Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors looking for faster starts and consistent halves

The hare or the tortoise?

Regardless of the outcome provided in the ancient fable, the University of Hawai’i basketball team is proving that fast starts are a better option.

The Rainbow Warriors are 9-5 in Big West Conference games this season. In eight of their nine conference wins, the Warriors held the lead at halftime.

All five losses, however, have shared a common theme – Hawai’i falls behind early, battles back to make it close in the second half, then comes up short at the end.

The proof is in the statistics:

• Hawai’i is 8-0 when it has the lead at halftime in BWC games this season.

• Hawai’i is 1-5 when it trails at halftime in BWC games this season.

The latest example happened on Saturday, when the Warriors hosted Cal State Fullerton. Dismal shooting in the first half by the Warriors led to a 30-15 deficit at halftime.

The Warriors fixed their aim, staged a valiant comeback in the second half, and had the final possession of the game with a chance to win it. Ultimately, three shot attempts bounced off the rim in the closing seconds and Cal State Fullerton escaped with a 52-51 victory.

“You can’t keep searching for consistency in 40 minutes and who’s ready to go,” head coach Eran Ganot said after Saturday’s loss. “That’s disappointing and I think our guys have great character and they’re better than that and that’s where we and they have to push through.”

Two days before that, Hawai’i bucked the trend when it trailed UC San Diego by six points at halftime, and then rallied in the second half for a 69-62 victory. It is probably worth noting, though, that UC San Diego is somewhat of an anti-Hawai’i with a 2-7 record when leading at halftime against BWC teams.

It is also worth noting that Hawai’i is 18-8 overall, and the Warriors’ three non-conference losses (to Yale, Texas A&M-Commerce and UNLV) followed the same script – trail at halftime, battle back in the second half, then come up short at the end.

In simple terms, all of Hawai’i’s eight losses have come after they trailed at halftime.

“The game honors toughness, it honors discipline,” Ganot said. “We get undisciplined in key situations that create a flurry. We’ll keep coaching, we’ll keep working. I believe in our guys. That’s why I’m not surprised they came back (against Fullerton).”

The Warriors still have time to make adjustments and catch the leaders atop the BWC standings. Hawai’i is currently in a three-way tie for third place with Long Beach State and UC Riverside.

UC Santa Barbara is in first place with a 11-2 record, and UC Irvine is in second at 10-3. They will play each other on Wednesday at Santa Barbara, Calif.

Wednesday’s Games
CSUN at UC Davis
Long Beach State at UC Riverside
CSU Bakersfield at Cal Poly
Cal State Fullerton at UC San Diego
UC Irvine at UC Santa Barbara

Saturday’s Games
UC Davis at UC Irvine
Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton
Hawai’i at Long Beach State
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside
CSUN at UC San Diego

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