Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors using extra practice time to correct mistakes

One less game this week does not necessarily mean less work for the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team. On the contrary, the rare one week break in between games gives the Warriors a chance to have an extra practice and correct mistakes that happened during their recent road split at UC San Diego (win) and Cal State Fullerton (loss).

Instead of the usual Thursday-Saturday game schedule, this week UH only plays Long Beach State at 7 p.m. Saturday in SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“This is a very vital week for us, because within the past four weeks we really haven’t had too much time to practice,” said senior co-captain Kamaka Hepa. “And so having those seven days off from our past game (to) coming up with Long Beach at home, I think it’s very big for us, and we’re going to take advantage of it, for sure.”

Two key areas of concern from the road trip are turnovers and stopping the dribble-drive penetration. The Warriors only had four turnovers in the first half of their 62-49 victory at UC San Diego on Jan. 5, but lost the ball 10 times in the second half as a 14-point lead shrunk to four at one point late in the game.

Then on Saturday, Hawai’i committed 22 turnovers in a 79-72 overtime loss at Cal State Fullerton, where the Titans also got a combined 68 points from their four starting guards.

“I felt disappointed, I thought we didn’t really play up to the expectation or level that we wanted to,” Hepa said. “But (Monday) we went over the film and kind of looked at it with a clear mind, and I think that’s the biggest thing in taking what we need to learn from that game and really applying it this Saturday against Long Beach. I think one of the things we talk about a lot is that our ‘goods’ are great and our ‘bads’ are really low, and something that we’re focusing on is really just shoring that up. We do go stretches where we have great ball movement and we’re getting what we want on the offensive end. And then there’s also stretches where it’s just completely awful basketball.

“It’s just the consistent aspect of it, and what I think is going to really help is just being able to get into the gym this week and really practice, because we didn’t necessarily have the time to do that. I think it’s going to come with more practices, but we also have to take more responsibility and ownership of that.”

Warriors coach Eran Ganot acknowledged that ball security was a big issue last week, and a priority for Saturday.

“We had a chance to win both (games), but disappointed in the way we finished the last game — and started,” Ganot said. “But the big takeaway is taking care of the ball, ball security. We didn’t take care of it, and we gave up too many free throws (41). And when we were at the line, we didn’t make ’em (12 of 21 in regulation). The ball security and free throw disparity was a big deal.”

As for the dribble penetration, Hepa said UH cannot resort to fouls in the way it did at Fullerton.

“They shot 41 free throws, which I’ve never really heard of in a game,” Hepa said. “That’s definitely something we have to get better at, I think it’s just our point-of-attack defense is what we stress a lot, watching the film yesterday. Being able to stay in front of our guys is one thing, because we do have a great wall on defense, which is our help defense. But just taking more pride on 1-on-1 defense, for sure, to clean up those fouls.”

Ganot said keeping opponents out of the key and away from the basket was a concern even prior to the road trip.

“I thought it came up a little bit before (last) week, where people were getting a little deeper into the paint,” Ganot said. “So yeah, we want to take teams off the three and make them shoot tough two’s overhand, but tough two’s overhand from three to four feet is a little different. When we looked at it, there was some slippage. It’s funny, because it’s a matter of inches sometimes. The guys weren’t far off, but a little off, enough for a good offensive player to feel a little more comfortable taking his time in the paint, and that’s where we were exposed … We could have done a better job not allowing them into the paint that deep.”

Ganot added the focus for the week, as usual, is on fixing mistakes first, and then the next opponent.

“It’s always us first, and then them,” Ganot said. “But even more us (this week), until we get to this Saturday game.”

Wednesday’s Results
at UC Irvine 70, Cal State Fullerton 65
UC Santa Barbara 60, at CSU Bakersfield 48
UC Davis 62, at CSUN 54
UC Riverside 74, at UC San Diego 68

Thursday, January 12
Cal Poly at Long Beach State

Saturday, January 14
UC Irvine at CSUN
UC San Diego at CSU Bakersfield
Cal State Fullerton at UC Davis
UC Riverside at UC Santa Barbara
Long Beach State at Hawai’i

Monday, January 16
UC Davis at UC San Diego
Cal Poly at UC Riverside
UC Santa Barbara at UC Irvine
CSU Bakersfield at Cal State Fullerton
CSUN at Hawai’i

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