Several second-half turnovers cost the Hawaii men’s basketball team a chance at maintaining its undefeated Big West Conference record, as the Rainbow Warriors had 16 total giveaways in a 68-64 loss at UC Irvine today.
UH (9-6, 3-1 Big West) battled the Anteaters evenly most of the way, but fell behind by nine points in the final minute and could not make up the deficit in time.
The ‘Bows got it to 67-63 on two straight turnovers by UCI (8-9, 2-3) and baskets by Vander Joaquim and Brandon Jawato. Jawato, the reigning BWC Player of the Week, had another 3-point look with 21 seconds left that would have made it a one-point game, but he was off the mark and that was essentially the game.
Joaquim scored a team-high 15 points, while Christian Standhardinger had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Brandon Spearman added 12 points and Jawato nine.
UH stays in the Los Angeles area for its Saturday game at Long Beach State (7-8, 3-1). The defending champion 49ers have won 19 straight home conference games.
A series of UH turnovers helped UCI build a 62-57 lead with under four minutes left. For the game, the Anteaters had a 21-9 advantage in points off turnovers. That undid a 46-35 UH edge in rebounding.
UH had claimed a five-point lead at the outset of the second half on a basket by Joaquim. UCI came back to take a 37-35 advantage and the teams traded the lead several times from there.
The ‘Bows hit all eight of their free-throw attempts in the first period and finished 15-for-19.
In the first half, UH trailed 23-20, but scored 11 straight to go up by eight with 1:33 remaining in the period.
The Anteaters scored the last five points of the period to cut UH’s lead to 31-28 at the break.