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UC Irvine ends Warriors’ tournament run

Valdes4_Flores

Luke Nelson scored a team-high 17 points and UC Irvine overcame an early 13-point deficit tonight as the Anteaters held off Hawai’i, 67-58, for the Big West Conference Tournament Championship.

Alex Young and Will Davis III each added 10 points as UCI improved to 21-12 and earned the Big West’s automatic berth into next week’s NCAA Tournament. Aaron Valdes scored 17 points and Garrett Nevels added 14 points for the Rainbow Warriors, whose season ends at 22-13.

After trailing from the outset, including a 13-point deficit early in the first half, UC Irvine eventually tied it at 35-35 on Will Davis’ hook shot with 15:11 remaining in the game. The Anteaters then took their first lead of the game at 41-39 on a hook shot by 7-foot-2 reserve center Ioannis Dimakopoulos nine minutes into the second half.

Isaac Fleming capped a 5-0 run for Hawai’i to help the Rainbow Warriors take the lead back at 45-43 with 8:26 left. UCI took the lead back at 48-47 when Young banked in a runner from the right side with 6:21 left. The Anteaters later stretched the lead to 59-52 after Nelson’s deep 3-pointer with 1:22 remaining, although Hawai’i was able to close it to 61-58 after Roderick Bobbitt’s three-point play with 45.9 seconds left.

But Nelson and Aaron Wright made a combined seven of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

As it did the previous two days, Hawai’i started fast out of the gates, taking a 14-4 lead in the first five minutes after Nevels’ 3-pointer from the left wing and later extending it to 20-7 on Isaac Fleming’s 3-pointer from the right wing with 12:42 remaining in the half.

Fleming got another 3-pointer to drop four minutes later to put the Rainbow Warriors up, 27-15, but Dimakopoulos answered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to start the Anteaters on a 14-4 run capped by Alex Young’s 3-pointer from the left wing that closed it to 31-29 with 1:03 before halftime. Valdes responded with a short jumper 30 seconds later to give UH a 33-29 lead at the break.

Valdes had 14 points at halftime on 6 of 7 shooting — including both 3-point attempts — to go along with five rebounds. The Rainbow Warriors made 6 of 13 shots (46.2 percent) from beyond the arc in the first half and out-rebounded the taller Anteaters, 20-18.

More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.

18 Comments

  1. Great season…Benjy hope he is coach and team intact

    Above and beyond

    Who would have thought so close to ncaa invite…9 pts..even closer

    Small vs bigs

    Good game
    no shame
    tears are real

    Thanks to Dayton and Smidt ohana sponsoring WI..!!

    Now we see how plays out..

    Benjy and the Bows so proud of you all
    and team ohana for letting sons play this year!!

    Go Bows!!
    🙂

  2. MAHALO to Coach Benjy, his assistants, the entire TEAM, and especially the lone senior Garrett Nevels. What an exciting season! Hold your heads high and come back stronger and improved next year. You guys exceeded everyone’s expectations after the crazy start to the season.

  3. Thanks Benjy and the team for a great season. You made an excellent run. It was my pleasure seeing you play on Maui against Pittsburgh. You brought back the excitement and interest in UH basketball for me. It was the first time since Riley Wallace’s year that I actually made an effort to watch, track on internet each game except when I was in Vegas during Xmas time. The sky’s the limit for this team if they can remain intact. Thanks Nevels for your leadership I believe you will be an assett in the community when you graduate- outstanding citizen, pro ball players,, coaching, or whatever you decide. To the test of the team, keep your heads up. You made Hawaii proud.

  4. Thanks Benjy and the team for a great season. You made an excellent run. It was my pleasure seeing you play on Maui against Pittsburgh. You brought back the excitement and interest in UH basketball for me. It was the first time since Riley Wallace’s final year that I actually made an effort to watch, track on internet each game except when I was in Vegas during Xmas time. The sky’s the limit for this team if they can remain intact. Thanks Nevels for your leadership I believe you will be an assett in the community when you graduate- outstanding citizen, pro ball players,, coaching, or whatever you decide. To the test of the team, keep your heads up. You made Hawaii proud.

  5. Espn andy katz shout out great job benjy and bows past december…recentle cbs basketball analyst..great job benjy…fox sports west and espn2 announcers posed question to themselves and national audience..does benjy deseverve permanent head coaching job…through all adversity and team bought in to style,,benjy ball..they said credit to coach taylor
    such fantastic endorsement
    22 wins not 10 wins and 22 losses…made bwc tournament championship
    plus congrats to wbb team and gals
    they champions too
    both coaches great job

    New AD or chancellor or power that be..if thousands of uh mbb fans want benjy as head coach..uhadmin listen to alumnus, including endorsement from jumping john pennebacker

    If admin does not hire,,or move new AD to hire benjy so he has whole ear to work with returnees and 2 or 3 jc ..some bigs,..and shooters..
    I give up..

    Benjy man..you desverve the job…nationally your coaching buddies KNOW the fantasy job you did
    and the 14 great young men
    we true mbb fans love you guys
    stay with hawaii and go to ncaa’s next year!!
    🙂
    Go Bows..True Warriors!!
    🙂

  6. Thousands in 808 and nationally know benjy taylor deserves head coaching job for uh mbb team
    if new AD or power that be hires someone else
    I give up being fan of uh athletics..really after near 50 yesrs
    benjy and bows WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!
    🙂
    BENJY FANTASTIC COACHING AND STAFF..SENQUE, BRAD , BRANDON AND JAMIE…ASSISTANT GRADS ..MANAGERS AND JAY GOO

    CIT…why not??

  7. Some Games Over The Whole Season,
    They Faded, Maybe Ran Out of Gas, Fouls or Active Players
    Sometimes The Resultant Margin Hit 15 to 20
    BUT The ‘Bows were ‘IN’ Every Game Most of the way…
    And Often had Serviceable Leads OR Came Right Down to The Wire, Like Tonight;
    Which makes This a Pretty Special (for) UH Team
    Especially As Young As They Are (Only One Senior)
    And Only One Returning D-1 Starter…

    The “Local” (LA) Sports Report
    Noted that UCI is 20 Minutes from The HONDA Center
    So Basically, It’s a Home Game
    UCI “Filling” One-Fourth of the Arena
    Where Hawai’i is a Six-Hour Flight Away
    And Gave a Slight Green Tint to 2-3 Sections
    (that still were heavy with Yellow and Blue)

    THIS TEAM IS “RIGHT THERE”
    One Or Two STOPS
    One Or Two SHOTS (Made)
    Away from BWC Championship Material…
    They Even “Coulda” Have Won Tonight
    But Allowed/Missed some shots they often don’t

    Keep The Team Mostly Together — They Clearly Like Each Other
    And Play Well Together — They’ll Likely Be Much Better Next Season…

    Mahalo Benjy, ‘Bows, Dayton & Co., Schmidts & Supporters

    Go Benjy, Senque, Players and Staff
    Earn Good, Better, New Recruits
    Build, Improve The Team and Your Own Games
    Improve APR, Attendance, Fans, Finances, etc.
    A WINNING Program On ALL Accounts
    “CHASE”? WIN Championships!

  8. Eagle…benjy still talking of going back to bwc championship next season
    recruit 2 more and two shooters with all guys coming back
    bwc lose a lot of seniors, uh mbb can be regular season champs!!
    eagle so much positive talk on benjy
    he has to get job
    if not..uhadmin nottsmart at all
    norm chow lose again big..retain for 5th year?
    Dumb
    be akamai!!
    Keep benjy and bows together!!

  9. Benjy, Senque and brad…..if hire benjy quickly ..they can sign 2 good jc bigs
    and 2 jc shooters
    That will play benjy ball!!

  10. Another thing to keep benjy and returning guys back? APR…cannot have even one or two freshmen or sophs leaving.. would st uh mbb APR BACK..

  11. Sad ending to a great season. We had the chances just too many mistake. Got to love our Warriors Heartache major heartache

  12. Boosters. Why not fund 2 home games in CIT for uh mbb team..if the last go round
    goal final four in vegas?
    Boosters boost benjy and the bows!!
    Why ben jay put in bids for hosting 2 home games for uh mbb in NIT
    unless?
    Team still desrves to play ..22 wins and defats number one bwc team davis 2 out of 3 times

  13. I think I enjoyed this game more than any other the whole season. Cause I told myself that win or lose this program continues to improve. Not even NCAA sanctions, firing of coach, and departure of Isaac Fotu could stop this team. Yes would have been sweet if they could pull out the win; but nevertheless, these kids are winners and if they stay intact this team will be something to behold next year. All the announcers failed to stress that point that we have only 1 departing senior and the bulk sophomores. Now the administration just got to do what is right for this program and sign Benji to a 3 year contract. That’s a no brainer in my opinion. And the sooner the better because we need to recruit a shot blocker and someone to challenge Mamadou. Plus we need to pick up shooters. That’s what did us in tonight. I want to thank all the players because they were the ones that stuck together like glue and showed the world what there’re made of. Hold your head up high guys. You did good. We get em next yea!

  14. servante. …thousands of uhmbb fans echo your statements
    watched post game interview..very disturbing
    when benjy made iiterim and 14 guys were convinced to stay..
    team was told ncaa all or nothing
    shoots
    keep alosing football coach full support
    now lame duck AD say no post season..nothing cannot afford
    uh mbb and benjy I hope they stay
    academic leaders..not combo of athletics and academics
    want to be top mid major in athletics?
    Take care of coaches that win and keep team together
    makes me scratch my bald head!!
    Think enough positive noise to force admin/power that be sign benjy 3 year deal
    that 22nd win and championship apperance should seal the deal
    if not
    admin..junk..really junk

  15. It was a good run and a successful season. Great effort by the fellas but UCI hit clutch shots and had too much size. The only thing that irked me is that we didn’t lose with class. We ripped off our jerseys and left the floor shirtless.

  16. KHON…well ben jay had very positive things to say on news from anaheim,,proud of laura and benjy..they did very well this year..despite losses…said by mbb and wbb being in bwc championship game will help laura AND benjy’s recruiting for next season..
    that is good vibe
    thanks ben jay
    IF possible CIT or…with boosters help …go for it
    if mbb and wbb still one of few 351 ncaa div 1 teams still playing great
    this year’s mbb team better record and style than CIT 17 win mbb team that lost to air force at ssc 2 years ago

    Hoping
    eagle. Why not
    come on boosters!!

  17. Very disappointed (even broken hearted) leaving Anaheim for second straight year, but most certainly very proud to be a warrior fan. These boys did the state proud, and those of us in attendance all lost our voices and enjoyed ourselves immensely. My son’s tear will fade, and hopefully we will make it to the big dance next year.
    Late night tonight…but to make the tears fade quicker, we will be at 9:30am (hawaii time) rockets vs clippers game– got to shake doc rivers hand tonight, as he was literally one seat behind me all game…

  18. WeBleedGreen, You might have been on TV as they showed Rivers and his son and it look like the fans in front of him were from Hawaii.

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