POSTED: 09:49 p.m. HST, Jan 21, 2012
Zane Johnson hit seven 3-pointers for a season-high 29 points, Miah Ostrowski dished eight assists and Hawaii defeated New Mexico State 91-87 to get back on track in the Western Athletic Conference race.
Both UH players were questionable for the game, especially Ostrowski, who had a staph infection this week.
A crowd of about 6,000 at the Stan Sheriff Center saw UH (11-8, 3-2 WAC) hang on tight after building a 19-point second-half lead and seeing most of it go by the wayside in the final 6 minutes.
NMSU (14-6, 4-1) shaved a 10-point UH halftime lead to six to open the second half, but the 'Bows busted the game back open with a 12-4 run and led by double-digits until the feverish final stretch.
The Aggies cut it to 10 by using a fullcourt press with under 5 minutes to play, and again on a Wendell McKines putback with 2:08 to play. Several more UH turnovers and two Bandja Sy 3-pointers made it 86-80 UH in the final minute. The 'Bows made just enough free throws to hang on.
Joston Thomas added 17 points, nine rebounds and six for the 'Bows. Vander Joaquim rebounded from a scoreless first half to finish with 11 points and 10 boards.
NMSU senior forward Wendell McKines, the WAC's top scorer and rebounder, was held to two points and three rebounds at the half. He finished with 14 on 6-for-15 shooting with nine rebounds. Sy led five Aggies in double figures with 17 points.
Johnson even threw down his first dunk of the season in a 16-1 UH run midway through the first half.
But NMSU came back, getting to within 33-32 on a Bandja Sy power dunk with 1:30 left in the period.
UH closed out the half on an 8-0 run for a 44-34 halftime advantage.