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Updated: Auburn stuns Warriors, 65-62

Rob Chubb scored on a slam dunk with 3.9 seconds remaining Thursday night and Chris Denson sank two free throws after stealing the ensuing inbounds pass to lift Auburn to a thrilling 65-62 victory over Hawai’i in the opening round of the Diamond Head Classic.

A vocal crowd of 8,147 — which included new UH football coach Norm Chow — at the Stan Sheriff Center and a national TV audience on ESPNU watched the Tigers improve to 8-1 and advance to Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against Long Beach State (6-5). The Warriors fell to 5-5 and will face No. 14-ranked Xavier (8-2) in a consolation bracket game at 8:30.

Hawai’i center Vander Joaquim sank a jump hook from about six feet out with 8.6 seconds left to put UH ahead, 62-61, but Varez Ward pushed the ball quickly upcourt and dished to Chubb on the left side of the lane, where he flushed it down.

Denson then intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass and was fouled with 2 seconds remaining, and he hit both free throws to make it 65-62. Trevor Wiseman caught a three-quarter court inbounds pass but could not get his 3-point attempt off before the horn.

“It hurts … we had it, and then we lost it,” said Warriors senior guard Zane Johnson, who finished with a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds. “The only thing to do now is to move on and learn from this. I told the guys that the same thing happened to us last year, when we lost the first game but then we won the next two and then we were off to the races in the (Western Athletic Conference). We just have to build on this and stay positive. The best thing we can do is not let it happen again.”

Auburn led, 59-51, after Kenny Gabriel’s bank shot with 2:34 remaining, but Hawai’i clawed back and closed to 61-60 on Wiseman’s three-point play with 28.2 seconds left.

The Warriors regained possession after Frankie Sullivan missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 23 ticks on the clock, setting up Joaquim’s go-ahead basket.

After a timeout, the Tigers called a designed play in which a decoy flashes to the ball — drawing a switch in man-to-man defenders — and point guard Ward sneaks behind the first line of defense to receive a long inbounds pass.

“We work on that play over and over in practice so when we get into that situation, there is no panic,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. “We run a misdirection and send a guard like he’s going to get the ball, then we loop the point guard behind. The ‘5’ man (Chubb) sets the screen, so he’s going to be free and we try to dump it down into him. As a staff, this is our sixth year together and we’ve won seven games at the buzzer with that play. It worked again, so we’re going to keep using it.”

Ward fell into Wiseman in the key after making the leaping pass to Chubb, sending the standing Wiseman falling backward to the floor.

“We had our five best athletes out there and Trevor did exactly what we wanted him to do — he was the basket protector,” UH coach Gib Arnold said. ” I thought he had good position, but I didn’t see (the replay), so I don’t know (if it was a charge).”

Auburn took a 9-2 lead in the game’s first three minutes and extended it to 24-13 after Denson’s layup with 7:40 left in the first half, but Joaquim scored on a layup to start Hawai’i on a 10-0 run capped by Johnson’s 3-pointer to close it to 24-23 with five minutes remaining. The Tigers then built the lead back up to 35-27 before going into halftime up, 35-26.

The Warriors later tied it at 43-43 on Wiseman’s free throw with 14:40 left, but Auburn quickly took the lead back on a slam dunk by Chubb and eventually stretched it to 59-51 on Gabriel’s banker with 2:34 remaining.

Joston Thomas added 12 points for UH and Joaquim finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Sullivan scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds, Chubb added 14 points and Gabriel finished with 13 points and nine boards.

(Photos courtesy Brandon Flores)

Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

Thursday’s results
UTEP 61, Clemson 48
Kansas State 83, Southern Illinois 58
Long Beach State 68, Xavier 58
Auburn 65, Hawaii 62

Friday’s schedule
10:00 a.m. — Clemson vs. Southern Illinois
Noon — UTEP vs. Kansas State
6 p.m. — Long Beach State vs. Auburn
8:30 p.m. — Hawaii vs. Xavier

6 Comments

  1. Proud of the way that they came back. Nobody quit. There were a lot of positives. It is a shame though, because they lost people will only remember the negatives.

    They did it playing team ball at least. A lot of good movement of the basketball to find open shooters. Aggressive under the boards to get to the foul line. We miss managed our timeouts, but a lot of that had to do with giving us a chance to come back. I’m sure Gib will learn as well as his young team. There is something very obvious though, we lack athleticism on the team.

    Go Bows! Beat Xavier!

  2. The team’s got talent and athleticism, it just has other problems. Probably behind the scenes stuff.

    http://bit.ly/rUoGEy

  3. Viking, So by posting the link are you saying Hauns is the problem behind the scenes or is he the “talent and atheticism”?

  4. The kid’s got talent. He’s proved it in the past. I’m just saying that there’s got to be some reason he’s not getting a real shot on this team. It could be political reasons. I don’t know. It’s just weird.

    I’m not saying he’s the only one with talent at UH. But coming from someone who’s watched him play for a long time, he’s definitely not being utilized. They put him in and pull him out before he can get his rhythm on the court. One shot and he’s on the bench. Others get multiple chances and plenty of time to start draining their shots. Brereton gets pulled out before he even has a real chance to contribute. Pay attention to the rotation.

    Stokes has some great talent as well. Johnson’s good too. But the team still hasn’t found their synergy. The coaches just need to figure out a better way to foster it. The team does not lack athleticism.

  5. Hope team and Gib read this.
    First of all , you warriors play with a lot of heart. You showed no sign of fear playing a good SEC team. Like last year, perhaps one stop away from a great win.

    Second, Gib, you really want your team to do the best, support them, help them and work out game plan management that will help you to compete to win.

    Third, Guys, you have 4 more games till Wac start, and that is at home …with SJSU.
    Wac teams about same records as you, …Work to shore up every aspect of game, defense(pretty good), shooting(field and line), …and really key to offensive fluidness..if that 3rd or 4th shooter is coming off the bench..Hauns, Miah(gotta work on your shot and confidence…and of course learning the offensive sets…)…Hauns you have to take it to the rim..for layups, getting fouled and subsequent freethrows, or assists..gotta play defense…Hauns if you average 4 pts, 4 reb. 2 assists, 1 steal in 8 minutes of play with no turnovers, it would help you get more playing time for sure..

    Finally, I am fan of UH MBB for over 40 years…Seen, Red, Bruce, Rick, Larry,Frank, Riley and Bob…Gib keep the kids heads up, they seem like really nice young guys, when Wac season comes around, a 10 win six loss season seems doable, with a Bracketbuster and New Orleans win…go get em in the tournament and have a chance to dance..

    You still have a lot more basketball to play!! I enjoy the effort, you guys and Gib give supreme effort. just gotta get better shooting, offensive boards, treasure each possesion, and gotta get two or three more outside shooters besides Zane…Hauns, Miah, Pii, Tyler …anybody…you guys can do it…

    I would not be suprised with 8000 plus screaming fans, including myself, supreme effort, multiple defenses, hitting the free throws, and game managment, you can beat Xavier, you could even beat North Carolina…Just gotta play smart, hard and together…2 and 1 in a very good DH classic 2011 field is a very , very good thing..

    Go get em!!
    Speaking for hundreds of fans who are not giving up on you!!

  6. you gotta be kidding me with north carolina

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