HONOLULU — Hawai‘i head basketball coach Eran Ganot knows his team has a lot of work left to do after the Rainbow Warriors’ 83-50 victory over Hawai‘i Pacific in their home-opening win Saturday night.
The Rainbow Warriors, an NCAA Division I team, played against the Division II Sharks, and in the first half, found themselves in a close contest.
Hawai‘i went into halftime with only a 30-25 advantage, something that didn’t sit well with Ganot in his post-game press conference.
Throughout the game, the Rainbow Warriors shot only 47.2% from the field.
“This is a great first win for our guys, but we talked at length, and we know we have to play better moving forward,” Ganot said. “It was a sloppy first half. We played out of sorts offensively, took bad shots and started gambling defensively.”
A turning point
Hawai‘i took control of the tide of the momentum in the second half, scoring on their first four possessions to outscore their Divison II opponent 53-25.
“The first three or four possessions set the tone for us in the second half,” Ganot said. “They showcased the ability to get back playing together, sharing the ball and playing solid defensively with no lapses.”
Ganot attributed some of his team’s rust to the long layoff they had because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We still have guys getting comfortable with our staff,” Ganot said. “One thing we have to work on is getting our stamina back, and we are talking about elite conditioning.”
A work in progress
Hawai‘i center James Jean-Marie said the talk Ganot and his coaching staff had in the locker room allowed the team to turn the tide of the game in the Rainbow Warriors’ favor.
“We knew the way we started the game wasn’t good enough for us,” Jean-Marie said. “We talked during halftime, and came back out stronger.”
A team effort
The Rainbow Warriors had four of their players score in double figures.
Jean-Marie led the team with 21 points, Mate Colina had 17, Justin Webster had 12, and Casdon Jardine finished with 11 in the team’s non-conference win.
“We just have to step up from today, and there is a lot to clean up,” Ganot said. “We are looking forward to getting back to work.”
The Rainbow Warriors will play the University of Cal Poly on Dec. 27, and they hope they can improve from the first game’s performance.
“I would rather play with fans but it is just a better vibe to take care of business, fans or no fans,” Jean-Marie said. “It doesn’t matter though, to be honest.”
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.