Taking care of the ball was a problem at times for both University of Hawaii basketball teams on Sunday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
For the women, it was a big part of why the Rainbow Wahine ended up on the wrong end of a 74-57 score against Texas Southern.
For the men, a flurry of giveaways early against New Orleans served as a wake-up call, and the Rainbow Warriors recovered well enough to right the ship and win 79-71.
Point guard Drew Buggs committed six of UH’s 20 turnovers against the Privateers. But Buggs also had seven assists, and he keyed UH’s decisive 9-4 run at the midway point of the second half.
After Buggs hit an off-balance 18-footer, a step-back 3-pointer and a pair of free throws, the game had gone from a 49-all tie with 11:30 left to a 58-53 lead for the ‘Bows.
Eddie Stansberry — who kept up his hot shooting for Hawaii with a game-high 24 points — contributed a driving layup to the decisive run.
Two minutes later, with UH’s lead cut back to just two points, Buggs took a charge and New Orleans never got that close again.
Acting coach Chris Gerlufsen said he used the half-time break to challenge the ‘Bows to take better care of the ball. UH led 31-29 at the break, but it had given the ball away 14 times.
“Well that was a gritty win, not the prettiest by far,” Gerlufsen said. “I thought we found a way. All credit to New Orleans. … We knew we were going to have our hands full and we didn’t come out ready to play. In the first half we had some hiccups and turned the ball over.”
While the men were sloppy early in their win, it was the opposite for the women, who took good care of the ball early (just one turnover in the first six minutes) and led 15-9, but then let Texas Southern’s press and 3-point shooting take over the game, to the displeasure of coach Laura Beeman.
“(Basketball is) not a game where you can pick and choose when you’re going to play hard,” she said afterward, expressing extreme dissatisfaction with her team’s effort.
The Tigers scored 21 points off of 22 Hawaii turnovers.
The UH women and men return to action with another Stan Sheriff Center doubleheader Friday. The Wahine (3-2) play North Texas (2-2 going into a game Tuesday at Cal State Bakersfield) at 5 p.m., and the Warriors (4-2) are scheduled to take on San Francisco (6-0) at 7:30.