our next assignment tomorrow.

    YOU DID IT BOWZ!!!!!

  12. The key at the end of the game was that Faust and Hammonds fouled out and they didn’t have the firepower. Well earned Rainbow Warriors. 27-5 is nothing to sneer at. Nobody is talking about the past coaches and past players right about now. It is about these current coaches, these current players, and this program.

    And it’s about the Wahine coaches, the players, and their program. The future is bright going forward and it should help recruiting too. What a day!

  13. Who warriors draw? UH 12-14 seed.? Tomorrow we see!!
    against 3 or 4 seed. Only one ncaa bracket. UH how do! Finally joy for past 4 years men and women exciting winning ball. Get your season tickets for next year!!

  14. Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!!!
    Mahalo to Dayton and the Schmidt family for all the coverage on this website.

  15. Darn it Derek.only better thing? NCAA reverse post season ban! This Was The Year Finally!!
    Go bows!! Many Bows now getting looks for pro ball or hope not transfers.NCAA give UH a break!!Agreed 49ers probably win Faust not smart fouls ..and Hammonds in game ..probably we cring now. When both fouled out 49ers had little hope to win. 49ers great warriors too. Physical gme like ncaa tournament!!

  16. Amazing. Congrats to Coach Ganot, his staff and the players. Making history.

  17. Lunardi has UH playing 12th ranked Utah in Denver and Wahine playing 11th ranked ASU in Tempe.

  18. What a great day!!!!!

  19. Good draw. Warriors against Xavier 2002 thought for half warriors had it. Xaviet had all NBA David West went off savo team lost. One thing higher seed NOT take warriors seriously. Think they will run all over UH.. huge mistake. Warriors. No bad feeling. Warriors have chance to win! When Hawaii 50 is helping team win. Warriors now 9 deep. Great team defense!!

  20. It wasn’t pretty, but it was an amazing game and a win! It couldn’t have been more exciting in the last five minutes.

    Congratulations to the Wahine and Warriors for earning berths in the Big Dance !! I believe it’s been since 2002 that the same school in the Big West has won both men’s and women’s tournament in the same year. Unbelievable!!

  21. UH played with great composure from start to end – no dumb turnovers and no lowering ourselves to the Beach’s thug level. Even with questionable officiating against us, our guys stayed calm and played above it.

  22. And Q! Awesome to see he overcame his injury and contributed!

  23. We all realize Rainbow Warriors 0-4 in ncaa tournament appearances? They win first round then the ARE the best team in history.Same for Wahine. New season . warriors part of March Madness. More wins more money made.
    I bet Eran and especially the finish the deal bows!! Want to go as far as possible!!

  24. Tonight was a true team effort. Niko and Sheriff came through in the first half while Rod had foul trouble and despite Rod and Janks sitting in the bench with foul trouble we went into the half up six. The game got chippy for a bit but we kept our cool and kept fighting. The new staff has really brought discipline and structure which allowed us to win a grind out type of game. Going to the big dance is oh so sweet.

  25. What a ride! Such a great season, such a great finish. Congratulations to the players, the coaches, and their families. The bench came up huge tonight. Having Quincy on the floor despite his injury was inspiring. And the lockdown defense down the stretch pulled out the win. TIME TO GO DANCING!

    Thank you WarriorInsider and sponsors for bringing us terrific coverage of the whole journey.

  26. Cheeeeeeeee hoooooooooooo Congrats!!

  27. I hope IRVINE gets the NIT bid… they’re a class act (unlike Long Beach) and they were very good defending champions…

    Just my opinion.

  28. The unsung guys tonight were the bench, Niko and Sheriff and Jovanovic and Sai. And I’m so happy for Mike Thomas. He stayed out of foul trouble and that was huge. And Valdes was Mr. Steady and deservedly was the MVP. Q has a lot of guts and grit and started with a big 3. Janks hit the big 3 late and Roderick iced the last 2 F/T for the win. A total team effort.

  29. HAWAII Stand up!!! We out here and ready to shake up the world !!!! JUST WIN BOWS

  30. Boy, the Drammeh naysayers are awfully quiet tonight.
    Niko and Stef get the game ball. They kept us in it with great defense and timely buckets.
    Q is the heart and soul and he proved it tonight. Played great even though he was obviously hurting.
    Valdes played great the last three days.
    Janks and Rod will come out with a vengeance against whoever we play. Baylor? Utah? Duke? Iowa State? Looking forward to it.

  31. Wow, just finished watching the DVR (had a previous commitment). Total team effort, from players to coaching staff. Feel-good story for a team that has battled adversity for the better part of a calendar year. Thanks for the ride, guys!

    I wonder how many schools that made it to the NCAA tournament can claim that both teams (men and women) qualified as conference champions? Awesome achievement for the Warriors and Wahine.

    Mahalo to the Schmidts and Dayton for the great coverage. Can someone loan Dayton some vacation days?

  32. S23A Speak on it brother!!!!!! The Back ups stepped up!!!!!!! This team is for real!!!!!!! Halfway through my trip back to the bay it had to take a pitstop and say go BOWS!!!!!!!

  33. Victors!!! As others have said, the bench really stepped up in this one, and I hope it will continue into the Dance. With both the prime time players and the bench dialed in, we will go far! I BELIEVE!!!!

    I love the way Niko and Drammeh stepped up and held their own against the most athletic team in the league!

  34. Go Bows!!!!!!!!!!!!

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