Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors shoot past UC Santa Barbara, 70-63

Photo courtesy Brandon Flores

Given more than a typical shooter’s chance, Hawai’i got long-range help from unexpected sources Saturday night to swish past visiting UC Santa Barbara, 70-63, in entertaining Big West Conference men’s basketball action.

An energetic and vocally appreciative crowd of 4,096 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched Drew Buggs score 12 points and dish out 12 assists and Justin Webster add 11 points off the bench as the Warriors improved to 12-6 overall and 3-1 in the Big West. Max Heidegger scored a game-high 21 points off the bench and Jaquori McLaughlin added 14 points to lead the Gauchos, who fell to 12-6, 1-2.

“Couldn’t be prouder — that’s a program win, it’s a team win, in every area,” UH coach Eran Ganot said. “Everybody contributed, that’s our locker rom, our fan base … it’s just a special feeling, and we needed it against a really good team tonight, especially coming in with a lot of adversity — which seems to keep going on, but this group just seems to keep moving forward and stepping up for those guys who weren’t in there. 

“I could go down the line, but I don’t know if there was anybody who was on the floor tonight who didn’t become a factor in helping us get the result we got. And I think the (people) who weren’t on the floor helped us get the result we got. Hawai’i fans are unbelievable, because they usually sense when we need them a little bit, and they were great tonight.”

UCSB took an early 4-0 lead but the Warriors soon found their shooting touch — including two 3-pointers from seldom-used 7-foot post Owen Holland — and took a 20-14 lead midway through the first half. They led 26-20 with 7:54 remaining after reserve Justin Hemsley’s acrobatic reverse layup, but the Gauchos closed out the half with a 15-7 run to lead 35-33 at the break.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

Hawai’i then opened the second half with an 11-2 run to lead 44-37 four minutes into it after power forward Zigmars Raimo swished a 3-pointer from the left wing — only the second made 3-pointer of his four-year career — and the Gauchos could only get as close as 46-43 on Amadou Sow’s short fadaway jumper four minutes later. The Warriors answered with another reverse layup by Hemsley followed by a nifty spin move and layup by Mate Colina off Buggs’ assist to push the lead to 50-43, and Buggs later scored on an off-balance layup followed by a smooth fadeaway jumper from the right wing to make it 54-45 with 9:35 left.

UCSB closed it to 54-49 after two free throws by McLaughlin with 7:57 remaining, but UH responded with Raimo’s 12-foot jumper from the left baseline and then Dawson Carper’s layup to push the lead to 58-49 with six minutes to play.

After the Gauchos later closed it to 60-54 on a free throw by Sow with three minutes left, Eddie Stansberry answered with two free throws and then Carper scored a layup for a 64-54 lead to effectively seal the victory with 55 seconds on the clock.

Raimo and Hemsley each finished with 10 points, and Raimo and Carper (eight points) each added seven rebounds. Carper, a 7-foot sophomore, Hulland (six points) and Colina helped to fill the void left by the usual starting post, Bernardo da Silva, who was in street clothes with his left foot encased in a hard medical boot.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

Ganot said he and the team’s medical staff will be “monitoring (da Silva) and playing it safe” before deciding his status for the next game, against UC Davis at home Saturday. The Warriors also received only 10 minutes of floor time from starting wing Samuta Avea, who is nursing some back pain.
Webster (30-plus minutes) and Hemsley (15 minutes) helped to fill that void.

“We’re now starting to take Webster for granted — he just continues to perform in big games and big minutes, and he had to really step up with Samuta’s situation,” Ganot said. 

Avea ranks second on the team in 3-pointers made with 32, but Hulland, Hemsley and Raimo helped fill that absence by combining for four makes from beyond the arc.

“We know what Owen is capable of, I just don’t know if anyone’s been scouting him for awhile,” Ganot said of Hulland, who was making his first appearance of the season after recovering from surgery on his right foot last fall. “He had earned the right to get in there, he’s obviously cleared and is just working to get back into shape. It’s natural, he’s just trying to get healthy, so this is going to be a process for him. But what an entrance, at a key time, and a different dynamic, certainly. 

“And that’s kind of the versatility we had envisioned from him and our team, going from Zigmars and then Hemsley comes in and provides a lift off the bench, and you go from Dawson and Mate and all of those guys help us. And here comes Owen, who can spread you out.”

Defensively, Colina helped to take two charging calls against Sow, and Stansberry and Avea helped to make Heidegger — an explosive guard who burned UH for 16 second-half points at the SSC two years ago — work hard for his 21 points. Heidegger made only one of five 3-point attempts Saturday and scored seven of his points in the final minute when the outcome was pretty much decided. 

Photo courtesy Brandon Flores

“We weren’t good tonight,” said UCSB head coach Joe Pasternack, via the team’s website. “We had three assists and got out rebounded by 10 (33-23). You can’t win on the road when you play like that.” 

For the game, the Warriors shot 49.1 percent from the field, including 35 percent (7 for 20) from 3-point range.

“It’s a great feeling, but no real surprise to us,” Buggs said of the complete victory. “We have goals to do something special this year, and we have to do that against good teams like that, those are the kind of teams we’ll have to go through. And on our home court, this is a big stretch for us. But it makes it easy when everybody comes ready to play and is locked in, and we have an unbelievable crowd like we did tonight. It really fired us up.
“We were locked in and ready to go.”

Said Raimo: “We finally showed what we are capable of.”

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Big West Conference
Saturday’s Results

at UC Irvine 69, UC Riverside 53
UC Davis 66, at CSUN 62
Cal State Fullerton 66, at Long Beach State 62
at Hawai’i 70, UC Santa Barbara 63

1 Comment

  1. Great team win! Nice to see Owen back and hit some big shots.

    Hopefully Samuta heals up this week.

    Go bows!

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