Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors top UC Irvine in OT thriller, 62-61

Photo courtesy Matt Osumi

For the second consecutive night, the University of Hawai’i basketball team found itself in a game with a thrilling finish. This time, the Rainbow Warriors rode off with the stunning victory.

Junior Madut scored 22 points and Justin Webster added 16 to lead Hawai’i to a 62-61 upset win in overtime over first place UC Irvine in Big West Conference action at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday night.

Hawai’i improved to 5-5 overall and 3-5 in the Big West. The Anteaters dropped to 9-5 and 5-1.

Two free throws by Justin Hemsley gave Hawai’i a 62-59 lead wotj 3:13 remaining in overtime and proved to be the winning points.

UCI had a fastbreak possession in the closing seconds of overtime, but missed a layup and putback before the final horn sounded.

The Warriors rallied from a 10-point deficit during a frantic final 2:32 of regulation to force the overtime period.

UCI jumped to a 9-5 lead early, but the Warriors battled back. Consecutive breakaway dunks by Justin Hemsley and Junior 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 6:50 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 15:10 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.

The Warriors utilized a full-court defense in the closing minutes to make an improbable comeback.

Two free throws by Webster cut the UCI lead to 57-53, then a tough basket inside by Hemsley brought UH to within two, 57-55, with 35.5 seconds remaining. On the ensuing UCI possession, Webster came up with a steal to give Hawai’i the ball.

But after a timeout, UH’s Hemsley was called for an offensive foul while trying to set a screen. Then UCI’s inbounds pass went awry and Madut collected it and got fouled with 2 seconds remaining. He then hit both free throws to send the game into overtime.

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

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