Friday, November 27, 2015         

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Tavita pays price for getting ejected

By Brian McInnis


A change of jersey color silently heralded a restoration of order on the court.

Hawaii starting point guard Jace Tavita wore the white garb of a scout-teamer at Tuesday's basketball practice. It was the first on-court team session since Tavita was ejected from Saturday's 104-93 win over Chaminade on Molokai for his prominent involvement in two separate altercations with Silverswords players.

UH coach Gib Arnold said he would wait 48 hours after the game to make a disciplinary decision. The verdict: junior Garrett Jefferson took over first-team point guard duties, at least for now.

"Right now I'm on the scout team, just trying to make the team better, doing anything I can," a contrite Tavita said.

Tavita, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Utah, is a former scout-teamer who's averaged 6.3 assists in starting every game so far this season. But he will have to prove himself in a lesser role all over again while UH (5-3) heads into a loaded Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The Rainbow Warriors open Saturday against Miami, which is 7-1 and receiving votes in the AP Top 25 poll. No. 4 Arizona and No. 18 San Diego State are the headliners.

"It's a learning experience. It's a physical game and I want our guys to play physical," Arnold said. "But you gotta know your limits, when not to cross the line. … Jace in particular understands that. He's apologized to the team, he even apologized to Chaminade. He's learned from that and we're going to move on from there."

Tavita earned his second technical of the game — and an automatic ejection — when he left the bench area to join center Vander Joaquim, who was confrontational toward Chaminade guard De'Andre Haskins after being fouled on a dunk with 3:39 to play. Joaquim was also given a technical.

Tavita was also whistled for a tech six minutes into the game for shoving Kevin Hu after the two collided while going for an airborne ball.

Upon ejection, the senior tri-captain said he knew he'd erred as he made the solitary walk to the second-floor locker room.

"I just wanted to express my feelings, let (my team) know I was sorry," Tavita said. "That was a very selfish thing to do, to let my emotions go before the team. I just apologized and I told Coach whatever disciplinary actions he asked (of) me, I'm ready to do that."

Joaquim missed Tuesday's practice entirely, but not for any disciplinary reason. He had a tooth pulled upon returning from Molokai and was instructed to go without contact for the day.

"This is a very disciplined team and a good group of guys," Arnold said. "We just let the emotions get to us a little bit."

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