Emotion is not the first word that comes to mind when you think of the Ganot Era of Hawaiʻi basketball. As the ‘Bows fell to the Anteaters on Friday after Justin Webster’s shot fell short at the buzzer, Ganot said he was “proud of his team,” and wanted more of the fight they had in their failed comeback.
The next night, the ‘Bows beat the conference-leading Anteaters in overtime and Coach Ganot got on the postgame interview to preach the same message of pride for his ‘Bows and clear excitement for the future of this season.
“We got 11 guys, and they’re fighting their tails off to represent and they care so much … and they deserve it.”
Ganot then marched into his locker room was met with cheers and as much water the ‘Bows could find as they hounded Ganot after the emotional win.
In Friday’s matchup, the ‘Bows came into the second half only down by three. Forward Casdon Jardine led the team with 14 points and five rebounds as well as a pair of threes to keep the ‘Bows on pace with the Big West leaders. With James Jean-Marie providing 12 points off the bench, it wasn’t enough to sustain a lead throughout the game.
While the ‘Bows came within one point twice in the final minutes, Justin Webster’s final three of the game fell short for the ‘Bows third straight home loss this season, as well as their 7th in a row to Irvine, falling 53-51.
Saturday would be much of the same, as tension built after the teams entered the half tied at 26. The ‘Bows would fall to a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes, making it feel like the team was preparing for another home loss in the conference.
Miraculously, Hawaiʻi’s defense turned on and with some help from guard Junior Madut, overtime was upon us. Madut would once again shine, as he would hit the three pointer to keep Hawaii in the lead for the rest of the period to beat the Anteaters in their first conference loss of the season.
Madut led the team Saturday night with 22 points and 9-10 free throws made to keep Hawaiʻi alive at SimpliFi Arena. Webster also contributed with 16 points and four made free throws.
The Rainbow Warriors hope to take their momentum into San Diego next week, as they take on the Tritons of UC San Diego in their first matchup as Big West opponents.