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Ostrowski ‘poisonous’ to Portland

Special to WarriorInsider.com

University of Portland men’s basketball coach Eric Reveno said his game plan against a balanced Hawaii offense Tuesday night was a matter of “pick your poison.”

The poison of choice turned out to be 5-foot-9 junior point guard Miah Ostrowski, and the former four-time Honolulu Advertiser All-State standout from Punahou School proved to be quite venomous for the Pilots.

Ostrowski, who is on football scholarship and joined the team in early December, scored a career-high 17 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out four assists and made two steals in yet another dazzling performance that inspired an energized home crowd of 4,431 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Reveno said he knew Ostrowski was a threat, despite being held scoreless (with eight assists) in last Wednesday’s 75-74 loss to San Jose State in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.

“When we watched the film, we could see that he was very confident,” Reveno said. “Even when he was struggling with his shooting, he was still very confident.”

So when Ostrowski started heating up in the second half last night, Reveno said he “wasn’t surprised.”

“It was just that we picked our poison,” Reveno said, “and he hit some big shots.”

Zane Johnson, the Warriors’ leading scorer at 15.9 points per game, had 15 points by halftime and second-leading scorer Bill Amis (15.4 ppg) added six points and eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes. UH also was doing a lot of damage from the free throw line, sinking 12 of 15 in the first half as the Pilots did not even get its first attempt until 7:28 remained in the second.

For the game, the Warriors made 28 of 39 free throws (71.8 percent) and Portland was just 4 of 8.

“It’s hard to win on the road when the other team makes 24 more free throws,” Reveno said. “We didn’t make adjustments, we weren’t strong with the ball getting to the free throw line, and that’s been a problem for us all season. But give Hawaii credit, they did a good job with that.”

Ironically, the charity stripe was the one place Ostrowski struggled, sinking just 3 of 9 attempts.

But he was deadly from anywhere inside 15 feet, dropping running floaters and converting acrobatic layups over much taller defenders throughout the night.

A tricky eight-foot banker from the right side sparked an 8-0 run to open the second half, with Ostrowski capping the spurt by whizzing past two defenders along the baseline and softly rolling in the layup over outstretched arms.

Another floater at the 17:02 mark put Hawaii up, 48-35, and a fast-break, left-handed layup over 6-foot-5 Nemanja Mitrovic gave the Warriors their biggest lead at 58-41 with 11:38 remaining. It also drew Mitrovic’s fifth foul, sending the Pilots’ 3-point leader and second-leading scorer to the bench for good with just six points.

“Another great game for Miah,” UH coach Gib Arnold said. “He drew fouls getting to the rim, he hit some big shots when we needed them, when our offense was a little stagnant.”

Amis, who finished with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, said Ostrowski’s offensive production gave the team a big lift.

“We feed off his drives and his buckets,” Amis said. “They’re always in big moments and give us a lot of momentum.”

Ostrowski said his approach was relatively simple.

“Every time I turn off a screen, I look and see if there’s a lane,” he said. “If it’s there I try to attack it. If not, I’ll look for Bill or any of the other guys slipping. I like to pick and choose when to drive and when to slash and when to kick.”

For the second straight game, Ostrowski played all 40 minutes.

“I knew he was tired but I couldn’t do anything about it,” Arnold said. “He just had to keep playing through. Maybe that had a little to do with his free throws at the end. I thought his legs left him. But give him credit, he kept guarding, he kept playing, he kept pushing it and he was able to will us a win. It was a great effort.”

(WarriorInsider.com reporter Dayton Morinaga contributed to this report)

8 Comments

  1. UPDATE:

    San Francisco defeated Idaho, 81-73, on Wednesday.

    As a result, Hawaii will host San Francisco on Saturday in the second round of the CIT.

    The Dons are 18-14 and were the third-place team in the West Coast Conference (Portland was the fifth place team).

    Should have more info posted on the matchup in the days to come.

  2. More on San Francisco:

    The Dons’ 18-14 record is a little deceiving. It includes two losses to Gonzaga, two to Saint Mary’s, and one each to NCAA Tournament teams Louisville, San Diego State and Washington.

    USF beat Portland twice, and led from stat to finish in the win over Idaho (which beat Hawaii twice).

    The Dons opened the season with a 4-9 record (including a loss at San Jose State), but have gone 14-5 since.

    The top players are 6-foot guard Michael Williams (15.0 points per game, 72 3-pointers) and 6-4 guard Rashad Green (11.9 points, 5.6 rebounds per game).

    USF has decent size, led by 6-9, 240 -pound forward Perris Blackwell (10.7 points, 7.1 rebounds per game) and 6-8 225-pound forward Angelo Caloiaro (9.7 points, 7.0 rebounds per game).

    Looks to be an exciting game.

  3. Mahalo Dayton. Good story. I think we should petition the NCAA t get ‘Miah another year in basketball. It just seems unfair that he only gets 2 years of Bball. it’s a long shot since the NCAA people don’t think logically.

    How does that tranfer guard look from Arizona(?)? I forget his name, he should be good too and he and Bobby can fill in until football season is pau

    Shoots den, brada puhi

  4. Should be a good game on Saturday!

  5. San Francisco sounds like a tough opponent for Hawaii but now that we’re in post season play I guess you have to expect that. If Hawaii can have a good night at the free throw line, I think they can play with almost anyone.

  6. Where can you buy the Ostrowski 11 shirt they are wearing?

  7. I think it might be against NCAA rules to put those shirts up for sale, but I’ll check.

  8. Puhi,

    The transfer point guard is Jace Tavita (he came from Utah, by the way). He’s a physical player who can provide solid D, but needs to work on his shooting. Due to transfer rules, his situation will be similar to Miah. Jace will not be eligible to play in games until late December of 2011.

    For the first few months of next season, the point guards will be Bobby Miles and incoming freshman Gerry Blakes. The coaches are also looking at several other point guard recruits who could be added to the list.

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