Warriors rally past UC Irvine, 78-72
The Hawai’i basketball team moved into second place in the Big West Conference with a 78-72 victory over UC Irvine on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Warriors were down by three at halftime, and rallied from a seven-point deficit in the second half to improve to 15-9 overall with their fifth consecutive victory. Hawai’i is now 9-4 and in second place in the Big West (previous second place Pacific lost on Saturday).
UC Irvine, which beat Hawai’i a month ago in Irvine, Calif., dropped to 12-13 and 6-6.
Christian Standhardinger once again led the Warrior effort, finishing with 20 points and nine rebounds. Vander Joaquim added 15 points and 10 rebounds, Hauns Brereton scored 16 (including 12-for-12 free throw shooting), and Isaac Fotu contributed 11 points and five rebounds.
The Warriors shot 43.8 percent from the field while holding the Anteaters to 42.4 percent. Hawai’i also committed a season-low seven turnovers.
The Warriors led by as many as nine points, 27-18, with 7:18 remaining in the first half, but the Anteaters responded with a 14-2 run to take a 32-29 lead late in the half. Irvine eventually had a 34-31 advantage at intermission.
The Anteaters increased the lead to as many as seven points early in the second half, before the Warriors went on a 14-0 run to regain control at 49-42 with 11:29 remaining. Joaquim (seven) and Standhardinger (five) combined to score 12 of the 14 points during the decisive surge.
The Warriors stayed in front the rest of the way, although they could never quite pull away completely from the feisty Anteaters.
Irvine got as close as 65-61 on a 3-pointer by Daman Starring with 2:51 remaining, but the Warriors responded with a basket by Standhardinger to keep the Anteaters at bay. Hawai’i converted 11 of 12 free throws in the final 3:12 to secure the win.
The Warriors will take to the road again next week, with Big West games at UC Davis on Feb. 14, then at Pacific on Feb. 16.
More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.