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UH basketball comeback bid falls short at Utah State

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:26 a.m. HST, Jan 27, 2012

A late run by the Hawaii men's basketball team wasn't quite enough as the Rainbow Warriors fell 77-72 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah, Thursday.

UH (11-9, 3-3 Western Athletic Conference) trailed by 15 points in the second half but cut the deficit late behind the play of junior center Vander Joaquim (team highs of 24 points and 14 rebounds).

The Rainbow Warriors' top scorer, senior guard Zane Johnson, struggled mightily. He shot 4-for-16 for nine points. Junior swingman Hauns Brereton stepped up with 15 points off the bench, helping UH stay in it late. Junior forward Joston Thomas added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Behind Joaquim and Thomas, UH crushed the Aggies on the glass (48-28) but USU made up for it by shooting 49 percent to 40.8 percent for the 'Bows.

Sophomore guard Preston Medlin led the Aggies (11-10, 3-3) with 25 points, including 13-for-14 shooting at the stripe.

Poor free-throw shooting (11-for-19, 57.9 percent) hamstrung UH's comeback effort, particularly consecutive misses on front ends of 1-and-1 foul situations by Joaquim in the second half. To its credit, however, UH never threw in the towel.

Brereton hit a 3 with under 5 minutes left to make it 66-57, then Joaquim hit a banker to make it a seven-point game.

Trevor Wiseman got a putback to make it 66-61 with 3 minutes left, but that would be the closest UH would get until Miah Ostrowski (eight assists, two turnovers) hit two free throws to make it 73-69 with 21.4 seconds on the clock.

Medlin answered with two free throws and that would be enough to ice it.

UH got to within six at the outset of the second half, but back-to-back baskets by Brockeith Pane with over 15 minutes left pushed USU's lead to 52-38, forcing a UH timeout.

UH cut a 10-point deficit to 34-30, but the Aggies scored the final four points of the half to steal any momentum the 'Bows accrued. 

Medlin had 14 points at the break on 10-for-10 shooting from the free-throw line as USU took a 38-30 lead into halftime.

UH remained winless in WAC meetings with USU in Logan at 0-7.

The 'Bows dropped into a tie for fourth place in the WAC. They continue their road trip at Idaho (11-9, 4-2) on Saturday.

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