Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: LaTech holds off short-handed Warriors

Short-handed and — according to head coach Gib Arnold — short on “leadership,” the Hawai’i basketball team fell to Louisiana Tech, 74-70, Thursday night in a Western Athletic Conference game at the Stan Sheriff Center.

A stunned crowd of 6,016 watched freshman guard Raheem Appleby score a game-high 28 points as the Bulldogs improved to 9-10 overall, 1-3 in the WAC. The Warriors fell to 10-8, 2-2, entering Saturday’s showdown against undefeated New Mexico State (4-0 in WAC).

Hawai’i played without starting point guard Miah Ostrowski (staph infection) and leading scorer Zane Johnson (stomach flu).

“We were still optimistic, even without our starting backcourt, because we thought it was an opportunity for other players to step up,” Arnold said. “But that didn’t happen. No one filled the voids, there was no one to take leadership.”

Shaquille Stokes’ 3-pointer gave UH a 56-55 lead with 8:29 remaining, but Romario Souza answered with a jump hook 23 seconds later to give LaTech the lead for good. Appleby sank two free throws to make it 69-64 with 1:58 left, but the Warriors closed it to 69-68 on Bobby Miles’ two free throws 57 seconds later.

Appleby then sank a floater in the lane with 52 seconds remaining, and Stokes’ 3-point attempt from the top of the key missed with 31 seconds left. JL Lewis swished a pair of foul shots to make it 73-68 two seconds later, but Joston Thomas’ putback closed it to 73-70 with 8 ticks on the clock. Trevor Wiseman then stole the ball from Lewis after the ensuing halfcourt inbounds pass, but his running 3-point attempt was short and the Bulldogs rebounded with 1.1 seconds left.

Kenyon McNeail then sealed the victory for LaTech with a free throw.

“We were coming out of a timeout (after Thomas’ putback) and had a play set up, so we knew exactly what to do,” Arnold said. “It’s not Trevor’s fault, he had an open shot, he just missed it. Shaq had a couple open shots earlier, too, but he missed.”

The absence of Ostrowski and Johnson was noticeable from the outset. Ostrowski leads the WAC in assists per game at 6.2, and Johnson leads the Warriors in scoring with 15.1 points per game. Ostrowski missed the entire week of practice with the infection in his lower left leg, so his absence was somewhat expected.

Johnson’s illness was more alarming, as he started to feel sick on Thursday morning, prompting the coaches to scramble for an alternate lineup and strategy during the pre-game shoot-around. Johnson’s illness was severe enough to keep him from even attending the game.

LaTech led, 22-16, after a 3-pointer by Cordarius Johnson midway through the first half and went ahead, 38-30 after a baseline floater by Appleby 90 seconds before halftime. Wiseman’s 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining cut it to 38-34, but Hawai’i entered the break with 10 turnovers and only two 3-point goals (on five attempts).

“We tried to adapt the best we can, but unfortunately Zane got sick on short notice,” said Thomas, who finished with a team-high 22 points. “We still ran the quick (offense), but we didn’t get the same shots from Zane. Give credit to LaTech, they’re a young, scrappy team.”

Warriors center Vander Joaquim had only one field goal attempt and was 4 of 9 from the free throw line in the first half. He finished with 11 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 5:08 remaining in the game, meaning the Warriors played the final five minutes with all three of their team captains (Johnson, Ostrowski and Joaquim) out of the game.

The intensity picked up slightly in the second half, with Stokes’ 3-pointer capping a 7-0 run to give UH its last lead at 56-55. But Joaquim fouled out with 5:08 remaining, and two free throws by Lewis put the Bulldogs ahead, 65-60, at that point.

The Warriors finished just 3 of 13 (23.1 percent) from 3-point range, and 19 of 31 (61.3 percent) from the free throw stripe.

“We had been playing some good basketball, had some good games, but tonight … I don’t know why,” Arnold said. “Our bench was good, and guys who had been on the bench started, had a chance to step up … but there was no leadership, absolutely none. But I’ll take that one, I’m the coach, so that’s on me.”

Thomas said there is no time to sulk.

“We just gotta bounce back and play Warrior basketball against New Mexico State,” he said.

Without Johnson and Ostrowski, the Warriors went with a starting lineup of Stokes and Bobby Miles at guards, Hauns Brereton and Thomas at forwards, and Joaquim at center. Stokes finished with 10 points, five assists and four rebounds, and Miles contributed nine points and four assists.

The 28 points by Appleby was the most scored by an opposing player against Hawai’i this season. Cordarius Johnson had 14 points — all in the first half — for LaTech.

Saturday’s opponent New Mexico State remained tied atop the WAC with Nevada after a 79-63 road win at San Jose State on Thursday.

(Game photos by Brandon Flores)


  1. Frustrating!!! Out shot, out rebounded, too many turnovers and to a smaller team. And, we’re the home team! I guess when you don’t have your field generals out there it shows. Too many bonehead plays. Come on you guys…….don’t give Coach Gib ulcers……and the fans, also.

  2. This was a horrible loss, losing to a bottom feeder. Last years inaugaural Gib Arnold team was a better team. Bill Amiss was the difference last year. They don’t have that “go to guy” you can depend on. I thought highly of Shaquille. But I doubt he will improve much better in his upcoming years. Vander Joaquim is the only bona fide star on the roster.

  3. Hope Hauns, Zane and Miah get better and no one else gets sick. Hauns being sick Wednesday and coming out to play showed great courage. Hopefully the extra day between games will allow them to get back healthy and come in strong.
    There is a delicate balance between the 4’s and 5’s pounding it in down low and passing it back out. It seems if the 4’s and 5’s will kick it back out once in while when they are double and tripled teamed that it would open up their own game. It wouldn’t allow the other team to collapse on them so much. Once the ball is inside, if they collapse on them, one cutter and two players on the outside – someone should be open. If they elect to shoot the cutter and other post are there to rebound.
    Just curious – does the team ever get to practice at the Stan Sheriff Center? Seems that would be good to have some practices there so that it wouldn’t feel like an away game or a new gym? Maybe they already have that chance, just curious.
    Keep going Warriors. Season is young but underway! Keep working hard, it will come.

  4. WOW! We should not have lost that game, even with the guards out – we have D1 college guards playing for us but they did not step-up defensively. We were torched by a freshman for 28 pts.; that is unacceptable.

    Maybe Coach should stop changing around the starting 5 and let them get going before subbing – Hauns was not ready defensively, Shaq is still dribbling too much and making errant passes, Bobby has improved but should be driving and passing more and not giving up his dribble so soon. Trevor should be starting and be given the green light to beat his man off the dribble. We should have out rebounded, out hustled and dominated that game – instead we reacted to plays that were happening on the court and LOST.

    Let’s go ‘Bows, we can play better that that – GOD luck Saturday!

  5. Ugh. I was hoping either Miles or Stokes would seize the opportunity to start and show that they’re ready to lead the team at PG in Miah’s absence. But they’re still young so maybe they’ll learn.

    Brereton continues to be a streaky shooter but gets the benefit of the doubt coming back from being sick.

    The team has showed great resiliency so far this season so hopefully they bounce back on Saturday against NMSU. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have Zane and Miah back.

    Props to Joston Thomas for trying to step up and be a leader for a short handed squad!

  6. Go Warriors, come on! Protect the House,!! This saturday nite, NO SURRENDER ! Bring it Joston, 40 minutes of murderous play on the boards! Double Double from Joston this Saturday along with Vander!!

  7. just showed how skilled and talented the rest of the players are…that was not wise man…espn top ten worst plays

  8. the loss had nothing to do with a lack of talent or skill, it — and i agree with gib — had everything to do with a lack of on-court leadership. you could sense it from the outset that without miah and zane to instill confidence and direction, it was an ultimately going to take a toll. sort of: cut off the head and the body dies. when vander fouled out – he tried too with a coast-to-coast charge and a midcourt scramble for a loose ball leading to 2 of his 5 fouls – that meant both of your team captains and your unquestioned on-court leader were not available. i think the other players tried to step up, the effort was there, but by doing so they stepped outside their usual roles and the effect just snowballed. frustrating loss, but the team will be fine once miah and zane return — hopefully for new mexico state.

  9. p.sl. thanks to wes and dayton for the coverage!

  10. More like How Young, Inexperienced or Un-Challenged yet our ‘other’ players are yet …

    Vander “should” be able to dominate against most WAC teams; 8r-11p is only ‘enough’ if everything else is clicking… the team needs to get the ball to him in position to take over /affect / control the game … And he needs to stay in the game for Prime Time — Not losing his fouls chasing little guards or charging while leading fast breaks … maybe this lesson is now learned as Vander usually manages his 4th and 5th fouls well enough to be able to Finish Big… …And Most Games Vander does more than his part …

    Joston stepped up — turning pretty consistent lately — maybe already a prime go-to guy option with Vander & Zane (Use Him !)…

    Although Shaq & Bobby generated 19 points and 9 assists (6 turnovers) which is close to what Zane & Miah generate on average; the ball wasn’t getting to our Bigs and there was not enough outside or penetrate & dish presence (i’m Sure our frosh & sophomore will continue to improve)…

    Remember: Xavier didn’t do much better without their big players …

    Bounce Back Saturday ! ?

    Get Healthy Team!
    Keep Building Up, Depth !
    Step Up … MORE !

  11. Rest of players should get their FLU SHOTS NOW , should make it mandatory.. road trips coming up ,winter cold on the mainland, team doctors should push for this now.

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