It seemed like the classic “Hawaii jumps out to big lead on the road, only to cough up the lead when it mattered” game.
This UH team had other ideas, coming up with a huge 74-68 win at Fresno State in overtime even after the Bulldogs came from behind to grab the lead with under 15 seconds left in regulation.
Vander Joaquim made good on a considerable height advantage, and more importantly made the offensive plays in the second half and OT to keep UH in it (23 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks). Also, Garrett Jefferson should be commended for his pesky defense in hounding the Bulldogs’ top player Kevin Olekaibe into a 5-for-17 shooting night.
Then there was Miah Ostrowski, dishing a career-high 11 assists, and Zane Johnson hitting six 3s. He looked past whatever trouble his separated rib was giving him. All in all, it was a hugely positive night, even with Joston Thomas, Shaquille Stokes and Hauns Brereton being mostly nonfactors.
Can UH pull off the improbable and succeed at Nevada on Saturday for a 3-0 WAC start? History says no — the ‘Bows have never won there, and the 3-0 Wolf Pack is as talented as ever — but there would be beauty in pulling it off in UH’s last chance before it and UNR go their separate ways next season.