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Warriors rout Chicago State on Maui

The Hawaii basketball team reached several early-season peaks on the Valley Island on Friday night.

The Warriors reached a season-high in points and scored its largest margin of victory this season in an 86-57 win over Chicago State. The “home” game was played before an energetic Maui crowd in the cozy confines of the Lahaina Civic Center.

“I was very proud,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “It was a tough game for us, quite honestly, in that we had just finished finals, we didn’t have a full week of practice … so I was pleased with how they finished out this game and gave us a good win going into the Diamond Head Classic.”

Hawaii improved to 7-2 with its third win over Chicago State in as many seasons. The Cougars dropped to 3-10.

The Warriors had just nine players available for the game, and all nine scored.

Junior guard Zane Johnson led the way with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. He also had seven rebounds and four assists. He said the key was team defense, which allowed the Warriors to pull away from the Cougars in the second half.

“We really emphasize seven stops – try to get seven stops in a row,” Johnson said. “If we can get seven stops and pull away like we did, the game just opens up and it just seems easier for us in the second half.”

Bo Barnes added 17 points and shot 5 of 8 from 3-point range. In the process, he set the UH record for most 3-pointers in a season by a freshman in just his eighth collegiate game. Barnes now has 24 3s this season, topping the previous freshman mark of 23 held by Mike McIntyre.

Joston Thomas added 15 points and six rebounds, and the “Two-Headed Monster” at center – Vander Joaquim (eight points, eight rebounds) and Douglas Kurtz (12 points, six rebounds) – combined for 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Although the Warriors started the game with nine players, they finished with eight, and an injury to senior point guard Hiram Thompson was a major point of concern after the game.

Five minutes into the game, Thompson took a hard fall while jumping for a loose ball. After staying down for several minutes, he needed assistance off the court and then sat at the end of the bench for the remainder of the game.

“I don’t know the severity of it,” Arnold said. “I know that he’ll be out a while. I could tell that he was hurting, so we’ll see what it is.”

In Thompson’s absence, freshman Bobby Miles played a team-high 39 minutes at point guard and finished with seven points and 10 assists.

“Coach just told me to get in there and lead the team,” Miles said. “I thought Hiram was coming back at halftime, but they told us that he wasn’t coming back so I just had to play through it and lead the team.”

Arnold said: “I was very pleased … anytime you can get 10 assists in a game, you have to be very proud, especially with a freshman. I thought he did a good job running our team.”

The game was close for the first 15 minutes, but Hawaii went on an 8-0 run in the final 1:30 of the half to take a 39-29 lead at intermission. Johnson highlighted the surge with a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer.

Hawaii then opened the second half with a 14-3 run and never looked back. The Warriors led by as many as 32 in the second half, but with only eight players available, there wasn’t really a bench to clear in the closing minutes.

The Warriors relied on their size advantage to out-rebound Chicago State, 45-31. Hawaii also went 24 of 34 on free throws, while the Cougars went 11 of 21.

Also of note from Friday’s game:

• Senior forward Bill Amis did not suit up because of an injured right foot. It was the fifth consecutive game he has missed due to the injury. There was hope earlier this week that Amis might be able to play a few minutes against Chicago State.

Amis is scheduled to depart on an early-morning flight on Saturday, separate from the rest of the team, so he can participate in the UH graduation ceremony.

• Recent walk-on Miah Ostrowski did not make the trip with the team because he is with the UH football team preparing for next week’s Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. After the injury to Thompson, Miles was the only true point guard available.

“I started thinking, what if Bobby gets in some foul trouble or Bobby goes down, then maybe we talk to Coach Mac and get Miah Ostrowski out here sooner than expected,” Arnold said.

• Sophomore forward Dominick Brumfield finished with five rebounds and two points – the first points of his Hawaii career.

Gib Arnold received his first technical foul as head coach of the Warriors. He was assessed the T in the first half after arguing a foul call.

“I asked him very nicely, Mr. Referee, I don’t understand the call,” Arnold said with a grin.

• Hawaii assistant coach Benjy Taylor and Chicago State head coach Tracy Dildy had a heated exchange of words during halftime of the game. Taylor was the head coach at Chicago State for three seasons prior to joining the Hawaii staff this season.

• The Warriors will return to the Stan Sheriff Center for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 22, 23 and 25. They will play Florida State in the first round on Dec. 22.

1 Comment

  1. Enjoyed the video, thanks Dayton.

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