Rainbow Warriors looking to build off Diamond Head Classic losses

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For 20 minutes, the Rainbow Warrior basketball team has held its own in games against then-No. 6 ranked Miami and Princeton.

But it's been the second halves of those games that has hurt the Warriors, and Eran Ganot said that it's time to figure out what the problem is for his team coming out of halftime.

"You don't want to overanalyze it," Ganot said of his team's second half struggles this season. "Over the years, I think we've been pretty good, I think it's a big mark of a good team. Now, this is a different team. Obviously we got some returners, but it's still a different dynamic."

In the first half of their game against Miami last weekend in the Diamond Head Classic, Hawaii held its own against one of the nation's premier basketball programs.

At halftime, the Warriors were tied with the sixth-ranked team in the country at 33-33, shooting 45 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep, all while holding the Hurricanes to 41 percent shooting and 14 percent from three-point range.

But after the break from action, the Warriors fell apart.

Hawaii shot 38 percent from the field and 30 percent from three-point range in the second half, juxtaposed to Miami's 69 percent from the field and 66 percent from deep.

"It's something that's reared its ugly head enough times that it's clearly an issue," Ganot said. "Our energy coming out of the half has to be better."

The Warriors lost to Miami 75-57, but had some strong moments to take away from the game going into their matchup against Davidson, which they won 79-71 the next day.

However, in their third game of the Diamond Head Classic against Princeton, the Warriors fell apart down the stretch again.

For the second time in the Diamond Head Classic, the Warriors were tied at the half, knotted at 31-31 with the Tigers. Hawaii shot a decent 45 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes of the game compared to Princeton's 52 percent clip, and were very much still in the game.

But after the break, the Warriors struggled to get anything in the basket, scoring less than 10 points in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

From there, the Warriors struggled to convert easy layups and free points from the charity stripe, shooting an abysmal 45 percent from the free throw line (9-of-20).

"I think we've made some strides and I think we've pressed; and that's the problem," Ganot said. "When I say in those past four games we've just played including Utah Valley, we've had some really good stretches, we've had some just really poor stretches … it's become contagious to them. There's been a little bit of a snowball effect."

Playing three games in four days can be physically draining, but Ganot doesn't think the team's struggles are physical. Point guard Brocke Stepteau agrees, saying that it's more of a mindset when it comes to shooting and getting out of a funk.

"We have a lot of potential, like we saw when we played Miami tough for a half and played Princeton well for a half, we played pretty consistently against Davidson, we haven't had that full consistent game throughout the season so far so I think that's what we need to work on - working on two good halves in all the games we feel like we're capable of winning," Stepteau said.

The Warriors will look to rebound from their most recent loss to Princeton this Friday night against Howard a the Stan Sheriff Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. HT.

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