HONOLULU — The University of Hawai‘i men’s basketball team will play its second NCAA Division II opponent of the season when they host the UH-Hilo Vulcans at 7 p.m. Saturday at SimpliFi Arena in the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Warriors (1-0, 0-0) struggled in the first half against their first Division II opponent, Hawai‘i Pacific, last Saturday.
However, they overpowered the Sharks in the second half to win the game convincingly, 83-50.
UH-Manoa coach Eran Ganot made it known during the post-game press conference that he wasn’t happy with his team’s first-half performance against the Sharks.
Ganot’s team took only a five-point lead into halftime, which the coach found unacceptable against an NCAA Division II team that doesn’t have the depth of talent the Rainbow Warriors have.
“I think the first half wasn’t good on either front,” Ganot said. “They just didn’t make the shots, but we were fortunate. We don’t want to get that lucky with anything.”
Ganot, his coaching staff and the Rainbow Warriors players made the necessary adjustments in the second half. Hawai‘i prevailed against their NCAA Division II opponent, outscoring them 53-25.
“The second half was more complete, and we were doing what we needed to do, which is something our team needs to build on,” Ganot said.
No repeat performance
Ganot hopes his team doesn’t have another duplicate performance in their upcoming matchup against the Vulcans.
UH has beaten the Vulcans by double digits in nine of 10 meetings, with the last contest the closest of the series (82-75, 2018).
The main thing Ganot hopes to take away from the team’s second game of the season is court-time experience.
“We have to take advantage of every second as these live-game situations come together and players can learn from each other,” Ganot said. “We have to learn the right way to play in game situations.”
A universal language
Given the unusual circumstances of this season, the Hawai‘i Rainbow Warriors are still working on establishing team chemistry and continuity, according to forward Casdon Jardine.
Jardine, a Utah Valley graduate transfer, scored 11 points, including a trio of three-pointers, to kick start UH’s decisive second-half run.
Senior post player James Jean-Marie tallied a double-double, 21 points and 11 rebounds, in just 20 minutes of action.
“I would say chemistry is something that comes, hopefully naturally, to most guys, because once you get on the basketball court it is a universal language,” Jardine said. “The court time is something that you can’t replace, and in our first game, we felt a big difference in chemistry.”
Jardine said he feels the chemistry issues will work themselves out with more playing time.
“That is something we will work on as we continue to play,” Jardine said. “It will just come naturally.”
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.