Controversial final shot beats Warriors
The first loss of the season for the Hawaii basketball team was a controversial one.
Cal Poly defeated the Warriors, 54-53, on a putback by Chris O’Brien as the final horn sounded at Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold argued with the officials that O’Brien’s basket should not have counted because it came after the horn. But because the game was not televised, there was no replay available for the officials to review, and so the basket counted.
After the game, Arnold went to his hotel room and reviewed the scouting video (which cannot be used by officials to review a play).
“We watched it a bunch of times, and it’s not the best quality video, but it really looks like the ball is still touching his hand when (the clock) gets to 0,” Arnold said. “But there was no replay, so nothing we could do about it. Tough way to lose.”
It was also the first loss of the season for the Warriors under first-year head coach Arnold. Hawaii opened the season with five consecutive wins – all at home – and is now 5-1.
“Close plays, close calls like that, their tough to get on the road,” Arnold said. “That’s why it’s so hard to win on the road – you really have to go out and win the game.”
The Warriors nearly did win it, despite playing their most sloppy game of the season. Hawaii committed a season-high 27 turnovers, and the 53 points was a season-low.
“I thought we defended pretty well and shot it pretty well when we took care of the ball,” Arnold said. “But 27 turnovers … that’ll kill you every time.”
Zane Johnson led a balanced Hawaii offense with 11 points, and Joston Thomas scored 10. Freshman Trevor Wiseman, making the first start of his career, added eight points and six rebounds. Vander Joaquim grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, leading the Warriors to a 34-24 advantage on the boards.
“I thought our young guys were good tonight, especially for a first road game,” Arnold said.
The Warriors trailed 52-48 with less than two minutes remaining, but rallied to take the lead late in the game. Johnson was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer, and proceeded to make all three free throws with 1:01 remaining to cut the Cal Poly lead to 52-51. Thomas then scored on a driving layup with 22 seconds left to put Hawaii ahead, 53-52.
The Mustangs had three shots at the basket on their final possession. “They made the plays at the end, so give them credit,” Arnold said.
In addition to the final basket, the referees missed a traveling violation by one of the Mustangs on that final possession.
“Things were going so fast at the end there, even I didn’t notice it,” Arnold said. “But when you see it on film, it’s a pretty obvious travel.”
The Mustangs shot just 33.3 percent from the field, while Hawaii shot 51.4 percent. However, the Hawaii turnovers also played a key role in that as the Mustangs took 54 shot attempts to Hawaii’s 35.
Shawn Lewis led Cal Poly with 15 points and David Hanson added 14. The Mustangs also beat Hawaii last season in Honolulu. Cal Poly is 3-3 this season.
The Warriors trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, but managed to take a 28-26 lead at intermission. The game stayed close throughout the second half.
“We’ll figure it out, we’ll get better because of this,” Arnold said.
Hawaii is scheduled to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday. The Warriors will play another road game against No. 21-ranked Brigham Young on Saturday.
Hawaii basketball teams have now lost 13 consecutive games away from home, a streak dating to the 2008-09 season.
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