The University of Hawaii went 0-for-2 today in nationally televised games. Hawaii led at halftime of both, but fell 73-59 to UNLV in basketball at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic and then 31-14 tonight in football, at the SoFi Hawaii Bowl.
David and Teri Loui were among the dedicated UH fans who did the double dip and attended both games.
“It was fortunate that my friend had to set up (the tailgate) for the football game,” the man known online as “Warrior Dave” said. “He gave me his basketball ticket for Teri. It was just a matter of convincing her to come with me.”
David was joking, since his wife Teri is as big a fan of UH sports as he is.
“Actually, the timing of both games made it easier to do the double,” he said.
It wasn’t that easy, though, since they came all the way in to UH from Ewa Beach and then on to Halawa for the football game, the SoFi Hawaii Bowl against Louisiana Tech.
Also, Don Robbs told me about another double-dipper, Lauretta Sewake, 82.
“She is the No. 1 UH fan, bar none,” said Don, the retired radio voice of UH baseball. “She went with us (to basketball today) and (Don’s son, and also a UH broadcaster) Scott dropped her off at the stadium.”
More than 3,000 fans at the Stan Sheriff center saw UH fall victim to a strong second half by UNLV. A UH fan on Twitter named “Dee” wished there’d been a bus to Aloha Stadium after the basketball game to alleviate parking concerns. Sounds like a great idea that might have helped attendance for both events. Still, it was a pretty good-sized crowd at Aloha Stadium: It was announced that 27,837 went through the turnstiles.
Today was the first time I saw the UH basketball team live this season. It was not a good first impression, as UNLV won 73-59. Hawaii (now 6-5) was outrebounded 44-29. The Warriors led 33-28 with 17:13 left to play, but UNLV then took control with a 23-3 run.
UNLV scored 18 second-chance points.
“There were some missed block-outs, but we didn’t help each other,” UH coach Eran Ganot said. “We missed some good looks. We missed free throws. At the end of the day the biggest difference was on the glass, and on offense our lack of execution.”
This was our last look at the 2018 football team, and taken by itself, also wasn’t pretty at all. But the Hawaii defense started strong, with lineman (and Hawaii MVP) Kendall Hune recovering a fumble and tipping an interception to himself.
“Maybe one of the best plays by a defensive lineman I’ve seen in a long time,” LaTech coach Skip Holtz said.
That’s saying something, since Holtz is the coach of defensive end Jaylon Ferguson, who became the NCAA all-time record holder in sacks with 2.5 of the Bulldogs’ nine (a Hawaii Bowl record, and it’s also believed to be a record for sacks against UH).
Another record in the 17-year history of the Hawaii Bowl was set with 21 penalties by the teams. LaTech was flagged nine times for 99 yards and Hawaii 12 times for 140 yards.
In the postgame press conference, UH coach Nick Rolovich apologized for the penalties, and also for most of the team inadvertently missing the playing of the school’s alma mater after the game.
As for the sacks, “I don’t see it as a negative on us as much as a positive on them,” Rolovich said.
“They’re really good. They can get home with three (rushers), they can get home with four. We tried to switch some things up at quarterback. Both (Cole McDonald and Chevan Cordeiro) took some shots.”
Slot receiver John Ursua, one of the top pass-catchers statistically in the nation, did not play for UH. It was reported minutes before kickoff that he had a hamstring injury.
Ursua hurt the hamstring in practice late in the week leading up to the game, said Rolovich, who described the injury as “minor.” Ursua “tried to warm up” before the game, the coach added. Rolovich also said Ursua sitting out had nothing to do with the trend in recent years of players with pro potential sitting out bowl games.
Ferguson, a likely mid-round or better 2019 NFL Draft pick, said he would never consider sitting out a game with his LaTech teammates.
“That’s the whole reason for coming back,” he said. “I never pass up a chance to be with these guys.”
It was the fifth bowl win in a row for LaTech, but the first time UH’s former WAC foe won at Aloha Stadium.
As for Hawaii, the Rainbow Warriors finished 8-6. No objective analyst expected them to make it to a bowl game this year.
“When you take a step back and think about what this team has done you can take a lot of positives,” Rolovich said.