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UPDATED: Warriors come close, but still come up short in Nevada

Despite coming tantalizingly close to an historic victory in Reno, Nev., the Hawai’i basketball team was not about to take any consolation in its 77-74 loss at Nevada on Saturday night.

A crowd of 5,452 at the Lawlor Events Center watched the Wolf Pack end the game with a 14-4 run to continue the Warriors’ annual streak of frustration in Reno.

Nevada improved to 14-3 overall with its 11th consecutive victory, and remained in first place in the Western Athletic Conference at 4-0.

Hawai’i dropped to 10-7 overall and 2-1 in the WAC. The Warriors are now 0-15 all-time against Nevada in games played at Reno.

“We planned on winning this one and we felt like we gave that one away,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said. “I felt like we played really good basketball tonight — had the ball up seven (points) with four or five minutes left, and turned it over twice in a row.

“And darn it, that’s too bad because I thought we played as good basketball for 36 minutes as we’ve played all year … I know everybody thought that we had no chance, but we believed we could win this game, and we’re upset about it.”

The Warriors had a 70-63 lead with less than five minutes remaining, but managed to make just one field goal in the final 4:48 of the game. That field goal – a 3-pointer by Zane Johnson with 30 seconds remaining – cut the Nevada lead to 75-74. After Nevada’s Malik Story converted two free throws to give the Wolf Pack a 77-74 lead with 10.5 seconds remaining, Johnson missed an off-balance 3-point attempt on Hawaii’s final possession.

“We’re upset with the loss, we’re not upset with how we played,” Arnold said.

The Warriors matched the Wolf Pack shot for shot throughout the game, and the inside duo of Vander Joaquim and Joston Thomas dominated the low post.

Joaquim led the Warriors with 22 points, seven rebounds and seven blocked shots. He shot 8 for 12 from the field and 6 of 9 on free throws. Thomas contributed 21 points, shooting 8 for 13 from the field and 5 for 5 from the free-throw line.

“Vander is such a great scorer,” Nevada head coach David Carter said. “He doesn’t have to be deep in the post. He can score form the mid-post. He keeps the ball high. He’s just a very smart player from the block. And Thomas from the other side is another aggressive scorer.”

Zane Johnson added 11 points, Trevor Wiseman scored seven, and Miah Ostrowski finished with four points and nine assists.

Deonte Burton led the Wolf Pack with 25 points, including 20 in the crucial second half. He scored seven during the decisive 10-0 run that put the Wolf Pack ahead for good at 73-70.

“Give them credit, they finished that game strong and their players made plays, and that’s what you got when you have a dynamic player like Deonte Burton,” Arnold said.

Arnold noted that he had to use the 5-foot-9 Ostrowski to defend the 6-2 Burton. “I thought Miah played really good defense,” Arnold said. “I thought he was right where he needed to be, but (Burton) is a little better athlete and he’s much taller so he can shoot up over him.”

Burton had high praise for the Warriors at the post-game press conference.

“They’re a good team,” he said of the Warriors. “They ran their offense efficiently. We couldn’t get stops. They’re just a good team. It was a good game.”

Nevada forward Olek Czyz added 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting, and also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Nevada out-rebounded Hawai’i 35-32, but the Warriors finished with a .500 field goal percentage to the Wolf Pack’s .458.

“I feel like we were just throwing punches at each other the whole time and we just came on top at the end,” Czyz said. “It was really good team basketball, and a really exciting win for us.”

The lead changed 10 times in the first half, and Nevada eventually took a 35-34 advantage into intermission. Hawai’i opened the second half with a 12-6 surge to take a 46-41 lead with 16:28 remaining. The Warriors stayed in front until Burton’s off-balance 3-pointer put the Wolf Pack up 73-70 with 2:07 remaining.

Of Hawai’i’s 15 consecutive losses in Reno, only two others have been as close. In 2005, the Warriors also lost a lead late in the game in a 58-55 loss. In 2008, the referees disallowed an apparent basket by Hawai’i’s Ahmet Gueye in the closing seconds of a 69-68 loss.

The Warriors are scheduled to return to Honolulu on Sunday. They will host WAC games against Louisiana Tech on Thursday, and New Mexico State on Saturday.

(WarriorInsider.com file photos courtesy Charles Simmons)

Here is a video highlight/interview clip courtesy of UH men’s basketball media relations director Neal Iwamoto:

And here is a highlight recap clip of the game from KTVN Channel 2 News in Reno:

20 Comments

  1. I wanted to throw something at my TV for those last few minutes, but I guess I need to keep things in perspective. Definite improvement over where we were one year ago. Also, no one can say that Vander isn’t passionate about winning!

    Great effort, split the trip. Team should be proud.

  2. Great effort and great game!….get the 2 at home an keep it going…Go Warriors!..

  3. The moment the game changed was when Zane got a 3 point attempt blocked and then Miah turned it over and they got a 3 pointer to drop all in a matter of 30 seconds. We’ll get them back when they come to Honolulu. At least this shows the guys can play on the road. They are a much better team than some people give them credit for. Glad they are proving the haters wrong! GO BOWS!

  4. why does Hauns get treated like a freshman on the team??? he’s a great offensive and defensive player, yet he gets pulled out every 5 seconds. some times he’s pulled out just for defense then put back in. whats the point of that because he has tremendous defensive skills

  5. This loss stings a lot but there’s still plenty of basketball to be played so keep going hard guys! We’ll get Nevada at home for sure

  6. For an Up and Coming Team — like Nevada also was last year — from a neutral fan’s perspective …

    This team is very watch-able — they’re playing smarter, executing better … and got some good stuff for the highlight reels … other teams like Nevada are starting to comment on Hawai’i’s Offensive strength — very noticeable against Fresno and Nevada …

    From a Hawai’i fan’s perspective, just so close to ‘fast-enough’ — this is the time of the close, good “losses” … but as they get five, ten, fifteen points better (they’ve already done that this past month, how much higher are they going?) …. these close ones turn to victories and some of the previously close wins become blow-outs …

    Nevada would not have this eleven game win streak (with the same players) a year ago …

    i think their Greater Depth, Size and Overall Talent — we already have several potential ‘Deontes’ — may allow Hawai’i to surpass Nevada by tourney time …

    and most of the rest of The WAC in the Next Few Weeks … New Mexico State ? Utah State ? Are We There, yet ? (i think Gib already thinks so…)

  7. I’m not a basketball coach but with Hauns, I’d like to think it depends on the type of team we are playing. If we don’t need his outside shooting, he won’t play much. The past couple of games it seemed like we had a game plan of working it inside so we didn’t need another shooter. Defensively, Hauns may be good but he is not as good as a Trevor or Garrett. The past couple of games Hauns came in when the big men came out for a short rest or when we had an opportunity to take advantage on the perimeter or needed an outside shot like at the end of the Nevada game. I’d like to see Hauns get more playing time but only if we need it.

  8. This game was more a learning experience than anything else. Yes Hawaii played Nevada even throughout most of the game. But what you do in the closing minutes of a tight game is what separates the good from the great. Not to say that Nevada is great, but they have one or two players that can take over a game. This is what Hawaii does not have—someone like Deonte Burton who can take over a close game and seal the victory. The way he played down the stretch made me realize that this is the kind of player Hawaii needs if we want to go big-time. I see it coming in the not so distant future and it could happen to one of our current players if they continue to improve. Other than that I don’t think you could have asked for a better game than what Hawaii gave. If we continue to play like this we should not lose for the remainder of the regular season. So we can start our win streak beginning the next game and take it all the way to tournament time.

  9. It’s not that Hauns has bad defense but I know that gib said earlier in the season that his D1 defense was lacking. it does look like he has gotten better guarding

  10. Hauns will have his time….key: all the guys buy into: TEAM first, whatever , and whomever it takes to get the win…Gib and staff, it is amazing to me…when is the last time, on a nite to nite basis, that a UH MBB coach utilitzes 10 players…and they all have worth, all games from here on out , they have a shot to win…

    Hauns, and his family , friends and supporters, I am sure Hauns would like to play more , all of the 12 guys on the team…however…they are 2 and 1, within reach of WAC leader and are getting better and better….Hauns, I am sure is a TEAM guy first…the wins will come…and that is far better than getting 25 to 30 minutes a game, getting 15 to 20 points and losing..
    Hauns I am sure is a good player, and by March, he and the whole team…improving in all areas, will be dynamite!

  11. Next time we face Burton, We can’t have Miah on him late in the game. Hope Gib puts in Garrett on Burton, and we will need Shaq to come up big and hit some open shots when Vander gets double teamed. It really hurts not having a good biggish defensive guard that can shoot from long range.

  12. Your are right. Gib gotta get a bigger Point, who can shoot jumpers, and defend…someone like AC.
    I thought same thing, for defense, Garrett or even Bobby Miles, MIah works real hard, real good at running offense and finding bigs, however a little too small..but you watch Gib and team will figure it out by March, if not within the next few ball games, …La Tech, athletic guards, New Mexico St. athletic guards, bigger..

    Team will get it done..

  13. This team is resilient so I’m sure the next time they meet, things will be different. It’s always tough to lose those games that could have gone your way. If only we could have………………..

  14. The team is a lot more focused and is going to be in a post season tournament barring any injuries. The team is that good. I love the fact that Vander realizes he is a force and could pretty much be unstoppable. Joston Thomas is a beast and he just needs to continue to pound it inside because he has the size, strength and athleticism to bully his way for easy buckets. If he continues to improve his mid range and outside jumper, he’ll be ridiculous. To me Joston is the X factor and I’m glad he’s finally getting serious minutes this year… Miah runs the offense smoother but we obviously do need a more athletic point to keep up with guys like Burton. Shaq Stokes could be that point, I think he just needs to be more confident in his abilities. Zane is obviously beginning to get shut out and double teamed. Defensively we are good but not great, offensively we got the inside figured out, now we need someone to step up and compliment Zane because lately he’s been getting focused on…

  15. Congrats to Vander, wac POY again. Keep it up, NO ONE in the wac can stop you.

  16. At first, I was wishing we didn’t have to wait almost a month to play Nevada at home. I want them back bad. Lol.

    But now I’m thinking it’s better it’s down the road. It could turn out to be a high-stakes game and if the crowd shows up, it’ll be good to have that in our house.

    Plus, I’m hoping the time will give Miah a chance to work on his 3, or Shaq a chance to work on his ability to run the offense – we know he can hit the trey. We gotta be able to make other teams pay if they want to sag and double on Vander or Joston.

  17. It also gives Hauns a time to work on his defense, he needs to be in there late in games when Joston/Vander are doubled up. Also Garrett needs to work on his 3 too along with Miah.

  18. Take care of the ball in crunch time and the Warriors win. Gib summed it up best, the two back to back turnovers in crunch time is what killed them.

  19. I like Brereton, he seems like a good guy, but his shot is so streaky. Sometimes his stroke looks really smooth and other times, like toward the beginning of the season, he’s just clanging bricks up there. If he got more consistent he could definitely help be one of the guys that Thomas or Joaquim look to kick it to.

    I don’t know if Jefferson can even hit a trey…lol. He’s very athletic and can take it to the rim, though, and WAC teams will start seeing that on tape, so maybe he can work on the drive to the basket, then pull up j.

  20. Well it’s fine and dandy to play all them players but it’s no justice to the team. They barely skidded by Fresno and lost to Nevada when they were def the better team. Best lineup and rotation to win is vander Zane ostrowski Thomas wiseman and Brereton.

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