Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors stun UC Irvine with thrilling OT win, 62-61

This most unique season now has a unique signature victory for the University of Hawai’i basketball team.

The Rainbow Warriors earned a thrilling – and improbable – 62-61 overtime upset win over first-place UC Irvine on Saturday night at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

Photo courtesy Matt Osumi

The Warriors erased a 10-point deficit in the final 2:32 of regulation to send the game to overtime, then erupted in celebration after the Anteaters missed two potential game-winning shots from close range just before the final horn of overtime sounded.

“Eighteen years (of coaching) for me, that’s one of the craziest games I’ve been a part of,” UH head coach Eran Ganot said.

Hawai’i improved to 5-5 overall and 3-5 in the Big West Conference. UCI dropped to 9-5 and 5-1. It also ended the Anteaters’ streak of seven consecutive wins over the Warriors.

“Coach said before the game that this was a breakthrough game, and it felt like a breakthrough game for us,” junior guard Junior Madut said. “We’re happy. We’re grateful. All the work we put in is finally showing.”

It was led by a breakthrough performance from Madut, who scored a career-high 22 points, and also added five rebounds and five steals. He made several key defensive plays in the closing minutes of regulation and in the overtime, and his 3-pointer early in overtime gave UH a 60-59 lead.

Madut, a 6-foot-6 guard from Australia, also drained two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining in regulation to force the overtime. He was sent to the free throw line after stealing the UCI inbounds pass and getting fouled.

Prior to Madut’s steal, UH was whistled for a questionable offensive foul away from the ball, which awarded the ball to UCI with 5.1 seconds remaining. A successful inbounds play by UCI likely would have sealed the win for the Anteaters.

Photo courtesy Matt Osumi

“He’s a two-way player, he can play both ends of the court and he showed that tonight,” Ganot said of Madut. “And he’s a clutch player.”

Sophomore guard Justin Webster added 16 points, and reserves Mate Colina and Justin Hemsley also made crucial contributions. Colina had five points and seven rebounds; Hemsley added six points and four rebounds, and his two free throws with 3:13 remaining in overtime gave Hawai’i a 62-59 lead that would hold until the final horn.

“I could not be prouder of this group of young men we have in this program for their continued fight, obviously through the year, but especially in this game,” Ganot said. “That’s the character of this group.”

The Warriors won despite going more than 11 minutes without scoring a single point midway through the game, and then going scoreless for the final three minutes of overtime.

They made up for it by out-rebounding the Anteaters, 36-35, and limiting UCI to 1-for-9 shooting in the five-minute overtime. UCI entered the game ranked among the nation’s best for rebounding and rebounding margin.

“It wasn’t a pretty game, either way,” Ganot said. “But it was in terms of appreciation for defense, rebounding, grit, and a lot of players on the floor who really care from both groups.”

A similar game was played just 24 hours earlier, with the Anteaters prevailing over the Warriors, 53-51.

Photo courtesy Matt Osumi

“To do what they did against the (UCI) team they did after a loss like that (on Friday) speaks to the potential of this group,” Ganot said. “I couldn’t be prouder.”

The final three minutes of overtime were riddled with turnovers and missed shots by both teams. Hawai’i committed four turnovers in the final 2:45 of overtime.

The last turnover – an errant pass by Madut – led to a fastbreak opportunity for the Anteaters as the final seconds of the clock ticked away. Andre Henry got the steal for UCI and drove the length of the court, but his layup attempt between two Hawai’i defenders was too strong. Teammate Collin Welp grabbed the offensive rebound and had a clean shot to put it back in, but the ball bounced off the rim. Colina gathered the rebound as the final horn sounded.

There was about a minute of hesitation when the officials opted to review the final seconds, but it was eventually ruled a victory for the Warriors.

UCI head coach Russell Turner vehemently argued with the officials for a foul call in the immediate aftermath of the game, but he later congratulated the Warriors.

“We got the turnover and I thought Andre Henry made a great play at the rim but the ball rolled out for him and then Collin Welp got a great opportunity at the end that just didn’t go in,” Turner said. “We didn’t finish the game well at the end. We showed a lack of toughness and I am really disappointed in that. I am hopeful that this will be a lesson that will make us better and stay together as a team. I give Hawai’i a lot of credit.”

Photo courtesy Matt Osumi

The overtime was set up by a furious comeback by the Warriors, who utilized a full-court defense in the closing minutes to close a 57-47 deficit. Madut scored four points during the 10-0 run that sent the game into overtime. He had a steal that led to a breakaway dunk in addition to his game-tying free throws at the end of regulation.

UCI jumped to a 9-5 lead early, but the Warriors battled back. Consecutive breakaway dunks by Hemsley and Madut highlighted a 13-2 Hawai’i surge that turned an 11-8 deficit into a 21-13 lead with 11:20 remaining in the first half.

Hawai’i went scoreless over the final 6:54 of the first half, allowing UCI to tie the score at 26 at halftime. The Anteaters closed the first half with a 6-0 run in the final 6:23 before intermission.

The trend continued into the second half, with UCI going on a 10-0 run in the first four minutes after halftime to take a 36-26 lead.

Webster’s jumper from the corner finally put Hawai’i back on the scoreboard with 15:13 remaining. It cut the UCI lead to 36-28, and ended a drought of more than 11 minutes without a point.

The Anteaters led by as many as 13 (41-28), but Hawai’i responded with an 8-0 run to cut it to 41-36 with 11:26 remaining.

UCI got solid showings from its big men – 6-9 Welp and 6-11 Brad Greene – in the loss. Welp finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, and Greene added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Warriors’ next games will be a two-game series at UC San Diego on February 5 and 6. The games will not count in the Big West standings because UCSD is a provisional member of the conference.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

CLICK HERE to view more photos

Saturday’s Results
UC San Diego at Long Beach State, canceled
CSUN 64, at Cal Poly 51
UC Santa Barbara 89, at UC Davis 86 (OT)
at CSU Bakersfield 83, Cal State Fullerton 73
at Hawai’i 62, UC Irvine 61 (OT)


  1. What a crazy game! The crowd was going wild! Lol

    Great effort on not giving up and Not letting mistakes
    Compromise your spirit.

    Let’s take this momentum and roll with it!

    Thank you warrior insider for being the best!!

    I’m pumped after that one!

    Let’s go bows!!

  2. Awesome win, and great coverage as always by WarriorInsider. Thanks for being there and doing such a great job!

  3. Ok, the comments are back up now over here!

    Crazy game is right! I could not believe how many turnovers Irvine was making to give UH the game. Artie Wilson said it right that Irvine was trying to protect the lead and not going for the kill.

    Great win for the Bows!

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