Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors aiming high for upset against North Carolina

You can count on two fingers the number of times the University of Hawai’i basketball team has upset a top-five ranked opponent.

• December 30, 1997: Hawai’i 76 No. 2 Kansas 65
• November 19, 2005: Hawai’i 84, No. 4 Michigan State 62

The opportunity for a historic victory number three comes this Friday, when the Warriors host No. 5 North Carolina at the Stan Sheriff Center.


It will mark the 20th time in UH basketball history that the Warriors will face an opponent ranked in the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Hawai’i has an all-time record of 2-17 against top-five teams, including four previous losses to North Carolina teams that were ranked in the top five.

Hawai’i actually came pretty close to scoring a top-five upset last year. No. 3 Oklahoma held off the Warriors, 84-81, in the semifinals of last year’s Diamond Head Classic.

As far as all Top 25 opponents, Hawai’i has an all-time record of 19-103. The most recent win over Top 25 actually wasn’t very long ago. The Warriors’ historic NCAA Tournament victory last March came against a Cal team that was ranked No. 23 at the time.

In his first season as head coach at Hawai’i, Eran Ganot went 1-2 against Top 25 teams last season. In addition to the win over No. 23 Cal and the loss to No. 3 Oklahoma, the Warriors also ended their season with a loss to No. 14 Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Here is the list of Hawai’i vs. teams ranked in the top five:

Feb. 9, 1950: No. 2 Bradley 77, Hawai’i 53
Jan. 31, 1953: No. 3 Washington 83, Hawai’i 55
1963 (exact date not recorded): No. 3 Loyola 74, Hawai’i 59
1965 (exact date not recorded): No. 5 San Francisco 95, Hawai’i 72
Dec. 10, 1966: No. 5 Houston 93, Hawai’i 59
Dec. 30, 1974: No. 2 Indiana 69, Hawai’i 52
March 1, 1977: No. 5 UNLV 124, Hawai’i 84
Feb. 14, 1978: No. 5 New Mexico 87, Hawai’i 69
November 1, 1986: No. 1 North Carolina 98, Hawai’i 78
Nov. 28, 1987: No. 5 Kentucky 86, Hawai’i 59
Dec. 30, 1988: No. 4 Illinois 96, Hawai’i 87
Dec. 1, 1991: No. 3 Arizona 85, Hawai’i 71
Dec. 29, 1992: No. 2 Kansas 94, Hawai’i 66
Dec. 30, 1992: No. 5 North Carolina 101, Hawai’i 84
Dec. 1, 1993: No. 4 North Carolina 92, Hawai’i 77
Dec. 1, 1994: No. 1 North Carolina 88, Hawai’i 76
Dec. 30, 1997: Hawai’i 76, No. 2 Kansas 65
Nov. 19, 2005: Hawai’i 84, No. 4 Michigan State 62

Dec. 23, 2015: No. 3 Oklahoma 84, Hawai’i 81


If the Warriors are to add to their short list of historic upsets, it will take an epic effort against a Tar Heels team that returns three starters and three key reserves from last season’s team that finished 33-7 and lost the National Championship game on a buzzer-beater by Villanova.

UNC is already 3-0 this season, averaging 95.0 points per game while beating opponents by an average of 28.7 points per game. The Tar Heels’ most recent game was a 93-67 victory over Big West Conference preseason favorite Long Beach State.

Joel Berry II, a 6-foot junior guard, has emerged as the lead player in a cast of stars for the Tar Heels. He is averaging 21.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

Justin Jackson, a 6-8 junior forward, is averaging 17.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He scored 27 points, including 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range, in a win over Tulane last week.

Kennedy Meeks, a 6-10, 260-pound senior center, is averaging 12.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Isaiah Hicks, a 6-9 senior forward, is averaging 12.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He was the ACC Sixth Man of the Year last season, but is now a starter.

As might be expected, the Tar Heels have several prized freshmen on their roster: Tony Bradley, a 6-11 forward from Florida, is averaging 10.7 points and 6.0 rebounds and shooting 70.6 percent from the field as a reserve post player; Brandon Robinson, a 6-5 guard from Georgia, is averaging 5.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game; Seventh Woods, a 6-2 guard from South Carolina, is also expected to become a key contributor this season.


Hawai’i is 2-1 and coming off a thrilling 64-63 win over Florida Atlantic. The Warriors’ only loss was by one point, 69-68, against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

Senior forward Noah Allen leads the Warriors in scoring (16.3 points per game), rebounds (7.3 per game) and is tied for the team lead in assists (3.7 per game). Sophomore guard Sheriff Drammeh is averaging 14.7 points and 3.7 assists per game.

Junior forward Gibson Johnson, who hit the game-winner against Florida Atlantic, is averaging 11.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game; sophomore forward Jack Purchase is averaging 10.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, and is 7 for 18 from 3-point range; Ido Flaisher, a 6-10 freshman, is averaging 8.0 points and 6.0 rebounds as a reserve center.

The Warriors are 0-4 all-time against the Tar Heels, although the teams last met in 1994. The late and great coach Dean Smith was head coach of the Tar Heels during those four previous meetings.

Current UNC head coach Roy Williams was the head coach of Kansas when the Warriors upset the No. 2 Jayhawks in 1997.

The game is expected to be at, or near, the full capacity of 10,300 for the Sheriff Center.

Hawai’i (2-1, 0-0 Big West) vs. No. 5 North Carolina (3-0, 0-0 ACC)
When: Friday, Nov. 18, 8:00 p.m. (Hawai’i Time)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: OCSports (channels 16 and 1016)
Streaming Video: BigWest.tv
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM; Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, KTOH on Kaua’i, and KNWJ in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Audio Webcast: espn1420am.com
Live Stats: StatBroadcast.com
Ticket Information: $40 (lower level); $28-$30 (upper level-adult); $22-$25 (upper level-senior citizens); $9-$12 (upper level-youth, ages 4-HS). UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking is $6.
Promotions: Outrigger Resorts is the game sponsor and will distribute 1,000 spirit flags, beginning one hour prior to the game. Also, Outrigger will award a 2-night stay in an Outrigger property at halftime and other great prizes throughout the game. A special USS North Carolina reenlistment ceremony will take place prior to the game. The Manoa Maniacs student section theme is “Space Jam Night.”

Highlights from North Carolina’s recent victory over Long Beach State …


  1. Another nice write up ! And yes, aim high for the upset ! Go Bows !

  2. Great info! Let’s go Bows! Make history and get that upset!

  3. This is an opportunity for you guys especially under those adversity of your athletic life –
    to contribute the most, regardless of the outcome.

    Fans share with you for good!

  4. UNC listed as 24 point favorites….wow! I know UNC is good but that’s quite a hefty point spread. If we lose by this much it will be no one’s fault but our own. The team has a lot of maturing to do, as we’ve already witnessed things like bad shot selection, lazy passes, unforced turnovers, etc. I believe Coach G will have the boys ready to play tonight, only question is whether or not they can execute. Let’s GO BOWS!

  5. UNC is coming off a 26-point win over Big West preseason favorite Long Beach State, so being favored by 24 against preseason No. 8 Hawaii isn’t much of a surprise. Hopefully, the team mindset and execution will help keep it closer than 24.

  6. Jankovic had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 6 fouls in 21 minutes as his Sioux Falls team improved to 2-0. He’s struggling a bit; believe he was 1-for-11 in the opener with 5 fouls in 20 minutes. He’s started both games.

  7. calling on seventh woods!!!…i wanna see this kid ball out and sky

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