That one hurt

The Honda Center will welcome no spectators for this week's Big West tournament. / 2018 photo by Brian McInnis

Every so often, a basketball game like Thursday night comes around that reminds you to really, really cherish the good times.

Hawaii’s 68-67 defeat at the hands of UC Irvine was a gut-wrenching affair that saw the Rainbow Warriors control the first 36 minutes — and then crash and burn in the last four. A combination of poor shot selection, forced and unforced turnovers and UC Irvine’s moxie undid the ‘Bows in season-ending fashion.

If you play those last four minutes 100 times, with the score what it was, you’d have to think UH wins at least 95 times. Alas. The team, particularly seniors Mike Thomas and Gibson Johnson, showed real character afterward and gamely answered questions while clearly heartbroken on the postgame interview table.

As you may have heard by now, UH will not participate in any postseason tournament. Its 2017-18 season is over at 17-13.

UH athletic director David Matlin was pretty hesitant on the idea of a pay-for-play tournament going into the Big West tourney. First of all, you don’t want to think about that if your team has a legitimate chance to win it and go to the NCAAs (as UH believed it did), and second, the prospect of an up-front payment ($40K-plus) that you may or may not break even on once ticket revenue is calculated just didn’t seem to sit well in these austere times. Last time, against Air Force in 2013 (the infamous Vander walkout game), UH did not break even, and in retrospect it was clear extending the season at that time was a mistake.

As you can read in Saturday’s print edition, some wear and tear on several players made the prospect of prolonging the season a forced affair at best. There’s a difference between leaving it all out there to make your NCAA dreams come true, and playing for the sake of playing in a third- or fourth-tier tournament.

Some of the ‘Bows offered up season tributes on Twitter.


  1. cappie the dog March 10, 2018 9:20 pm

    What I remember most about the Air Force game was that it lacked that post-season feeling.

    It just felt like a regular season game.

    I survived the Bob Nash era. (I respect Coach Nash.)

    Back then, 17-13 would have sounded pretty good.


    I have some faith in Coach Ganot.

  2. cappie the dog March 10, 2018 9:22 pm

    Gibson Johnson, you played awesome against UC-Irvine.

    I will always appreciate that basket and free throw you made to put your team ahead.

    In your final game, you played your best game.

    I wish you the best of luck.

  3. cappie the dog March 10, 2018 9:23 pm

    Drew Buggs, I see your upside, man.


  4. cappie the dog March 12, 2018 4:35 am

    So ticked off that St. Mary’s got snubbed.

    If I knew Arizona State’s inclusion was a done deal, I would have rooted for Rhode Island.

  5. RonPMA March 12, 2018 11:28 am

    Watched the playoff game and a few others on DVR that UH lost leads in second half. It is obvious that coaches have to TEACH situational basketball. You play differently when you have a lead of several points late in game and you do not have playmakers. Players must use good judgement (brains?) and use up clock and set up a good shot. Not run down the court and try to be a hero. Of course, if coach can come up with another Noah Allen, (playmaker) things might be different, but given the current roster and incoming recruits it seems we have to play smart all game and get the most out of the players we have.

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