Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors knock off first-place UC Riverside, 67-63

Any recent doubts about the University of Hawai’i basketball team being a contender for the Big West Conference championship were erased in an inspiring 67-63 road win at UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon.

File photo courtesy Brandon Flores

A crowd of 722 at SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif., watched the Rainbow Warriors take control early and hold on in the final minute for the win. Hawai’i improved to 15-5 overall and 6-2 in the BWC. The Highlanders dropped to 14-7 and 7-2. UCR was alone in first place prior to the contest.

“So proud of these guys,” Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot said in a post-game radio interview on ESPN Honolulu. “To hold a good team like (UCR) the way we did, on their home floor … it says a lot.”

JoVon McClanahan scored 19 points, including the game-securing free throws with 9.7 seconds remaining, to lead the Warriors. Bernardo da Silva added 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and also grabbed eight rebounds, and Noel Coleman contributed 10 points for Hawai’i.

The Warriors were coming off a disappointing 76-68 road loss at UC Irvine on Thursday, and bounced back with a solid defensive effort against the Highlanders. UCR shot a season-low 31.9 percent (23 for 72) from the field.

Hawai’i raced to an 11-5 lead in the game’s first six minutes and led by as many as nine in the first half. McClanahan scored 13 in the first half, leading the Warriors to a 33-29 lead at intermission.

UCR took a brief 34-33 lead to open the second half, but the Warriors responded with a 6-0 surge to regain the lead.  Hawai’i appeared to be in clear control after a 3-pointer by Coleman gave the Warriors a 63-50 lead with 6:46 remaining in the second half.

But the Highlanders went on a 13-2 surge over the next five minutes to cut the Hawai’i lead to 65-63 with 1:32 remaining.

After Coleman missed on a driving layup, UCR had possession of the ball trailing by two with 39 seconds remaining. The Highlanders had two shots, but came up empty. Jamal Hartwell II missed an open 3-pointer, then Flynn Cameron grabbed the offensive rebound and missed a putback attempt that was defended by Samuta Avea.

McClanahan gathered the second miss and was promptly fouled. He hit both free throws to seal the win. UCR’s Hartwell missed a running jumper at the final horn.

The Warriors shot 45.3 percent (24 for 53) from the field, but only 25 percent (3 for 12) from 3-point range. Hawai’i also got out-rebounded, 50-37, but committed just nine turnovers.

Avea added eight points and nine rebounds for the Warriors, and Beon Riley contributed eight points off the bench.

The Highlanders had two players finish with double-doubles: Lachlan Olbrich had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Flynn Cameron recorded 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Hawai’i is scheduled to return to Honolulu on Saturday night, and will have two home games next week. Up next is a matchup with UC Santa Barbara – which is the now the first-place team in the BWC with a 7-1 conference record – on Thursday, January 26.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

Leave a Response

Login or fill in the fields below to comment. (New user? Register)