The Hawaii men’s basketball team was unable to overcome a dismal first half in falling 77-63 to No. 24 UNLV today at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
UH (4-2) got a 22-point halftime deficit down to 53-42 with 12 minutes to play, but the lead of the Runnin’ Rebels (5-1) would stay at eight or more the rest of the way.
The Rainbow Warriors shot only 33.9 percent from the field, including 1-for-18 on 3-pointers.
UNLV scored 23 points off 17 UH turnovers, with 12 of the giveaways coming in the first half.
Junior forward Christian Standhardinger tied his career high of 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the ‘Bows. Senior center scored 10 of his 12 points after the break and grabbed nine boards.
Joaquim hit two at the line to make it an eight-point game with six minutes left.
But the Rebels came back with two 3-pointers, upping their lead to 67-54 with five minutes to go.
UH kept chipping it away, getting back to within eight on two more foul shots by Joaquim with under three minutes.
UH guard Brandon Spearman had a 3-point look to get UH to seven points with a minute left, but the Rebels blocked his shot and extended their lead at the free-throw line.
UNLV was led by freshman Anthony Bennett, who had 16 points and eight boards.
Turnovers (12) were highly detrimental to UH in the first half. Combined with 35.7 percent shooting to 58.8 for UNLV — with 0-for-10 shooting on 3-pointers — it was a blowout early. The Rebels took a 49-27 lead into halftime.
UH came out stronger to open the second half, scoring the first five points of the period.
UH went up 4-3 on a layup by Standhardinger, but that would be the last lead for the ‘Bows. They turned it over six times in the first nine minutes and fell behind 21-8.