Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors look to improve after 2-1 start

The foundation to build upon has been established early for the University of Hawai’i basketball team. A 2-1 start to the 2022-23 season has the Rainbow Warriors looking excitedly at the remainder of the schedule.

The Rainbow Warriors opened the season with three games in four days. After convincing victories over Mississippi Valley State and Eastern Washington, the Warriors dropped a 62-59 overtime heartbreaker to Yale in the championship game of the Outrigger Rainbow Classic.

Based on the three-game sample, the Warriors are putting up elite defensive numbers. Opponents are averaging just 55.7 points per game with a .395 field goal percentage. What’s more, Hawai’i is allowing just 3.3 3-pointers per game while limiting opposing shooters to a .256 percentage from 3-point range.

The Warriors have also been strong on the boards, out-rebounding opponents by an average of 41-31 per game.

“There’s no cleaning up the foundation,” Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot said. “The heart was there, the fire was there, the defense was there. We just have to get back to work and learn from this.”

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

The issue has been on offense, where Hawai’i is averaging 67.3 points per game with a .386 field goal percentage, including .308 from 3-point range.

“We saw completely different teams in three games,” Ganot said. “We saw a lot of zone, we saw a lot of (man-to-man), we saw zone-to-man … we’ll go to work and make sure we’re comfortable with everything moving forward.”

Ganot used the same starting lineup for all three games: Noel Coleman and JoVon McClanahan in the backcourt; Samuta Avea, Bernardo da Silva and Kamaka Hepa in the frontcourt.

Coleman leads the team in scoring at 16.7 points per game, and is 8 for 23 (.348) from 3-point range. Da Silva is averaging 12.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and has a .519 field goal percentage.

Despite some shooting struggles (.343 field goal percentage), Avea is scoring 11.7 points per game. Hepa is averaging 10.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, and leads the team with five blocked shots. McClanahan is contributing 5.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

The main contributors in reserve have been guard Justus Jackson and forwards Harry Rouhliadeff and Beon Riley.

The Warriors will play again on Saturday, when they face NCAA Division II Hawai’i Pacific. The game will be played at the Cannon Activities Center on the BYU-Hawai’i campus, as somewhat of a preparation for the following week’s Patty Mills North Shore Classic. Saturday’s game is scheduled to start at 12 noon.

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