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UPDATED: Cold-shooting Warriors fall at Utah State, 77-72

The Hawai’i basketball team had the inside part, but not the outside, and the incomplete performance resulted in a 77-72 loss at Utah State on Thursday night.

A crowd of 9,870 at the Dee Glen Spectrum in Logan, Utah, watched the Aggies climb into a tie with the Warriors for fourth place in the Western Athletic Conference. The Warriors dropped to 11-9 overall and 3-3 in the WAC; Utah State is 11-10 and 3-3.

“Crushed them on the boards, but couldn’t hit shots,” is how Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold described it. “Just couldn’t make 3s. We can’t go 3 for 17 on the road and win games. You gotta hit shots against a sagging defense, and that’s what they were doing.”

Hawai’i junior center Vander Joaquim dominated the low-post with a career-high 24 points on 12-of-16 shooting. He also grabbed 14 rebounds, leading the Warriors to an astonishing 48-28 advantage on the boards.

“Vander’s been playing great,” Arnold said. “He did his part and, darn it, we just weren’t hitting shots. A couple more of those fall and we’re smiling tonight, but they didn’t.”

Utah State’s veteran head coach Stew Morrill was impressed with Joaquim’s performance, saying: “Their big guy is for real. They kept going to him. We are doubling him, and he is still having an unbelievable night.”

The difference, Arnold said, was the Warriors’ inability to shut down the Aggies’ balanced offense. Utah State shot 49.0 percent from the field – the highest by a Hawai’i opponent this season.

“We’re not good enough to give up 49 percent, that’s not what we do,” Arnold said. “We give up 35 percent, we can win. That’s bigger than not hitting shots, I thought, was the fact that they shot 49 percent.”

Thanks in part to 24 offensive rebounds, the Warriors took 71 shots (compared to 49 for the Aggies). However, Hawai’i made just 29 for 40.8 percent. And as Arnold noted, the Warriors went just 3 for 17 from 3-point range, and 11 of 19 from the free-throw line.

Utah State finished 6 of 16 from 3-point range, and 23 of 29 on free throws.

“When you look at the stat sheet, everything for us is good except for rebounding,” Morrill said. “We just struggled out there with their size, with about anyone that we play trying to get rebounds, but everything else, field goal percentage defense, our field goal percentage, our free throw percentage, everything else was pretty good.”

The Warriors trailed by as many as 15 points midway through the second half, but kept chipping away to cut the Utah State lead to just four in the final minute. The Aggies went 4 of 4 from the free throw line in the final 20 seconds to secure the win.

Utah State had a 38-30 lead at halftime, and increased it to 61-46 with 11:42 remaining in the second half. The Warriors went on a 7-1 run in the closing minutes to cut the Utah State lead to 73-69, but that was as close as it would get.

Hauns Brereton contributed 15 points and six rebounds, and helped fuel the second half rally-attempt by the Warriors. Joston Thomas added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Zane Johnson, Hawai’i’s leading scorer entering the game, was limited to nine points. He shot 4 of 16 from the field, including 1 of 9 from 3-point range. Point guard Miah Ostrowski passed for eight assists, but scored just two points.

The Warriors were whistled for 25 fouls, in what Arnold described as “a pretty tightly called game.” However, he added that the Warriors needed to adjust to the way the referees were assessing the fouls.

“It was tough for us because we’re pretty physical,” he said. “We bump and hit, and they were calling a lot of stuff tonight. But we need to adapt to that. If that’s the way its going to be called then fine, just adapt. Don’t blame it.”

Preston Medlin led the Aggies with 25 points, including 13-of-14 shooting from the free-throw line. Four other Utah State players scored in double-figures.

Hawai’i dropped to 1-9 in Logan, Utah, against Utah State, including 0-8 in WAC regular-season games.

The Warriors will remain on the road for another WAC game on Saturday at Idaho. They are scheduled to depart Logan, Utah, on Friday morning, and arrive in Moscow, Idaho, on Friday afternoon. Saturday’s game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. (Hawai’i time).

Idaho is 11-9 overall and 4-2 in the WAC after a 74-66 home win over San Jose State on Thursday.

(WarriorInsider.com file photo courtesy Brandon Flores)

And here are video highlights and a post-game interview with Gib Arnold, courtesy of UH men’s basketball media relations director Neal Iwamoto:

12 Comments

  1. Out-Shot …

    Out-Reffed …

    Let Them Shoot Too Well …
    Need to UP The Defensive Effectiveness !

    Didn’t Hit Our (outside) Shots …

    i wouldn’t be surprised IF Hawai’i holds Utah State off by More than 10 in Hawai’i …
    At The Tourney, IF Both Teams get that far, i doubt the Refs can make as many Ridiculous Calls on a Neutral Court with League Evaluators watching …

    Even then, i’d bet on Hawai’i to keep improving and take the Next Two against USU…

    For Now, Got to Re-Group, Play Better All-Around and take the split from Idaho …

    …Vander continues to Dominate … Both Vander and Joston with Double-Doubles — Pretty Soon we’ll be calling them the Dynamic Duo …

    STILL NEED Our Emerging Outside Shooters … You Know Who You Are …
    (Shouldn’t Leave it to Zane By Himself…)

  2. Vander had a great game but he needs to hit his free throws, too many misses.
    Zane just had one of those off games 🙁 On to Idaho, it’s a must win.

  3. I swear those refs are from Utah! Some of those calls were ridiculous!

  4. Cold shooting in hostile territory ain’t gonna get it done guys. Free throws…………yuk. Let’s shake it off and regroup for the next game. Everybody have to contribute! You guys can do it, man.
    Go Warriors!

  5. so coach been raving about jawato in practice sessions. eh, put him in then, we need him if his outside shot is as good as gibber says. still got a dozen more to go. should have pulled the trigger a couple of weeks ago methinks.

  6. Road games are tough to win. I like the fight in this team. Two road losses for a combined 8 points at two of the tougher places to play in conference is only going to help us later in the season. This is a marathon not a sprint and I like the direction this team is heading. I’d like to win these games, but at the end of the day the only road wins that are gonna count are the 3 in March in Las Vegas. Go Warriors!

  7. When you out rebound a team by like 20 you should win. Those refs weren’t gonna let them win. Good game, just ref politics wouldn’t let them win.

  8. Just goes to show what a disciplined, albeit less athletic, team like Utah State can do when your game—poor outside shooting, free throws—is off. It definitely pays to do the small things like free throws, teamwork, and execution to beat better teams, which is exactly what Utah State did. We had two things working against us last night: no outside shooting and poor free throws. I think you can be poor in one phase of the game but big in another (inside) and still win; but to have two things go bad, its death. I liked what Gib did towards the end of the game such as using full court press and platooning. Would like to see it throughout the game, especially on the road. This along with Hawaii playing with a sense of urgency really shook Utah at the end. We are so close to putting it all together and I know this team can do it. Hope it all comes together at the end.

  9. Good game but as Coach said – we need to hit those outside shots! And the most glaring stat is . . . once again an opposing guard torching us for over 25 pts! That’s bad . . . defense! Good luck in Idaho . . . let’s get this one ‘Bows!

  10. Coach it ain’t all the fault of the players and/or coaching staff, the WAC has the worst officials of any conference. There are probably high school officials better than some of these guys.

    I don’t know his name, but the guy with the puffy hair is horrible.

  11. Warriors, Beat the Potato Heads, Bake them with sour cream.

  12. Al , I completely disagree, would be a waste to lose a year of Jawato’s elgibility. Coach is smart unlike Mac, who wasted one year of Trevor Davis.

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