POSTED: 07:59 p.m. HST, Mar 13, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 01:23 a.m. HST, Mar 14, 2014
ANAHEIM, CALIF. >> A Big West quarterfinal game of wild momentum swings that was seemingly Hawaii's on at least two occasions slipped out of the Rainbow Warriors' fingers, as Cal State Northridge prevailed 87-84 in overtime on Thursday at the Honda Center.
The fourth-seeded 'Bows (20-11) allowed CSUN (16-17) to score the game's final six points of the extra period after leading 84-81.
It was the second straight Big West quarterfinal loss for UH. The 'Bows now await word if they will be invited to the CIT tournament, or if their season is over.
In the immediate aftermath of the loss, indications were the latter.
UH coach Gib Arnold, despondent on the postgame interview podium, said "That was just a real tough one for us to swallow. These guys didn't deserve their season to end that way. Great kids and a great team."
Asked if he'd heard the pay-for-play CIT tournament was a possibility like last season, Arnold said, "I don't think so. I don't think there's been any contract with our AD (Ben Jay) and the CIT."
Jay said soon afterward: "I owe it to (the team) to at least find out what the options are. The chances are slim. It has to be the right makeup of finances."
CSUN guard Josh Greene (27 points) rescued the Matadors repeatedly, including a huge 3 to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation. Forward Stephan Hicks added 21 points on 9-for-12 shooting. It was the Matadors' first conference tournament appearance in three seasons.
UH went on a 40-11 scoring tear to bridge the halves after trailing by 16 early, and took a 13-point lead midway through the second half. But it was not enough as the Matadors pressed fullcourt to force turnovers late and conjured big shots from Greene and others.
Senior forward Christian Standhardinger led Hawaii with 28 points and nine rebounds. Point guard Keith Shamburger added a career-high 20 in defeat, while guard Brandon Spearman tied his season-high of 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting. But UH's other two starters, shooting guard Garrett Nevels and forward Isaac Fotu were ineffective. Nevels fouled out with six points in 21 minutes of play and Fotu shot 3-for-10 for six points.
With 18.7 seconds left, UH elected to take a foul to deny a 3-point attempt to tie. Greene made both foul shots to cut it to a one-point game.
Arnold said the foul was given too early but said, "That wasn't the game. We had plenty of chances to win it before and even after that."
Coming out of a timeout, Shamburger was called for a turnover for stepping out of bounds. CSUN called timeout again and Stephen Maxwell made a baseline jumper for the go-ahead points with 12 seconds left.
UH, out of timeouts, got the ball to Quincy Smith and he dribbled upcourt quickly. But before he could shoot, Fotu was called for an illegal screen turnover. UH had to take a foul with 7.2 seconds left and Matadors center Tre Hale-Edmerson made two to extend the lead to three.
UH tossed the ball to guard Brandon Spearman upcourt, but his 3-point look to tie was too strong and time expired.
Standhardinger went 14-for-16 at the line to establish the new UH single-season record in free-throws made, surpassing Chris Gaines' 184. Standhardinger is at 195.