Hawaii is 0-4 in WAC play for the first time in 12 years after another blowout loss
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 9, 2011
Hawaii center Vander Joaquim swung his elbows on a rebound, decking Boise State guard Daequon Montreal and causing the forward's nose to bleed profusely.
Montreal got up and eventually returned to the court. But the bleeding is only getting worse for the reeling Rainbow Warriors, who lost 79-55 to the Western Athletic Conference-leading Broncos last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Another second-half meltdown cost the Rainbows dearly as they suffered their first 0-4 WAC start (9-7 overall) since the 1998-99 season. After the break, BSU (11-5, 4-0 WAC) shot 61.5 percent and outscored UH 50-24.
So much for valuing home court. With a quarter of league games in the books, the Rainbows are tied for last with San Jose State. And the going gets no easier with road games at distant New Mexico State (8-9, 2-1) and Louisiana Tech (9-8, 0-3) on Thursday and Saturday.
UH must win a league game, and fast, if it is to avoid last season's fate of missing out on the WAC tournament.
Long droughts are proving troublesome for first-year coach Gib Arnold. The Rainbows didn't score for nearly the first 5 minutes of the second half, as the Broncos galloped ahead on a 12-0 run. UH, clearly flustered, failed to make a coherent push to get back into the game.
Junior guard Zane Johnson had a team-high 18 points for UH.
Arnold said the game turned when Joaquim was whistled for the intentional foul on Montreal early in the second half. Joaquim would be called for a similar intentional foul a few minutes later.
"We didn't scream and yell in the locker room (afterward)," Arnold said. "We just talked about changing this program. ... And we got too many guys who are used to losing, and accept it. That's unacceptable. We need to expect to win, and win together. ... Once we do that, we're going to turn a corner."
Nearly lost in the final score was the fact UH played reasonably well in the first half.
Arnold opted not to start small forward Joston Thomas — one of four players averaging double-figure scoring — for the first time in 15 games this season. The sophomore didn't get in the game until 6:10 left in the first half, but scored 10 points, mostly in garbage time.
Instead, the Rainbows went with a three-guard starting lineup of senior guard Hiram Thompson, Bobby Miles and Johnson. Soon Arnold switched to a towering lineup of 6-foot-10 Joaquim, 7-foot Doug Kurtz and 6-foot-9 Amis for much of the first half. That was derailed by foul trouble for all three bigs.
BSU jumped to a 9-2 lead, but UH rallied behind strong inside play from Joaquim followed by seven straight points from Johnson.
UH enjoyed its biggest lead at 19-12 on consecutive dunks by Doug Kurtz and Amis, but Anderson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close the gap. The teams fought evenly until halftime and UH took a 31-29 lead into the break.
Johnson had 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting at halftime.
But the crowd of about 5,500 ultimately had plenty to groan and boo about in the second half.
Despite enduring a four-overtime game at San Jose State two nights before, it was the athletic Broncos who had all the energy they needed to pull away. Boise State's speedy guards got where they wanted to go with little trouble after halftime, as evidenced by the 16-for-26 second-half shooting by the visitors.
The Broncos built their cushion to as many as 24 points with six 3-pointers in the second half, while the Rainbows struggled to find an open man from beyond the arc — or anywhere — after the game's opening minutes. UH was 2-for-12 from 3, while Boise State sizzled at 9-for-17 (52.9 percent).
Too many times the UH offense bogged down, with difficult drives by Thompson becoming the best — and only — option. The only problem, the swift Broncos were usually step-for-step with him. UH had five assists against 15 turnovers.
Thompson shot 0-for-5, forward Bill Amis was 2-for-9, and freshman shooting guard Bo Barnes, a consistent source of offense in nonconference play, was scoreless in 22 minutes.
Joaquim, one of the few Rainbows to play inspired ball, fouled out with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Senior guard La'Shard Anderson led Boise State with 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. Thomas Bropleh added 14 points and Montreal and Westly Perryman 10 apiece.