Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors gain valuable experience from road split

The University of Hawai’i mens basketball team returned home last weekend from its first road trip, first competition against a Division I opponent and first two Big West Conference games of the season.

For their effort, the Warriors (3-1) gained an 88-83 victory at UC Riverside on Friday, suffered a 70-68 loss to the same Highlanders team 24 hours later, and now have a ton of experience and lessons learned from both.

Photo courtesy Julie Kim

“The opportunity to travel for the first time, a road trip — they did a great job, put us in a position to have success, fall just short of a sweep against a really good team,” UH coach Eran Ganot said. “We can come back leaning on two Division I games. We’re better today than we were going into that trip.”

Until last Friday, the Warriors had only home victories over in-state Division II rivals Hawai’i Pacific and UH Hilo on their resume, and had not played a game in 20 days.

“I think they’ve done an awesome job, we’ve talked about how important it was to be able to simulate game situations in practice, and we did,” Ganot said. “So you could see the comfort level — even though we didn’t play games, which would have been ideal — sharing the ball, offensive flow, was better. We need to keep coming along, but we were better. We were better on the glass our second game, not so much the first game, but we saw some things that we hadn’t seen from (UC Riverside), because they hadn’t played in a while, themselves. 

“But that’s all good for us, we need to play, and certainly the opportunity to play was vital for us.”

Co-captain Casdon Jardine, a graduate transfer forward who scored a season-high 26 points in Saturday’s loss, said it was a highly anticipated but unique experience playing the same team on consecutive days — a change that will be the Big West norm this season.

“Considering those were our first two Division I games of the season, I think it was a wake-up call for all of us,” Jardine said. “We gotta be ready to play a high level of basketball every single game. There’s going to be no one in our conference who is going to be an easy win. So I think it’s an exciting thing, a different thing. In my whole career, I’ve never played back-to-back games against the same team. So it’s very different. You play a team, you make adjustments, and then you’re right back out against the same team again. That’s something that none of us had really experienced, so that was cool, it was a different feel.”

As expected, both teams made adjustments overnight, although neither knew exactly what the others’ adjustments would be. UH post James Jean-Marie led all scorers with 24 points on Friday, but was held to six on Saturday.

“They seemed to make some pretty solid adjustments on how they were guarding our five-men,” Jardine. “James really had a huge game for us on Friday, they didn’t really have an answer for him, but coming into the game on Saturday, they made adjustments on how they were guarding him, and they also made adjustments on how they were going to go about the game offensively. They started out the game going very heavily into the post, which they didn’t do in the previous game. So I feel like more than ever, it’s going to be chess matches. 

“That first game you play someone, it’s going to be like getting your feel for that team, and then it’s not like the typical six weeks go by and then you play them again. It’s less than 24 hours go by. I expect that there will be some pretty big adjustments like were made in this last series at Riverside going into the future with these other teams.”

Photo courtesy Julie Kim

Ganot said the mistakes made are fixable, and the live-fire training provided valuable learning tools his team may not have otherwise have had access to in practice. 

“All games in the league are a little bit of a chess match, and you don’t want to out-smart yourself,” Ganot said. “So simplicity is important, I thought our guys did a good job in the second game, being up late. So I felt good about the mindset we had going in. I’m disappointed in the way we started each half. We had been really good to start second halves, but proud of our guys going down 12 and then up four. They made their adjustments, we made our adjustments. There were some late-game situations which we would like to have back, but we had a couple good looks. 

“They had a couple good looks that they made, and we had two lapses which they capitalized on. That’s a team that capitalizes on lapses, they have such size inside and they surround it with such (good) shooting. We were going to be limited in lapses, because they made 10 threes a game and we held them to seven and six, but they made a couple late. And so it’s experience we can really lean on.”

Ganot said it also was a positive that both games were tightly contested down the stretch, until the final moments, even with Saturday’s narrow defeat.

“That’s the beauty of this experience, we take great pride in late-game situations, we feel like our guys are prepared and we’ve had a lot of clutch players who made moments over the years,” Ganot said. “So to be on the other end of it, those sting and they hurt.

“The biggest thing in both those games was our defense late. That comeback (by UCR) came about as a result of dribble penetration and and-one fouls, touch fouls. And in the second game, two lapses on two 3’s. So I think you can see some of that (experience) we need, and that’s the positive of going through it. And we’re going to continue to try to simulate that in these practices (this week) as well.”

The Warriors will play host to new conference member Cal State Bakersfield at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

When: Friday, Jan. 15 (7:00 p.m.) & Saturday, Jan. 16 (7:00 p.m.)
Where: SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center – Honolulu, HI
Television: Spectrum Sports – Channels 12 (SD) and 1012 (HD)
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV (Must be a Spectrum cable subscriber to stream in Hawai’i)
Radio: Live on ESPN Honolulu (1420 AM/92.7 FM), KRKH (Maui), KPUA (Hawai’i Island), and KTOH (Kaua’i)
Audio Webcast: ESPNHonolulu.com/Sideline Hawai’i App.
Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com


  1. Very proud of the boys, they played well. UCR is a great team! Credit them for making the necessary adjustments to come back and win in the 2nd game. I watched both games, and both were highly entertaining, competitive matches. I feel like we should have won the 2nd game as well. I love Justin Webster, he’s a great shooter, but I’m curious as to why we didn’t set up Casdon to take the final shot ?? Dude was on fire all game. Of course, if Webster hits that shot, then well played. But it didn’t fall this time. Still a solid effort on both days. Let’s go bows!!

  2. They should have worked the ball to Jardine the bot hand or if we didn’t need a three the ball should be inside to James for a bucket , make it and draw the foul.

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