Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED: Warriors survive CSUN comeback, 58-51

Even on a holiday, the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team could not take any time off, as evidenced Monday night when the Warriors survived a 58-51 scare from last-place visiting CSUN.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

A Martin Luther King, Jr. Day crowd of 2,739 in SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center watched Noel Coleman score 14 points and JoVon McClanahan add 13 points as UH improved to 14-4 overall and 5-1 in Big West Conference play with its eighth consecutive home victory.

The Rainbow Warriors also got a pair of double-doubles – Bernardo da Silva with 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Samuta Avea with 10 points and a career-high 11 boards – to move into a three-way tie for second place with UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine, a half-game behind first-place UC Riverside (6-1). 

Dionte Bostick scored a game-high 21 points and Dearon Tucker added 10 points for CSUN, which fell to 3-15 and 0-7.

UH led, 33-17, at halftime after holding CSUN to 21 percent (6 of 28) shooting from the field and out-rebounding the Matadors, 22 to 13.

But CSUN clawed back in the second half, fueled by a 13-0 run that cut the lead to 38-32 after DeSean Allen-Eikens’ jump hook with 13:30 remaining. The Matadors later closed it to 52-51 on Tucker’s three-point play with 3:16 left. But that would be it for CSUN, as da Silva answered with a putback at the 2:25 mark and McClanahan and Avea sank four straight free throws in the final 19.7 seconds to seal the victory.

“I’m pleased with the win, not pleased with our play, and both statements can be true,” Warriors coach Eran Ganot said. “Give (the Matadors) credit for their fight, we have a lot of respect for their staff and their program, and that’s why we felt it was so important to get off to a good start and play well. I thought we started off the game well and ended the half really well. (But) in the middle of the first half and most of the second half, it was just uncharacteristic of us. It was the first time in awhile, even defensive lapses in the second half … we had a lot of lapses. We’ve been fortunate because we haven’t had many of those. 

“For the first time, we weathered some of those defensive lapses in the first half, but our offense wasn’t there in the second half and our defense wasn’t there in the second half … it’s stuff we gotta learn and grow from.”

Hawai’i jumped out to leads of 12-3 and 18-7 in the first nine minutes, and after CSUN briefly closed it to 18-12, the Warriors used a 15-3 run to take a commanding 33-15 lead before Bostick sank a pair of free throws with two-tenths of a second showing on the first-half clock.

UH built the lead to 38-19 after Kamaka Hepa’s 3-pointer just shy of two minutes in to the second half, but Bostick responded with a 3-pointer from the right corner to ignite the 13-0 run capped by Allen-Eikens’ jump hook with 13:30 remaining that cut it to 38-32. 

“We just gotta have a mentality to do it for 40 minutes, instead of just 20,” said da Silva, who blocked three shots in the first half but none in the second. “That’s something we’re still trying to improve on. I think if we were just able to control the boards in the second half, the game wouldn’t be as close. So we just gotta work on being consistent for 40, so then we can just pull things away instead of just being a close game like it’s been the past few games.”

After da Silva’s putback put the Warriors ahead 54-51 with 2:25 left, the teams went scoreless over the next two minutes, with CSUN missing shots and UH missing free throws and losing the ball on turnovers, before McClanahan finally sank two free throws with 19.7 seconds remaining and Avea sealing the win with two free throws 12 ticks later.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

“We had some bonehead turnovers late,” McClanahan said. “I don’t think it was like a horrible game with turning the ball over, but … I’m just looking at our 3-point attempts and made (19/5), I feel like lately we haven’t really been hitting the 3 as well as we usually have in the past. I just think that’s going to be a big jump for us, once we start hitting the 3-ball, because we’re getting good shots — we just gotta make ’em.”

Hawai’i shot just 37.3 percent from the field (19 for 51) for the game, but limited CSUN to 31.0 percent (18 for 58). The Warriors also won the rebounding battle, 40-32.

Hawai’i again played with a limited roster, as back-up point guard Justus Jackson sat out his second consecutive game with a knee injury. UH’s five starters – Coleman, McClanahan, Avea, Hepa and da Silva – accounted for 57 of the team’s 58 points. The only bench point cam via Beon Riley going 1 of 2 on free throws.

CSUN was in a similar predicament and used only seven players, with the starters accounting for 48 of the 51 points.

The rare Monday holiday game means Hawai’i will have a quick turnaround for the rest of this week. The Warriors are scheduled to depart Honolulu on Tuesday afternoon for a two-game road trip against two fellow BWC contenders: at UC Irvine on Thursday, then at UC Riverside on Saturday.

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Big West Conference
Monday’s Results

UC Davis 78, at UC San Diego 70
at UC Riverside 83, Cal Poly 78 (OT)
UC Santa Barbara 73, at UC Irvine 65
at Cal State Fullerton 76, CSU Bakersfield 46
at Hawai’i 58, CSUN 51

Thursday’s Games
UC Riverside at UC Davis
CSUN at UC Santa Barbara
UC San Diego at Cal Poly
Cal State Fullerton at Long Beach State
Hawai’i at UC Irvine

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