The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team slipped past Idaho today in the WAC Tournament. The Warriors Hauns Brereton hit a baseline jumper with 3.2 seconds left and Vander Joaquim stole Idaho’s last-gasp fullcourt pass as Hawaii earned its first WAC tournament win since 2005, a 72-70 decision over the Vandals.
Many won’t realize just how long it has been since Hawaii has indeed won a WAC Tourney game, but it had been going on 7-years. This is a great win for the team, who finally got that monkey off their back going into tomorrow’s game to face the winner of No.2 New Mexico State and No. 7 Fresno State. That game will be played shortly.
The Warrior’s had to get this win, and looks like play the WAC tourney without leading scorer Zane Johnson, who had to stay in the islands due to illness.
It was but a week ago that the Idaho Vandals came into the Stan Sheriff Center and rolled over the Warriors at home, handing Hawaii a 19-point home loss, there worst home loss of the season.
Talk to the coaching staff and any of the players though and I am sure they would gladly trade that loss for today’s win. The Warrior’s looked tired and heartless last Thursday, but came back with a nice spring in their step today.
It was a back-and-forth affair that had UH up by 11 points in the first half on third-seeded UI (18-13). The Vandals went up by seven in the second half, and it seemed UH had lost its cool with technical fouls assigned to forward Joston Thomas (earning him a disqualification) and UH coach Gib Arnold.
But Joaquim, an All-WAC first-team selection, played big in going for 20 points and 13 rebounds against UI center Kyle Barone (19 points). Shaquille Stokes came up with big plays starting for senior Zane Johnson, who missed the trip with an illness. Stokes scored 17, as did Brereton.
Hopefully the Warrior’s can continue their run tomorrow in the tourney. It will be tough, but all of Hawaii will be cheering them on in hopes for a stunning run at a conference crown and an NCAA Tournament bid.