RENO, Nev. » Hawaii entered yesterday’s game against struggling Nevada with the second-best scoring defense in the Western Athletic Conference.
That 62.2 average will take a significant hit, as Olek Czyz and Dario Hunt scored 23 points apiece to lead Nevada to an easy 86-69 win over the Rainbow Warriors before 4,308 fans at the Lawlor Events Center.
The 86 points is the most allowed by Hawaii this season, surpassing the 78 the Rainbows allowed against BYU back on Dec. 4 in Salt Lake City. UH fell to 9-5 overall and 0-2 in conference.
The loss also kept two ugly streaks alive. Hawaii moved to 0-14 in school history in Reno, and they suffered their 14th straight road loss, 12 of those coming in WAC play dating back to the 2008-09 season.
First-year UH head coach Gib Arnold said there was nothing positive to take away from the lopsided contest in which UH never led.
"I don’t think we played hard enough," Arnold said after a lengthy postgame chat with his team. "I don’t think we rebounded hard enough.
"I don’t think we had the right approach to win on the road. If you are going to win on the road, you have to play through things and play like men instead of playing like boys. We played like boys tonight. This is the first time all year that we didn’t come ready to play and, as head coach, I take responsibility for that."
The Rainbows stayed nearly even with Nevada for the first 121/2 minutes of the game, trailing just 24-22.
However, Nevada closed out the half with a 21-7 run to take a 45-29 lead into the locker room. The 16-point halftime deficit tied for the largest of the season. UH trailed BYU by 16 earlier this year.
Freshman point guard Deonte Burton (11 points) started Nevada’s uprising with two free throws, a possession that saw the Wolf Pack grab two offensive rebounds. UH misfired on its next trip down the floor, and Nevada got the ball to Hunt, who scored on a dunk.
After Hiram Thompson (14 points) drained two free throws to slice Nevada’s lead to 28-24 with 5:21 left, Czyz drained his second 3-pointer of the half to make it 31-24. Hunt got the lead to double digits, 34-24, with a three-point play with 4:29 remaining.
Czyz would go on to score five more points, including another 3-pointer, and Malik Story, who buried six 3-pointers en route to an 18-point night, concluded the big run with his second 3-pointer of the half to make it 45-29.
"We did a really good job of playing together," Czyz said. "The guys were finding me and I was knocking down shots. Then we continued to do that all night."
The Rainbows continually mixed up their defense the entire first half, playing both man and a 2-3 zone. It didn’t seem to matter. Nevada still got open looks.
Czyz, the transfer from Duke who became eligible on Dec. 17, had 19 of his 23 in 17 first-half minutes. He went 7-for-9 from the floor in the first half and 9-for-13 for the game.
"It was a mixture of both (good ball movement by them and poor defense)," Arnold said. "He (Czyz) got hot. He’s a good player. It helped them when he became eligible."
Consecutive 3-pointers by Story, who was 6-for-11 from beyond the arc for the game, pushed Nevada’s lead to 61-36 with 16:27 left in the game. UH made a little noise when it scored 11 of the next 14 points to cut the deficit to 64-47 with 12:10 left in the game.
Bobby Miles sparked the barrage with five points, including a three-point play. Vander Joaquim added two buckets, one coming on a nifty up-and-under play.
Joaquim, saddled with early foul problems, turned in his second double-double with a season-high 22 points and 13 rebounds. He scored 12 points and pulled down 12 rebounds against BYU.
Hawaii went scoreless for the next 3 minutes, 22 seconds. UH missed the front end of a 1-and-1 situation, turned the ball over twice and missed a shot from the floor in that span. Nevada scored twice in that span, but both were on putbacks, one each by Czyz and Hunt. The bucket by Hunt turned into a three-point play, which boosted Nevada’s lead to 69-47 with 9:07 left.
It took a 6-1 run by UH in the final 82 seconds to get the final deficit under 20 points.
It comes back to defense. When you allow as many points as UH did and get outrebounded, the result isn’t going to be positive. Coaches usually tell you to win on the road you have to play good defense and win the rebounding battle. UH did neither.
"We have a lot of pride in our defense," said Thompson, who had a small rooting section from the Sacramento area attend the game. "We weren’t playing as a team on defense."
Joston Thomas had even less to say than Thompson.
"I don’t even want to talk about it," he said, pausing several seconds after being asked a question. "We just didn’t bring it. Nothing more and nothing less."
The Rainbows have been outrebounded in four of their last five games after winning the battle on the glass in their first nine games. … Nevada has won nine of the past 10 meetings between the teams. … Junior guard Zane Johnson scored 10 points, stretching his double-digit scoring string to seven games. Thompson has scored 10 or more in four straight games.
NEVADA 86, HAWAII 69
Rainbow Warriors (9-5, 0-2)
Wolf Pack (4-10, 1-0)
Key – fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fouls; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.
Halftime – Nevada 45, Hawaii 29
3-point goals – Hawaii 4-14 (Johnson 2-3, Thompson 1-3, Barnes 1-4, Miles 0-1, Ostrowski 0-1, Thomas 0-2), Nevada 10-26 (Story 6-11, Czyz 3-5. Burton 1-2, Burris 0-1, Panzer 0-1, Conner 0-3, Finn 0-3).
Steals – Hawaii 3 (Thompson 3), Nevada 5 (Finn 2, Burris, Burton, Hunt). Blocked shots – Hawaii 1 (Thomas), Nevada 7 (Hunt 3, Elliott 2, Burris, Czyz). Officials – Scott Thornley, Bob Staffen, Rick Batsell. A- 4,308.
|New Mexico State||1||1||.500||1||7-9|
|San Jose State||0||2||.000||2||8-5|
Nevada 86, Hawaii 69
Boise State 81, New Mexico State 78
Idaho 79, Louisiana Tech 47
Utah State 80, San Jose State 71
Nevada at Fresno State
Idaho at Hawaii, 7:30 p.m., Stan Sheriff Center
Fresno State at Louisiana Tech
Boise State at San Jose State