POSTED: 7:27 p.m. HST, Jan 12, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 9:47 p.m. HST, Jan 12, 2012
Hawaii center Vander Joaquim played big when it mattered, carrying the Rainbow Warriors to a 74-68 win in overtime on Thursday night at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.
Joaquim overcame a slow start to shoot 9-for-11 and had 23 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks in helping the Rainbow Warriors win their Western Athletic Conference road opener, something the program hadn't done since 2004.
UH (10-6, 2-0 WAC) scored the first seven points of overtime, but the Bulldogs (7-11, 0-3) hit back-to-back 3s to make it 65-64.
Up 67-66 with under a minute left in the extra period, the Rainbows beat the ensuing fullcourt pressure and Joaquim completed a three-point play for a 70-66 lead with 50.1 seconds left. UH held off the Bulldogs at the free-throw line from there.
UH overcame 20 turnovers to 10 for FSU by shooting 51.9 pecent from the field to 34.6 percent for the host Bulldogs. Hawaii improved to 5-16 all time at Fresno State, including 2-7 at the Save Mart Center.
In regulation, Joaquim threw down a dunk off a pass from Miah Ostrowski with about 30 seconds left, but Fresno sped upcourt and got three or four shot attempts, finally getting a 3 from Steven Shepp for a 58-56 lead with under 15 seconds left.
Out of a timeout, the 'Bows got the ball to Joaquim inside and he tied it up at 58 with about 4 seconds left. A Fresno desperation heave was off the mark in regulation.
Ostrowski surpassed his career high with 11 assists. Senior guard Zane Johnson hit six 3-pointers en route to 24 points and 9-for-16 shooting overall. Forward Trevor Wiseman added 11 points off the bench and defensive specialist Garrett Jefferson put in a UH-career-best 10 points in playing 43 minutes and focusing his energy on FSU guard Kevin Olekaibe.
Olekaibe, the WAC's second-leading scorer, was held to 15 points on 5-for-17 shooting.
UH now heads to Reno, Nev., to play WAC leader Nevada (13-3, 3-0) on Saturday.
Fresno State outscored UH 10-1 to open the second half, quickly erasing a nine-point UH halftime advantage to tie it at 33.
The Bulldogs' Jonathan Wills hit a 3 to tie it at 51 with 3:53 to play.
Johnson hit a huge 3 to put UH up again at 54-51, but FSU got a baseline jumper and Jerry Brown hit a deep 2 for a 55-54 Fresno lead with 43.3 seconds left, its first advantage since going up 3-2 in the first minute.
UH jumped out to a 16-3 lead on Johnson's second 3-pointer, forcing a Bulldogs timeout.
The Bulldogs came back with an 11-2 run, with all 11 scored by Olekaibe.
The Rainbows reasserted control and led 32-23 at halftime behind 15 points from Johnson and 54.2 percent shooting in the period.
Johnson passed Bobby Nash and Michael Kuebler on the UH all-time 3-point list and stands in fifth place with 147.