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UPDATED: Warriors get boxed out in loss to Nevada

The Hawai’i basketball didn’t crash the boards, and as a result, will have to go back to the drawing board in the aftermath of a disappointing 88-79 loss to Nevada on Thursday night.

A “Blackout” crowd of 6,893 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Wolf Pack maintain first place in the Western Athletic Conference by completing the home-and-home sweep of the Warriors.

Nevada improved to 20-4 overall and 9-1 in the WAC. The Wolf Pack is now two games up on the rest of the conference. Hawai’i is 13-10 overall and dropped to fourth place in the conference at 5-4. The Warriors could have climbed into second place with a win.

The Warriors had a 39-36 lead at halftime, but Nevada point guard Deonte Burton scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to lead the Wolf Pack rally.

“You saw the championship team there tonight, for sure,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said of Nevada. “That’s what you do when you’re champions … you come in and play on big nights and you win big games.

“I actually give them a lot of credit and I respect them quite a bit because they came in to a team that was playing some pretty good ball and flat out took it from us. Flat out beat us on all aspects of the floor. Out-coached us, out-played us, out-hustled us and just beat us up good.”

Nevada out-rebounded Hawai’i 46-27, with center Dario Hunt (17 rebounds) and forward Olek Czyz (nine) combining for 26 boards.

“Crushed us on the boards, and that’s always a big indicator of who’s got the biggest heart,” Arnold said.

Joston Thomas led the Warriors’ balanced attack with 18 points. Hauns Brereton added 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and Miah Ostrowski scored a season-high 15 to go along with eight assists. Vander Joaquim contributed 14 points and nine rebounds, and was the only Hawai’i player to grab more than four rebounds.

Zane Johnson, Hawai’i’s leading scorer entering the game, was limited to nine points on 2-of-13 shooting

Arnold was emotional after the game, expressing disappointment in his team’s performance while apologizing to the crowd, which was enthusiastic until the closing minutes.

“I loved the crowd, I thought the crowd was great,” Arnold said. “I feel like we owe them an apology. We have Hawai’i in front of our chest and to come out like that, it’s embarrassing. We let our university down, we let our state down tonight. I hope as long as I’m here you never see a team play like that again, or I shouldn’t be here.”

Nevada raced to a 23-14 lead midway through the first half, but the Warriors closed the first half with a 14-6 run over the final six minutes to take a 39-36 lead at intermission.

The highlight of the first half came when Johnson stole a Nevada pass and got the ball to Joaquim. The 6-foot-10 Joaquim led a fastbreak with some awkward dribbling, then zipped a pass to Thomas under the basket for a slam dunk just before the horn sounded.

The play sent electricity through the “Blackout” crowd and seemingly gave the Warriors momentum for the second half. But it took Nevada less than three minutes into the second half to tie the score at 46, and by the midway point of the second half, the Wolf Pack had a nine-point lead.

Ostrowski, who hit a career-best four 3-pointers, found Nevada’s second-half surge difficult to explain.

“I don’t even know, it’s not like we didn’t come to play,” he said. “They executed against our defense. Give credit to them … they just executed, that’s all I can say.”

Arnold credited Nevada’s Burton for igniting the Wolf Pack’s run to victory. “I think Deonte Burton stepped up and took over the game,” Arnold said. “I think he’s an NBA first-rounder, I really do … he controlled the tempo on both ends of the floor and once he got control of the game, we couldn’t quite get it back.

“We tried some different things to counter him and we tried some different guys on him. Smaller guys he shot over and bigger guys he drove in and drew fouls … that was quite a show. I thought he just systematically beat us.”

The closest Hawai’i got was 71-67 with 5:38 remaining, but the Wolf Pack responded with an 8-0 run to take control for good at 79-67. Burton and Malik Story each hit back-to-back 3-pointers during the Nevada surge.

All five Nevada finished with double-figure points: Burton with 20, Story 19, Czyz 15, Hunt 15 and Jerry Evans Jr. 13.

For the first time this season, Hawai’i played without sophomore forward Trevor Wiseman, who is serving an indefinite suspension.

The Warriors will remain at home for their next game on Saturday, when they host Fresno State in another WAC game. The Bulldogs lost to San Jose State, 79-71 in double-overtime, on Thursday. Fresno State is 11-15 overall and in seventh place in the conference at 3-7.

(Game photos by Brandon Flores)

8 Comments

  1. Gib is so emotional. He’s too hard on his team. Yes, we got killed on the boards and Zane’s offense wasn’t there. But it was in no way an embarrassment.

  2. Agree. Gib was wrong to lay so much blame on the players for lack of effort. Credit lies with Nevada for executing a textbook plan for beating Hawaii: switch everything on the perimeter so you can contest every shot Zane takes; double down on Vander and double down on Joston when you can so as to force Miah and whoever is the fifth starter (in this case Hauns) to beat you; put a little half court pressure to force persons other than Miah to handle the ball and start the offense; attack Vander and Joston on the inside, i.e., run your offense inside out so as to neutralize Hawaii’s defensive aggressiveness on the perimeter. All WAC teams can see that’s how to play Hawaii. Trouble is, only 1 or 2 teams have the horses to play this way, Nevada being one or them. All the other teams are way too small.

    Hawaii may not have been as “fired up” and “walking on air” for this game as one might have expected, but I certainly didn’t see an embarrassing lack of effort on Hawaii’s part. What I saw is a Nevada team that is just better than Hawaii, in particular, I saw a player, Deonte Burton, for whom Hawaii and all other teams in the WAC have no answer.

    Other than Nevada, however, I don’t see any other team in the WAC with anywhere near the combination of size and talent that Hawaii has. That Hawaii is only 5 – 4 in such a pathetic conference and had to go overtime to beat Fresno and San Jose tells me a lot more about this team and its coach than losing to Nevada last night. Gib should forget the public bashing and apologizing for his players and concentrate coaching.

  3. On BC Show this morning, Gib who had watched the game two more times, had more positive things to say, making it clear that Vander played a very good game, that Miah’s return to Three-dom (to complement his drive and dish abilities) will help the team here on out…

    …and that this is a good team and they will be back …

    ..based on recent history … like immediately with the next game(s) Saturday and Tuesday …

    Go Warriors ! WIN the Homestand !

    (…then step up to Challenge, even Win another tough road trip…
    All Preps for a Three Win Run in Vegas)

  4. miles isn’t a point guard or shooting guard..don’t know what position besides bench he should play

  5. Warriors got to come to play Sat nite vs the Bulldogs,protect the House Warriors, full effort both halves. !!!

  6. Watching that game again, guys were playing hard, Nevada well prepared crashing boards and great player in Burton. Game wasn’t blow out here or in Reno.

    Gib gotta build up your guys. Commend them for what they did well, shore up the rebounding…team still has 7 more games before tourney, there is a lot of basketball to play. Gib you want to win, so do your guys..

    Go warriors!
    We support you 100%!!

    True UH fans, the 6000 plus in black, pat on the back , it was awesome and rocking!
    Come back , 5000 plus strong on Sat , and let’s get Fresno St. and New Orleans, then try to pick up a couple wins on the road before final home stand, then tourney, hey…18 wins before WAC tournament , doable…keep your heads up, and Gib keep positivie with the guys..!!

    Hawaii MBB fans last 40 years and into 21st century!!

  7. Okay oahuan I agree accept the fact you say Nevada is the better team. Come on now they were neck and neck it was just Nevada took control of the boards. All that is is want to. Nevada wanted more than uh. Rebounding is not talent, it’s just heart. So Nevada is not the better team, they just wanted it more last night.

  8. Hawaii has to be fired up when coming out against good teams. Well any team for that matter.

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