Clash with Titans Ends Victoriously on Senior Night
By Derek Kravitsky
March 8, 2014 - After sending off four senior Rainbow Wahine with a victory two nights earlier, the Rainbow Warriors followed suit and bid farewell to three Rainbow Warriors tonight in the same fashion. Hawai’i dramatically defeated the Cal State Fullerton Titans 81-77.
Coach Gib Arnold opened the night starting his three seniors, Davis Rozitis, Brandon Spearman and Christian Standhardinger. The Latvian Giant who normally comes off the bench first for UH seemed very comfortable in his starting role tonight.
In nine minutes, Rozitis snatched four rebounds and caused mass hysteria for the Titan offense who were challenged to shoot above his seven foot frame.
Although this night is dedicated to the seniors, this didn’t stop sophomore forward Isaac Fotu from grabbing the spotlight. Fotu went 4-6 in the first half and finished the night with a game-high 18 points. Fotu muscled and spun his way towards the basket showing off both power and finesse.
Much like he’s done all his career, Christian Standhardinger led his team of Rainbow Warriors, vocally penetrating the Titan defense en route to the hoop. The German native, Standhardinger, led the way in the first half with 13 points and eight rebounds.
After an emotional half time where seven new honorees were inducted into the Circle of Champions, the Rainbow Warriors continued to do what brought them success in the first half, but only for a short period of time. For the first five minutes of the second half, UH kept driving lane and kept scoring, but with a little over 15 minutes left in the half Hawai’i hit a roadblock.
Almost out of nowhere, Cal State Fullerton poured on an offense rarely seen imposed on the Rainbow Warriors all while UH suffered one its worst scoring droughts in recent memory. For a five minute span UH only scored three points while the Titans dropped 16 of their own.
After fighting the whole half to take the lead from the Rainbow Warriors, Cal State Fullerton pulled ahead on a perfectly contested deep three. After a back and forth battle, Hawai’i once again ended up on top with about 3 minutes remaining.
The star of senior night emerged in the waning minutes of the evening in Junior, Keith Shamburger. The Titans needed as much time as possible to score and relied on the foul game to get the ball back without wasting any precious seconds. Shamburger who shot no foul shots in the first half finished the night 14-16 from the charity stripe.
Ten seconds remained and Cal State Fullerton’s Michael Williams, who to his credit did make several clutch three’s, made a rookie mistake. Clearly unaware of how much time was left, Williams heaved up a three pointer just steps in front of the half court line, expecting the buzzer to sound. To his chagrin the ball was recovered by the Rainbow Warriors with five seconds remaining and time for one last play.
With ice in his veins, Shamburger converted on his last two foul shots to give Hawai’i a four point lead and an unforgettable victory on Senior Night.