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UPDATED: Warriors pull off road win at UC Riverside, 56-55

Photo courtesy Shane Rodrigues

After playing yet another game of ups and downs, the University of Hawai’i basketball team finally came out on the upside of the final score in a 56-55 road win at UC Riverside.

A crowd of 937 at the SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif., watched a game that featured massive momentum swings, ending with Hawai’i center Dawson Carper scoring on a putback with 31.1 seconds remaining for the winning basket.

The Rainbow Warriors improved to 15-10 overall and 6-5 in the Big West Conference while snapping a four-game losing streak. Hawai’i is now in a three-way tie for third place with UC Santa Barbara and CSUN.

The Highlanders dropped to 14-14 and 4-8 with their fifth consecutive loss. They are tied with Cal Poly for eighth place.

“This was a crazy game a little bit in some ways,” UH head coach Eran Ganot said during a postgame radio interview on ESPN 1420. “We went from down eight to up (17), to down six. We have to be better, obviously, to make our next push. But we’re going to enjoy it because we’ve been through a lot of adversity. We’ve had a tough couple of weeks.”

Freshman guard Justin Webster led the Warriors with a career-high 18 points – all in the first half. Eddie Stansberry added 12 points, Samuta Avea had nine points and eight rebounds, and Carper finished with eight points and six rebounds.

Photo courtesy Shane Rodrigues

The Warriors trailed 49-43 with less than seven minutes remaining, but came through with the final rally. Prior to the winning basket by Carper, Drew Buggs grabbed a rebound off a UCR miss, then raced upcourt. He passed it to Zigmars Raimo, who was streaking toward the basket, but missed a layup. Carper was trailing Raimo and put the offensive rebound back in.

“Dawson made huge plays for us,” Ganot said, noting that Carper also had three blocked shots, including a crucial block late in the game.

UCR had the final possession of the game, but Angus McWilliam’s off-balance shot from just outside of the key was way off. Teammate Dominick Pickett chased down the long rebound, then shot an air ball as the final horn sounded.

“I feel like we got a great defensive stop on that last possession,” Ganot said. “Our guys probably felt like we need one of these to go our way. To be honest, it wasn’t luck, that was a great defensive stretch.”

it also capped a wild game that featured the Warriors going on separate runs of 13-0 and 21-4, only to give up separate UCR runs of 13-0 and 11-0 in the second half.

Photo courtesy Shane Rodrigues

UCR raced to a 10-2 lead to open the game, but the Warriors responded with a 13-0 surge to take a 15-10 lead with 10:38 remaining in the first half. Webster came off the bench to score seven points during that stretch.

Moments later, Hawai’i went on a 21-4 run to increase its lead to 32-16. Webster capped the run with 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions. The Warriors eventually took a 37-23 lead at intermission, with Webster already scoring a career-high 18 points, including 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range.

“He was unbelievable,” Ganot said of the freshman Webster. “He’s got a very bright future and he’s going to keep getting better. He’s fearless, he’s unafraid. He ignited us and played a lot of point (guard) in the first half. Give him a lot of credit and we’re proud of him.”

The Highlanders got back in it with a 13-0 surge early in the second half to cut the Hawai’i lead to 40-36 with 14:04 remaining. UCR then surged ahead of the Warriors with an 11-0 run that put the Highlanders in front, 47-42 with 8:28 remaining.

The game stayed close the rest of the way, with Hawai’i getting within one point several times in the closing minutes prior to the go-ahead basket by Carper.

The Warriors won despite captains Buggs and Raimo having subpar performances. Buggs finished with four points, four rebounds and three assists; Raimo had three points, two rebounds and one assist. They both shot 1 for 6 from the field.

Photo courtesy Shane Rodrigues

“We had to play without some of our guys playing their best,” Ganot said. “We were trying to find some answers with our depth and guys did give us a lift. We kept hanging in there and gave ourselves a chance.”

Ganot also noted that the Warriors extended their defense to limit UCR’s perimeter shooting. The Highlanders entered the game averaging a conference-best 8.2 3-pointers per game, but went 5 for 14 from beyond the arc against Hawai’i.

Callum McRae lead the Highlanders with 18 points and nine rebounds. The teams will meet again in Honolulu on February 29.

The Warriors will remain in California for another Big West game at Long Beach State on Saturday.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

CLICK HERE to view more photos

Big West Conference
Thursday’s Results
UC Davis 77, at Cal Poly 62
UC Santa Barbara 75, Cal State Fullerton 66
Hawai’i 56, at UC Riverside 55

Saturday’s Games
Hawai’i at Long Beach State
UC Davis at UC Santa Barbara
UC Riverside at Cal Poly
UC Irvine at CSUN

1 Comment

  1. Interesting stats:

    3-point shooting = 37.5% (not bad!)
    TOTAL field goal shooting = 34.6% (that’s bad)

    13 turnovers, majority in the 2nd half (bad)
    10 out of 11 Free throw 91% in the 2nd half (not bad!!!)

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