A marathon road trip for the Hawaii men’s basketball team came to a disappointing end with an 84-67 loss at Louisiana Tech today.
UH (15-13, 6-6 Western Athletic Conference) completed the 10-day, 10,000-plus-mile trip 0-3 after committing 22 turnovers and having a comeback effort cut short at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, La.
The Rainbow Warriors dropped into a fourth-place tie with Utah State heading into next week’s final homestand against Idaho and USU. Sixth-place LaTech swept the season series from UH, won its fourth straight game and improved to 15-14 overall, 5-7 in the WAC.
Junior center Vander Joaquim had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead UH. Senior point guard Miah Ostrowski had 10 assists to go with six points and seven rebounds. Senior shooting guard Zane Johnson scored 11, snapping a streak of five games of single-digit points.
But guard Trevor Gaskins celebrated LaTech’s senior day with 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and the Bulldogs went 11-for-24 (45.8 percent) on 3-pointers.
A UH offensive drought to start the second half allowed LaTech to open up a 20-point lead. UH cut it to 61-50 with a 3-pointer and two free throws by Shaquille Stokes at the midpoint of the period.
Ostrowski converted a layup to make it 65-55 with 7 minutes left. The point guard followed with two free throws to get UH within eight.
But LaTech nailed a 3 and Joaquim committed a simultaneous foul, giving the Bulldogs two free throws and a five-point possession for a 13-point lead.
UH would not get back within single digits.
LaTech hit UH with plenty of pressure early, but UH jumped out to a 9-1 lead.
The Bulldogs surged back within a point, then took their first lead at 29-28 with a hail of 3-pointers.
LaTech used a 16-4 run to go up by as much as eight in the period, but Bobby Miles went coast-to-coast for a layup to beat the first-half buzzer and UH trailed 42-36 at halftime.