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UPDATED: Warriors rally past Texas State for first win of season

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Showing it’s coaches and fans something it did not two nights earlier — the ability to scratch for a victory — the youthful and inexperienced University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team overcame a 12-point halftime deficit Sunday evening to rally past Texas State, 74-68, in thrilling Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic action.

A vocal and energized “White-Out” crowd of about 3,400 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched Jack Purchase score 15 points with four assists, Sheriff Drammeh add 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and Noah Allen and Gibson Johnson each contribute 13 points as the Rainbow Warriors evened their record at 1-1, while the Bobcats fell to 1-1. UH will face Florida Atlantic at 11:15 p.m. Monday in the Rainbow Classic finale, as part of ESPN’s annual “Tipoff Marathon.”

“I’m just really proud of our guys for this moment,” Rainbow Warriors coach Eran Ganot said. “It’s unique, you’re always pleased when you win a game against a really well-coached team that’s gonna have a really good year. To go through some of the stuff, the things we’re going through with this team — the learning curve, so many new faces, you have ups and downs, peaks and valleys, great moments and struggles … you gotta enjoy the struggle and enjoy the good moments, and we had a good moment today.”

It did not start out that way.

Texas State jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the game’s first two and a half minutes, and after Hawai’i closed it to 14-13 on Allen’s alley-oop layup with 10:33 remaining in the half, the Bobcats used a 16-5 run to extend the lead to 38-24 on a layup by Bobby Conley with 59 seconds left. Zigmars Raimo converted two free throws for the Rainbow Warriors to cut the halftime deficit to 38-26.

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At that point, the numbers were not pretty for UH: Thirty-seven percent (10-of-27) field goal shooting, including just 22 percent (2 of 9) from beyond the arc; 10 turnovers; only six free throw attempts (four made).

But from Ganot’s perspective, the execution was even uglier.

“To be honest, that first half was brutal,” Ganot said. “I don’t think I’ve seen a team play more selfishly in the first half, and that is really easy to guard. Now the great thing is we can be very direct with our team. And you have to be, to be tough, to be able to handle the directness of being coached and you have to respond.”

Johnson said Ganot’s halftime message was received clearly.

“We weren’t sharing the ball enough, we weren’t taking care of the ball enough, we weren’t playing our basketball,” said Johnson, who finished with four rebounds, three assists and two blocks to go with his 13 points. “I think in the second half you got a good look at how we can play, and in the first half we weren’t doing that.”

After Marlin Davis drained a 3-pointer to put Texas State up, 49-40, with 14:56 remaining in the game, the Rainbow Warriors used a 15-6 run to tie it at 55-55 on Ido Flaisher’s layup at the 8:50 mark.

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The Bobcats quickly took the lead back and stretched it to 63-58 after Kavin Gilder-Tilbury’s 3-pointer from the right corner, but Hawai’i answered with two Johnson free throws and a 3-pointer by Leland Green from the left wing to tie it at 63-63 with 4:16 remaining.

The Rainbow Warriors then took their first lead at 65-63 after Drammeh’s two free throws with 3:43 left, and the defense held Texas State to only one field goal the rest of the way, as Drammeh’s free throw with 17.9 seconds on the clock put UH ahead, 72-66, and effectively sealed the victory.

“(In the first half) the guards were in there … I know they were trying to get their own shots and weren’t kicking it out and stuff,” said Purchase, who added three rebounds and a steal to go with his 15 points. “We weren’t moving the ball well. In the second half, we moved the ball well and were able to execute.”

The Rainbow Warriors’ second half stat line was much more pleasing to the eye: Sixty-one percent (13-of-21) shooting from the field, including 55.6 percent (5 of 9) from 3-point territory; 85 percent (17 of 20) free throw shooting; 10 assists and only four turnovers.

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“And the second half was just great basketball — sharing the ball,” Ganot said. “And that wears down a (defense), and that’s in the way we play. We are a team, if we’re gonna be any good, we’re gonna be a team — on offense, we share and on defense we have each other’s backs, and on the boards, we all do our job. I’m very pleased with their response in terms of the win today and more so their response in the second half. They had a moment today, now the challenge is to handle that success, and the quick turnaround.”

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

Game photos courtesy Matt Osumi

CLICK HERE to view photo gallery

Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic
Friday’s results

Texas State 61, Florida Atlantic 57
SIU-Edwardsville 69, Hawai’i 68

Sunday’s results
SIU-Edwardsville 77, Florida Atlantic 68
Hawai’i 74, Texas State 68

Monday’s games
SIU-Edwardsville vs. Texas State, 6:00 p.m.
Hawai’i vs. Florida Atlantic, 11:15 p.m.

OUTRIGGER RESORTS RAINBOW CLASSIC
Who:
Hawai’i (1-1) vs. Florida Atlantic (0-2)
When: Monday, Nov. 14, 11:15 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300)
Television: Live on ESPN2 – Oceanic channels 224 (SD) and 1224 (HD).
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Audio Webcast: ESPN1420am.com
Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: All seats are general admission – $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens, $5 for youths (ages 4-high school); UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking $6.
Promotions: Outrigger Resorts is the tournament sponsor and will distribute 1,000 spirit flags. Also, Outrigger will award up to $2,000 during the popular “Shoot for Loot” halftime contest. Monday’s game is a “Black Out”, and fans are asked to wear UH-branded black attire.

2 Comments

  1. Like Artie Wilson said, a win is a win! That first half was rough but the second half made up for it. Kudos to the boys for their half-time adjustments and props to Coach Ganot on rallying the team to victory.

    Not sure what I think of this team yet, but there’s some definite growing pains going on. The loss to SIUe was probably one of the toughest losses in a long time (home opening loss to a sub-par opponent) but I’m hoping it taught the team a lesson, not to take any team for granted and to take better care of the ball. Still too many missed layups and hoisted 3’s, but those are easy fixes and I know Coach Ganot will make adjustments as needed.

    I’d love to see more of Leland Green and Zigmars Raimo! They played relatively small roles throughout the first 2 games but they might be the X and Y factors that could make the difference this year. Noah Allen is the obvious go-to guy and I think he’s going to be the one to really get the offense going. I’m also not a big fan of Drammeh running the point, but I’m hoping that these early season games against easier competition will kind of help him work out the kinks and settle in, as it seems as though there is no one else up for the job.

  2. I believe Raimo was suspended for the first game. Both Green and Raimo are true freshman so it may take them sometime to acclimate to D1 ball.

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