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Warriors can’t finish against Boise State

For 20 minutes, the Hawaii basketball team out-played the first place team in the Western Athletic Conference.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, the game was 40 minutes long.

A second half meltdown by Hawaii led to a disappointing 79-55 loss to Boise State on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Warriors actually led at halftime, 31-29, but the second half was all Broncos.

“I enjoyed that first half tremendously,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “I thought we fought, I thought we game-planned, played together, did all those things that make coaching a lot of fun. That second half … the momentum shifted really hard and we were unable to respond.”

The Warriors dropped to 9-7 overall with their fourth consecutive loss, and 0-4 in WAC games. Boise State is 11-5 overall and in first place in the WAC at 4-0.

It was a stunning reversal of fortunes between halves for Hawaii. The Warriors shot 47.6 percent from the field in the first half and out-rebounded the Broncos, 16-15, en route to the two-point lead at intermission.

In the second half, Hawaii went 6 of 26 from the field (23.1 percent), including 0 for 7 from 3-point range. The Broncos shot 16 of 26 from the field (61.5 percent) in the second half, including 6 of 9 (66.7 percent) from 3-point range. Boise State also out-rebounded Hawaii, 21-14, in the second half.

“It seemed to me (Boise State) had a little more bounce, they had a little more legs,” Arnold said. “Usually about mid-season, when everyone’s a little bit tired, athletes rise to the top. And 1 through 5, and first three off the bench, they had better athletes than us. That doesn’t make them better basketball players, that doesn’t necessarily mean that automatically they’re going to win. But they are quicker, they jump higher, the move faster … I think that showed tonight, quite honestly.”

Junior guard Zane Johnson led Hawaii with 18 points. Sophomore center Vander Joaquim added 12 points and eight rebounds, but he was assessed two controversial intentional fouls in the second half and fouled out with 8:05 remaining in the game.

Sophomore forward Joston Thomas added 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, and senior forward Bill Amis finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

“We get punched and we don’t get back up, that’s our biggest problem right now,” Johnson said. “They played a great game, they had a good game plan, but we just gotta knock down shots like we were in the early part of the season. And above all, we just gotta play hard. We were playing with no passion. It’s embarrassing. It really is.”

It was the second consecutive home game that the Warriors lost at home because of a second-half surge by the opposition.

“I don’t know what it is, but we’re going to figure it out,” Johnson said. “We’re not going to lay down or let anybody punch us like this again and not get back up.”

After a 59-44 loss to Idaho on Thursday, Arnold said he would try some different lineups, and he was true to his word. The Warriors started three guards — Johnson, Hiram Thompson and Bobby Miles — in an effort to counter Boise State’s quickness.

When the Broncos adjusted, Arnold countered by going with a big lineup — 7-foot Douglas Kurtz, 6-10 Joaquim and 6-9 Amis together in the frontcourt.

“(Boise State) was really athletic, and I didn’t think we could match up well, man to man, because of their athleticism,” Arnold said. “So I figured if we can’t match up .. the one thing we can do is be bigger than them and play big.”

But Boise State stole the momentum just seconds into the second half, when Robert Arnold and La’Shard Anderson hit back-to-back 3-pointers. It sparked a 12-0 run that put the Broncos ahead, 41-31. Boise State later went on a 16-6 surge midway through the second half to increase the lead to 62-40 with 8:38 remaining, and Hawaii never got the deficit under 20 after that.

The 24-point final deficit was the largest margin of defeat for Hawaii this season.

“When you build a program, it’s not always going to be easy, and you might even take steps back before you go forward, but we’re going to go forward,” Arnold said. “We’re going to eventually get there and no one’s giving up. We’re going to just find a way to get there.”

Anderson led the Broncos with 20 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Thomas Bropleh added 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Hawaii is scheduled to depart Honolulu on Tuesday for a two-game WAC road trip. The Warriors will play at New Mexico State on Jan. 13, then at Louisiana Tech on Jan. 15.

Photos by Brandon Flores — to view more photos or purchase copies, please visit www.brandonfloresphotography.com

7 Comments

  1. why was thomas benched for the most part?

  2. Gib Arnold said he wanted to “set a tone defensively” against the quicker Boise State team so he went with the three-guard lineup (Hiram Thompson, Bobby MIles and Zane Johnson). The second lineup option was the big lineup, with Doug Kurtz, Vander Joaquim and Bill Amis on the court together.

    Joston Thomas was supposed to be the “spark” off the bench for both of those lineups. Because the three-guard lineup was doing well in the first half, they stayed with it.

    Gib said he explained the situation to Joston before the game. “It wasn’t disciplinary or anything like that, it was more matchups,” Arnold said.

  3. Good info about Joston, thanks Dayton.

  4. OUCH! We gonna need a jump start from somebody……..anybody at this point. What a surprising blow-out.

  5. This team is playing just like one of their team captains, Bill Amis. One punch to the stomach and they lay down, as Amis does when it comes to one little auwee, he lays down for a long time, no guts, no internal fortitude. This team has no mental toughness, to fight thru anything, especially a little pain.

  6. it ain’t over. a lot of stuff needs to happen. i think gibber needs to sit down with his coaches and say, “this it. this is the starting lineup and these are the guys who will rotate in,” and there should be 8-9 guys.

    it is either that or run a two-platoon system. run em in every five minutes. play hard and furiously.

    the young guys got to be told to go out their and play hard on defense and play loose on offense.

    guys like bobbby miles averaged 28 pts pg. give em the green light. see what he can do. most of the freshmen are still playing like deer caught in the headlights. let em cut loose.

    these guys got to know if they are gonna suit up and the coach puts you in, then pretend it is your last game ever..

    al

  7. i’d say to thomas to get out there and fight. he’s a guy who won’t back down from anyone.

    on another note one can see joachim improving every day and as he does so does his confidence. he and joston would make for a great one two punch.

    zane “the drain” has got to be in the lineup.

    if we are going to go with hiram then so be it. but the guy has got to play smarter. how many offensive charging fouls is he going to have before he learns?????

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