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Second-half surge propels Rainbow Warriors over Vulcans

HONOLULU — Four players scoring in double figures was enough for Hawai‘i to overhaul the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo 89-66 Saturday night in the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

Justin Webster led Hawai‘i with 15 points and Casdon Jardine finished the game with a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds.

James Jean-Marie finished with 12 points and Justin Hemsley finished with 10 in the victory over the NCAA Division II team.

Rainbow Warriors’ coach Eran Ganot still emphasized the cleanup work his team will need to do headed into its first conference game when they travel to play at Cal Poly on Sunday, Dec. 27.

Hawai‘i, an NCAA Division I program, led the Vulcans by only 37-27 at halftime, and Ganot felt this is something his team needs to improve on heading into their conference schedule.

“Overall, our performance was good, but it seemed like almost the same score as the first game,” Ganot said in his post-game Zoom press conference. “It is very similar to game one.”

Hawai‘i adjusted in the second half and ended up outscoring Hilo 52-39. Ganot was pleased with the energy of his team and the adjustment they made from the first half to the second half.

“It was good to impose our will in the first five minutes of the second half,” Ganot said. “It was not so good to play so lethargic and poorly in the first half of the game.”

One area Hawai‘i struggled with was allowing Hilo to generate 21 points off turnovers.

The Vulcans outscored the Rainbow Warriors 21-16 in this statistical category of the game.

“I hope we can continue to get a lot out of the second half of games, and we’ve done a good job in the first 10 minutes of the second half,” Ganot said. “However, we didn’t play well in the last 10 minutes of the game.”

Rainbow Warriors’ guard Justin Webster attributed the adjustments made from the first half to the second half to the coaching staff.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Webster said in the post-game press conference. “This week, going into the first conference game, it will be big for us to see where our conditioning level is and where we are at as a team.”

Freshman guard Biwali Bayles, who earned a starting role last week, feels his team will be prepared heading into conference play.

“This is a unique place to play, and it was very exciting being here tonight,” Bayles said. “I felt we played up and down, but we just have to stay consistent. Hopefully, we will get there in the next game.”

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Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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