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Warriors go overtime for heartfelt win

The Hawaii basketball team celebrated Valentine’s Day with a heartfelt, heart-pounding 69-67 overtime win over Nevada on Monday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Miah Ostrowski’s only four points of the game were also Hawaii’s final four points of the game, including the game-winner with 21 seconds remaining in overtime (his game-winning shot at right was captured by WarriorInsider.com photographer Brandon Flores).

“Great college game – another great atmosphere,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “I hope the community is enjoying this group of young men because I think they are giving you everything they got … and it’s an honor to coach them. It may not be pretty, but we’re having some fun and playing hard.”

The Warriors improved to 14-10 overall and 5-7 in the Western Athletic Conference. Hawaii opened the WAC season 0-5, but is now in sixth place with four conference games remaining.

Nevada, which defeated Hawaii by 17 points in Reno, Nev., on Dec. 31, dropped to 10-15 and 7-5.

Ostrowski’s heroics came just two days after the memorial service for his father, Kui, who passed away on Jan. 26. His first basket of the game came on a floater in the lane with 1:05 remaining in overtime to put Hawaii up 67-64.

Nevada’s Deonte Burton responded with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 67 with 53 seconds left. On Hawaii’s ensuing possession, Trevor Wiseman grabbed an offensive rebound, but his putback attempt was blocked.

Ostrowski grabbed the loose ball and dribbled again into the lane for another floater that proved to be the game-winner.

“Those last couple ones, I just knew that the floater was going to be there,” Ostrowski said. “Sometimes I catch myself drifting too far into the lane. I finally stopped, pulled up, hit the first one and the second one was the same situation to the other side.”

On Nevada’s final possession, Olek Czyz missed a driving attempt, and Ostrowski grabbed the long rebound.

But Ostrowski was far from being the only star of the game.

Sophomore center Vander Joaquim scored a career-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting. He also scored four points during the overtime, and helped limit Nevada center Dario Hunt to seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.

“I just went out there and played … went out there and competed,” Joaquim said. “They beat us at their home. At their home, we didn’t play good at all. So I just wanted to play hard as I can and with the end of the season (coming up), I want to finish the season strong.”

Ostrowski noted that Hunt finished with 23 points and nine rebounds when Nevada beat Hawaii in Reno.

“I felt like (Joaquim) had a chip on his shoulder,” Ostrowski said. “We got a lot of good things from the inside tonight.”

Senior forward Bill Amis – who did not play in the loss at Nevada because he had a foot injury – added 15 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots. He also played a crucial defensive role, helping limit Nevada forward Olek Czyz to four points on 2-of-12 shooting. Czyz scored 23 on 9-of-13 shooting in the last meeting between the teams.

Junior guard Zane Johnson finished with 11 points despite an off-shooting night, and he also played solid defense while staying on the court for all 45 minutes.

Freshman reserve forward Trevor Wiseman was the epitome of hustle, fighting for rebounds and diving for loose balls, and contributed seven points and seven rebounds.

“We don’t win that game without Trevor,” Arnold said. “You gotta have a catalyst to a team that plays hard and he’s our catalyst. He’s our energy guy.”

Hawaii committed a season-low 11 turnovers, out-rebounded Nevada, 42-39, and limited the Wolf Pack to a .371 field goal percentage (the Warriors finished at .415).

“I thought that was as good a defensive effort as we’ve given all year, which really pleases me,” Arnold said.

The game was close throughout, and it featured 10 lead changes and 14 ties.

Nevada’s Burton hit two free throws with 50 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 59. Each team then had a possession with a chance to win, but both teams missed 3-point attempts and the game went to overtime.

There was one dour sidenote to the game for the Warriors. Starting point guard Hiram Thompson left the game early in the second half with an arm injury. He suffered the injury while diving for a loose ball, but still had the presence to call a timeout.

Arnold said the initial diagnosis indicated a serious injury – possibly a broken arm.

“We end up scoring on that possession, and if we don’t make that, we don’t go to overtime and we don’t win that game,” Arnold said. “So that was a big play. Guy goes down, breaks his arm and calls timeout. That’s Hiram for you.”

The Warriors are scheduled to depart for California later this week for a non-conference road game at UC Davis on Saturday.

UPDATE

Gib Arnold said x-rays did not reveal any broken bones in Hiram Thompson’s left arm. However, there could be ligament damage in the arm, and he will undergo more tests on Wednesday.

“He didn’t break his arm, which is huge,” Arnold said. “But it’s still an injury. If there’s any kind of a torn ligament or anything like that, he’s still out. So we’ll just have to wait and see.”

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

10 Comments

  1. What a great game and win for the bows. Wiseman got a lot of time and it was great for his development. The way our team is playing if Johnson is hitting 3s, we’re going to be very very hard to beat, hopefully he finds his shot in time for the WAC tournament.

    Joaquim keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to see how much he develops over the next 2 years. We’re going to have to extend Arnold already, our program is back on track after the past 3 horrible years!

    GO BOWS!!!!

  2. Dayton, the schedule/results page needs a little updating or maybe links to game recaps aren’t working??? thanks!

  3. Solid win. No need to analyze this one – take the W and move on. Great effort, gentlemen.

    Someone tell Wiseman et al that using your left hand on the left side of the hoop is not only ok, itʻs encouraged.

  4. one thing about wiseman is his shot….if he could develop a mid-range jumper he could be dangerous…also i notice he doesn’t get much height on his putbacks and always gets blocked….can he even touch the rim?

  5. this is a huge win for us.
    it will go a long way when recruiting the same guys that we and nevada are after.
    …and there are many.

  6. Is coach Arnold in-love with Zane Johnson? 45 minutes is too much! He commits too much turnovers and does’nt play that good of a defense. His saving grace is that he has the potential to shoot 3’s.

  7. What a win! Great effort from a whole bunch of guys. I thought when they needed clutch plays, last night they did it. Let’s hope Hiram’s injury is not too serious. We need him for the stretch run.

  8. If he sits Johnson, who does he put in? Thompson (broken arm)? Miles (so our starting back court is 5ʻ8 and 5ʻ10)? Move Wiseman to 2 and have both guards camping in the key daring he and Miah to shoot?

    Itʻs not like he wants to play Johnson 40+ minutes. Blame Thomas for this. Heʻs playing like a moron right now. Once he shakes his false sense of entitlement and returns to fundamentals, Arnold can get the rotation going the way heʻs planned it.

    Thomas is mucking things up right now, and if the Bows want to be a threat in the WAC tourney, he needs to be able to play more than two minutes without a) a bonehead turnover; b) missed P1s; c) lapses in defensive assignments/boxing out.

  9. Hiram Thompson’s left arm is not broken. That’s the sort of good news.

    Bad news is his arm is still injured — could be ligament damage.

    Bottom line, he’ll be out for a while. But Hiram is so used to playing through pain, hopefully he can rebound from this one sooner rather than later.

    Diagnosis should be more complete on Wednesday.

  10. Thanks for the update Dayton.

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