Hawaii 72, Idaho 70
Hawaii coach Gib Arnold felt his team rediscovered its resolve
when it took Utah State down to the wire in the season finale just
two days after getting routed at home by Idaho.
So to make sure his Rainbow Warriors had their legs for the
Western Athletic Conference tournament, Arnold practiced a total of
75 minutes between Saturday’s loss and Thursday’s conference
Turned it to be the perfect approach.
Hauns Brereton hit a 15-foot baseline jumper with 3.2 seconds
left, and Hawaii rallied from seven points down in the final 6
minutes to beat Idaho 72-70 in the Western Athletic Conference
The sixth-seeded Rainbow Warriors (16-15) trailed 64-57 with
6:15 left but then outscored the Vandals 15-6 the close out the
victory. Hawaii won despite playing without second-leading scorer
Zane Johnson and a week after losing by 19 at home to the Vandals.
It was Hawaii’s first victory since Feb. 14 against New Orleans and
its first WAC tournament win since 2005.
”We were a little wounded, a little down, but these guys
rallied together,” Arnold said. ”They earned it. We struggled for
three weeks. It wasn’t easy, it never should be easy. But we’ve
still got a lot of basketball left in us.”
Hawaii will face second-seeded New Mexico State in the
semifinals Friday night.
Vander Joaquim led Hawaii with 20 points including a key putback
with 29.5 seconds left and later stole the desperation inbound pass
on Idaho’s final effort to pull even. Brereton finished with 17 and
freshman guard Shaquille Stokes also scored 17.
Stokes tried to play the role of hero for the Warriors. He drove
aggressively toward the basket as the final seconds ticked away,
only to get stripped as Idaho’s defense collapsed. The loose ball
bounded right to Brereton on the baseline, who rattled in the
”Shaq left me open in the corner. Fortunately it went in,”
Kyle Barone led Idaho (18-13) with 19 points, but was held to
just five in the second half. Stephen Madison added 15 and Landon
Tatum scored 12 for the Vandals, who had won seven of eight coming
into the tournament and was the only WAC team to defeat regular
season champion Nevada.
Yet the Vandals are headed home and have yet to reach the
semifinals of the WAC tournament.
”I thought we had seized control of the game. We had climbed
the hill. But Hawaii made some great plays down the stretch,”
Idaho coach Don Verlin said.
Idaho seemed in control after a 3-point barrage that erased an
11-point deficit early in the second half. Three consecutive
3-pointers capped the Vandals 17-2 run, which included Madison’s 3
with 14:50 left that gave Idaho its first lead since the opening
moments of the game. Tatum added another 3 and the Vandals led
45-41. Hawaii retook the lead at 46-45 but on the next possession
Hawaii’s Joston Thomas was called for his fourth foul and given a
technical foul for his reaction, giving him his fifth foul.
Thomas was missed on the inside and Idaho eventually built its
lead to seven after Madison scored six straight points – including
a pair of free throws after Hawaii coach Arnold was given a
technical and had to be restrained by his assistants after a
But that’s when Hawaii’s final push started. The Warriors likely
should have led but missed 4 of 6 free throw attempts. Still, Idaho
was sloppy with possessions and Stokes’ 3 with 2:56 left pulled
Hawaii even at 64 all. Brereton’s basket gave Hawaii the lead at
66-65 and his two free throws pushed the advantage to three.
Idaho’s Deremy Geiger scored on a difficult layup while being
fouled with 50 seconds left and the three-point play pulled Idaho
Joaquim scored on his putback and Barone scored for Idaho before
Brereton’s game-winner. Brereton added 11 rebounds and the Warriors
committed just seven turnovers, half their season average of
”Those kids stepped up and took the challenge,” Arnold said.
”In the second half we jumped out and we hit the shots when we
needed to. They played hard.”
Follow Tim Booth on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ByTimBooth