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Updated: Warriors rout South Carolina State, 100-73

Cranking up the heat to triple digits in the second half, Hawai’i exploded for a stunning 29-3 burst en route to crushing South Carolina State, 100-73, in non-conference men’s basketball action Thursday night.

An appreciative crowd of 6,276 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Warriors improve to 8-5 entering Saturday’s 3 p.m. showdown vs. No. 19-ranked UNLV. Garrett Jefferson’s free throw with 1:45 remaining put UH at the century point mark for the first time since a victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Nov. 24, 2002.

“I’m pleased with how we played in the last 25 minutes, it was pretty good basketball,” Hawai’i coach Gib Arnold said. “It was a good night for Rainbow basketball.”

That is becoming the norm, with the Warriors now winning six of their past seven games after a 2-4 start. The only loss came against Auburn, 65-62, on Dec. 22 after UH had taken the lead with 8.6 seconds left.

There was no such late drama Thursday night, as Hauns Brereton scored a career-high 22 points including an improbable slam dunk three minutes into the second half to start Hawai’i on its 29-3 run after the game had been tied at 48-48. Brereton, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, broke to the basket from the right side in a halfcourt set and slammed home a thunderous dunk that erupted a nervous crowd.

He then drained a 3-pointer 34 seconds later and point guard Miah Ostrowski added seven straight points off three steals by Zane Johnson, and by the time Trevor Wiseman’s layup capped the run with 9:35 remaining, the Warriors led, 77-51. The only outcome still in doubt was whether they would reach 100.

“I actually was,” Brereton said, when asked if he was thinking dunk all the way when he started his drive to the basket. “I was feeling left out watching Joston (Thomas) and Vander (Joaquim) get their thunder dunks all the time. The lane opened up and I saw the opportunity. It’s always a plus when you can do something like that to raise the energy level.”

The energy level needed raising, especially after a first half in which South Carolina State (4-9) led by as many as 10 points, 36-26, with 4:03 left. Brereton hit a 3 and Johnson had two triples — including one two seconds before halftime — as UH finished the half with a 15-6 run to close it to 42-41.

The Warriors were plagued by poor free throw shooting in the first half, finishing 6 of 16 (37.5 percent) only after Joaquim made two in a row with 3:18 left.

“Free throws are a funny thing,” Arnold said. “In our one-hour shoot-around before the game, we spent about 15 minutes on free throws and the guys shot about 50 of them (each). You got Zane Johnson, who’s probably one of the top 20 or 30 free throw shooters in the country, and he goes 0-for-4.”

Hawai’i finished 20 of 39 (51.3 percent) after making 14 of its final 20 (70 percent) from the line.

“I’m glad we got we got it out of our system,” Arnold said. “Believe me, we’ll be shooting free throws (at practice) tomorrow, like we do every day.”

After Brandon Riley scored on a layup nine seconds into the second half to put the Bulldogs up, 44-41, Brereton answered with a 3-pointer and the Warriors never trailed again.

“I don’t think we came out (tonight) with a letdown, I think it was more like waves,” said Brereton, a transfer from Western Nebraska Community College. “They were hitting shots in the first half, and coach challenged us to get seven stops in a row.”

Arnold said despite the 100-point offense, it was defense that highlighted the big second-half run.

“I thought it was all defense,” Arnold said. “I don’t remember us calling more than three or four plays — the rest were all off steals and fast breaks. We defended well and were effective on the boards.”

Brereton’s 22 points came off 9-of-12 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. He also grabbed five rebounds.

“That’s the kid we recruited and expected,” Arnold said.

Thomas added 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of this season, and Johnson contributed 14 points, five steals and four assists.

Ostrowski and Shaquille Stokes split time at point guard, and they combined for 17 points and 11 assists with just three turnovers. Stokes had 10 points, five assists and two steals, and Ostrowski finished with seven points, six assists and one steal.

All 12 Hawai’i players in uniform saw action, and 10 of them scored. Pi’i Minns scored the first points of his UH career, draining two free throws late in the game.

South Carolina State dropped to 4-9 with their seventh consecutive loss. Aaron Martin led the Bulldogs with 17 points, Khalif Toombs added 15 points and Riley and Omar Sanders each finished with 13 points. The Bulldogs have played — and lost — six straight road games in the month of December.

“I’m glad we had this game,” Brereton said. “We need to keep this wave going.”

The Warriors will now have just one day of practice to prepare for UNLV, which is 14-2 after a 124-75 rout of Central Arkansas on Wednesday.

(Photos courtesy Brandon Flores)

15 Comments

  1. FANTASTIC!! GO WARRIORS!!!

  2. Last night was such a exciting game to watch, I hope everyone comes out on Saturday at 3 pm to watch UH play top 25 unlv!

  3. Again, a tale of 2 halves. And that 2nd half was fun, energetic and exciting. Good teamwork. Right on guys! One can only wonder what the score would have been if the free throw shooting was a lot better. Now let’s put 2 good halves together against UNLV.
    Go Warriors!

  4. too bad joston couldn’t finish that alley whoops..flemmings probably would’ve

  5. Are you a Hawaii fan?

  6. Hahahahauns Brbrbrbrbrereton! What an athletic stud!!

  7. Maybe, if Flemings actually remembered what time the game was.

  8. Nice coverage, Wes!

  9. are you a fan of hawaiifan09?

  10. your a moron…always got something negative to say…your life must be miserable…Happy New Years to everyone else from NY…

  11. didnt your Mom teach you that if you have nothing good to say dont say nothing at all…common sense lady..

  12. i don’t see any negative in my comment but i guess you girls can’t ignore me…..

  13. you dont see ANYTHING…thats the problem lady…

  14. u really must be a fan of me thanks

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