That's a wrap

Isaac Fotu put his “brick hands” behind him at precisely the right moment.

The Hawaii sophomore was a man among boys in the second half of Friday night’s 77-73 thriller over Omaha. Fotu scored 22 of his season-high 26 points in the period, going 8-for-11 for the game and 10-for-12 from the line.

Isaac Fotu
Isaac Fotu

It didn’t take a hoops genius to figure out he was far more comfortable at the line without the thick protective wrapping on his formerly fractured right hand.

UH went to him consistently to open the second half as he scored the team’s first seven points in the period. The Mavericks would still go ahead by nine, but Fotu gradually wore down Omaha’s front line and fouled out Mavs big man John Karhoff, the reigning Summit League player of the week, at a crucial moment.

Fotu’s big night was all the more important with off shooting games from Keith Shamburger (2-10), Brandon Spearman (2-10) and Christian Standhardinger (4-14). Spearman did have an emphatic alley-oop in the first half and Standhardinger had his third double-double of the season, 10 points and 10 rebounds. Shamburger supplied some key free throws late in playing through a hip flexor.

You can argue whether the technical foul on the Mavs’ other big man, Mike Rostampour, in the final minute was justified. That call swung the game.

Bottom line, that was a big-time comeback win against a quality opponent. UH heads into Big West play at 11-3, matching its best start since the 2003-04 season.


  1. ROB T January 4, 2014 8:19 pm

    Hey, Brian remember I gave you static about your thought of UH being 4th place or worse in the Big West. I was wondering if you were willing to change that prediction? I will understand if you decide to delete my post, the other blog guy on this newspaper called the sports animals homers for placing hawaii in 2nd place. He was ripping into Johnny White for wanting to put hawaii in a better spot than 4th. In truth the big West season has not even started and a lot of things could go wrong and UH could end up in the bottom half of the league. I give you credit because you answered back when I asked you if the players heckle you for giving them such a low prognostication. Seeing how the Big West has fared in the pre conference games where would you now put hawaii in the conference?

  2. Brian McInnis January 4, 2014 9:17 pm

    Hey Rob,

    Preseason polls are all in good fun, but they’re rarely on the money top to bottom for a number of reasons. As you pointed out, I did pick UH fourth, behind UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and Long Beach State. Even with UH’s mostly impressive nonconference performance, I’d still say Santa Barbara is the team to beat right now. Irvine will be tough with its serious size, and Long Beach has played better since getting Tyler Lamb eligible. But it’s safe to say UH has likely opened some eyes around the league, and its RPI is very respectable (83) right now.
    If I were to do a do-over poll right now, I’d probably slot UH second or third behind UCSB and possibly Irvine — I’d have to give that latter part some serious thought.

    Bottom line, UH has a strong chance to take this conference if it can put together some winning results on the road.

  3. Hank January 5, 2014 12:10 am

    You could also argue that a technical foul should have been called on the Omaha Coach for being 5-feet on the court when play was going on right in front of him. I thought that was more clearly a technical. The Rostampour thing might have been “ok, we can’t let this go too.”

    Big win though.

  4. kimo browner January 5, 2014 8:56 am

    I believe top 3 in the MWC is accurate.

  5. kimo browner January 5, 2014 8:56 am

    Correction: BWC.

  6. poorboy January 5, 2014 12:44 pm

    Brian so true, this team, has surprised even the old time die hard UH MBB fans. Easily could have been 12-2 at this point, however 11-3, is Great!

    This road trip, against Poly and Northridge, huge, if UH splits, great start 1-1, come home against Riverside,and get SSC win, then go back on the road with momentum, at 2-1, think sweep, or split, and come back for that 4 game homes stand, at either 3-2, minimum or even better 4-1, they are in a position to place top 3 or better.
    This team, the guard play, and clutch performances, all 14 guys on roster have been in games since start of season, All are supporting the starters, and go in when number called, and affect winning,
    Brian, this team could be something special.
    All of Hawaii, MBB fans new and old, we await the results of this All Important first road trip, gotta get 1 or even 2, and UH is up there at the top tier!
    Great watching team in person, wish more STUDENTS with Jamie Smith leading the Roar will come out and support their team University of Hawaii’s team the Rainbow Warriors!

  7. poorboy January 5, 2014 2:55 pm

    Maybe Jovanovich, if he can contribute, quality 5-7 minutes, to spell tired or foul plauged Fotu and Standhardinger, get a few rebounds, Stefan can block shots, protect rim, has 5 fouls to give, and he has a nice shot, no hesitation, will help that Thin Front line dilemma. If Stefan starts to play well, along with Rozitis, having a 7 ‘0″ and a True Big 6’10” 235 center, with BBIQ, will help UH down the road in conference, BWC tourney and Post Season run.
    Go Stefan, keep on working it, your size can help UH MBB team!

  8. lowtone123 January 6, 2014 7:44 am

    Mark of a good team is when a player is willing and able to step up and play big when others are struggling. All that and with a bum hand.

  9. K-Bay January 6, 2014 8:52 am

    AND it ‘should’ be ‘Rare’ that Spearman, Shamburger AND Nevels have BAD (e.g., 2-10) Shooting Nights, especially All at the Same Time (A Position like Fotuʻs or Standhardingerʻs ʻCanʻ be Affected by a Potential NBA Big); They May Need to Bring their Game in Closer to The Rim like Quincy Does on a Sub-Par shooting night…
    ‘Til they Hit and Get their Rhythm back…

    BUT in Post-Season they Need to be Prepared to Perform despite ALL Five Opponents playinʻ Hard Deny-Ball, Shut-Down Defense…

  10. Warrior Dave January 7, 2014 9:29 am


    Any of the two road games on TV? Wasn’t able to go to Fridays game because of illness but the last minute win did make me feel better.

    I love watching this team play. We need more fans in the arena to cheer them on!

  11. Brian McInnis January 7, 2014 3:53 pm

    Hey Dave,

    Yeah, all the Big West games are theoretically streamed free at BigWest.TV. Last year I discovered some of the feeds were unreliable (I believe it was the first year live streaming at all games was mandated.) So hopefully whatever bugs existed were hammered out.

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