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Air Force ends Hawaii's season in CIT first round

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:04 p.m. HST, Mar 20, 2013

Air Force hit 15 3-pointers and officially ended Hawaii's season with a 69-65 decision in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.

A crowd of over 3,000 was on hand for UH's second appearance in the CIT in three years. But unlike 2011, UH failed to get to the pay-for-play event's second round. The Rainbow Warriors (17-15) concluded their season on a four-game losing streak.

Air Force (18-13) of the mighty Mountain West Conference was without it's top player, guard Michael Lyons, but soldiered on by shredding UH's predominantly zone defense. Guard Mike Fitzgerald went 6-for-10 from deep for 25 points.

Fitzgerald iced the win with two free throws with 7.3 seconds left once Hauns Brereton's 3-point look to go ahead with about 20 seconds left was off the mark.

Senior center Vander Joaquim was a nonfactor in his final UH game with two points and two rebounds. He picked up a foul, then a technical foul, and left the game for good about six minutes into the second half. 

Freshman forward Isaac Fotu led Hawaii with 24 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Junior post Christian Standhardinger added 16 points and eight boards. Junior guard Brandon Spearman got 32 minutes off the bench, his first appearance in six games coming off a sprained ankle, and scored eight points with seven rebounds.

Air Force sizzled from deep (15-for-31) against predominantly zone defense by UH. Over half of the Falcons' field goals were from long range.

After UH led by three at halftime, Air Force took control with a 9-1 run coming out of the break.

Fotu tied it up at 43 with a three-point play with 12:20 to go. But the Falcons scored the next five to remain in tentative control.

UH got to within 54-52 on a 3-pointer by Jace Tavita with 6:30 remaining.

The Falcons went back up by five, but Fotu scored a three-point play with 1:20 left.

AFA's Taylor Broekhuis scored inside, and Brereton hit two free throws with 43.6 seconds to go to make it 67-65 Falcons.

Garrett Jefferson got a steal in the open court and UH called timeout to set up a tying or go-ahead basket. But Brereton's 3-point look from the left wing was contested and off the mark.

The Falcons made five of six 3-pointers to open the game, jumping out to a 19-5 lead.

Sparked by seldom-used 12th man Michael Harper, UH surged to a 19-0 run to go ahead by six.

Air Force was held scoreless for more than seven minutes during the run. UH took a 34-31 halftime lead.

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berrygood wrote:
5 of 6 three's to open the game?..How can they go a whole season and continue to do the same thing that gets them in trouble..Stop the threes and UH wins ten more games..I didn't see the game but I bet they played Man to man again..Oh well...Glad to hear Spearman is back and healthy..jmo
on March 20,2013 | 09:57PM
oxtail01 wrote:
A pathetic finish to a pathetic season. With Arnold at the helm, expect more of the same next year.
on March 20,2013 | 09:58PM
HOSSANA wrote:
on March 20,2013 | 11:08PM
frontman wrote:
Now you know why they didn't televise the game, the 3000 includes both teams, soda sales people and 2000 free tickets.
on March 21,2013 | 02:03AM
frontman wrote:
A worse record, playing without their best player and UH still loses at home. Karma ........... UH should not have wasted taxpayer money to BUY a game for them to lose at home. Now Fire Gibbs.
on March 21,2013 | 01:58AM
chryw8 wrote:
opponents' 3 point shooting proficiency has been the bane of the rainbow warriors all season long, especially in conference. gib had better start recruiting for the big west. no need big front court, need quick back court sharp shooters. point should be solid with shamburger, but still need solid backup, maybe jc? vander, shame on you the way you ended your uh career; go commiserate with c. stutzmann.
on March 21,2013 | 02:06AM
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