Hawaii hits, and takes, the key shots (one to Bobby Miles' eye) in the waning moments of its fifth straight win
Special to the Star-Advertiser
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 4, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 7:59 a.m. HST, Mar 4, 2011
SAN JOSE, Calif. » A couple of little things made the difference for the Hawaii men's basketball team last night. A turnaround jumper here, an elbow there, it all added up to a 77-71 win at San Jose State.
The victory left the Rainbow Warriors at 18-10 on the season, 8-7 in the Western Athletic Conference.
"We're playing real well together," guard Bobby Miles said. "Actually, I think we're playing better than everybody in the conference. We're playing as a team, everyone has their roles, everybody does what they have to do to help the team win."
What Miles had to do was take an elbow to his left eye from San Jose State's Adrian Oliver with one minute, 45 seconds to go in the game.
Oliver had the ball with the Spartans down 69-68 when he swung his elbow into Miles. Down went Miles. Oliver originally wasn't called for a foul, but after the officials reviewed the play on a television monitor, an intentional foul was called. Miles came out of the game and Bo Barnes made both free throws for Hawaii.
"By far the biggest play of the game," guard Zane Johnson said. "We've been called on that so many times this year. It's great finally to get it to go our way and that was the game-changer."
Said Miles, "He clocked me kind of good. I couldn't see out of my eye for a couple of seconds."
The rules now call any elbow above the shoulders an intentional foul. Hence, the officials are allowed to review it and call it after the fact.
Oliver said he got called once before this season.
"I thought I had my elbows up high enough," he said, clearly frustrated with the call, but not wanting to say any more.
The other key play for the Rainbow Warriors came shortly before that. Trailing 68-67, Hawaii had the ball with the shot clock running down. Johnson fed Bill Amis on the right baseline and Amis buried a pretty 6-foot turnaround jumper to give the Warriors the lead for good.
"I threw the ball to him and I didn't realize there were 2 seconds left (on the shot clock)," Johnson said. "That was huge. The biggest shot of the game."
Said Hawaii coach Gib Arnold, "Maybe there's a little luck involved in that, but if you play hard, get yourself into position, sometimes you earn the luck. Bill's got a nice stroke, so if anybody is going to hit that shot, it's Bill."
The Spartans (15-13, 5-10) led 37-36 at halftime thanks to 7-for-10 shooting from 3-point range. In the second half, San Jose State outrebounded the Warriors, 23-11, including 13 offensive boards. However, the Spartans couldn't take advantage, making just 11 of 34 (32 percent) after the break.
"I think our defense was outstanding the second half," Arnold said. "We made an adjustment on how we were guarding the transition defense."
The final key was Johnson. He continued to love Northern California, scoring a game-high 26 points after setting a career high with 32 points at UC Davis two weeks ago. On Thursday, he hit six of 10 3-pointers.
"It's just confidence," Johnson said. "The biggest thing is being prepared, ready to shoot every time. (Jeremiah Ostrowski) with 10 assists and no turnovers is huge. He finds me when I'm open and where I need the ball."
Amis finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Barnes and Vander Joaquim each scored 12 points.
Oliver led San Jose State with 18 points.
Hawaii finishes up the WAC regular season at Fresno State tomorrow. Game time is 6 p.m.
|New Mexico State||8||7||.533||6||14-16|
|San Jose State||5||10||.333||9||15-13|