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Warriors fall on the road at Utah, 80-60

The University of Hawai’i basketball team will return from Salt Lake City feeling a bit salty after an 80-60 loss at Utah on Saturday.

The Rainbow Warriors had their worst shooting game of this young season before an announced crowd of 13,896 at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was Hawai’i’s first road game of this season.

The Warriors dropped to 4-2, and it was only the second loss of 20 points or more during Eran Ganot’s two-plus years as head coach (the only other was a 71-45 home loss to Illinois State last December). Utah improved to 6-1, including 5-0 at home, and are now 23-1 all-time against Hawai’i in games played in Salt Lake City. The Runnin’ Utes also beat Hawai’i last season in Honolulu.

“That was not a good performance,” Ganot said. “I thought we did a good job to keep us in the game defensively, but it’s a recurring theme with our offensive distortion – our inability to make shots around the rim. We probably had six to 10 layups around the rim that we either faded or missed, and again, not shooting the 3 well.”

Hawai’i shot just 36.5 percent from the field (23 for 63), including 18.2 percent from 3-point range (4 for 22). Utah out-rebounded the Warriors, 46-32, and also went 22 for 27 on free throws to Hawai’i’s 10 for 15.

Drew Buggs led the Warriors with 14 points, including 12 in the first half. Mike Thomas added 12 points and six rebounds.

Buggs, a redshirt freshman point guard, was summoned off the bench early in the game for the Warriors, and he responded with 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the first half. He hit a 3-pointer just before the halftime horn sounded to get Hawai’i within seven points.

“He didn’t play on his heels,” Ganot said of Buggs. “That’s pretty impressive for a freshman to do that here on the road in a tough environment against a good team. Obviously something to build on there.”

David Collette and Donnie Tillman led the Utes with 16 points each. Justin Bibbins, a transfer from Long Beach State, contributed 13 points and three assists for Utah.

“It wasn’t stellar defense on either team’s part,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “It was missing a bunch of open shots, Hawaii missed open shots, and we missed open shots.”

The tone was set early, as theWarriors opened the game by shooting 0 for 4 from 3-point range, and fell behind 6-0.

The score was tied at 8-8, then the Utes took control with a 17-6 surge that gave them a 25-14 lead with 5:46 remaining in the half. Utah led by as many as 13 in the first half, and eventually took a 37-30 lead at intermission.

The Warriors cut the Utah lead to five early in the second half, but that was as close as it would get. The Utes went on a 14-5 run to increase their lead to 53-39 with 13:15 remaining, and the Warriors never got within single-digits of the lead the rest of the way.

Several key Hawai’i players struggled offensively, including Gibson Johnson (2 for 10 shooting, five points, five rebounds), Jack Purchase (1 for 8 shooting from 3-point range, three points, five rebounds) and Sheriff Drammeh (2 for 6 shooting, five points).

“We don’t have the margin of error to have too many guys like that at the same time,” Ganot said. “We have to fight through right now, individually and collectively. We’re not going to get where we want to be unless we fix it, and we’re not going to fix it unless we get mentally tougher.”

The Warriors are scheduled to return to Honolulu on Sunday, and will play two home games next week – Prairie View A&M on December 6, then Hawai’i-Hilo on December 9.

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14 Comments

  1. We won’t win these type of games unless Ido and Purchase play well.

  2. Tavs- Utah Pac 12 team a notch or two above UH in height, shooting, size, and much more money running their athletic program, that is why that 23 Utah wins to 1 UH win at Salt Lake city years ago,.
    Ganot, that first year team , could have beat Utah on this road trip, they were able to hit their threes and were great athletically and played as a poised team.
    Ganot, has to recruit, some 6’7″ 220 to 7’0″ 240 shooters who can rebound and pass, the ball., I thought Warriors had the quickness at the every position, credit to Bibbins a 5th year senior working on his masters, little guy can shoot that rock,

    Now worry Tavs, Ganot got about 3 or 4 more home cooked small schools before and after DHC tournament, I believe, unless Mike Thomas and Brocke Stepteau out for the season… Big West really awful this year.. Ganot can real shot at winning the regular season title and the tourned auto bid to NCAA’s, Purchase Thomas and Johnson have to play Pac 12 level and the 3 guards and Avea, play D, take care of the ball, shoot welll from field and FT line, Ganot wins the bonus money and wins 20 plus games this year, and is running for Coach of the year. The Big West is really down, Probably UH is playing the best on the west out the WCC, the Big Sky and the Wac, and the Big West (that is an idea, out west, make it a realy BIG WEST with West vs East division play, incorporate those 4 leagues, cost would be down, and games competitive, and UH would be at top as long as Ganot teaches his athletes, to not get frazzled and shoot from field and and FT line well. They go NCAA with , HPU, and UH Wahine teams to NCAA’s this year for Sure !!

  3. Purchase is shooting 15.6 percent (5 of 32) from 3-point range and 50 percent (9 of 18) from inside the arc. What does that tell you?

    Frankly, I don’t think he can work out of his shooting funk by just jacking up 3s.

    Earlier in the season he showed off a mid-range jumper (around the FT line), something he didn’t have last year. He should seek out that mid-range shot again. If he can hit those with some regularity, the visual of the ball dropping through the net should help his confidence. Then he can take it back out to the arc.

    Until then, I hope the coaches no longer give him the green light any time he’s open beyond the arc. Against Utah, he took eight shots and all were from 3-point range. He made one. Shooting 12.5 percent doesn’t help him or the team.

    OK … stepping off the soap box.

  4. Jack shooting the closer shots earlier in the season may have thrown off his 3-pt shooting.

  5. islandman: Perhaps, but don’t think so. Here’s his game-by-game 3-point shooting (not counting exhibition):

    2-7, 1-3, 1-5, 0-5, 0-4, 1-8. It’s been a season-long struggle.

  6. My guess is he’s been asked to do more than stand beyond the arc and shoot 3s as he did last season. They’re pushing him to be a more complete player: rebound, pass, defend and … be more physical. In the long run, it will help him and the team. Hopefully, he’ll make a successful transition by conference play.

  7. The conference may be not as competitive as others including the Mountain West but the Warriors are far from being the class of the conference at his juncture. We do not possess a consistent shooter. It will be a competitive season for our team as we are on par with the others. Attend the games Avea is an up and comer – tenacious and always around the basket.

  8. Quiz: Who’s leading UH in rebounding, assists and blocked shots, and has a 4 to 1 Assist to TO ratio, so far ?
    Hint: His initials are J P.

    Drew leads the team in steals with 10, so far.

  9. He is #14 in Assist to TO ratio in Division I, so far.

    For Wahine, Tia Kanoa is #11 in the nation in Assists per game at 7.1.

  10. Pomeroy has UH at #215.

    UCSB …….167
    UC Davis.. 173
    UC Irvine.. 209
    UH …………215
    Cal Poly…. 234
    LBSU ……..241

    Utah at 57 / Nevada at 34 / Miami 15,

  11. Avea and Flascher both are promising, and if they have a breakout game, will dominate. Jack Purchase will get his three back, and then we will be a power. Until that happens, defense and rebounding is the key

  12. I want the old Jack Purchase back. If the rebounding and passing is affecting his shooting, then I rather see him go back to hanging outside near the 3 line and making more 3’s. We got other guys who can rebound and pass but not that many others who can shoot the 3.

  13. 33 of Jack’s 39 rebounds are defensive ones,so those are when the other team shoots, i think.

  14. if rebounding and passing affects a player in anyway….that’s pretty horrible…everyone needs to rebound and pass lol

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