Warriors lose big at UC Irvine, 84-56
A forgettable road trip ended with the biggest loss of this season for the University of Hawai’i basketball team.
The Warriors struggled on offense again, and had their worst defensive showing of the season in an 84-56 loss at UC Irvine on Saturday night at Irvine, Calif. A crowd of 2,539 at the Bren Events Center watched the Anteaters avenge two losses to Hawai’i last season.
UCI improved to 9-9 overall and 2-0 in the Big West; Hawai’i dropped to 6-9 and 0-2, with both losses on this opening road trip of the season.
The Anteaters took control midway through the first half, and then ran away in the second half. It was Hawai’i’s largest margin of defeat of this season, and the largest margin of defeat since a 29-point loss at Cal Poly in January 2013.
The 84 points is the most allowed by Hawai’i this season, and UCI’s .571 field goal percentage is the highest allowed in head coach Eran Ganot’s 49-game tenure at UH. Only one previous opponent (UC Davis last season) shot better than 50 percent since the start of last season.
“Our calling card is our ability to defend and rebound, especially defend this year,” Ganot said in a post-game interview on ESPN1420 radio. “I know in the last year-and-a-half, we allowed maybe one team to shoot over 50 (percent) from the field and today it wasn’t even competitive.”
Hawai’i once again struggled offensively, connecting on 36.2 percent of its shots (21 for 58), including just 12.5 percent (3 for 24) from 3-point range. In contrast, the Anteaters shot 57.1 percent from the field (32 for 56) and 35 percent (7 for 20) from 3-point range.
A bright spot for the Warriors was freshman point guard Matt Owies, who scored a season-high 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 21 minutes off the bench. Gibson Johnson added 11 points and five rebounds, Sheriff Drammeh scored 10, and Leland Green contributed nine points and four rebounds.
“Hopefully this is a spark in the right direction for him,” Ganot said of Owies. “He’s been preparing well, and he was rewarded for that. … It was nice to see him perform and perform on the road and play right.”
The Warriors actually opened the game with a 9-2 lead, with Johnson scoring seven of the points, but it was all Anteaters after that.
A 7-0 run by UCI tied the game at 9-all, and then the Anteaters took the lead for good with an 11-0 surge that gave them a 24-16 advantage. Another 11-0 run moments later increased the lead to 35-18, and the Anteaters eventually took a 39-20 lead at intermission.
“We came with a great focus again, and couldn’t sustain when we went to our bench,” Ganot said. “I have to do a better job, obviously, of preparing guys for a 40-minute effort. It’s a recurring theme.
“Early, we didn’t handle success well, and then we didn’t handle adversity well. We started playing straight jack ball again. You can stop runs with getting good shots, getting inside, getting to the line … and then it was a free fall.”
UCI out-scored the Warriors 26-4 in the final 11 minutes of the first half. Hawai’i shot 1 for 17 from the field, and 2 for 4 on free throws during that 11-minute span.
The Anteaters scored the first six points of the second half to make it an insurmountable advantage at 45-20. Hawai’i never got closer than 22 points in the game’s final 15 minutes.
The Anteaters scored the first six points of the second half to make it an insurmountable advantage at 45-20. Hawai’i never got closer than 22 points in the game’s final 15 minutes, and the Anteaters led by as many as 29.
Noah Allen, the Warriors’ leading scorer and rebounder prior to the game, finished with zero points and one rebound in eight minutes of action. He did not play at all in the second half.
“He’s had opportunities to get to the line, around the rim, and I think flipping things up is not helping him,” Ganot said. “He’s got to go strong. He’s got to keep working.”
Jaron Martin and Ioannis Dimakopoulos scored 12 points each to lead the Anteaters. UCI used 13 players in the game, and all 13 scored.
The Warriors are scheduled to return to Honolulu on Sunday, and will next play a home game against Long Beach State on Saturday, January 14. It will be the first of five consecutive Big West home games for the Warriors.
(Game photos courtesy Warren Haraki)
at Long Beach State 70, UC Riverside 64
at UC Davis 68, Cal Poly 64
CSUN 68, at Cal State Fullerton 65
at UC Irvine 84, Hawai’i 56
Wednesday, January 11
CSUN at Long Beach State
Thursday, January 12
Cal State Fullerton at Cal Poly
UC Irvine at UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis at UC Riverside
Saturday, January 14
Cal State Fullerton at UC Irvine
Cal Poly at UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis at CSUN
Long Beach State at Hawai’i
Leave a Response
You must be logged in to post a comment.