comscore 'Bows pull off stunner | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

‘Bows pull off stunner

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now
    Hawaii forward Hauns Brereton went to the hoop as Idaho’s Kyle Barone defended during their WAC tournament game on Thursday in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS » Hawaii wasn’t ready for Thursday to be the end of its stay in the Western Athletic Conference.

Hauns Brereton hit a 15-foot baseline jumper with 3.2 seconds left, yielding a stunning 72-70 upset of No. 3 seed Idaho in the WAC tournament first round and earning UH a semifinal date with second seed New Mexico State today.

Yup, the same New Mexico State team that beat the Rainbow Warriors by 42 in a 115-73 pasting in Las Cruces, N.M., in the second half of the WAC regular season.

But if Thursday’s game at the Orleans Arena was any indication, UH isn’t the same team that entered the tournament on a five-game losing streak — including that blowout by the Aggies. In shaking off their recent woes, the ‘Bows earned their first WAC tourney win since 2005, and first semifinal berth since 2003.





Next: UH (16-15) vs. New Mexico State (24-9), 4 p.m. Hawaii time today at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas

TV / Radio: KFVE / 1420-AM, KKEA

Internet Streaming:

Series: New Mexico St. leads 13-4

"We just struggled these past few weeks and it was heavy on all of us," UH coach Gib Arnold said. "We needed this as a team and as a university. These kids earned it and I’m proud of them.

"We’re glad we’re still here; we’re going to prepare again because we have a lot to prove. We have a lot more basketball left in us."

UH (16-15) will be a decided underdog again today in contending against the massive front line and athleticism of NMSU (24-9). But UH also showed that on the right night, it can hang with the Aggies, as witnessed by the ‘Bows’ 91-87 home win over Marvin Menzies’ team on Jan. 21.

NMSU’s 65-49 defeat of seventh-seeded Fresno State in Thursday’s second quarterfinal earned Menzies his 100th win in five years at the school.

Menzies witnessed some of UH’s unconventional lineups against the Vandals, which included a front line of 7-footer Davis Rozitis to go along with 6-foot-10 Vander Joaquim. UH was forced into new things with its top shooter, Zane Johnson, away from the team with an illness, and the ‘Bows had to change it up even further once power forward Joston Thomas fouled out with a technical with 12 minutes to play.

Joaquim shouldered the load for UH with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while freshman guard Shaquille Stokes added 17, including a big 3-pointer down the stretch to cap a 7-0 run and tie it at 64 with 3 minutes left. Brereton had the first double-double of his UH career with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

UH also pressed more than its norm, got away with zone defense against an effective 3-point shooting team and succeeded in slowing down and disrupting the Vandals’ disciplined attack.

Menzies was unfazed by UH’s shenanigans. And why not? He’s got Wendell McKines, the WAC’s leading scorer (18.4) and rebounder (10.9), on his side.

"It’s tournament time. It’s March Madness," said Menzies, a friend of Arnold’s. "It’s not March Mediocre. Get crazy right now. You got new lineups you haven’t seen. … We have everything in our system to attack anything that any team can throw at us."

With Johnson out, the ‘Bows tweaked their offensive sets to run through Stokes on the perimeter.

"It brings up different roles," said UH point guard Miah Ostrowski, who had nine assists against one turnover. "It kind of changes our style. I feel like guys adjusted well, guys stepped up and were ready to play. That was huge. We had guys who hardly had minutes in the regular season step up. We didn’t skip a beat, and that was key."

By coming back from seven points down with 6:25 left — after they had led by 11 at the start of the half — the ‘Bows displayed a resilience that was questioned coming into the tournament. Tying a season low of seven turnovers was also key.

"I thought we had seized control of the game, no question about it," UI coach Don Verlin said. "We had definitely climbed the hill. I thought Hawaii made some great plays down the stretch, and we made a couple of tough decisions. But that’s basketball. And it came down to a one-possession game."

On the winning play, Stokes drove to the basket and had the ball stripped by UI guard Deremy Geiger … but into the waiting hands of Brereton, who was money on the right baseline to complete his 6-for-8 shooting day.

Besides earning UH a spot in its first WAC title game since 2002, another win likely would earn UH a berth in the 24-team Postseason Tournament for the second straight year. A loss could mean the end of the season with a .500 record.

Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up