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UPDATED: No. 19 UNLV holds off Warriors, 74-69

Trying to end 2011 with one final bang, the Hawai’i men’s basketball team made a strong run at No. 19-ranked UNLV but fell short, 74-69, in New Year’s Eve non-conference action at the Stan Sheriff Center.

A festive afternoon crowd of 6,726 watched Anthony Marshall score a game-high 19 points — including 14 in the second half — and grab 13 rebounds as the Runnin’ Rebels improved to 15-2.

UH, which had entered the game winning six of its last seven games, fell to 8-6 entering the start of Western Athletic Conference play on Jan. 7 at home against San Jose State.

“Darn it, I really wanted this one,” said Warriors coach Gib Arnold. “I thought this was one we could get … maybe if it was a 42-minute game.”

UNLV had led throughout much of the contest and was ahead, 68-59, after Marshall’s jumper with 4:36 remaining. Hawai’i was able to close it to 72-69 after Hauns Brereton’s two free throws with 21.8 seconds left, but Justin Hawkins effectively sealed the game with a layup with 13.2 ticks remaining as Miah Ostrowski’s 3-point attempt at the other end glanced off the rim.

Joston Thomas led Hawai’i with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, Vander Joaquim added 15 points — all in the second half — and six boards and Zane Johnson finished with 12 points (all in the first half) after sitting out most of the final 10 minutes with a bruised rib. Joaquim had sat out most of the first half after picking up his third foul just seven minutes into the game.

Johnson was injured trying to draw a charge on the Rebels’ Reggie Smith near the UNLV basket when Smith crashed into him.

“I don’t think it’s broken or fractured,” Arnold said of Johnson’s rib. “He tried to go back in there but he had a hard time breathing. And breathing is pretty important.”

The Warriors had a hard time catching their collective breath against an athletic and aggressive Rebels defense that limited UH to 8-of-32 shooting (25 percent) in the first half. Hawai’i led early at 5-1, but Joaquim was whistled for his second foul with 16:15 remaining and picked up his third shortly after returning three minutes later and sat out the rest of the half.

UNLV took advantage by going on a 19-5 spurt capped by Mike Moser’s 3-pointer to make it 20-10 with 8:34 left.

“Our game plan had been to pound it inside, pound it and pound it and pound it some more,” Arnold said. “But with Vander only playing four minutes in the first half … When you don’t have that inside-out attack, you can’t really soften them up.”

The Warriors got as close as 26-23 after Ostrowski hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 3:17 remaining, but Carlos Lopez answered with back-to-back baskets and Chace Stanback’s slam dunk made it 32-23 with 1:35 left.

UH closed it to 33-28 on Brereton’s tip-in with 51 seconds remaining, but a layup by Smith 24 ticks later made it 35-28 at the half.

The Runnin’ Rebels built the lead back to nine at 39-30 after Oscar Bellfield’s bank shot a minute into the second half, but the Warriors responded with an 11-4 run capped by Thomas’ layup that closed it to 43-41 with 14:43 left.

A putback by Joaquim made it 53-50 a little over four minutes later, but Moser answered with a 3-pointer and then Johnson went crashing to the floor with 9:20 remaining. He lay on the ground for a couple minutes before getting up and gingerly walking into the training room for examination.

“Zane is a good player, and yes, it’s a blemish on our offense when he’s not there to knock down a lot of 3’s,” Thomas said. “But we brought Hauns in and he can shoot it, too. We knew we had to keep grinding and keep grinding.”

Thomas scored three straight baskets including a layup to close it to 58-56 with 7:50 left, but Quintrell Thomas answered with a putback to start UNLV on a 10-3 run capped by Marshall’s jumper that made it 68-59 with 4:36 remaining.

“There was great energy in the building and we know what a great offensive team Hawai’i is and how well they play at home,” Running Rebels coach Dave Rice said. “So we knew that there would be runs and that’s one thing that our team is going to go through all year long is to find a way to answer runs. I think our schedule, which has been pretty tough, helped us in this game, because it was not the first time that we’ve been on the road, in a hostile environment, against a good team.”

UNLV went up, 72-64, on Marshall’s layup with 1:25 left, but Joaquim hit a free throw 11 seconds later and then had a slam dunk with 31.4 ticks remaining to cut it to 72-67. After a Runnin’ Rebels turnover, Brereton was fouled and sank his two free throws 10 seconds later to make it 72-69.

But Hawkins then got loose behind UH’s backcourt pressure and converted an uncontested layup to push the lead to 74-69 with 13.2 ticks left, and Ostrowski’s 3-point attempt from the left corner glanced off the rim about seven seconds later.

“Coming in, we knew that this would be a game that would be a tremendous challenge for us,” Rice said. “Hawai’i has played very well of late. We were able to watch all of their Diamond Head Classic games and we were able to watch the South Carolina State game on film and it’s just amazing the progress this team has made from the beginning of the season till now. Coach Arnold and his staff have done a nice job with that team.”

The Warriors finished with just 34 percent shooting from the field, including 3 of 17 (17.6 percent) from beyond the arc. But Arnold said UNLV’s defense had much to do with that.

“They get a lot of credit for their offense, but they’re actually an outstanding defensive team, too,” Arnold said. “Their defense is really, really good. They’re so athletic, and they can switch from (positions) one to four. They did a good job getting us out of our rhythm, and there were not a lot of open looks.”

Moser added 15 points and 12 rebounds and Stanback finished with 13 points.

Arnold said the defensive game plan was to “lock down” on Stanback and Bellfield, who was held to 3 points on 1-for-7 shooting.

“I’m pleased with how we executed the game plan,” Arnold said. “I went over it with (UTEP) Coach (Tim) Floyd, we watched a lot of film and looked at teams that did well against (UNLV) and how they did it. It gave us a chance to win, and we almost did. Just two more stops, two more scores, and we would have been right there.”

Despite the loss, Arnold said he feels good about starting WAC play on Saturday.

“I like where we’re at with this team,” Arnold said. “After the (loss), there was silence and guys were upset, but I like that. It hurts, but now we have a whole week of practice without school and it gives us a chance to get healthy and get better. And this team wants to get back out there and get better.”

(Photos courtesy Brandon Flores)

17 Comments

  1. outcoached..outplayed..outscored

  2. I got an OUT for you..Move OUT of your parent’s basement and quit being a troll so you can make some sort of positive contribution to this world for once…

  3. Considering their leading scorer was injured and out for basically the last 9 and 1/2 minutes, I think UH did a great job staying within striking distance until the very end vs. the No. 19-ranked team in the nation.

  4. A victory would have been great, but you know what……..you guys did us proud. Good effort. This team has a lot of potential to do good stuff in the WAC.:)

  5. Excellent effort, especially from Joston. He was a beast on the boards. Plus, our guys stayed within striking distance against a team that has double digit wins AT NC and AT Illinois. Proud of the effort. Hope it didn’t ruin anyone’s new year.

  6. Sarc, Not to downplay those wins for UNLV but they both were actually home games for them. This was only their 4th away game this season(in which they’re 2-2).

  7. Great game coach. We are right there and going forward! I’m looking ahead to the dance. You guys keep your eyes on the road. Thanks.

  8. Great effort an game moving FORWARD in the season…looks very bright for this TEAM headed into conference play…keep it up fellas!…

  9. Shes obviously been OUTCOACHED OUTPLAYED AND OUTSCORED HER WHOLE MISERABLE LIFE…

  10. ^ dana takahara-dias

  11. I thought Coach did a good job of coaching.

  12. How can anybody say Gib was out coached in a close loss to a team with clearly superior talent? they only loss by 5 and had to battle lousy reffing and not playing with their leading scorer most of the second half ( who by the way I hope is able to play the next game)

  13. …Both Leading scorer (second half) AND Top Interior player (Vander) out for most off the first half with questionable calls (by ref) … still hung tough …

    Forecast: With a continuing rate & trend of improvement:

    Many or Most Obstacles may not matter much: Can Win anyway despite:

    – Too Many Bad or Critical Calls by Refs …
    – Any particular ‘Bow (or two) not having a decent game …
    – The other team (one day — like UNLV, it may hardly matter who the other team is — (maybe one day similar to UH Wahine volleyball)…
    – Any particularly Hot Opponent or player(s)…
    – The Venue, The Road

  14. I like that Vander and Zane were limited in minutes and we were still right there. Gib did an awesome job switching players in and out to keep them fresh and energized. I thought UNLV was a lot more talented and athletic than UH, but UH still put themselves in a position to win. I don’t see how you could do that without coaching. TEAM BASKETBALL! WARRIOR BASKETBALL! GO BOWS!

  15. ok so add outreffed

  16. Doh, my bad warriorfan. I’m going to blame the fact that it was 3:30 in the morning New Year’s day on that one.

  17. Great game guys. Hey you never, ever gave up. Whether Vander out, Zane out, Joston out. whomever …you guys all 12 …(even bench cheering). Gib , you and staff, have got whole team buying into TEAM. Defense, play hard ,smart , together, and you have some depth. Go get em in the WAC, defend home court, split on the road..hey counting New Orleans game and bracket buster, you have 18 games , and with at least one, if not 2 or 3 in the WAC tourney….You guys got a ton of games to go…Keep up good work, the real Hawaii MBB fans, who have been watching team from 60’s til 21st century and the really great new generation Gib team fans love the team.

    In 2012 , Hawaii Men;s Basketball will do well, win as many as you can…some have predicted 15 game win season, I would say, team keep progressing, could be 22 or more wins, maybe dancing. …Gib you and whole team make Hawaii proud…the core 5000 to 6000 fans at the SSC arena love effort…never , ever give up…

    Mahalo coach Gib, Taylor, Akana, Fish and Rupp. and whole staff, kudos to trainers, team managers, and everyone involved..Zane, Vander, Tre, Shaq, Miah, Joston, Gee, Pii, Tyler, Davis(play focused, still hit weight room, get those dunks down…you gotta, every pt counts)Hauns(fantastic stepping up), Bobby(get back in the game..we need you),

    Yes , your team has improved a ton since early November. In March, stay healthy, all 12 can contribute and be balling well into March …

    I am oldtimer, following MBB team since late sixties when they played Florida and Dave Cowens..etc. , yet love this young group of guys and great very knowledgable fans who want you and team to do well…
    Thank Dayton and staff and sponsors for such a wonderful Web site!

    Go Warrirors ,
    UH MBB fans throughout the globe.!!
    Stay positive, …always some negative guy, but even he(?) wants UH MBB team to do well,…this team in March will be very good…keep on working guys..love the Warrior mentality and your conditiioning…You gave UNLV a scare!! If Vander plays 34 min, Zane in there last 10 min, you guys win …for sure..

    Go Bows!!! 2012 going be good!!

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