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Warriors get first WAC win

The streak is over.

The Hawaii basketball team ended several unwanted losing streaks with a 56-48 victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, La.

The Warriors improved to 10-8 overall and 1-5 in the Western Athletic Conference. They snapped a five-game WAC losing streak, and a 15-game road losing streak.

“This was as important as any game we’ve played all season, if not the most important, just to get us back where we can have confidence and feel good about ourselves,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said.

Senior forward Bill Amis had his best game since returning from a foot injury, finishing with 22 points and 12 rebounds. He shot 9 of 16 from the field, and recorded his first statistical double-double of this season.

“For the first time in two months, I think we saw Bill Amis again,” Arnold said. “And that’s pretty exciting for Warrior fans. He’s been struggling, and he’s been playing hurt, but he’s been playing, and that’s good for him. He got 22 and 12, that’s got to be one of the best games of his career.”

Sophomore center Vander Joaquim added nine points, 12 rebounds, and three blocked shots, and helped the Warriors to a 43-39 rebounding advantage.

Zane Johnson, Hawaii’s leading scorer entering the game, was limited to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting, and fouled out with 3:17 remaining.

In what amounted to a battle to climb out of the WAC cellar, the game was close throughout. Hawaii trailed by three points with 6:27 remaining, but out-scored the Bulldogs 16-5 the rest of the way.

“The guys have been working their butts off every day and they haven’t given up, despite that tough stretch there,” Arnold said. “They grinded out a win when they needed it and they did it on the defensive side.”

LaTech, which dropped to 9-10 overall and 0-5 in the WAC, shot just 28.8 percent from the field, including 14.3 percent (2 of 14) from 3-point range. LaTech entered the game ranked first in the WAC with an average of 6.8 3-pointers per game, but tied its season-low with just two. It was also the first time this season that Hawaii held an opponent below 50 points.

Also, LaTech’s two best players – guard DeAndre Brown and forward Olu Ashaolu – combined for 12 points on 4-of-21 shooting. They entered the game averaging more than 30 points combined.

The Warriors led by as many as six points in the second half, and had a 40-35 lead with 12:11 remaining. But the Bulldogs then went on an 8-0 run to take a 43-40 advantage with 6:27 remaining.

Hawaii had a 49-48 lead with 2:31 remaining, then finished the game with a 7-0 run. Junior Miah Ostrowski – the football receiver who joined the basketball team less than a month ago – played point guard during the crucial final minutes for the Warriors.

In one key stretch, Ostrowski got a steal, then lobbed a pass to Joston Thomas, who scored the layup to give the Warriors a 53-48 lead.

“If you had a game ball to give it to, you’d give it to Miah, just for his effort there down the stretch,” Arnold said. “He made two or three plays there in the last three minutes that helped us win that game.”

The Warriors are scheduled to return to Honolulu on Sunday to get ready for a three-game homestand. They will host Fresno State on Jan. 20, then San Jose State on Jan. 22, and Utah State on Jan. 29.

6 Comments

  1. Hallelujah!!! And guess what…….we matched last year’s win total.:) Now the team needs a solid win from a good team.

  2. Hallelujah indeed.. Still pretty sloppy with too many turnovers but a win is a win is a win.. And to do it so far away from home is definitely something to build upon..

  3. Good to see a local kid come through in the clutch, demonstrating better speed and ball handling skills ,pushing the ball up the court quicker and not standing around dribbling the ball, work hard! Miah! Good Job

  4. is that you dennis?

  5. Agreed, hallelujah. We all needed that one.

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