Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors rout HPU, 79-55, in Laie

In preparation for what is expected to be a busy Thanksgiving week, an overnight trip to O’ahu’s North Shore proved to be bountiful for the University of Hawai’i basketball team.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

The Rainbow Warriors were solid in all phases of a 79-55 rout of Hawai’i Pacific on Saturday afternoon at the Cannon Activities Center on the campus of Brigham Young-Hawai’i in Laie. The rare neutral site game on the island of O’ahu was essentially a pre-test for the Warriors for the Patty Mills North Shore Classic, which is set for November 25 and 26 at the Cannon Activities Center.

The Warriors improved to 3-1. HPU remained at 2-0 because it was classified as an exhibition game for the Sharks.

An announced crowd of 423 – most of them BYUH students – showed up for the game that started at 12 noon. Because of the early start, the Warriors practiced at BYUH on Friday night, and then stayed overnight at a North Shore hotel.

“This was a short trip, but it’s still a travel process for us,” Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot said. “You don’t really know what to expect – first UH game ever, here (at BYUH). That’s cool to be part of some groundbreaking stuff.”

It didn’t take long for the NCAA-I Warriors to establish its advantages over the NCAA-II Sharks.

Hawai’i raced to a 10-0 lead to open the game, and was never really threatened the rest of the way.

Senior forward Kamaka Hepa recorded the first double-double of his Hawai’i career with 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead a balanced Warriors’ offense. Junior guard Noel Coleman also scored 13 and tied his career-high with five assists.

Junior point guard JoVon McClanahan added 10 points – including 2-of-3 shooting from 3-point range – and four assists. Freshman forward Harry Rouhliadeff celebrated his 19th birthday with the best game of his young collegiate career – 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and four rebounds.

“Other than a five- or six-minute stretch to start the second half, we were pretty good,” Ganot said. “Guys had some breakthrough performances, especially off the bench, which will help us moving forward.”

The Warriors shot 56.1 percent overall, including 38.1 percent (8 for 21) from 3-point range. In contrast, HPU shot 36.7 percent overall and 26.3 percent (5 for 19) from 3-point range.

“We really defended,” Ganot said. “And our defensive rebounding was a talking point going into last week. This week, it was keep that going and get our offensive evolution up to speed, and our flow and our spacing. I thought both those things happened in the first half. We played great in the first half.”

After the 10-0 start, the Warriors eventually increased it to 24-8 on a 3-pointer by Coleman with 9:56 remaining. Hawai’i eventually took a 43-23 lead at intermission, with Rouhliadeff scoring all 10 of his points in the first half.

“It was really I was looking to help the team spark a little bit,” said the 6-foot-9 freshman from Australia. “We just needed a little bit of energy and coming off the bench, I was just really trying to provide that spark for the team.”

The Sharks opened the second half with an 8-0 surge to cut the Hawai’i lead to 43-31, but the Warriors turned to two other reserves to reignite the offense. Junior guard Amoro Lado scored five quick points early in the second half to put the Sharks back in a hole.

Sophomore guard Justus Jackson later hit back-to-back 3-pointers to increase the Hawai’i lead to 58-37 with 10:19 remaining. The Warriors led by as many as 30 (71-41) after a dunk by freshman center Mor Seck with 5:19 remaining. The Hawai’i reserves then got to close out the game.

Led by Hepa and junior forward Bernardo da Silva (8 points, 9 rebounds), the Warriors out-rebounded the Sharks, 36-26.

Senior forward Samuta Avea was limited to four points, but it hardly spoiled his “homecoming” appearance. He grew up a few miles from the BYUH campus in Hau’ula, and is a graduate of Kahuku High, which is also a few miles away from BYUH.

“It was special,” Avea said. “I was really surprised by the turnout at 12 (o’clock) on a Saturday. A lot of people came to watch us and hopefully we put on a show for them to come back next weekend. It was special to see a lot of people I knew, familiar faces, family and friends.”

Some of those family members honored Avea with a traditional haka dance after the game. “It really meant a lot and it was a chilling feeling, for sure,” he said.

The Warriors will open the Patty Mills North Shore Classic against Sacramento State at 3:30 p.m. on November 25. Hawai’i will then play either Texas State or Southern Utah on November 26.

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  1. Dayton, thanks for the highlights.

  2. Great video and interviews!

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