UPDATED FINAL: Utah 80, Hawaii 60. UH (4-2) drops to 1-23 all time at the Jon H. Huntsman Center in its first visit there since 1999, and first as Utah as a Pac-12 member.
As was written in the Star-Advertiser print edition more than once in the last couple of days, Hawaii must buck some serious history if it is to triumph at Utah today in the Rainbow Warriors’ lone nonconference road game of the season.
Like, 1-22 all-time history in Salt Lake City. Utah leads the series 48-10 overall as UH’s most-played foe. UH is also 1-47 against Pac-12 teams on the road (only counting teams who were Pac-12 members at the time).
The Runnin’ Utes (5-1) were 14.5-point favorites today.
Well, the ‘Bows (4-1) are putting up a good fight at halftime after a slow start. Utah leads it only 37-30 after going up by as many as 13 points in the first period.
UH had five turnovers by the first media timeout but cut that down for the rest of the half — they have just six at intermission.
The narrowed deficit is largely thanks to Drew Buggs, who closed the half strong. He’s got 12 on 5-for-7 field goals, to go with two assists, a block, a steal and no turnovers. That’s something closer to what UH hoped for out of the freshman this season.
However, he’s not gotten too much help yet. The guys with the Utah connections, Samuta Avea (six points) and Gibson Johnson (five), are the next-largest contributors.
Familiar foe Justin Bibbins, the diminutive point guard formerly of Long Beach State, leads the Runnin’ Utes with nine points on 3-for-3 field goals. Utah, a team that shares it well, has 10 assists at the break to UH’s uncharacteristic four.
UH will have to stay home on Bibbins in the second half and run its offense smoothly. They showed some zone in the first when they closed the gap some; it’ll be interesting to see if they go back to it.