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Aggies too much for Warriors

The road woes continued in Las Cruces, N.M., for the Hawaii basketball team.

New Mexico State led from start to finish in an 82-64 victory over the Warriors on Thursday night at the Pan American Center.

Hawaii dropped to 9-8 overall and 0-5 in the WAC with its fifth consecutive loss. It was also the Warriors’ 15th consecutive road loss. New Mexico State improved to 9-9 overall and 3-1 in the WAC.

“Obviously there’s a lot of stuff we’re disappointed in,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “The turnovers really hurt us. Against a pressing team that causes a lot of turnovers, they were much quicker to the ball than us, and they had phenomenal athletes. We need to recruit athletes. We need to get guys in here that can not only complete, but can hang with and beat players like we played tonight.”

However, there were some “roses in the ashes,” according to Arnold.

In particular, he liked how the Warriors refused to surrender, cutting a 30-point deficit down to 16 in the closing minutes.

“I was real pleased with that,” Arnold said. “We talked about the competitiveness of that last group … it’s something to build on.”

Junior guard Zane Johnson scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Warriors. He shot 9 of 19 from the field, including 4 of 12 from 3-point range. He was the only Hawaii player to hit a 3, as the rest of the team went 0 for 7.

“That’s one guy who’s going to come to play every night,” Arnold said of Johnson. “They were face-guarding him at times and switching (defenders) on him and the guy still had 25, so I was pleased with that.”

Sophomore center Vander Joaquim added 12 points and 12 rebounds, and senior forward Bill Amis contributed 10 points. Sophomore forward Joston Thomas added eight points and six rebounds off the bench.

However, Joaquim, Amis, Thomas and two other Warriors fouled out, as Hawaii was assessed 33 fouls to New Mexico State’s 20. As a result, the Aggies went 26 of 40 on free throws, while the Warriors went 12 of 19.

Troy Gillenwater led a balanced New Mexico State attack with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Aggies out-rebounded Hawaii, 43-34, and scored 20 points off 20 Hawaii turnovers.

“You get beat by 18 by a good team, a real good team,” Arnold said. “But I liked how we fought down to the end and didn’t give up. They played hard and played together. I liked that young group that was in there at the end.”

Hawaii got as close as 22-21 on a 3-pointer by Johnson with 6:32 remaining in the first half, but the Aggies responded with back-to-back 3-pointers of their own to push their lead up to 28-21.

New Mexico State took a 42-29 lead at intermission, and Hawaii never got closer than that in the second half. In an indication of the way the game was going for the Warriors, Joston Thomas missed a dunk attempt just before the halftime buzzer sounded.

A 10-2 run by the Aggies increased the lead to 58-37 to put it out of reach with 11:54 remaining.

Hawaii will remain on the road for another conference game on Saturday. The Warriors will play at Louisiana Tech in a battle of winless WAC teams. The Bulldogs are 0-4 in the WAC after a 79-74 loss to San Jose State on Thursday.

11 Comments

  1. Remember Gib stating the recruits he would bring would be able to get on any WAC team ,ie New Mexico,Boise,etc and if they couldn’t or weren’t good enough ,he wouldn’t recruit them and put them on scholarship? Well…….what now!? Some of them can’t make a decent pass, box out, rebound ,or handle the ball or think they are one of the Globetrotters and try to do it in the paint and lose it ,over and over again ie Josten Thomas. The glass looks half empty at this point.

  2. The only legitimate D1 player on the team at this point is Zane Johnson.. And he was a Bob Nash recruit.. After a promising start, this is turning into one heck of a nightmare season.. Even Gib is starting to look like a deer in headlights..

    The next game will help to decide last place in the WAC. Right now, I don’t like our chances of making it into the WAC Tournament. Good thing the Men’s Volleyball and Baseball seasons are right around the corner..

  3. it is easy to point fingers and lay blame.

    but, really are you a fan or a pundit?
    given the situation that gib walked in to, one returning starter (hiram), one seldom used player (kurtz), one redshirt (zane), and one injured reserve (amis). did you really expect them to come out smoking?

    the recruiting effort that gib has done is very credible in itself given the time that he had to work with. by then, who’s left? not a who’s who of prospects. but, a number of guys with potential maybe.

    this team is very young. with only two seniors, hiram and kurtz. yup, the same two who are the only returning members of last year’s 10 win team.

    if you thought that we’d be competing for the wac title this year, then, you obviously don’t know basketball. this team went in without the senior leaders that we thought were there. these same senior leaders/captains are either hanging their heads, complaining about officials, dragging their feet, or making poor decisions game after game (turnovers).

    i am glad the coach went with the guys who will keep scrapping till the end. you can be against better athletes true, but, at least play as hard as you can and hustle as much as you can.

    surely this will be along season…no one said it would be easy.

    …nuff said.

  4. Al, you make a good spokesperson for Gib Arnold and the coaching staff. But others have opinions that are just as “valid” as yours and are real fans and supporters of Hawaii basketball (as you appear to be), even if they have serious questions about what’s going on with the team now and have not fully bought into what Gib Arnold has brought to the program and jumped on his bandwagon.

    For sure nobody in his or her right mind should or could have expected Hawaii to challenge for the WAC title this year, but except for a valiant effort against Utah State, do you really think the last four performances by the team against WAC competition provide any basis for hope of future success? And are you one of those fans, as your comments seem to me to indicate, that is still blaming Bob Nash and using his failures as an excuse for the team’s ridiculously poor performances in the last four outings? If so, your comment to some other posters that “you obviously don’t know basketball” is fraught with irony.

    Obviously, I agree with the posters who have stated or inferred that there is cause for concern – not abandonment, but concern. I also agree with posters like you who feel there is hope for improvement and that Gib Arnold and his staff deserve a chance to see what they can do. But I do not agree that Gib Arnold has PROVEN that he can recruit top notch talent to Hawaii. At best, his first recruiting class has proven to be “okay.” Furthermore, I think he has a long way to go as a coach.

    Can he do it? I hope so, but he hasn’t proven anything yet.

  5. Educated and well-written comments by all. Thank you.

    You all make valid points. This is one of the reasons for starting this site — to have healthy discussions on UH basketball.

    Keep it up.

  6. Sorry, Dayton. I promise that I will do my best not turn your wonderful site into a battleground.

  7. No need to apologize. Like I said healthy discussion is important for this site. As long as it remains civil, let’s keep it going.

  8. Funny, this current group of young athletes and the three returnees, might have done better in Riley’s Flex. What do you think…? They have some shooters, Flex creates space,screens, …Yeah, drawback…unforced turnovers…Flex start at wing or top of key…Still would have to have good ball handling..

    Just a thought Gib…some variation of the Flex, to free up shooters and create some back door…Simplify..I can see you on bench, …completely frustrated..But that is a good thing…you have a minimum of 12 games(including Bracket Buster)to go …say 7 and 5 finish regular season..at 16 and 13 which would be fantastic,,,gotta make that tournament…

    45 year veteran fan of Hawaii basketball win, lose or draw…Keep your head up Gib…and keep the boys playing hard!! If you gotta start 2 freshman, 2 sophmores and a football player(MIah) do it…

    Some how , if boys don’t give up, keep morale up there, if still feel you will win 16 games minimum and maybe take a run at the WAC tourney titile….

    Variation on offense…or just gotta take care ball, effort , improvement hustle..
    Vander is getting better, old school ,,,ie Kareem, center, Wiseman ,, hustle, Miles gotta take it hard to rack and improve on midrange game, Miah, impressed, he will be valuable…guaranteed..

    Go Get em Gib and the team…Do not give up,,,road win coming…!!!

  9. Not sure what anyone else expected from this team at the beginning, but they are not far off of what I was expecting. I felt with all the variables being unknown, there would be a lot of ups and downs to the season. That has certainly been proven to be true. This team is not as good as they seemed in the pre-season and they are not as bad as they seem now. My biggest concern is that Gib is now saying that we don’t have the quality of athletes that we need to compete in conference. As an experienced coach at the Pac 10 level, why did he sign some of these guys? Would it have been better to save the scholarship for the right guys? Just thinking that maybe he should have done a better job of evaluating the talent. I’m still hoping that they can find a way to get back the defensive intensity that is required to play at this level. Keeping the opponent’s score lower will reduce the pressure on the offense. And quit turning over the ball! Can’t win if you continue to give the opponent more opportunities. I do think we have the players to win in the WAC, just not sure if we are utilizing them in the right ways. Need to try to mix it up a little more.

  10. ryee and al k…you are right. i am and have been a support of all hawaii athletics for a long, long time. i have seen the glory days of the fab5 as i was there on campus back then. i met nash on several occasions back then. i have nothing against nash, he did his best.

    nash and gib had something in common, they both took over a program late in the recruiting process and both inherited a team whose “cupboard was bare”. with very little time both had to scramble to fill a roster.

    i was amazed with the number of good recruits that gib got in a relatively short time. surely and most certainly as with any program you find some good ones and then there will always be some who did not pan out. we’ve already experienced that much.

    the early success of this team was shortlived. but, i won’t quit on them.

    it is going to take a few years to bring this program to a level where the coaches and fans want to see. it is tough to recruit to hawaii for mbb. for the most part we have to go off island for the core of our roster spots.

    i think when gibber says that we are outmatched athletically he is for one being very honest and matter of factly. at the same time he may be saying that to motivate his team to step it up to the next level.

    the last five on the court before fouls took its toll, consisted of two sophs, two frosh, and a junior. add in the other freshman and miah and we had a very inexperienced squad on the court. but, hey….they battled and left it on the court.

    and btw, i do enjoy the back n forth banter between all here. i appreciate the hard work that dayton has done working this blog/site. he most certainly out hustles his national publication counterpart every day.

    “never gonna give it up…”

  11. al k…btw we also share the same last initial…hahaha.

    and yah, why don’t we two platoon and full court press the duration?

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