A sizzling performance by Zane Johnson carried the Hawaii men’s basketball team to an 83-69 win over UC Davis in an ESPNU BracketBusters matchup in Davis, Calif., today.
The junior guard hit nine 3-pointers, one off the UH record, in the nonconference game and put in a career-high 32 points as the Rainbow Warriors won for the sixth time in eight games and improved to 15-10 overall.
Davis of the Big West Conference (9-17) played UH evenly in the first half, but ultimately had no answer for the firepower of Johnson (11-for-17 shooting overall and 9-for-15 on 3s) and senior forward Bill Amis, who scored 20 on 8-for-11 shooting.
UH shot 60.9 percent to 46.3 for Davis and outrebounded the hosts 32-20. Sophomore center Vander Joaquim added 14 points and seven rebounds. Junior point guard Miah Ostrowski, who stepped into the starting lineup for the injured Hiram Thompson, had nine points and seven assists. Freshman forward Trevor Wiseman had eight points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Johnson’s 30-point outing was the first by a UH player this season. He scored 19 in the second half.
The Rainbow Warriors snapped a six-game nonconference road losing streak. UH’s previous such win was another BracketBusters game, at Long Beach State in 2007.
UH led just 38-37 at the half, but opened up a double-digit lead thanks to a 14-2 run in the opening minutes of the second half. Johnson hit six treys in the period.
The Aggies drew within 70-63 with 6:16 to play, but UH busted the game open for good with four straight baskets, including two more 3-pointers by Johnson.
In his first season of UH eligibility, Johnson moved into a tie with Predrag Savovic for fourth place on the single-season 3-pointer list with 75, passing both Alika Smith (67) and Tes Whitlock (72) with his long-range binge.
Besides the injured Thompson, UH was without sophomore forward Joston Thomas, a starter who did not make the trip and whose status is questionable with the team going forward. UH coach Gib Arnold said before the trip that Thomas’ recent absence was for personal reasons.
UH returns to Western Athletic Conference play on Thursday at home against Louisiana Tech.
The Rainbows have played in all nine years of the BracketBusters event and improved to 4-5 in those games. Davis was UH’s fifth straight Big West opponent in BracketBusters. UH is 2-3 in those games.