In the wake of its overtime 61-57 loss to Cal Poly to kick off Big West play, the Hawaii men’s basketball team stuck to the video room and did not take the floor on Thursday.
UH coach Benjy Taylor and his players were not available for interviews, so a status update on Garrett Nevels won’t be had until Friday.
I don’t have a story in Friday’s newspaper, but columnist Dave Reardon weighed in with his thoughts about the Poly loss and the team in general without Nevels on the floor.
Looking back on the Poly game, both teams certainly had their opportunities to end it in regulation. The missed front end of the 1-and-1 free throw by Isaac Fleming with 50 seconds to go kept things tied at 51. Despite that, UH forced a big 10-second backcourt violation, which seemingly could have been a tide-turner. But UH might have milked a little too much clock before Roderick Bobbitt drove it, a fairly predictable attack given the lack of movement on offense. Bobbitt turned it out of bounds, and Poly’s Reese Morgan missed the potential game-winner at the regulation buzzer (though he’d sure make up for it later).
Overtime was Morgan’s time. He shot 3-for-12, but each of the stocky guard’s three 3-pointers put his team ahead. Two came in OT, including the game-winner with 6.9 seconds left.
And, well, just about everyone would like a mulligan on that last play coming out of a timeout. Bobbitt most of all, you can be sure.
That’s six out of the last seven now that the win-ugly Mustangs and coach Joe Callero bested UH.
Toughness down low was a factor. UH gave up 15 offensive rebounds and was out-boarded by 10 overall. The Stefans, Jankovic and Jovanovic, combined to shoot 3-for-11. Meanwhile, Poly’s beefy Brian Bennett came up huge again and again, shooting 9-for-12 for 20 points. UH seemingly could not buy a defensive rebound on missed free throws, of which there were plenty as Poly shot 14-for-27 at the line.
Negus Webster-Chan went 0-for-5 inside the arc and was 2-for-10 overall. Bobbitt’s four turnovers came at inopportune times (he has 16 in the last three games). Fleming was erratic.
The only ‘Bow to really shine in the loss was Aaron Valdes, who overcame a slow start and some wild shots to finish with 20 points and five steals. He was the spark that briefly got UH a five-point lead late in regulation.
UH needs to beat CSUN on Saturday if it entertains ideas of finishing in the top half of the league. Payback for the Mustangs will have to wait.