POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 23, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 10:13 a.m. HST, Dec 23, 2012
Masonry loved Hawaii's company on Saturday night.
Bricklayers across the state would have saluted the Rainbow Warriors' errant effort in a 73-58 loss to Miami in the opening round of the 2012 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
A crowd of about 7,000 at the Stan Sheriff Center initially had plenty to cheer about as UH hung within a point of the mammoth Hurricanes in an offensively-starved first half. But 'Canes guard Durand Scott scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half to break it open, and the Sheriff grew increasingly quiet as the only drama became whether UH would avoid a season low in points. They did, barely, getting a few garbage-time hoops to finish at 40 percent from the floor.
Next: UH vs. East Tennessee State, 4 p.m. in consolation bracket game. TV: ESPNU. Radio: 1420-AM.
Most of 2013 DHC field announced
Six of eight teams in the 2013 field of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic basketball tournament were revealed on Saturday.
Besides host Hawaii, they are George Mason of the Colonial Athletic Association, Iowa State of the Big 12, Saint Mary's of the West Coast Conference, Oregon State of the Pac-12 and South Carolina of the Southeastern Conference.
It was much worse than that for much of the night, including 28.6 percent in the first half.
"I think the first half, when we couldn't hit our shots, we were a little scared in the second half that we'd still keep missing. We've just gotta keep shooting," said backup center Davis Rozitis, who did his part with 4-for-4 shooting, including three dunks.
The 'Bows were banished to the DHC consolation bracket for the third straight year. UH (5-4) has a quick turnaround vs. East Tennessee State (2-8) at 4 p.m. today. Miami, which is receiving votes in the AP Top 25, won its seventh straight and advanced to face No. 4 Arizona in the 6:30 p.m. semifinal.
The 'Bows showed none of the run-and-gun offensive touch in their 104-point, 60 percent-shooting offensive outing over Chaminade last week.
It became a halfcourt grind against a roster featuring five players standing 6-10 or taller. UH won the rebounding battle 34-31, but seemingly every big putback went the Hurricanes' way.
"Our defense was good, we just didn't get defensive rebounds. They made a real effort to go inside," UH coach Gib Arnold said. "As big as we are, we were small."
Miami shot 63 percent in the second period for a DHC half-record 51 points. Turnovers after the break — a 16-8 disparity for the game — only compounded matters.
UH's leading scorer entering the game, forward Christian Standhardinger, did not score until 9:20 remained and finished 10 below his average with seven. Starting small forward Hauns Brereton was benched in favor of freshman Brandon Jawato after a scoreless first half.
Jawato responded with a personal-best 12 points, but no other UH player scored in double figures.
Arnold subbed liberally against Miami, which arrived in Hawaii on Thursday night.
"The game plan going in was we wanted to try to get to their legs. Rebound and run. When we can do that, we're pretty good," Arnold said. "We figured that could be to our advantage if we could go to the bench."
UH's bench outscored Miami's 33-11, but the battle among the starters was no contest.
Miami point guard Shane Larkin stole the ball from UH counterpart Jace Tavita on consecutive possessions to open up a double-digit lead a few minutes into the second half.
An ugly first half, in which UH went 8-for-28 and Miami not much better, gave way to a shooting clinic … but only by the Hurricanes. The U connected on five straight 3-point-attempts in the decisive stretch — four by Scott — after starting 1-for-10 from deep.
"I don't think we played to the best of our abilities in the first half," Larkin said. "In the second half, we just came out with better defensive intensity and we turned them over a couple times and with those turnovers we got easy buckets and that got everybody started and then Durand Scott just caught fire from behind the arc. When somebody catches fire like that, you have to find him and we did and he just took over the game."
But while Miami scored on its first three possessions coming out of a 22-21 game at halftime, UH was mired in its masonry. The 'Bows narrowly averted shooting under 40 percent for the third time in four games with a layup by Ozren Pavlovic to beat the buzzer.
Junior guard Garrett Jefferson got the starting nod at point guard over Jace Tavita, who was ejected in the Chaminade game and demoted to the scout team at the start of the week.
Less than five minutes into the game, Jefferson gave way to Tavita, who had four assists against five turnovers.
UH went with its big lineup of Vander Joaquim, Standhardinger and Isaac Fotu in the starting lineup for the second straight game.
Miami, meanwhile, missed 300-pound starting senior center Reggie Johnson, who was out with a thumb injury. The Hurricanes' size dropoff was marginal, though, as Julian Gamble stepped in and put up nine points and nine boards in the first half. He finished with 16 and 13.
"They were definitely stronger down there," Rozitis said. "I think all the bigs, Vander (Joaquim), (Isaac) Fotu, Christian, me, we did our best. But we didn't take care of No. 45 (Gamble)."
A switch to zone defense helped UH go on a 10-0 run after falling behind 11-4 to open up the game.
UH took its first lead, 12-11, on a transition 3-pointer from Jawato. From there, though, the game settled into a complete halfcourt grind.
Rozitis had two first-half dunks on looks from Tavita.
Miami took a 22-21 lead into the half after Standhardinger's elbow jumper off a pump fake came up short.
The teams last played on Jan 31, 1969, an 84-82 Miami win.
CORRECTION: UH plays at 4 p.m. today. An earlier version of this story and the story in the print editon said they play at 4:30 p.m.